Athena (wrestler)

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Athena
Reese as Ember Moon in 2017
Birth nameAdrienne Reese[1]
Born (1988-08-31) August 31, 1988 (age 35)[2]
Garland, Texas, U.S.
Spouse(s)
Matthew Palmer
(m. 2018)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Adrienne
Adrienne Reese
Athena[3]
Athena Reese
Ember Moon[4]
Billed height5 ft 2 in (157 cm)[4]
Billed weight120 lb (54 kg)[5]
Billed fromDallas, Texas[4][5]
Chicago, Illinois[5]
St. Louis, Missouri[5]
Trained bySkandor Akbar[1][5]
Action Jackson
Lance Archer[5]
Monty Brown
Booker T[1][6]
Rodney Mack & Jazz[6]
Debut2007[7]

Adrienne Palmer[8] (née Reese)[1] (born August 31, 1988) is an American professional wrestler currently signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) under her ring name Athena. She also appears in AEW's sister promotion Ring of Honor (ROH), where she is the current ROH Women's World Champion in her first reign, which is the longest reign for the title. She is also known for her time in WWE, where she worked under the name Ember Moon, where she is a former NXT Women's Tag Team Champion and a former NXT Women's Champion.

Before going to WWE, she wrestled on the independent circuit as Athena for promotions such as Shimmer Women Athletes or, Women Superstars Uncensored.

Early life[edit]

Reese was born in Garland, Texas on August 31, 1988. She attended Lakeview Centennial High School where she played tennis and softball as well as participating in the school's chess club and the mathlete program.[9] During her time in high school, Reese was maliciously bullied by her peers for her interests in video games and wrestling.[9]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career (2007–2015)[edit]

Independent Circuit (2007–2015)[edit]

Reese was first introduced to professional wrestling by her grandfather, and she began training under Skandor Akbar in April 2007.[10] She later trained at Booker T's Pro Wrestling Alliance (now named Reality of Wrestling) based in Houston, Texas, and began wrestling as Trouble in 2007 and later, Athena.[7] Athena also wrestled for various other Texas-based promotions, most notably Anarchy Championship Wrestling (ACW), based in Austin where she won the women's title, ACW American Joshi Championship three times, as well the ACW Television Championship.[7] From 2010 to 2015, she also worked for the all-female promotions Shimmer Women Athletes and Women Superstars Uncensored.[7]

Ring of Honor (2013–2015)[edit]

Between 2013 and 2015, Reese worked for Ring of Honor (ROH) as part of a stable by the name of Team RnB alongside A.C.H.[11] who joined TaDarius Thomas[12] and then the two became a ROH tag team by the name of Adrenaline Rush consisting of A.C.H and TaDarius Thomas only.[13]

Also during this time period in ROH in the ROH Women of Honor division Athena competed in matches against talent such as MsChif, Barbi Hayden, Cherry Bomb, Scarlett Bordeaux and more before silently being departed from ROH in 2015.[14][15][16][17][18]

WWE (2015–2021)[edit]

NXT (2015–2018)[edit]

Reese as the NXT Women's Champion in April 2018

In September 2015 Reese signed a contract with WWE, and was assigned to their developmental territory, NXT.[19] She wrestled as Adrien Reese[20][21][unreliable source?] or Adrienne Reese from October 2015 until June 2016, when her name was changed to Ember Moon.[22][unreliable source][23] After a series of introductory vignettes, Moon made her television debut at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II, defeating Billie Kay.[24] Throughout the following months, Ember Moon went on a winning streak both in tag team[25] and singles matches[26][27][28][29][30] until losing to NXT Women's Champion Asuka at NXT TakeOver: Orlando on April 1.[31] In May Moon sustained a shoulder injury after being thrown out of the ring by Asuka.[32]

After she returned on June,[33] she faced Asuka again for the championship at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, but was once again defeated.[34] In August, Asuka had to vacate the NXT Women's Championship due to an injury.[35] On November 18, Moon won the vacant NXT Women's Championship in a fatal-four-way match, defeating Royce, Nikki Cross, and Kairi Sane.[36] As champion, Moon held the title for 140 days, feuding with Shayna Baszler. At NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, Moon retained her title against her, but lost it at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans.[37]

Main roster (2018–2020)[edit]

Reese first appearance on the main roster happened at 2018 Royal Rumble, where she participated in the first women's Royal Rumble match.[38] After losing the NXT Women's Title, she was promoted to the main roster. At Money in the Bank, she participated in the Money in the Bank ladder match, but failed to win the briefcase. At WWE Evolution she participated in a battle royal and was the last participant eliminated by Nia Jax.

At the 2019 Royal Rumble event, Moon participated in the women's Royal Rumble match, entering at number six and lasting 52 minutes before being eliminated by Alexa Bliss. During the match, she suffered an elbow injury, the recovery from which necessitated surgery, keeping her out of action for a while.[39] She returned at WrestleMania 35 in the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal, from which she was eliminated by Lana.[40] During the 2019 WWE Superstar Shake-up, Moon was moved to the SmackDown brand.[41] In June, she participated in her second Money in the Bank ladder match but was unsuccessful.[42]

Throughout June and July, Moon feuded with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, who bullied her. After losing singles matches to both Deville and Rose on the June 25 and the July 2 episodes of SmackDown, respectively, Moon teamed up with SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley to defeat Rose and Deville on the July 16 episode, ending the feud. After the match, Bayley picked Moon as her challenger for SummerSlam. However, Moon lost the match and started a losing streak, going winless in five straight televised matches.[43] Moon would then suffer an ankle injury, and she was not in either of the draft pools for the 2019 WWE Draft in October. She appeared on the November 19 episode of WWE Backstage as an analyst and stated she would be out of action for an indefinite period of time.[44]

Return to NXT (2020–2021)[edit]

Reese was assigned back to NXT, where she came back with a new character. In September 2020, vignettes advertising a mysterious figure on a motorcycle appeared on NXT on consecutive weeks.[45] At NXT TakeOver 31, the mystery figure took off her helmet and revealed herself to be Moon.[46] She worked as a tag team with Shotzi Blackheart, participating in the first ever women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, where they lost to Dakota Kai and Raquel González in the finals. They won the NXT Women's Tag Team Championship on March 10 when they defeated Kai and González.[47] Despite retaining the titles at NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver against The Way (Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell), they lost it against them on the May 4 episode of NXT in a Street Fight, ending their reign at 55 days. At NXT TakeOver: In Your House, Moon challenged Raquel González for the NXT Women's Championship but was defeated. On November 4, Reese was released from her contract along with various other superstars, ending her six-year tenure with the company.[48]

Return to the independent circuit (2022)[edit]

Reese, now going by her old ring name Athena, would challenge Thunder Rosa for the Warrior Wrestling Women's Championship on February 12.[49] At the event, Rosa retained the title after the two wrestled to a 30-minute draw.

All Elite Wrestling / Return to ROH (2022–present)[edit]

Championship pursuits (2022)[edit]

Athena made her first All Elite Wrestling appearance on May 29, 2022, at Double or Nothing. She appeared at the end of Jade Cargill's match, coming to the aid of Anna Jay and Kris Statlander.[50] On the June 3, 2022 episode of AEW Rampage, Athena wrestled in her debut AEW match against Kiera Hogan, winning via pinfall.[51] On September 4, at All Out, Athena challenged Cargill for the AEW TBS Championship, but was unsuccessful.[52] On September 21, at Grand Slam, Athena challenged the interim AEW Women's World Champion Toni Storm in a four-way match which also involved Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. and Serena Deeb, which ended with Storm retaining the title.[53]

Longest-reigning ROH Women's World Champion (2022–present)[edit]

On the November 18, 2022, episode of Rampage, after pinning Madison Rayne, Athena attacked referee Aubrey Edwards, thus turning heel, only for a returning Mercedes Martinez to make a save.[54][55] Since AEW President Tony Khan also owns Ring of Honor (ROH), Athena faced Martinez at ROH's event Final Battle, which took place on December 10, where she won the ROH Women's World Championship.[56] Athena's first successful title defense was against Vertvixen on the December 19 episode of AEW's Dark: Elevation, where Athena was easily victorious.[57]

On June 25, 2023, at Forbidden Door, Athena competed in the Owen Hart Foundation Women's Tournament, defeating Billie Starkz in the quarterfinals of the tournament.[58] On the July 14 episode of Rampage, Athena lost at the semifinals to Willow Nightingale.[59]

With the relaunch of Honor Club,[60] Athena retained her title in a match against Willow Nightingale on the March 9, 2023, episode of ROH on Honor Club.[61] Athena would solidify herself as a heel by attacking her opponents after defeating them, which would become a recurring theme.[62] After having her sixth successful title defense against Emi Sakura on the March 20 episode of ROH on Honor Club, Athena attacked Sakura until she was saved by Yuka Sakazaki, to whom Athena had lost in a tag team match back in January.[63][64] This led to Athena defending her title against Sakazaki on March 31 at Supercard of Honor, which she did successfully.[65] On July 21, at Death Before Dishonor, Athena successfully defended her title against Nightingale in the main event, where the pair made history by participating in the first women's match to headline a ROH's pay-per-view.[66]

In late 2023, Athena became the mentor of Billie Starkz and Lexy Nair, with Starkz and Nair becoming her 'minions'. On the November 23 episode of ROH Honor Club TV, Athena and Starkz lost to Ronda Rousey and Marina Shafir.[67] On the following episode of ROH Wrestling, Starkz defeated Shafir in a one-on-one match, with Starkz proceeded to attack Shafir after the match. Athena and Nair come out and feigned announcing that Starkz had graduated from 'minion training'. Athena then announced that only Nair was the valedictorian. Starkz then got upset and attacked Athena. Starkz then met Tony Khan backstage and requested a championship match with Athena, which Khan accepted. The match was then made for Final Battle.[68] At the event, Athena defeated Starkz to retain the ROH Women's Championship.[69] On the March 14, 2024 episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Athena issued a title match open challenge at Supercard of Honor after declaring that she needs someone other than the ROH roster to push her to the limit. The open challenge was answered by a debuting Hikaru Shida.[70] At the event on April 5, Athena defeated Shida to retain the title.[71] On April 13 at Battle of the Belts X, Athena successfully defended her title against Red Velvet.[72]

Personal life[edit]

Reese is married to fellow professional wrestler, Matthew Palmer.[73][74][75][76] She is a fan of comic books and the 1960s Batman television series starring Adam West. Reese has cited Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, The Rock, Rikishi, Too Cool, Taka Michinoku, Funaki, Trish Stratus, Lita, Victoria & Beth Phoenix as her influences.[9]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Reese is a former NXT Women's Champion

References[edit]

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