Willow Nightingale had a very successful year in 2021, and she has maintained its momentum into 2022 so far.
Last summer’s ROH Women’s Title Tournament drew additional attention to the unsigned independent talent. Willow has debuted with AEW numerous times after ROH’s hiatus in late 2021. Tony Khan currently owns both companies. On April 1, Nightingale wrestled in a title match at ROH’s Supercard of Honor event. She lost to Mercedes Martinez for the Interim ROH Women’s Championship.
Willow discusses her return to ROH with Denise Salcedo of Instinct Culture.
“It was wild. From the time I started, Ring of Honor was a goal. I had been a fan from the time I started training. Women I admired and appreciate have wrestled here. Sara Del Ray and Daizee Haze really set the groundwork for the honor in women’s wrestling. honoring my craft is something that had been in my head for a long time. When I finally had the opportunity to work for Ring of Honor and Maria Kanellis, it was a dream come true.
She really took charge of making sure the women were taken care of and we were being given the time to tell our stories and show the hard work we had been putting in and have the spotlight on us. When things switched over, I was like, ‘I don’t know what’s next,’ just like everyone at home. I was sitting at the table with my boyfriend watching TV when Tony Khan announced he now owns the Ring of Honor. ‘I don’t know what this means for me.’ I was waiting to see what was next.’”
She added, “A couple of weeks ahead of Supercard of Honor, he reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to do the show. ‘Obviously, yes, please, thank you. Let’s figure this out.’ When I found out I was wrestling Mercedes, I was like, ‘this could be a career-making match.’ That’s a spotlight elevated from what I was doing before. Now, I’m wrestling Mercedes, who in my mind is a big role model.
There are things I’m really happy with, there are things I wish I had gone over a little differently, which is how I feel about every match, honestly. In the end of it, I was happy with it. Even being in the ring with Mercedes, is like learning through osmosis.”
For the Owen Hart Cup, Nightingale battled Red Velvet on last week’s AEW Rampage. Red Velvet advances to the competition despite her best efforts. Both AEW and ROH look to be viable options for her long-term wrestling future.
“It’s looking positive. I don’t have anything solid that I can tell anyone, but things are looking good. I’ve wrestled there and had nine matches and there were definitely moments on that journey where I was like, ‘what is going on?’ Moments of frustration, but especially the last couple of weeks, I’ve been re-affirmed, ‘trust the process, keep going.’ Stay on this journey folks.”
Could we see more of her in either promotion as she continues to grow?