Former NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon has gone into detail about her frustrations with WWE creative, saying there are times “You have to eat the sh*t sandwich”.
Ember Moon – now known as Athena outside of WWE – saw the most success in WWE as part of the NXT roster. She competed on the black and gold brand from 2015 to 2018 and captured the NXT Women’s Championship during this time. Ember Moon was called up to the main WWE roster in 2018 but returned to NXT two years later at TakeOver 31.
In her second NXT run, Ember Moon captured the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship alongside Shotzi Blackheart before being released from her WWE contract in November 2021.
In a new interview with Chris Van Vliet on his Insight podcast, Moon spoke about her experiences with the WWE creative team. She explained how she found out she was losing Shotzi as a tag team partner, with even Triple H seemingly out of the loop as to what was happening.
“Ok, we are going to talk about it. My last 4 months were just one of those moments where it wasn’t fun. It started with Shotzi being gone and Shotzi being drafted. I was sitting at home and I got a phone call. They said ‘Hey, we don’t want you to be upset, but Shotzi just got moved to SmackDown and will be debuting with Tegan Nox as a tag team.’”
“I was just sitting there and was like, I was playing D & D and I got this phone call. I was so happy for her, but then the tag team thing popped up. But we were the tag team, we were doing stuff and we had the merch. We finally got into our groove too, but they were like ‘Don’t worry, we have stuff for you.’ So I’m like ok, cool.”
“I remember going to Hunter, and he was saying ‘I have no clue what is happening, we will figure it out together.’ That was like so much of what I needed at that time. No one really knew what was happening. Bayley had gotten injured and I knew that Shotzi and Tegan were doing try-out dark matches.”
Ember Moon went on to explain that she was told by some writers that they didn’t even know that she had been teaming with Shotzi in NXT despite their title win together.
“But the problem here I had was that some of the newer writers who were from Raw and SmackDown were like ‘We had no idea you and Shotzi were a tag team.’ Just sitting there and a lot of WWE backstage is playing the game. [I said] ‘Well yeah, it’s cool. We were down here in NXT, it’s not like we were front and centre page of WWE.com when we won the titles, but that’s fine!’”
“You have to eat the sh*t sandwich and smile with sh*t in your teeth a lot of times. It’s all about not making waves and being like it’s all ok.”
Eventually, an idea was pitched for Ember Moon to turn heel, which was to begin with star going on a losing streak. However, although she started the storyline, she was pulled from TV soon after.
“Me and Hunter and the head writer, we had come up with the idea of doing a heel turn for me. It’s new, it’s different, and something I haven’t done before. We wanted to do a losing streak, at least that was my thought. There were all these new faces coming through, part of my job in NXT is to help new talent, I get that.”
“I have been doing this for 17 years, I love this business, I don’t mind. So I’m like let me go on this losing streak, get frustrated and let me turn. I remember being told it’s a great idea, we do the first match and I am off TV for 4 weeks. I’m like ok, but they are like ‘It’s ok, we’ve got this.’ Then Hunter disappeared.”
H/T to Inside The Ropes for the above transcription.