Back in April, Nightingale received her first offer from AEW.
Dating back to April of 2021, Willow Nightingale had been wrestling for AEW. Since her first match, she had spots on Dark, Dark: Elevation, Dynamite and Rampage.
In October of this year, following a win over Leila Grey on Rampage, it was revealed that Nightingale is officially a member of All Elite Wrestling as her ‘All Elite’ graphic was put on the big screen.
Nightingale told AEW Unrestricted that she received a bit of pushback on social media because of her reaction. She came off as surprised and she read comments from people who noted that they did not know why she was acting that way because she knew she signed a contract. Nightingale said the emotions just hit her in the moment.
I honestly was not expecting for it to be as emotional as it was [AEW signing being revealed] but I think it was this moment I had where I looked around and the fact that everyone was so excited in the building and it was the same Jacksonville building where I was sitting front row during the pandemic and having those feelings of this is never gonna happen and I was like, well sh*t, here we are, and all these people here are excited for me. It’s not just my own selfish, hell yeah, I did what I set out to do but all of these people are also super stoked to see it happen. So it just kind of hit me in a way I really wasn’t expecting when I was in the ring and I remember I went online after and of course people on Twitter are like, ‘I mean, she’s All Elite obviously. She signed a contract. Why was she acting so surprised? She knows she’s signed.’ I was like, yeah, you’re right… But the way that the emotions hit me, I just really wasn’t expecting that.
In April, Nightingale competed against Red Velvet in a qualifying match for the Owen Hart Foundation tournament. She stated that she received an ‘entry-level’ offer from AEW the day of that show. Nightingale said the day and match went smoothly and she did not get a chance to process it all until she got some alone time.
I guess I can talk about this now. But that day [competing against Red Velvet in Owen Hart Foundation tourney qualifier], it was in Boston. I remember feeling super excited because I wrestle in that area a lot for Beyond Wrestling so even if it’s not technically my hometown, it feels like a hometown crowd and this was right after we did Supercard of Honor so I had just wrestled Mercedes [Martinez] like the weekend before. So at this point, I’m like, all right, I just had this match. They brought me in to wrestle Mercedes for the Interim Ring of Honor Women’s Championship. This seems like a good town for me to wrestle in, I know I’m gonna get a good reaction which I did so that was dope, but, they also offered me my entry-level kind of contract here. So this was kind of like a per-appearance kind of deal. It wasn’t the full-time, I’m a part of the crew-thing. So, I was like, oh wow, this is the thing that I’ve been waiting for. This is the thing where I’m like, okay, I’m on the right track, I’m doing the right thing. I’m a part of the team. So that and I’m on TV the same time, all of this is happening the same day. It’s like a whirlwind of, I can’t believe it. This is real life and I didn’t have a moment to process it until I got back to the hotel that night. So, I was like, K, yeah, sure. I’m gonna wrestle. That’s what you want me to do? Yeah. We’re gonna have a great match but none of it I was even able to appreciate until — I remember I threw all my stuff down, I fell into my bed and I was like, ‘Wow, I did it. This is what we worked for. Now we’re here.’
Over the weekend at Ring of Honor Final Battle, Nightingale competed on the Zero Hour pre-show and scored a win over Trish Adora.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit AEW Unrestricted with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.