If the 80s was the Golden Age of Wrestling and the late 90s was the Attitude Era, this current era is often being billed as The Reality Era of pro wrestling. Ember Moon talked more about that when she joined Booker T’s podcast.
“Just across the board, whether it’s the independents or on television, pro wrestling is going through a very weird time right now. At first, it was about, hey man, let’s make sure we take care of each other and make it through the next town together, there used to be that. I think pro wrestling is getting to that weird point where that realism, with MMA and UFC, that it is affecting us as well because that is what we do. We trick you into what we do is real. Technically, the contacting is real; I make contact, I get hit. I get bruises, I get hurt, but the only difference is that it is pre-determined,” said Moon.
She then talked about how you can sometimes see it in the ring when a performer isn’t physically all there whether it be from the pounding their bodies take or even from being jet-lagged.
She also brought up how in this current period not everyone on a roster feels as important from top to bottom.
“I think because of this weird time and weird transition because when I grew up everybody had a story, everybody on TV felt important. From beginning to end, built across the board, Attitude Era and post-Attitude Era, Invasion stuff, it was about the storytelling from beginning to end,” said Moon. “Whether it was Crash Holly walking out with the scale, even if it was that, he weighed in and that meant something. Now it’s weird because we only have like four guys on each show that we are constantly building up despite everyone else and again, they will eventually bring in a Humberto Carrillo, and an Andrade, you only see one new person in that little angle and then they disappear for a while.
“It’s one of those things where with the storytelling, with the building, not just the 4-5 people, and that goes for women as well. But building guys like a Drew Gulak or a Akira Tozawa so that when they do face a Roman Reigns or a Bray Wyatt or someone like that it means something when they lose versus them just going on Raw and having a bang out match for no reason. Now, when I turn on the TV if I see a Drew McIntyre versus Cedric Alexander, I don’t believe that Cedric Alexander is going to win. Even though he is a phenomenal athlete and a former Cruiserweight Champion I just don’t believe it because they haven’t done anything to make me care about him. He jumped off the stage once. I just feel like with the roster being so big that maybe we need a rotating roster or something like that because I feel like we have lost that ability to tell a story for the lower card.”
Moon wasn’t included in the WWE Draft and has been out of action due to injury. As a result she’s kind of gotten lost in the shuffle and discussed the frustrations that resulted from that.
“It’s hard. It really is. I feel like there is more and less of an opportunity,” admitted Moon. “I feel like, we as women, and I’m only speaking on the women’s half because that is the only half that I can speak of since I am always in the locker room, it’s weird because we’re in the middle of this revolution and a lot of people thought that it ended at WWE Evolution but we still fight everyday and for everything. It is a weird combination of being frustrated and lost in the shuffle; yeah, do you get jealous? Yes, who doesn’t? Do you get angry? Yes! Of course. Who doesn’t?
“Sometimes you are not happy with the writing. Sometimes you just go out there and think, well, this is putting food on the table and it’s paying the bills. There are days that you have that, I feel like, yeah, it’s frustrating and I’ve been lost in the shuffle. I think the hardest part is walking into a locker room and knowing your worth as a talent and knowing your worth as a performer and an entertainer and then sitting in catering for like two months.”
Moon spent eight years working the indies before joining WWE in 2015. It’s a big change going from small, independent shows to working for a global brand like WWE and she was asked if that change has meant less fun for her as a wrestler.
“Wrestling is the only thing that I have ever done for myself. I played soccer for years but like wrestling was the first thing without parental guidance that I did for myself. It’s very special to me and I never want it to not be fun. Does it get frustrating at times? Of course, naturally. We work for the biggest company in the world and we have the biggest roster in the world now. It’s crazy. I mean, it gets frustrating, but I never lose the love for it, I never do,” stated Moon.
“Sometimes, I sit down and think, why do I do this? This is stupid, but then I sit back and it’s like, you know what, it doesn’t matter how frustrated you get at times because everybody has bad days. But you sit back and it’s like, man, I’ve done so much, half the stuff I don’t remember until someone brings it up, but I’ve done so much so it’s like why wouldn’t I be happy? With the journey and everything I’ve done, but as soon as I get in the ring and that music hits, I just fall in love with it all over again.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Hall of Fame Podcast w/ Booker T with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.