The strongest and most consistent world champion in wrestling today, regardless of gender, is a Black woman named Athena.
Read that again.
Since December 10, 2022 (or October 12, 2022, if you count the infamous Dark Elevation match vs. Jody Threat), Athena has been on a streak of dominance that professional wrestling hasn’t seen before. As the ROH Womens World Champion, Athena runs a tight ship over the ROH women’s division. She’s mean, she’s brutal, she’s the definition of what it means to be a heel, and she’s doing it all by herself. Athena has no manager or faction and yet, she welcomes all challengers and revels in violence.
Although she is a heel, Athena is far from cowardly and has wrestled almost every week since ROH relaunched on HonorClub. She’s been a fighting champion who decisively defeats her opponents and after her matches, she likes to toy with her fallen challengers, often sending them face-first into her shiny ROH Women’s World title belt. She talks the talk and walks the walk, making her the most dangerous “bad guy” in professional wrestling today. In the build to Supercard of Honor 2023, ROH commentator Ian Riccaboni remarked that Athena brings “a Jon Moxley-level, Jay Briscoe-level of violence to the history of the women’s division in Ring of Honor.”
Aside from her antics, Athena has put on some of the best women’s matches of 2023, including a match that is arguably the best match (so far) of the ROH Revival on HonorClub when she successfully defended her title against Willow Nightingale in the second episode of ROH on HonorClub TV. The self-proclaimed “Joshi Killer” has taken on some of the most decorated active Joshi wrestlers in the world today in thrilling matches, including Yuka Sakazaki, Miyu Yamashita, and Emi Sakura.
In addition to wins over decorated Joshi wrestlers, Athena has had compelling matches and rivalries with familiar AEW faces like Willow Nightingale, Skye Blue, and Kiera Hogan. During her reign, Athena has main evented Ring of Honor programming on several occasions. Since February, two of those main events have featured two Black women competing for the ROH Women’s World Championship, one being Athena vs. Nightingale and the other being Athena vs. Hogan.
After leaving WWE and “Ember Moon” behind, Athena originally struggled to find her way in AEW but in Ring of Honor, she’s found her sweet spot as a performer. Although she has the ability to be the gutsy high flyer that she was portrayed to be in WWE, the Fallen Goddess is truly a bruiser and a brawler that can go strike for strike with the best in the business. She is a creative spirit at her core, often designing parts of her gear, choosing unique makeup looks, and finding devastating new ways to utilize steel steps in her matches. The creativity has also surfaced in her feuds as she antagonizes backstage correspondents and most recently, performs hilarious impersonations of her newest rival, Kiera Hogan.
The ROH Women’s World Champion has quickly cemented herself as the Ace of the revived ROH brand and she’s showing no signs of letting up anytime soon. The name Athena is derived from the Greek Goddess of Wisdom & War and make no mistake, this Dallas native and “Forever ROH Champ” embodies both of those words perfectly. As someone who was in the building when she won her title, I have a hard time imagining her ever losing it. 2023 has been Athena’s banner year, setting the bar high for women’s wrestling. Scarily enough, she’s only just getting started.