Willow Nightingale Assesses History With Mercedes Mone, Main-Eventing AEW Dynamite

Ever since Mercedes Mone arrived in AEW, there has been one question on everyone's mind: how does she feel about Willow Nightingale? Nightingale defeated Mone in May 2023 to become the first-ever NJPW STRONG Women's Champion in the match that resulted in Mone breaking her ankle and being sidelined for nearly a year. Since her AEW debut, there has been some tension between the two women and it seems like they aren't on the same page.


During an appearance on "Talk is Jericho," Nightingale explained how she felt going into her initial bout with Mone, revealing that she was extremely nervous. "I really didn't want to mess it up, and at this point, there was questions of like, 'Well she's with New Japan now, but obviously the door is open for her to potentially come to AEW and I'm the first AEW person she's going to work with.' So it felt like it wasn't just Willow I was representing, it was our locker room."

Nightingale revealed that it was Mone's decision for her to win the match as "The CEO" was originally meant to be the one to go over, but her legitimate broken ankle stopped that from happening. She also admitted that, during her post-match promo, all she could think about was how Mone was doing backstage. Fortunately, she got a hold of Mone's manager's phone number so she could send her a care package and let her know that she was thinking of her, which Mone was reportedly very happy about. 


Willow Nightingale Had A Lot Of Pressure On Her Shoulders Main Eventing AEW Dynamite

The "Big Business" edition of "AEW Dynamite," where Mone made her debut, was a huge night in Willow Nightingale's career as she main evented the event against former AEW Women's World Champion Riho. Nightingale explained how much that meant to her as it was the first time she had been put in that position. 


"I've main evented Rampage before which is, again, exciting, but a Dynamite...that's how we started. To be put in that position, with a show that has [Kazuchika] Okada on it, The Young Bucks, it was a stacked show, so I was like, 'Alright, I've really got to deliver today.' It was also my first time working with Riho, so there's also that question in the back of your head of, 'Well are we going to have chemistry? Are we going to be able to put things together smoothly? How's it going to come across?'"

The match ended up going according to plan with Nightingale picking up the win, which also led to Mone coming out afterward to confront her, as well as Julia Hart and Skye Blue who looked primed to attack the former NJPW STRONG Women's Champion after her big win. Nightingale will finally get the chance to get her hands on Hart this Sunday at AEW Dynasty with the TBS Championship on the line. The winner of that match will move on to Double or Nothing on May 26 to face Mone for the title in what looks set to be Mone's in-ring debut for AEW, and her first match since breaking her ankle against Nightingale.


Please credit "Talk is Jericho" when using quotes from this article, and give a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.