Lost in the shuffle of a terrific card on Saturday night for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II was the stellar debut of new women’s competitor Ember Moon.
As soon as Moon hit her finishing maneuver — a ridiculous top rope stunner — and the fans pulled their collective jaws off the floor. It was clear that the NXT brand had found something special. Moon used the move to finish off Billie Kay in her debut match for the promotion, and put her name squarely in the mix of NXT women’s title contenders.
Ember Moon just made a lot of fans. Amazing finisher. #NXTTakeOverBrooklyn
— WWE on ESPN (@WWEonESPN) August 21, 2016
However, before we look any further down the road for Moon, let’s take a look at where she’s been.
Born in Texas in 1988, Moon made her professional debut in 2007. She was trained by several former professional wrestling stars, most notably Booker T. She began her career in his Houston-based promotion. She began her career under the ring name Trouble, but soon after switched that to Athena.
Moon was able to establish herself by defeating big names such as Rachel Summerlyn, Malia Hosaka, Jessica Havok and Chrisina Von Eerie. Her talent was evident, and that allowed her to be signed by Shimmer, one of the few female-only promotions in the country.
It was there where Moon would make her mark in the business, getting the opportunity to work with names like Tenille (a.k.a. Emma from WWE), Saraya Knight, Mercedes Martinez, Tomoka Nakagawa and Cheerleader Melissa. It seemed only a matter of time before the big leagues came calling for the athletic, energetic Moon, who was still going by the name Athena. Still, she was in her early 20s and needed more seasoning.
A promotion called Women Superstars Uncensored is where she would get it. There, she would show off her complete package.
In addition to defeating recognized female stars such as Leva Bates and Kimber Lee, Athena managed to win the King and Queen of the Ring crown with a male wrestler known as AR Fox.
But her versatility didn’t stop there. In February 2015, Athena competed in and was victorious in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. How many women out there can say they’ve done that?
WWE made the decision to bring Athena in under a developmental contract last September. After less than a year of preparation, she is on center stage in NXT, with a clear path to greatness. But what makes it a clear path?
For starters, the NXT women’s division isn’t loaded with talent at the moment. While the promotion is doing a great job of developing new stars such as Mandy Rose, Daria Berenato, Liv Morgan and Billy Kay, they are far from being in the same league as NXT Women’s Champion Asuka. Moon on the other hand, is not.
She brings a believable combination of skills to be able to defeat the seemingly invincible Asuka. She also has an intriguing character that the crowd should be able to get behind. But the main reason the path to the top is open for Moon is what happened on the most recent edition of Monday Night Raw.
Bayley debuted on Raw, leaving open the No. 1 spot on the NXT women’s division. Asuka will slide into that spot, but she needs a challenger, and if you think that Moon can’t be that challenger after just one match, you’re wrong.
Of course, she’ll need to face more competition to prove she’s worthy of a shot at that title, but that’s nothing more than a formality. Put her in there with any of the other girls, and it will just become more and more clear that she is Asuka’s biggest competition at this point.
It seems WWE has big plans for Moon. She made her debut in a high-profile spot on a WWE Network Special. Moving Bayley up to the main roster shows that the company is confident in the women in NXT, Moon being one of them.
So when Moon steps up to challenge Asuka for the NXT women’s title, probably as soon as the next TakeOver special, don’t be surprised. We should all just be excited for the potential that their future matches have to offer.