Athena didn't know if she wanted to wrestle again after being released by WWE.
Athena, formerly Ember moon, was a part of the Women's Evolution in WWE and is a former NXT Women's Champion. however, Towards the end of her run, her role dwindled and she even spoke about believing WWE wanted her to be a coach.
Now, she's opening up about the lack of a desire to wrestle following her release from WWE and how a need to pay the bills and some fun matches on the independent circuit changed her outlook.
"So when I left the other company, I didn't know if I wanted to wrestle again. It was just like, ‘Oh, this was like my big dream,’” she said on AEW Unrestricted. “There had always been AEW, right? It was just always like, ‘Man, it looks like they're having fun. That's what I thought I was signing up for,’ and, just watching, and just dealing with what I was dealing with, and then seeing this, and I'm just staring and I'm like, ‘Oh my gosh, so much fun. It looks like so much fun.’
"Once I actually left, I was like, ‘I think I'm good.’ Then it became, ‘Crap. How are we going to pay the bills?’ Because we just bought a house, and it's like, ‘Well, I guess I gotta wrestle to pay these bills.’ I don't have — Well, I went to college for like, six, eight years. But I never want to pick up a book ever again, I don't want to finish any of those degrees that I started, just not my jam,” she continued.
Moving forward, she spoke about how her first match, a Warrior Wrestling match against Thunder Rosa reignited her passion.
"I was like, ‘Alright, let's lace up the boots.’ I have my first match back with Thunder Rosa. We did a 30-minute time limit draw, and I remember being so emotional after, which I don't really get emotional about things. But it was just like, I had all these feelings going through my head of like, ‘I almost threw this away, I almost let this go.’ Just being out there on the indies, where people like appreciate every tiny little thing, every tiny bump, every intricate transition. People just appreciate it so much more than where I was, you know? It was just like, ‘I almost threw this away,’ and I forgot what it was to love what I do in the ring. I remember just like, there was like a rude fan, Thunder told him off because she's a bomb chick like that.
“So she hands me the mic, and I didn't even want to say anything, because I knew as soon as I started talking, the floodgates were gonna open, which they did. I just was like, ‘Thank you for just making me fall in love with this again.’ That was kind of my upswing to be like, ‘Okay, well, it was just one match. One match isn't gonna make the world of a difference.’ Then, I had another match, and another one, and another one, and then I became DJ Khalid. I love this. I started watching old wrestling again, whereas, when I left, I just didn't watch wrestling at all. I was like, ‘Nah,’ I didn't watch anything. I was like, ‘This isn't fun for me anymore.’ I just got angry watching it. I became Scrooge, pretty much. But like, with every match that I had, it just felt like more and more like love, and my passion was returning,” she said.
Now, Athena is happily in AEW and she's waiting for her opportunity to have an "epic" match with Jade Cargill. Learn more about those desires here.
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