A good half year for… Athena
As you may have seen from our list of wrestlers who we feel have had good half-years, the way they have achieved it has varied from person to person. For Jessicka Havok, it was all about creating a brand for herself and capitalising on that to reach the top of Women Superstars Uncensored. For Sweet Saraya and AJ, it was about having an absorbing character. Tsukasa Fujimoto was about titles, Kellie Skater was about education and applying that knowledge, while Allysin Kay was about seizing the opportunity when it arises, no matter in what way that should manifest. For “The Wrestling Goddess” Athena, 2012 (so far) has been about turning heads and establishing herself as one of the most consistently high-level performers in the United States – which is what she has done with a string of show-stealing appearances throughout a number of promotions.
Even though in her own home promotion Anarchy Championship Wrestling, 2012 started with disappointment – Athena lost the ACW American Joshi Title to Angel Blue in a three way match (which also included Lillie Mae) at Guilty By Association 6 on January 15th – it ended with arguably the biggest female achievement in the company – winning the annual Queen of Queens tournament on June 24th, stopping the show-long rampage of Jessicka Havok. For Athena, this was one step further than 2011, where she lost in the finals to Rachel Summerlyndefeating Su Yung & Christina Von Eerie along the way.
At SHIMMER in March, Athena was one of the undisputed stars of the weekend, going 3-1 across the tapings, using the spectacular O-Face (diving stunner from the top rope) en route to victory each time. Her match with Mercedes Martinez, which was the semi-main of Vol 45, was a superb breakout performance far in excess of their matches on Vols 43 & 44 and was effective in solidifying both Athena’s ascendancy up the card, but in underlining Martinez’ heel persona. Subsequent wins over Sassy Stephie (Vol 47) & Ray (Vol 48) further established that she was deserving of the shove up the card. Her one loss of the weekend (vs Nicole Matthews on Vol 46) was still regarded as one of the best of the tapings – so by the end of the weekend, Athena was probably the babyface with the most momentum in the company – which bodes well going into the tapings this coming October. Indeed, with such a run of high-profile victories, the Garland, TX native could be in line for a main event very soon, and with her being one of the most popular and exciting babyfaces, an encounter with top heel and current titleholder Sweet Saraya could be a very mouth-watering prospect.
Athena returned to WSU this year, rematching with Leva Bates on the Fifth Anniversary iPPV in a really good opening match – and then returning for the double DVD tapings in April. She came close to winning WSU’s J-Cup, losing in the finals to defending J-Cup holder Brittany Savage – but not before having had a show-stealing match with Kimber Lee in the opening round.
The thing about the 23-year old is that there is a sense of anticipation about her matches now – you know you’re going to get something good from her. From her swagger that she demonstrates when she walks to the ring, to her calling her opponents hussies, to her great selling, to her athletic, high-flying prowess, there is something there for everyone. Moreover, after six years in the game, she also knows to ration her aerial moves to make sure they are more impactful. Less experienced wrestlers who have ability to fly would just throw themselves around at any opportunity, with diminishing returns when it comes to fan reactions. However, she knows that by busting them out at the right time, they can cause the maximum effect with the audience, and even teasing them can do enough – watch her go for a handspring elbow only to just stop dead and turn it into a slap across the face for an example of that, as well as showing off the attitude she puts into the character. No doubt, you know you’re in line for an entertaining encounter when you hear Rihanna’s “Rockstar” playing over the PA system.
Going forward, Athena will make her debut for Absolute Intense Wrestling at Girls Night Out 7 on August 4 on the back of fan funding against an as-yet unannounced opponent, but she is likely to be as much of a hit there as she has been on her other travels. The “Wrestling Goddess” is now maturing into and living up to the lofty moniker that she sets for herself, and could be on the verge of reaching that upper echelon of wrestlers where very few reside and even fewer enjoy sustained success.