Daily DDT 2023 Awards: ATHENA is the Women's Wrestler of the Year

Fans were invited to participate for the first time in Daily DDT's annual End of Year Awards and ATHENA picked up the award for Women's Wrestler of the Year.
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I didn't need a fan-voted award to tell me that ATHENA is the 2023 Women's Wrestler of the Year (I'd argue Wrestler of the Year, but I digress). I have watched every single match of ATHENA's title reign and even her matches before that, particularly her match with Jody Threat that kicked this whole thing off in 2022.

As someone who watched ATHENA's work in WWE, I can confidently say that she is on the run of her career. She is better than she has ever been and shows no signs of slowing down. Your #ForeverChampion made ROH her brand. She anchored the women's division while building it up. While people were focusing on Claudio Castagnoli and Eddie Kingston, ATHENA was not so quietly making herself a must-watch attraction.

During her incredible run as champion, ATHENA has had incredible matches with women like Miyu Yamashita, Yuka Sakazaki, Trish Adora, and Emi Sakura. One of her best matches was a Chicago Street Fight against Kiera Hogan.

2023 was full of history-making moments for ATHENA. "The Fallen Goddess" made history by being the first Black woman to main event AEW Dark, Rampage, and ROH television. She also became the first woman to main event consecutive ROH pay-per-views. She and Willow were the first two women and the first two Black women to main event an ROH pay-per-view. In October, she set a record by being the first woman to win 40 consecutive ROH-sanctioned matches.

When she wasn't wrestling, she was often in backstage segments. She was building her story and her character. She would go on to bring Lexy Nair out of her shell. Nair has been integral to ATHENA's storytelling and has moved into being an excellent onscreen partner of Dalton Castle. As Billie Starkz was brought into ROH under the champ's wing, ATHENA became the "Minion Overlord" over her minions, Starkz and Nair. They went through M.I.T. (Minion in Training) where Nair passed with flying colors. Starkz did not (according to ATHENA), which eventually led to a match at Final Battle.

This was the second pay-per-view that ATHENA headlined. The women had an incredible match with the champ retaining. She reconciled with Starkz and "The Family" was whole once again. Starkz now has her sights on becoming the inaugural ROH Women's Television Champion while ATHENA continues her dominant reign as ROH Women's Championship.

ATHENA has made ROH must-see. She is the star. She has brought other women up from Proving Ground matches to title shots. She even called out ROH World Champion, Eddie Kingston and told him to put respect on her and her title reign.

Discrediting ATHENA's title reign because "her matches behind a paywall" is a cop-out and just flat-out wrong. Just because you didn't see her run doesn't mean ATHENA isn't the best women's wrestler today. We've seen it week in and week out. Her greatness is undeniable (it's so great that we decided to stylize her name in all caps like Japanese wrestlers).

It's time to accept ATHENA as your Forever ROH Champion and your Minion Overlord. No one is on her level.