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Willow Nightingale on Winning The AEW TBS title In front Of Her Family, Defending Against Mercedes Mone

May 15, 2024 | Posted by Joseph Lee
AEW Dynasty Willow Nightingale Image Credit: AEW

In an interview with Bleacher Report, Willow Nightingale spoke about winning the AEW TBS championship at Dynasty, which she did in front of her family. She will defend that title against Mercedes Mone at Double or Nothing later this month. Here are highlights:

On becoming TBS champion at Dynasty: “I had my mother, my father and my little sister there. If there was anyone ever that I could talk to about wrestling, it would be ny dad because nobody else in my family was really a fan. But my dad would watch, and he had his favorites and things he was invested in. When I started wrestling, neither of them were particularly happy. They would always say ‘Who wants their little princess to get beat up?’ But I think they both saw the joy that it brought me and how dedicated I was to wrestling that it really changed their minds on it. I had knee surgery, I had a neck surgery. I was nearly paralyzed in a wrestling ring five years ago and overcame that. And I know personally I had moments where I was like ‘Is this even worth it?’ My mom always says ‘I made you from scratch.’ That’s her thing all the time. ‘I made you from scratch, so to see you get hurt breaks my heart more than you can imagine.’ I don’t have kids, so I can’t imagine, but to show them this is all paying off, to have something physical to show them really means a lot.”

On representation and being a part of that: “It really does mean so much. When I started wrestling, that was not my goal. I don’t think I set out to inspire younger girls or younger Black people. I didn’t see that power within myself. As I did start doing more, I would see people come to me at merchandise tables and be like ‘My daughter feels inspired by your curly hair.’ Something which to me feels very trivial. The reason I started wearing my curly hair when I wrestled is if I ever straightened it and I sweat for 20 minutes, I’m gonna have curly hair anyway. It was like ‘Well, this is who I am. I can’t hide from it. I’m not gonna hide from it. I’m gonna embrace it.’ And that’s when I started having people tell me ‘That matters to this person. To these little eyes, having you be the person who is big and powerful, it shows that physically, you are embodying feminine strength. And you’re big, and you have curly hair, and you’re a little quirky, and you are a woman of color.’ These are things that people resonate with personally. Growing up, I didn’t get to see a lot. So to have such a coveted position on a card like that in such a big role, it shows younger girls, younger people of color, that not only do we deserve a spot on the show, but we can also be the very best thing on the show. Never downplay who you are or downsize who you are because there is so much power and so much you’re worthy of, even if you haven’t tapped into it yet.”

On facing Mercedes Mone: “The way that I could top [the first win] is by walking out the winner and there will be no question in anyone’s mind of if the only way I could beat Mercedes is if she gets injured in the match. There is a little bit of a pro and con to this. Mercedes hasn’t wrestled in a full year. I’ve been able to find my strengths as a performer over the past year, so that’s all on display for her to study and figure out what my strong and weak points could be. Although she has a full catalog of matches for me to watch, I don’t know what she’s been working on while she’s been healing up. I only have the past to go on and I’m confident in what my game plan is going to be, but let’s hope there aren’t too many surprises that I’m unprepared for.”

article topics :

Willow Nightingale, Joseph Lee