Willow Nightingale vs. Mercedes Moné Must Main Event Double or Nothing

Since The CEO made her AEW debut, fans speculated that Willow Nightingale would be her first opponent. Now that the Babe with the Power has captured the TBS Championship, Mercedes Moné has threatened to take everything from Nightingale at Double or Nothing. This rivalry definitely deserves top billing at one of AEW's biggest events.
Willow Nightingale CELEBRATES becoming the NEW TBS Champion... Enter MONÉ! | 4/24/24, AEW Dynamite
Willow Nightingale CELEBRATES becoming the NEW TBS Champion... Enter MONÉ! | 4/24/24, AEW Dynamite / All Elite Wrestling

On a summer day in 2023, women's wrestling made another historic stride with the creation of the New Japan STRONG Women's Championship. Because this title was created with the best in mind, the long-standing promotion crafted a one-day tournament to crown the first-ever champion during their pay-per-view Resurgence.

After defeating world-class athletes such as CMLL's Stephanie Vaquer and STARDOM's Momo Kohgo, wrestling and pop culture supernova Mercedes Moné and accomplished wrestling darling Willow Nightingale brought their A-game with each other. Nightingale gained a hard-fought victory and became the inaugural champion, while the self-proclaimed CEO sustained an injury that threatened to end her storied career.

Now, one year after their first meeting, these two women will square off again in the backdrop of AEW's biggest event, Double or Nothing. The stars have aligned as they prepare to fight for glory, revenge and the TBS Championship. With the stakes of this match and the magnitude of history that Willow and Mercedes bring, All Elite Wrestling has an amazing opportunity to propel their women's division forward by giving their bout main-event space in Sin City.

A Reward for Willow Nightingale's Rise to Prominence

Though this match will mark the first time Mercedes Moné has graced the ring in a year, it will also be an important moment for the Babe with the Power. Since Nightingale was signed to All Elite Wrestling, she has been a mainstay in various extreme matches, won last year's Women's Owen Hart Cup, and aligned herself with former TBS Champion Kris Statlander and Stokely Hathaway. Her influence and positivity have reached fans of all walks of life including the famous Wrestling Club in New York City. Her light shone even brighter on the April 24th episode of Dynamite when she stood in the face of Moné and expressed her unapologetic pride in her journey to wrestling and her title win over Julia Hart at AEW Dynasty. In that promo, Nightingale solidified herself as a babyface queen to watch and not just another talent in the shadow of The CEO. She even shined during their contract signing this past Wednesday as she roasted Moné for not being able to walk out of their first match at all.

If she and Mercedes headline Double or Nothing, it would stand as a testament to the growth of Nightingale as the future of women's wrestling. The TBS Champion is not the same woman who faced the Star Wars actress at New Japan's Resurgence last year. Willow is sure of her place as a headliner who has shared space with the best of the best. Another main event spot would add to the rising legacy of the lady who tells us to "Smile Anyway."

Capitalizing on Moné's Star Power

Mercedes Moné is an undeniable star. In the two years since she bet on herself and left WWE, she has proven that she is the center of wrestling conversations worldwide. She remained the talk of the wrestling community during her time at New Japan and STARDOM and seemed destined for more greatness when she stated her intentions to become the first-ever New Japan STRONG Women's Champion. But the injury she sustained in the finals of the tournament against Willow Nightingale derailed those plans. The CEO still stayed on the minds of fans who were eager to see her return to the ring and once she made All Elite Wrestling her home, all eyes were on her!

Mercedes has been at the center of historic moments in women's wrestling for over a decade and AEW has the chance to place her in an important moment in their history. Though their women's division is rich with talent, one of their championship matches has not main-evented a pay-per-view yet. Moné's first match in over a year deserves to be top-billing at the place where AEW had their first-ever Double or Nothing five years ago. That type of history creates headlines, and no one exudes the word "headline" more than arguably the greatest women's wrestler of all time.

Puts AEW's Black Female Athletes in a Position to Succeed Further

One of the most important reasons why Nightingale and Moné should main-event Double or Nothing is what it stands for in terms of representation. When they made it to the finals of the New Japan STRONG Women's Championship tournament last year, it became the second-ever main event featuring two Black female athletes, with the first featuring Mercedes against Bianca Belair at WrestleMania in 2021. All Elite Wrestling has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to their Black women talent. With athletes such as Queen Aminata, Red Velvet, Trish Adora, Kiera Hogan, Leila Grey and Nyla Rose, there is a diverse level of talent and charisma that could be explored a bit more.

Outside of the Ring of Honor Women's World Champion Athena, Moné, and Nightingale, no other Black women have been featured in a prominent storyline and if they are on AEW and ROH programming, they are placed in matches where their opponents use them as stepping stones to get to their larger target or their rivalries are viewed by a limited audience.

The Black women of AEW deserve more visibility and a Black woman-led main event could push that in the right direction. With purposeful and authentic stories and great action involved, there can be multiple stars of the African diaspora in AEW after Willow and Mercedes. Why can't Athena bring her championship challenge to an episode of Rampage or Collision? Why can't Nyla Rose antagonize Toni Storm for the AEW Women's title? That type of authentic storytelling would make Black fans want to engage with the company more and help young Black girls feel seen in a unique world.

Black women in wrestling have proven time and time again that they have the ability to carry stardom. Willow and Mercedes are living proof of that. If these brilliant women are allowed to steal the show in Las Vegas, they would create a moment that would inspire generations of women to follow their dreams to the top. One year ago, they made magic happen in California. AEW should take a gamble and bet on that magic again.