The Fallen Goddess’s Potential Next Victims:
In pro wrestling, there’s an old saying. Winning the championship is the easy part. It’s what comes next that’s the hard part.
Now in kayfabe, that of course refers to the champion having to constantly defend their title. Title defenses wear the champion down. The constant grind is a war of attrition on their bodies until they encounter someone who is stronger than them, quicker than them, more skillful than them, or just less beaten down than them. To quote Adam from PartsFunKnown, “Wrestling is a playground that devours its own players.”
In reality, the hard part of being a champion is keeping people enthusiastic about you. Look at Hangman Adam Page, for example. He had an excellent two-year build, won the title in a moment that felt absolutely euphoric, and then…no one cared. And that isn’t Hangman’s fault. He put on great matches and cut great promos. But he wasn’t booked like a great champion.
ROH under Tony Khan has been shaky. Nowhere near as bad as some have made it out to be, but there have been cracks in the surface. Under Athena, the ROH Women’s Championship is at least getting mentioned frequently, usually defended on Dark: Elevation. But if Athena’s reign is going to be remembered well, she needs some strong challengers. Let’s look at the candidates.
Now I’ll admit, I got this idea from an article over at WhatCulture’s Wrestling section, 10 AEW Title Changes that Must Happen in 2023, by Josh Mills. In it, Mills pitches this idea, saying that AEW would be missing out on a potential classic with Deeb vs Athena. Deeb’s “hard-hitting, technical style” would go great against the “uber-stiff” Athena.
Mills has a point. Deeb is, to use a fandom term, a good match factory, and the seen-it-all nature of her character, combined with her rough yet calculating style would be a good fit for the young, aggressive force that is Athena. The match writes itself. Deeb can be cocky at first, trying to go strike for strike with Athena, only to realize that won’t win her the match, and try to weather Athena’s storm and wait for Athena’s rage to leave an opening.
The ROH Women’s Division needs more credible names before it launches as a separate product. And as Mills said, “a whole division could be built around” a force like Athena, and an all-rounder like Deeb. It’s easy money.
The Pink Striker of TJPW, Miyu might just be the perfect Joshi counterpart to Athena.
Known to the world other for her deadly-looking kicks and knees, especially that bone-breaking Skull Kick, Miyu has built her name on being fast, vicious and ruthless, much like the current ROH Women’s Champion in recent times. The reception given to Jamie Hayter versus Hikaru Shida late last year proves that the American audience wants to see more stiff, brutal women’s matches, and few could go toe to toe with Athena as Miyu could.
This isn’t some far-fetched dream match either. Miyu has appeared for a Tony Khan-helmed company before, facing Thunder Rosa in a title match as part of the working relationship between AEW and TJPW. Miyu has proven she can adapt to the American style, and with Khan all but confirming another Forbidden Door happening at some point, this would be an exciting possibility.
‘Cause, she’s siiiiiick!
The wrestler formerly known as Havok has been on the run of her career in Impact ever since her latest trip to the Undead Realm lead to her transformation into Jessicka- a pink-haired, fun-loving member of the Death Dollz, an offshoot of the Decay stable.
Havok has been extremely versatile for most of her career, able to be an excellent base for more high-flying, agile opponents, and a great partner with another hoss wrestler for powerhouse showdowns (such as her match vs Awesome Kong.) Havok is also adept at hardcore matches (that Tombstone onto the thumb tacks, anyone?) and if AEW is looking for that cinematic genre expansion, Jessicka has proven to be just as valuable as anyone else during her adventures with Rosemary.
That’s also not to mention how putting her up against Athena would do wonders for both competitors, giving Havok the exposure of a bigger stage, and Athena would get a giant she could credibly chop down. Athena looks tough now. Imagine how she’d look after slaying a beast like Jessicka.
That Sickishi Driver though. The man himself would be proud.