Ember Moon: Long journey to a dream
Mysterious, intriguing and ultra talented would be accurate descriptors for NXT’s Ember Moon, who created a well-deserved buzz for her successful debut against Billie Kay at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II. She opens up to WWE.com about joining the NXT Women’s division and the incredibly long road it took to finally make it to WWE.
WWE.COM: First off, happy birthday! Tell us what was it like for you to make your debut inside Barclays Center at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II?
EMBER MOON: Thank you! It was absolutely incredible and surreal. TakeOver: Brooklyn was a justification that everything I went through on the independents wasn’t for nothing. There were fun times and great times, but there were just as many bad ones. I had to fight my way for recognition and respect out there. Now, I’m starting all over again and I’m ready rise to the challenge.
WWE.COM: Although you made your TakeOver debut in Brooklyn, you actually signed with WWE in August 2015. What has it been like to hone your skills at the WWE Performance Center in preparation for your debut?
MOON: I was doing two to three times the amount of training just to burn off extra energy. I would get up at 5 a.m. and do a cardio session before going to the Performance Center. After our normal training session, I’d stay late just to get extra ring training. Then after I’d leave the Performance Center, I’d go back to the gym for another workout. I was determined to prove I belonged here in NXT.
WWE.COM: I understand you had a number of high-profile trainers prior to joining NXT?
MOON: My first trainer was General Skandor Akbar from World Class Championship Wrestling. I started to train with him in April 2007. I trained with Akbar Monday through Friday for about four to five hours each day. I learned the old-school way. I didn’t even touch a ring until a month and a half later, when he felt I earned my way into it. Before that, I would have to run down the side of the freeway in 100-degree weather, hoping that it would be the day I was able to get into the ring.
WWE.COM: How did it feel to finally step into the squared circle?
MOON: When that day finally came, I was ecstatic, but before I could leap for joy, I had to learn to endure the brute force of landing and being thrown around on concrete. Akbar made me appreciate everything I did in the ring. Right before Akbar’s school shut down, I actually ended up getting invited to train with former WWE Superstar Vance Archer. That’s where I learned a lot about power moves and strikes. I only trained with Vance once a week, but I used to go to the ring by myself for extra training two to three times each week. I loved the alone time. That’s when the ring became a home away from home.
WWE.COM: What led you to Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling?
MOON: After training with Vance, I drove five hours for a tryout and made the cuts to be part of Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling promotion in Houston. In addition to being able to work his shows, I received full access to his training facility. Booker was the one who helped me hone in on the high-flying aspect of my move set. Even though I was really comfortable in the ring, Booker gave me the confidence and motivation that I really needed to succeed in the wrestling world. Booker even suggested that I try to broaden my training by traveling around the world.
WWE.COM: And you followed his advice?
MOON: Yes, I traveled and I ended up meeting former WWE Superstars Rodney Mack and Jazz. They were phenomenal people. Jazz mostly taught me to not be afraid to break barriers and be different. After that, I drifted on my own, learning whenever and wherever I could. I traveled across the United States, Canada and Mexico to wrestle.
WWE.COM: What did you do to get yourself on WWE’s radar?
MOON: I would like to think I was on their radar after my first tryout in 2007 at the FCW facility. After getting rejected, they called me in for two more tryouts in 2008 and mid-2009. After the 2009 tryout, I decided that my way into WWE was to make a name for myself on the indies, so I did. Their rejection became my ultimate motivator. I not only wanted to show WWE what they missed out on, but to also prove to them that a woman could do anything. I’ve wrestled in one-night in tournaments, main events, in thumbtacks, in TLC Matches and even competed against men. I had no limits because I wanted to be the best, and that’s what got me here.
WWE.COM: You have a very unique style in the ring. How would you describe it?
MOON: My style is unpredictable! You never know what’s going to happen next, but you could closely associate it with blend of lucha libre and strong style.
WWE.COM: What attracted you to sports-entertainment?
MOON: My grandfather introduced me to wrestling and initially planted the seed that didn’t grow until I was a victim of bullying.
WWE.COM: Before we let you go, what’s on your goal list now that you finally made it to NXT?
MOON: I look forward to raising the bar set by the Four Horsewomen of NXT. They changed the way people view the Women’s division, and I want to continue that. I am not a porcelain princess; I am here to break barriers. I not only want to change women’s wrestling, but I also want to change the industry as a whole. This is the path they choose and the war I will take up arms for. It is a new beginning and I am ready for it.
Follow Ember Moon on Twitter @WWEEmberMoon.