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Athena On How Match With Jody Threat Changed Her Trajectory In AEW

Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Athena will challenge Mercedes Martinez this Saturday at Final Battle for the Ring of Honor Women’s World Championship, but did her match with Jody Threat bring us to this point?

Ahead of Ring of Honor Final Battle, Athena sat down with Mike Johnson of PWInsider to discuss a wide variety of subjects. When asked about the online reaction to her hard-hitting match with Jody Threat on AEW Dark: Elevation, Athena admitted she didn’t understand it at first but realized that most fans have never seen her wrestle like that on television before.

“I just didn’t understand it. You know, and I guess because people…this is what I can attest it to. I don’t think anyone on TV has seen me wrestle like that,” Athena said. “For as long as I’ve been on TV wrestling with WWE, with NXT I don’t really think people have seen that full side of me before. Everyone on the independent scene is like, oh, yeah, she’s just doing the old stuff, you know what I mean?

“But like, I just think people were surprised that I had that in me and it was so weird. Being in Canada, I felt like I was at that In Your House pay-per-view where you’re cheering for all the Canadians. And then I was sitting there like, this is weird. You know, like, but it was a familiar feeling because I used to be the bad guy on the indies. I used to be that person that didn’t care and did what I want and I was a hard hitter.

“You know, I got that nickname American Joshi because of my style at the time, and I just don’t think people expected that out of me. Or even thought that I was capable of it. Like for me, it was crazy because like, I think when you’re in that moment, I’m trying to think like where my brain was because almost like kind of laughing because I didn’t…I was told that it like hey, you might get booed.

“They really love this girl. And she was absolutely phenomenal. Absolutely amazing too. But like I just didn’t ever really expect it. I just kind of laughed at myself but I’m like, Okay, I guess this is happening. And I just kind of ran with it and ran with the blows and kept going and doing what I do, you know? It just kind of gave me a flashback to the indies to be honest with you.”

When asked if the online reaction caused a change in her story in All Elite Wrestling, Athena admitted that it did and that she was grateful that Tony Khan trusted her to just lean into it and embrace the situation that they were presented with.

“I remember just kind of seeing this all blow up and I was just like, oh crap,” Athena said. “You know, just like I was like, Well, alright, it’ll go away, and then Day 2 happened and I’m like, eh it’ll go away tomorrow and then Day 3 happened and I was like I don’t think this is going away. And then just seeing like, a lot of the peers that I had comment on it, and like, it was weird because I was perfectly fine.

“She was perfectly fine after the match. You know, like, it was just really weird because nothing really happened at all. Like it was just we went out there. We had a match. And then we came to the back and like getting home and seeing this massive reaction for everything. It was like, Okay, there’s something to this and I remember sitting down with my husband, and he’s like, “You know what we do? We’re pro wrestlers,” you know, and I go “Yeah, you’re right, we’re pro wrestlers.”

“And so it just became the idea of my husband Mike was like, lean into it. Just lean into it. Don’t say anything. Just lean into it, you know? And I’m so happy that Tony trusted that. Trusted that, trusted me to be able to pull that off safely. And continue going with this forward momentum. And that’s been the world of a difference is to have that trust and be like, you know what? Yeah, let’s, let’s do it. Let’s lean into it. Let’s go and like every week it’s gone viral, on some level it’s been talked about, and so like, it’s just the right decision. I guess for me personally, because I prefer being the bad guy. And I think it’s because it’s very familiar to me because I did it for 10 years.

Athena went on to describe that Tony Khan having faith in her to capitalize on this moment meant the world to her, and it feels like she’s currently doing something special in All Elite Wrestling.

It’s weird. It’s very weird, very unexpected,” Athena admitted. “Because I feel like, how do I say this without saying it poorly? You know, like, I kinda was conditioned to tell stories and ask for an inch, don’t ask for a mile and like for me to go and say, Hey, let me do this. I can do this. And to be given that mile, and then inches on top of that, like, it’s so relieving to have that trust put in me and know that like, my boss believes that I can do the right job.

“You know, like it’s not saying that they didn’t on the other side, if that makes sense. But like Tony having faith and capitalizing on this viral moment, that happened on Dark, they got all the ratings for Dark, and then moving forward and making these baby steps more and more and more and more and finally, it led to me doing the match with Madison on Rampage.

“Like, that means the world to me and like, it’s just like, I’m constantly in that mindset now of like, it’s not hurry up and wait. It’s like, what can we do next? What’s the next big thing we can do? And that’s where my brain is. And I know like I have…AEW’s been awesome because there’s a whole team of people that are like, Alright, what’s next? And it’s not just me in the kitchen. It’s like, all the producers, all the coaches, you know, TK has ideas, you know, and now it’s like now it feels like it’s something special and it’s going to be something special.”

READ MORE: Report: AEW Management Approached Athena And Jody Threat After Dark: Elevation Match

What do you make of Athena’s comments? Were you taken aback by her match with Jody Threat on AEW Dark: Elevation? Let us know your thoughts by sounding off in the comments section below.

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