New details have been revealed on the WWE NXT women’s division meetings that Warrior Wrestling Women’s Champion Athena (fka Ember Moon) called “stupid” in a recent interview.
Athena spoke with Chris Van Vliet to discuss various topics in a new interview this week. At one point she talked about how hurtful her NXT situation was, and how she saw the downfall once WWE Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Development Paul “Triple H” Levesque was gone following his cardiac event. This is where Athena described meetings where she says female talents were told how to dress like NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose.
She said, “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.’ 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 butt-cheek 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.”
Fightful Select has revealed new details on the “stupid meetings about how we’d have to dress sexy” that Moon mentioned. These talent meetings were held back in October of last year.
WWE brought in fashion expert Melanie Pace to conduct the meetings back in October 2021. Pace bills herself as an Orlando-based on-air style expert, a fashion stylist, and a virtual stylist. She also works out of other cities, and serves as a wardrobe stylist, and personal shopper.
Pace took to Instagram and posted a few photos from the WWE Performance Center on October 18 of last year, and captioned it with, “Quick trip back to Orlando! Fashion talks with the best at @wwenxt [heart emoji]”
The meetings were reportedly held under the guise of “fashion consulting” and “fashion aid” as a way to play up the fact that the women on the NXT brand were larger-than-life Superstars. It was noted by one NXT wrestler how this was a stark contrast from before as people on the NXT roster were originally encouraged to wear either just their ring gear, or an available merchandise shirt.
Another talent noted how they were encouraged to dress similarly backstage, and didn’t outright say that “dressing sexier” was spoken aloud, but it was implied.
Several members of the roster expressed displeasure with the meetings, and blamed them on WWE Talent Relations head John Laurinaitis as they started taking place when he regained power. The meetings were seen as one of the big changes following Triple H’s departure when he took time off for his health last fall. While talent put the blame on Laurinaitis, it has not been confirmed that he came up with the meetings.
It looks like the meetings were not mandatory as numerous women reportedly refused to attend. The photo below from Pace shows at least 15 chairs set out for the wrestlers.
Athena was with WWE from September 2015 until her release on November 4 of last year. She had stints on the main roster and in NXT, and left the company as a one-time NXT Women’s Champion, and a one-time NXT Women’s Tag Team Champion.
Athena returned to the ring at Warrior Wrestling #19 on February 12, wrestling a Time Limit Draw to then-Warrior Wrestling Women’s Champion and current AEW Women’s World Champion Thunder Rosa. She also worked Warrior Wrestling #20 on March 12, in a Triple Threat with Rosa and Skye Blue. She took a loss to Mia Yim at the WrestleCon SuperShow, took another loss to Swerve Strickland at TWR Swerve’s House on April 16, and then returned to Warrior Wrestling for their WW 21 event on April 23, defeating Blue and Shazza McKenzie to capture the vacant Warrior Wrestling Women’s Title.
Source: Wrestling Inc.