Athena (fka Ember Moon) made a few headlines recently when she started showing a much more vicious style in matches on AEW Dark & Dark Elevation. However, it wasn't long before online wrestling fans started accusing her of working too stiff and being "unsafe" in the ring. The former NXT Women's Champion appeared on Busted Open Radio this week and addressed her change in attitude and in-ring style. She's set to challenge Mercedes Martinez for the ROH Women's World Championship this Saturday at Final Battle in Garland, Texas.
"The girls can hit just as hard as the guys," she explained (h/t Fightful). "I have to sit there and see Jon Moxley and (Chris) Jericho and (Wheeler) Yuta, all of these guys hit the tar out of each other. I guarantee you, if I was a man, there wouldn't be as much backlash or anything about that. It's all these old bloated farts that want to sit there and tell us we need to look pretty. 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. We give it our all and put in all this time and effort to hone our craft and I feel we're under-appreciated when we do things like that."
"I honestly don't know (where the criticism came from)," she added. "I've been doing this for almost 17 years and no matter how much we as women train or if we have the best match on the card, it's always going to have that stigma of 'they hit too hard, it's too dancey.' People are always critical of the girls because we're still trying to fight for so much. Every time we step into the ring, we're still trying to prove that we belong here, that we're just as good as the guys, if not better. I don't know if anyone else caught Full Gear, but Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter tore down the floor. So what, there was blood. Someone got hit in the face, oh well, it's wrestling. We're not babies. We're not going to go home and cry about it. We're going to continue the match and do what we do best, which is entertain people."
Athena continued, "Just because one person hits hard, one person is a high-flier, one person likes to do submissions; It's all entertainment at the end of the day. That's all we want to show you. We want to put our heart and art on the platter in the ring and be appreciated for every bump we take, every death-defying move, every time we get hit by a chair, go into a cage, come off the top with a stunner, we want to show you guys our heart and art every time we step into the ring and for some reason, it's so overly criticized and I don't know why, I don't have an answer for that. Every step we take forward, it takes one comment on the internet, to set the entire women's wrestling category back."