All Elite Wrestling‘s Willow Nightingale recently sat down with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard. Nightingale was asked about her NJPW STRONG Women’s Championship win, and what was going through her mind when Mercedes Mone got injured in the bout. Willow prides herself on being a reliable performer, and she explained how she maintained her composure in an unfortunately bittersweet situation.
“I think the worst thing that could happen in a match is you or your opponent get hurt,” Willow Nightingale said. “You could have an absolute stinker of a match and beat yourself up about it, and that’s still not as bad as somebody walking away hurt. Because at the end of the day, we want to win, but not at the cost of somebody’s health.
“So I think it threw me into a very weird moment of like, this is a big opportunity for me. This is a big moment. I’m wrestling one of the biggest names in professional wrestling right now. And obviously, she hurt her ankle. Whether I was directly involved in making that happen,” she explained, “whether I put her foot and calf in my hand and snapped her ankle myself, or I was selling somewhere else in the ring.”
A Bittersweet Moment
Willow says she did have some initial doubts about how it would be perceived, noting there’s some level of panic. She still remained professional in the moment and they collectively found a way to bring things home as safely as possible. Despite all of that, worrying about Mercedes’ condition definitely made it a bittersweet moment.
“Ultimately, the fight went in my favor that night. I walked as a champion, and it was a really great moment for my career. And personally, it was really moving to hear how much the fans were behind me,” Willow stated. “She’s Snoop Dogg’s cousin, and she was in Long Beach, California. And yet people were saying I deserved it at the end of the night like I was not expecting that ovation. But as great as that was, going back through the curtain and worrying about her was something that kind of set me into a spiral. So it’s a bittersweet moment for sure.”
Willow also praised Mercedes Moné for how she handled her injury, as well as how she’s continued to show support for the sport.
“She’s the ultimate professional. The way that I think she handled that, and to see her in the crowd for All In. I know all the interest and eyes that she still has on professional wrestling,” she noted, “being one of the biggest advocates and supporters for her best friend, Trinity. That’s been so great to see her supporting IMPACT. AEW, New Japan, wherever. At the end of the day, we all love professional wrestling. That’s why we do this and to see her still share that love through all of this. I think that’s great.”
You can check out our complete interview with Willow Nightingale in the embedded video below.
What do you make of Willow Nightingale’s comments? Would you like to see another match between her and Mercedes in the future? Let us know your thoughts by sounding off in the comments section below.
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