Thunder Rosa Assesses Fan Support In Willow Nightingale & Mercedes Mone's AEW Feud

Mercedes Mone's AEW debut on the "Big Business" episode of "Dynamite" was everything the wrestling world expected it to be in terms of the hometown crowd exploding in support for the former Sasha Banks. Since then, the tides have turned and Thunder Rosa fully expects the crowd to be in support of TBS Champion Willow Nightingale when she defends her title against Mone at AEW Double or Nothing.


"Any time that Willow has either taken the microphone or has gotten in the ring," Rosa said on "Busted Open Radio." "You can see how people just throw themselves [at] her. [Becoming champion] was a natural transition for her. People were asking for it [because] she has worked her a** off in the last year and a half."

Double or Nothing will mark Mone's AEW in-ring debut, and the matchup comes with plenty of history between the two. Mone harbors kayfabe resentment toward the champion, blaming her for the injury she suffered at New Japan Pro-Wrestling Resurgence in May 2023, which took place innocently enough as Mone jumped from the ropes and landed awkwardly on her right ankle. 

The injury caused a change to the match's finish, with Nightingale coming away with the NJPW STRONG Women's Championship. This set the stage for their upcoming return engagement, but Rosa believes the history between the pair could create more pressure for the competitors during their match.


Pressure on both wrestlers to perform

Given their past, it made all the sense in the world for AEW to pair Mercedes Mone and Willow Nightingale together. However, as Mone referred to in a recent promo, shaking off any ring rust along with the fact that this will be her first time wrestling in front of the AEW crowd adds another level of intrigue to the match.


"They have a story," Thunder Rosa explained, "and we know that Mercedes is blaming her for taking her out for a year and change. [In the promo], I feel like she [asked] some very decent questions [about coming back, wondering] if she's gonna be that b****. [That's] a very normal question to ask after you come from a serious injury like she did."

Rosa noted that with two-plus weeks to go, there is still plenty of time to build the match. "I'm pretty sure they're gonna create other stuff [to] make this match matter even more," she opined. "I overheard and read in some places that they might make [it] a main event match [which is understandable because of Mone's credibility] and where she comes from. I think she's paid her dues many different places."


In the end, Rosa sees one factor standing out regarding the match's importance. "I think the most important part for this match, regardless of the buildup, is that there is a lot of pressure for them both to perform," she said. "That means both of them are gonna give their absolute best to tell everybody to shut the f*** up and that they got it. Having pressure and having [all eyes on you is] very, very important."

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.