AEW News

Athena Draws Comparison Between Tony Khan And Vince McMahon

Athena entrance Double or Nothing

Athena has compared Tony Khan with her “former boss” from the “former place” Vince McMahon.

Appearing under the name, Ember Moon, Athena wrestled in WWE from September 2015 until she was released by the company in November 2021.

During this period, the star won the NXT Women’s Championship, the Women’s Tag Team Titles and had a lengthy stint on the main roster. However, following her departure, Athena has repeatedly expressed her disappointment at how certain things were handled, including WWE’s treatment of female talent.

After leaving WWE, the star signed with AEW, making her debut at Double or Nothing where she confronted TBS Champion Jade Cargill.

Speaking in a new interview with NBC Sports Boston, Athena opened up about what it’s like working with AEW President Tony Khan, compared to Vince McMahon who she just referred to as her “former boss.”

The former NXT Women’s Champion detailed how Khan is always full of energy and excitement, which makes her want to try harder for him when she preforms.

“Tony is extremely busy, but my interactions with him have been insanely different than that of my former boss,” Athena said. “Because he’s just excited, he’s pumped, he wants to get everyone pumped up as he is. It’s the first time I think I had a show … He’s just going up to every match like, ‘Let’s go! Let’s get this!’ I’ve never had that. And it’s just energy on cloud nine, every step of the way. Sometimes, the couple of days I’ve been there, we’re there for like fourteen hours and his energy doesn’t drop. He’s so motivating, he’s so pumped about everything that’s on the TV product, which I’m not used to on any level.

“Normally it’s like, ‘Alright. Go out there, blah, blah, blah. Cool, you know what you’re doing.’ And then on the other end, you’re getting Tony like, ‘You pumped for this?! You ready to go?!’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah! Let’s go!’ I don’t know how to explain it. He’s so high energy and so positive that you just want to feed off that aura. I’m like, ‘I want that caffeine level that you’re at, but I’m afraid I might have a heart attack!’

For fourteen hours, there’s not a drop. Not a drop. And he’s extremely appreciative that everyone is there. I don’t know how to explain it, but so far, I’m just like, amazed. I could people watch Tony all day long because you want to go so much harder for him, out in the ring and stuff. You’re like, ‘Yeah! He’s pumped! He loves it! Yeah!’”

Expanding further, Athena touched on how different the environment is in AEW compared to WWE. Again, the star didn’t reference her former wrestling home by name. Although she did point out that “Hunter” (Triple H) was different.

“I think the best way to describe it is I think the former place, if you will, demanded perfection,” Athena said. “It didn’t matter what curveballs were being thrown at you, there was just very stoic energy of, ‘Alright, this is what we expect out of you. Do it.’ And if you don’t do it, you get ripped a new one. Sometimes it’s like, ‘Okay, cool, we understand problems happen.’ But there was never that high energy.

Hunter was the exception to that, I will say that. But coming into AEW, you get pumped, you get excited. Every match, he (Tony) is there. He’s in the huddle with everyone. I’m like, ‘Where did you come from?’ I feel like he’s just teleporting backstage; I’ll leave one area and see him talking here, but in some kind of way, he’s doubled in front of me. I’m like, ‘How? You were…’

“He cares, and he shows outwardly that he cares. And it’s not demanding perfection, it’s like, ‘Hey, you go out there and do the best damn job. And if it’s perfect, I’m happy. If it’s not, I’m happy. I’m just excited that you’re here, willing to put your body on the line for this company.’ That’s the type of energy. So it’s like, ‘Alright, I’m going to go put my body on the line! Let’s go!’ The energy, the aura backstage, it’s so different, it’s so positive. Everyone wants to help each other, everyone is just excited to be there, right? Which is weird because I’m not used to that on any level. It’s so exciting.”

Athena added that the relaxed and less structured atmosphere around AEW events in one of the main things that she enjoys about her new home.

“I remember hanging out in the ring one day before the show started,” Athena said. “I’m just watching everything, and everyone has smiles on their faces. People were doing random wrestling stuff, like, ‘Okay, I’ve got this idea, blah blah blah.’ ‘Hey, I want to try this!’ No one is wrestling each other on the show at this time but everyone is just having fun and enjoying each other’s company, which is just bizarre, bizarre because I came from a place that was so extremely structured.”

Athena is currently wrapped up in a feud with Jade Cargill as she bids to become TBS Champion, handing “That B*tch” her first ever defeat.

H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.