WWE's Ember Moon (Photo courtesy: WWE)

WWE's Ember Moon (Photo courtesy: WWE)

/WWE

After 11 years of performing in a universe where the lines between good and evil can at times cross interchangeably, it shouldn't really be a surprise that a professional wrestler's favorite superhero is actually a villain.

"Black Adam's awesome," said WWE's Ember Moon. "His origin story from DC 52 just had me totally in love."

Moon, real name Adrienne Reese was born and raised in Garland, at times was forced to use her love of comic books - as well as her love for sports entertainment -- as an escape during her childhood.

"I was just bullied really bad in school, and my only escape was to turn on WWE SmackDown or Raw," she said. "Just go into a different world and see all of these larger than life characters defending their ideals. Not afraid to defend themselves and stick up for what they believed in."

Fast forward to 2018 and Moon is now WWE's resident "War Goddess" preparing for her first hometown show at American Airlines Center on Sept. 17. After spending a few years on WWE's developmental show NXT, she received the promotion to the company's flagship show, Monday Night Raw, the night after WrestleMania 34 in April.

WrestleMania dreaming: Why these North Texans become pro wrestlers despite broken bones, little pay

The chance to walk through the curtain in Dallas has been a long time coming.

"I wrestled all around here on the independent circuit. It's really cool to be able to come in and be like -- man, I made it," Moon said of her return to North Texas. "My hometown, my family, my friends, everyone sees all the hard work and dedication I put in, and it's the biggest payoff of just everything so far."

That hard work started at Garland Lakeview Centennial High School where Moon took part in a number of extracurricular activities before graduating in 2006. There was some tennis and softball along with time spent running with the mathletes and chess club -- in her words, anything a person under 5'2" could get their hands on. She also spent time helping other students prepare for college in Lakeview Centennial's AVID program.

But her first real love was soccer.

"Before I got to high school, I played on a competition team for years. That's the only thing I ever really wanted to do until wrestling came into my life," Moon said. "But really, middle school, it was all about soccer for me. It was all about trying to go over to the U.K. and play on a club team there for like Liverpool or Man City."

In 2004, Lakeview Centennial High School junior Adrienne Reese, front, helps fellow AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) classmate Sandra Colunga, back, with a SAT practice test problem during class.

In 2004, Lakeview Centennial High School junior Adrienne Reese, front, helps fellow AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) classmate Sandra Colunga, back, with a SAT practice test problem during class.

Gary Payne.Special Contributor/

But after a semester of playing in college, she took a leap of faith and chose a new path in the spring of 2007.

"I just kind of tried it," Moon said of her first step into training to become a sports entertainer. "I was like, you know what, I better try it because I don't want to live with that 'what if' for the rest of my life. What if I didn't try?"

"I stayed in school for three or four years after that, too. I just couldn't find anything that I wanted to do in college. I changed my major every other week it seemed like. From accounting, to veterinary, to chemistry. I just couldn't find anything that clicked like this did."

The switch in career paths was always in the back of her mind. It was why Moon stuck with so many different sports through school. She wanted to keep her body active. She even became a Lakeview Centennial cheerleader to help overcome her shyness with the added bonus of learning how to perform in front of a live audience.

"It just made me feel happy, and it just was like this is what I'm meant to do for the rest of my life. And I just kind of dropped everything else and put all my marbles into wrestling," she said.

Like any pro wrestler, Moon stepped into the ring for various independent promotions across the country before finally landing with WWE in 2015. Along the way, she met her future husband.

Moon and Matthew Palmer have been together for nearly nine years, and are set to be married this fall.

The fact that Palmer also wrestles for a living is just an added bonus.

"It's awesome to have him as a professional wrestler because we just bounce [ideas] back and forth. He knows the lifestyle. He knows everything that I deal with and he gives me advice. It's nice to come home and have someone that understands everything that I go through -- the good, the bad, the ugly, the awesome, and the perfect," said Moon.

"He's my better half."

While there were only a few opportunities throughout their young careers for the wrestling couple to work together, perhaps their top highlight happened the day they met.

"Her definitive memory of us meeting was when we actually had to do a training drill together, and I drop kicked her in the face," said Palmer. "And then she hated me for a while."

"I thought she was gorgeous and awesome -- and then I drop kicked her in the face. It was the drill. I had to do it."

Their years together in and out of the ring culminated in Austin -- the first city that really "gave both wrestlers a chance" -- at an Inspire Pro Wrestling event in 2017.

While wrestling with a company his significant other did not, under the ruse of a potential advertising sponsorship, Palmer brought Moon to the show and ended up proposing to her in the middle of the ring following a tag team match in which one of his partners -- who never actually got involved in the match -- held on to the engagement ring.

"I wasn't really into the match," Palmer said. "I was more nervous about the proposal and not losing the ring."

Palmer isn't sure if he'll be able to make it to Raw in Dallas, as other work commitments that are all-too-familiar in the life of an independent professional wrestler could get in the way. Moon's parents, however, will be some of the family in the seats at AAC, and they will get the chance to see their daughter perform for the first time since her call up to the main roster.

"They're super excited," said Moon. "There's plenty of people, some friends who I haven't seen in years that are going to be able to see me perform. So, I'm just super happy and super ecstatic about the opportunity."

That is all that sits in front of Moon now that she has firmly set her feet on WWE's longest-running television show -- opportunity.

The opportunity to become a champion, to nerd out backstage with UFC-turned-WWE megastar Ronda Rousey, or to one day headline WrestleMania.

"We all want our name in the history books, and I want to continue to keep writing Ember Moon in those slots anywhere I can," she said.

But for the girl who was once bullied in school, there is still an even higher purpose her career can serve.

"I just want to show people that it's OK to be you. That it's OK to defend everything that you want in life to accomplish your dreams no matter what other people say," Moon said. "That's my main goal."

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