Athena was released by WWE in November of 2021 after six years with the company, including two stints in NXT. Her first NXT run saw her win the NXT Women’s Championship. During her second spell, she teamed with Shotzi to capture the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles.
In May of 2022, Athena made her AEW debut to confront Jade Cargill. The Fallen Goddess made some appearances across the independent scene before deciding on AEW, and while appearing on Talk Is Jericho, Athena has reflected on the period between leaving WWE and joining AEW, revealing that IMPACT were among those who tried to bring her in.
“When I left WWE, that was the one thing I wanted to do, I wanted to figure out a way to get to AEW. When I walked out of that building, I thought, ‘How in the blue hell do I get ahold of Tony Khan?’ Between my rep and everything, we had kind of been in talks in December to see if there was interest. During my 90-day situation where I couldn’t do anything, ‘Ah, just kind of threw away the dream job. Do I want to wrestle anymore?’ All of these requests came in from the Indies of, ‘we want you to come do our show, we want you at our show.’ ‘Well this is new,” she recalled. “I remember having to run to everyone else to get a booking.’ All these old promotions that I used to work for were like, ‘Hey come work with us. Come do this.’ ‘I don’t know man.’ I remember this promoter at Warrior Wrestling goes, ‘whatever match you want, I’ll pay your rate, you get to pick your opponent and who you want.’ ‘Thunder Rosa.’ I threw out a name because I recently met her and she was awesome. I went down to Mission Pro and worked out to see if I still wanted to wrestle. She got me some really good girls to roll around with. We went broadway, 30 minutes, and it was so much fun. I was so emotional after because it was like, ‘I thought I was going to throw this all away again.’ It got the bug going and that’s when I told my rep, ‘Let’s do it, if he wants me let’s do it.’ It became, IMPACT wanted me, there was interest at AEW but we could never get ahold of Tony because he’s so busy. IMPACT would be like, ‘Hey, hey girl, hey.’ ‘Yeah, yeah, I know, hold on.’ My friends would be like, ‘Girl, I heard you’re coming here.’ ‘We’ve not talked to them. We only said, hey, we’ll talk to you next week.’ It became this weird, where do I go? What do I do? I had two companies showing interest and it was like, ‘I think I want to go to AEW. I have friends at IMPACT, but I want to do AEW because I’ve had my eye on it for so long.’ Fast forward to May, it happened so quickly. Tony called my rep, ‘Let’s do it.’ Within the next week, I was on a plane to Las Vegas.”-Athena.
Athena is currently the ROH Women’s Champion after she defeated Mercedes Martinez at the ROH Final Battle PPV weeks after a recent heel turn.
H/T Fightful for the full transcription.