Former NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon detailed changes that came to NXT when Triple H left, including meetings with the women where they were told to dress “sexy.”
Ember Moon was one of the many WWE releases from 2021, released on November 4th after a six-year career with the company. Though she was on the main roster for some of that time, the last portion of her WWE career was spent in NXT. Speaking on Insight with Chris Van Vliet, the star now known as Athena opened up about the circumstances that led to her departure and detailed some of the changes that came as NXT became NXT 2.0.
Athena said that she wasn’t happy for the last four months that she was with the company, and that she became frustrated when her tag team partner Shotzi got drafted to SmackDown to team with Tegan Nox instead. The two had reigned as NXT Women’s Champions together, but those in charge of WWE didn’t realize that Shotzi was already part of an established tag team.
Ember Moon’s time was also full of creative frustrations, as she’d pitched a losing streak angle to lead to a heel turn on NXT TV, but she would be off TV for weeks at a time despite doing everything the company asked of her, including dying her hair back to its signature red. Athena shared these frustrations, saying that it hurt more because she’s so passionate and wanted to help not just herself, but also other people.
“When you care about something, not just for yourself but for everyone involved, it hurts so much more because, for so many years, I’ve been not about myself. I’ve been for the match and other people. To be told that I’ve done nothing wrong and I was taken off TV for doing nothing wrong, it hurt so bad because I was so happy walking into work. I remember when Shotzi left, I remember going to my makeup artist and saying, ‘I am so unhappy.’
Athena then detailed more of the changes that took place when Triple H stepped away from NXT, including the women having to sit through meetings about how to dress sexy. She says that there’s nothing wrong with performers who dress provocatively, but it didn’t fit with her character.
We would have to sit through stupid meetings about how we’d have to dress sexy. I remember looking at someone else (and laughing). I cater to children. I’m not about to wear fishnet booty buttcheek shorts because we had a two-hour meeting about how to dress like Mandy Rose. That’s not fair. Mandy is absolutely phenomenal and an amazing person, but not everyone is Mandy Rose.
“I started seeing this downslope as soon as Hunter was gone. For the first bit, we didn’t know why, we just knew he wasn’t there. I got so angry. I was sitting there thinking, ‘I did nothing wrong. I didn’t piss off Vince.’ They take Shotzi away, Hunter is gone. ‘You guys promised me this wouldn’t happen. You promised I wouldn’t be lost in the shuffle. I went on this losing streak to help you guys out and build other talent so I could get a reward.'”
While the company tried to offer Athena a position as a coach to help train younger talent, the star was fed up with the situation, and told them she quit after she’d had enough. She also mentioned that there were other members of the roster who were uncomfortable with meetings about dressing in more revealing clothing.
“I remember thinking, ‘I think I just quit.’ For three months I had been saying, ‘I think I’m going to quit today.’ Then, I actually did, I think. I got real small and quiet — I was yelling because I was so angry. The worst part about this was, I knew that on some level I was leaving, I had already gone and got an extra bag and kept it in the locker room so I could pack my stuff and leave. It had been there for a month.
“I was so unhappy and could see where it was going between the booty buttcheek meeting and them telling girls to alter their gear to make it more revealing. Some people were very uncomfortable with that and they were like, ‘Nope, this is what they want, you have to do it.’ It didn’t matter how that person felt. This isn’t what I signed up for anymore. This isn’t about the wrestling or about the art we create in the ring. This is turning into everything I left on Raw and SmackDown.
“The pity parties started forming in the locker rooms, the jealousy, the cattiness, ‘why is this person on TV.’ I’m just sitting there like, ‘I’m an adult, I can’t deal with this high school bullshit’ but be like ‘Guys, it’s okay’ and I’d be that locker room leader because if I didn’t it would go into the negative zone and no one be able to have any type of positivity and everyone would hate the job that we’ve all worked so hard to get.”
Ember Moon wrestled her last match against Mandy Rose on the October 5th episode of NXT 2.0 and recently teased that she might be interested in appearing in AEW.