Ahead of her title match at Final Battle, Athena chats the latest happenings in her career.
For the last several months, Athena has taken a more physical approach when it comes to her in-ring style. This was first highlighted during an October episode of AEW Dark: Elevation against Jody Threat.
Athena received mixed feedback online about the physicality. The change in attitude on-screen has resulted in Athena securing an ROH Women’s World Title bout at Final Battle this Saturday.
She spoke about that change in attitude while talking to Dave LaGreca and Thunder Rosa on Busted Open Radio. She stated that there are many talented women in AEW and wanted to find a way to stand out from the pack. She brought up that prior to WWE, she always worked as a heel and had a physical style.
Um, because I feel like it [Athena responded when asked about her change in attitude]. Sometimes, nice guys finish last and sometimes, you get frustrated and you’re trying hard to find an opportunity to not get lost in the shuffle because at AEW, there are so many talented women just across the board and it’s like, what can you do to stand out? And you ask your questions like, why am I stuck in this position? Why is this happening to me? Am I not good? You start second-guessing yourself and then, finally you just have to say ‘F it’ and that’s basically what I’ve done is just say ‘F it’ and I’m gonna do what I do best. A lot of people don’t know that for ten years, before I got signed to WWE, I was probably one of the most notorious heels or bad guys or villains, whatever you smart folk out there wanna call it. I worked my entire indie career as the bad guy going around. I even got given the nickname ‘American Joshi’ because of my hard-hitting style and I think people just forget about that and honestly, throughout my entire TV career, it’s always something that I’ve wanted to get back to.
Athena agreed with Thunder Rosa’s point that there is a bit of a double standard about men being physical in wrestling versus women being physical in the sport.
She said she watches talents like Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho and Wheeler Yuta get praised for it but there’s ‘old farts’ who complain about women doing it but will also complain about it looking too choreographed.
People forget that the girls can hit just as hard as the guys. I have to sit there and see Jon Moxley and [Chris] Jericho and who else? [Wheeler] Yuta and all these guys hit the tar out of each other and I guarantee you, if I was a man, I feel like there wouldn’t be as much backlash or anything like that. It’s all these old, bloated farts that wanna sit there and tell us, oh no, we need to go out there and look pretty and then they complain when it’s a dance, they complain when we hit hard. Get over it. We’re out here to be just as good as the guys and we give it our all, we put in all of this time and effort to hone our craft and I feel like sometimes, we are underappreciated when we do things like that.
Her upcoming ROH Women’s World Title match against Mercedes Martinez is going to be Athena’s first match under the ROH banner since 2013.
She dove into she and Mercedes’ history, her own history in Ring of Honor and what it would mean to become champion in her home state of Texas.
It’s weird because let me just talk about Mercedes [Martinez] because I don’t think a lot of people know our history. When I started off at SHIMMER Wrestling, I got the opportunity to wrestle Mercedes in a match. The match was so good, Dave Prazak at the time was like, ‘You guys are doing a feud. This is a thing,’ right? And we ended up doing these matches that just hit every single time but honestly, Mercedes kind of made my SHIMMER career with these series of matches and then fast forward to when we were in NXT, I actually wrestled Mercedes in her debut for NXT, beat the tar out of her. But, I got to wrestle her and now, we’re coming back to this weird, full circle moment where we’ve worked each other in every major promotion and now, I’m coming back to Ring of Honor for the first time. I don’t think people know I used to wrestle for Ring of Honor back in the day. Like when women were getting these weird bikini matches on the independent scene, Ring of Honor was like, no, come here and show that you’re a wrestler. So me wrestling for Ring of Honor with the style that I was working back then is a really cool moment for me to show that Ring of Honor means so much more to me than most people because it was an opportunity to showcase my wrestling. Not only to do that with Mercedes Martinez who I have so much history with, so much respect for, as well, me winning that title, me beating someone that I’ve wrestled so many times that knows me inside and out, hoping that I can just catch her off guard, in Ring of Honor, in my hometown, there’s so much going into this and I feel like if I make it out with the Ring of Honor Championship, this is like, yes, everything I’ve done to this moment has been correct. I’ve taken the right steps, the right paths. I’ve hit the right hussies in the face. I’ve gone over and beyond to solidify myself as a threat within Ring of Honor, within AEW and not only that, it’s just carrying that momentum forward, making that championship mean so much more, having it prevalent every single day, week in, week out, that’s something I want to do and I want to carry that torch that so many women before me; Sara Del Rey, MsChif, Cheerleader Melissa, all of these women that started off showing what we do. Even Mercedes Martinez, I don’t wanna throw shade but I am. Even all of these women started off showing, hey, women can do more than just be pretty little play things in the ring. This is a full circle moment for me, this is what women’s wrestling is all about and this Saturday, we’re gonna go out there, we’re gonna hit the tar out of each other. I am going to beat the ever living crap out of Mercedes Martinez, one, because my mom’s gonna be front row, so is my dad. But, I wanna do it just to show everyone that I’m not porcelain, I’m not a pretty plaything. I am tougher than nails. I can give it, I can take it and I’m gonna stand tall at the end of the day with that Ring of Honor Championship and show everyone that ‘The Fallen Goddess’ is the alpha and everyone needs to bow down to me.
The ROH Women’s World Title match is one of four championship matches scheduled for the pay-per-view.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Busted Open Radio with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.