You remind me of the babe. What babe? The babe with the power. What power? Power of voodoo. Who do? You do. Do what? Remind me of the babe. I blame Willow Nighingale for getting Magic Dance stuck in my head every time she comes out, not because it's her music, but because she is known as The Babe with the Power. Willow Nightingale has been a favorite of mine for sometime, and is just generally a wonderful person. Even before her matches start her smile is just infectious and she's a delight. Once the bell rings, out comes an incredibly talented wrestler that has beaten some of the biggest names in wrestling. If you haven't seen her yet, you're absolutely missing out. So today we're looking at Willow Nightingale: her style, her career, and some of her best matches.
Willow is a very talented wrestler both in singles and tag team matches, and like many indie wrestlers, has done a lot of intergender work as well. She does a wonderful blend of high flying and power moves gives her matches a good mix that keeps them from becoming stale. She can win a match with a moonsault or a powerbomb, and that unknown of what Willow we're going to get in any match adds to the appeal. It's hard to talk about Willow without talking Solo Darling: her tag team partner and best friend. Willow has talked about Solo and what it meant to find someone who had been in the industry to help guide her. Darling and Nightingale are known as the Bird and the Bee and even have a podcast together!(along with officer magnum the wrestledog, the goodest of good boys) and their friendship is so apparent. You can tell how close they are, and if you ever listen to Willow you know how friendly she is even in the way she talks. It's crazy, but says a lot about Willow that I went to watch matches trying to decide which ones would make this list, and instead just ended up binging their podcast. Her in ring style sometimes echoes that friendliness, but other times is much more brutal, and makes her character feel more three dimensional.
Willow made her debut in 2015 for New York Wrestling Connection, and over the years she has had some amazing matches there. She faced everyone from Penelope Ford and Veda Scott to Kris Statlander and Deonna Purrazzo. Some wrestlers only stay in their first company for their time training there, but even as Willow showed up in places like Shimmer and Beyond she always had a home in NYWC, with her most recent match there being in 2020. Beginning in 2016 she appeared in Women's Wrestling Revolution where she would have some wonderful matches. This company is owned by Denver Colorado(the person not the place) same as Beyond, and so this opened up lots of visibility for Willow: until injury happened. She messed up her knee to the point it needed surgery, and as happens to every wrestler, she had to step away to heal. When she came back she was able to once again step up her game, continuing to put out better and better matches. Facing names like Ashley Vox, Mercedes Martinez, Karen Q, Terra Calaway and Shotzi Blackheart. In 2018 she teamed up with Solo Darling for the first time. Solo and her immediately became a power team, and in only their second match defeated Indi Hartwell and Tessa Blanchard. In only their fifth match as a team that won the prestigious Tournament for Tomorrow in Women's Wrestling Revolution, before competing in that tournament again in 2021. From that tournament she's gone on to fight in Shimmer, Beyond, Butch vs Gore, and my personal favorite, Camp Leapfrog. Willow has truly been all over the indie circuit, has put on some amazing matches, and here are but a few.
#10: Willow Nightingale vs Holidead
A stand out performance from two of the best women on the indie scene. This match from 2021 was a preshow fight but I'd say was one of the best matches of the night. This match had a pretty quick pace, but never felt rushed. It felt very evenly matched as these two had met before, but were more used to facing each other in tag team competition. Some great counters here, and most of them usually ended in some kind of slam. That refrain of ending sequences with a power move gives the match a flow and feel that each of these women are giving it everything. To use Fire Pro terms, this match skipped light grapples and went right to medium. It's not a hardcore match per say, but a steel chair does get involved, and this match shows that sometimes just one weapon is plenty.
#9: Willow Nightingale vs Penelope Ford
This was Willow's first match in Beyond and what a debut. Most of the crowd had probably seen her at WWR, but if this was their first time, then it's a great introduction. Penelope Ford is sometimes written off as just a manager for the likes of Kip Sabian and Joey Janela but she can hang in a match with the best of them. Her street fight with Taya is still a personal favorite of mine, so seeing her face off with Willow got me incredibly excited. They put together some great chain sequences in this match, showcasing their ability. You can tell how much the crowd absolutely loves this match as Willow once again shows off her rough, hard hitting side. A lot of the matches on this list show off either her more energetic light side, be that by smiling and having a good time and engaging in comedy spots, or by being a high flyer, but this match shows off that Willow doesn't hold back when it's time to fight, and can absolutely beat someone down as well as make them smile.
#8: Willow Nightingale vs Molly McCoy vs Gabby Ortiz vs Corinne Mink vs Adira vs Katred
By far the most fun match on this list. Corrine and Gabby are huge favorites of mine, and this was the first time I got to see Adira and Katred and they seem great! I'm a huge fan of Molly McCoy and getting to see her in this type of match was a treat. One of the best moments on this entire list sees the babyfaces doing the Cha Cha Slide to the heels, stomping on their hands as they do a whole verse of the song. This match is just a great scramble match, as Corinne and Willow put in most of the heavy hitting, with Adira and Gabby especially acting as the spoilers keeping them from getting their win. It's a pure joy to watch as bodies are flying and the action is fast paced. It's hard to keep up with but it's wall to wall energy. Everyone gets a chance to shine in this match, as new combinations are popping up every minute. Willow gets the win with a very innovative and scary looking submission, showing she can truly excel in any environment.
#7: Willow Nightingale vs Su Yung
Su Yung is a scary lady who frightens me and I love watching whenever I can. This is the second time I've gotten to include Yung on a list, and this isn't even her only time in the ring with Willow. This is the best, however, and essential viewing. Su Yung is a really interesting character in that even when she's physically smaller than her opponents, she's still seen as being much stronger because her whole supernatural undead bride deal. So Willow comes into this as the underdog, and spends the first few minutes just getting battered around the ring. In fact, Willow is getting beat up for most of the match. That isn't to say she does nothing here: she hits a great superplex into another suplex, and wins with a beautiful moonsault, but you have Su Yung scrambling up the turnbuckle while being held into a move. Yung just dominates the ring, and Willow fights from underneath here, but ultimately gets the win. Willow works really well as a plucky babyface, and it's hard to imagine a more good vs evil match up than this one.
#6: The Bird and the Bee vs Kris Statlander and Edith Surreal
This is kind of a dream match for me, as until researching this list I didn't know Kris and Edith had ever teamed together, but it works beautifully. Edith surreal(then known as Still Life with Apricots and Pears) is a technical wonder in the ring, and she puts in some great sequences especially with Solo Darling. In fact Solo kind of steals the show, putting on great chain sequences and comedy spots alike. Her spot with Kris where they both refuse to put each other's leg down before their tag partners come in and kick everyone in the head was amazing. Willow hits a roundhouse kick on Kris at one point around Solo's legs who is being held for a tombstone and the ease of which Willow pulled that off was impressive. It's a great match that I never expected but I'm so glad it happened. Sometimes the unexpected teams really put on a great show, and Bird and the Bee always put in great work as this list is showing.
#5: Bird and the Bee vs Nouveau Aesthetic
This match almost got even higher just for Officer Magnum makes an appearance and he truly is the goodest of good boys! All four put in a great performance but Willow's hot tag when she comes in and absolutely wrecks house I admit I was quite happy. This match has a very interesting story as both Blank and Edith Surreal(here still Still Life) wrestle in masks, and use their opponents' hair to their advantage. They're constantly pulling by the hair, which can't be done to them due to the masks. It's a really interesting wrinkle in the match and brings it a unique flair. Willow really acts as the muscle of the match, putting an end to the antics of Nouveau Aesthetic and gets the match back on track after Solo gets tossed around. It's a really fun match and one of my favorites of the pandemic era of indie wrestling.
#4: Willow Nightingale vs Deonna Purrazzo
This is exactly the type of match you'd expect. Counter to counter, backslide to wristlock, to sidesweep, to suplex. It's a wonderful technical match that's short but sweet. This was part of Willow's incredible time as NYWC Starlet Champion, and she was absolutley dominant with that title. I love going back to a indie star's original home promotion when they were the top of that company and treated like a godslayer. Willow puts on a very strong performance, making quick work of Deonna. At one point she dodges, sending Deonna crashing into a ring post, and that is the kind of craftiness you can expect in this match. It's a great example of Willow's ring awareness as she moves around the ring scaling the ropes, hitting a missle drop kick, a splash that ends with her slamming into the mat, it's good stuff. The win finally comes when she hits a picture perfect suplex that Willow bridges into a pin attempt. This is the first time I've gotten a chance to talk about it so let's get to it: Willow's bridge is freaking amazing. She is literally on just the top of her head and her toes as she pins from the suplex, and it is just a feat. It's wonderful to see, and always impresses me.
#3: Willow Nightingale vs Kris Statlander
We had to get a good singles match out of them, and they absolutely delivered here. This particular match was part of a series of five matches for the advantage in a wargames style match called Psycho Circus. It was tied two wins a piece and all came down to this match. It was watching this match I realized just how good Willow's side Russian legsweep was. She hits every move in this match with such intensity, including a nasty looking neckbreaker on her knee, and Death Valley Driver that ends the match. This match brings an intensity that we don't see too often out of non title matches, but the stipulation and stakes give this match that same big fight feel. Kris is no push over in this match either, hitting Willow with the same ferocity that Nightingale dishes out. This match might just doesn't let up, and sees such interesting spots as Willow hitting a sunset flip into the turnbuckle. It's a great watch even without knowing the stakes, but hopefully knowing that background helps you contextualize the energy.
#2:Bird and the Bee vs Twisted Sisters
This match absolutely rules. Having beaten Team Black and Blue(Davienne and Miranda Vionette) and team Adams(Tasha Steelz and Karen Q) the Bird and the Bee entered the finals of the 2018 Tournament for Tomorrow. They faced off with the Twisted Sisters of Holidead and Thunder Rosa who beat Ruthless Ambition(Maria Manic and Penelope Ford) and the Sea Stars(Ashley Vox and Delmi Exo) earlier in the night. This match is everything a tournament final should be, a plucky recently formed team against absolute dominant monster heels with matching facepaint. I love a team with matching facepaint now and forever. These two teams go to war, pushing each other to the limit, bringing out the best in all four women as they try to win and prove they truly represent the tomorrow of wrestling. The best way I can describe this match is as a friecracker. When I saw how little time was left in the show when this match started I was a little dissapointed, but any longer and someone might have just died in this match, or I would have had a breakdown from sheer excitement. Willow puts int tremendous work here, nailing some super kicks and roundhouse kicks that I couldn't have hit even when I was actively in martial arts and in a split machine multiple times a week. As with all great indie matches, there are attacks on a bar counter here, and that's when you know it's gotten serious. Now I haven't talked too much about Solo Darling as this article is about Willow, but it takes two to be a tag team. Solo is a powerhouse, kicking the absolute crap out of everyone. Genuinely a must see match.
#1: Willow Nightingale vs Allie Kat
Wow this match was good. Main eventing the first ever Allie Kat's Real Hot Girl S**t show, this match absolutely deserved it. Beating the person who a show is named for is always a big deal, and for Willow to get the win over Allie Kat says everything you need to know. The match sees some big power moves in what could only be called brutal. This match goes all around the arena they have to work in and gets fairly extreme. At one point Allie Kat hits a piledriver on a bartop, and I mean, ya. Willow is no stranger to rough matches, having faced people like Mercedes Martinez and Chris Dickinson. Add to that Allie Kat has been in no ring deathmatches, and of course this got a little extreme. It's a great hard hitting match that really feels like a crowning moment for Willow. Willow never backs down in this match, and despite all the big matches she's been through, it really feels like this is the best match she's ever had. I was afraid to put this at number one because it's the most recent match on the list, but truly they were able to put on a fire match 17 hours into a 24 hour show, and that deserves so much credit. Willow hits an absolutely beautiful spinebuster that gave me back pain just seeing it. Her clotheslines, her dropkicks, it's all on form as she shows that she belongs not just with an indie darling like Allie Kat, but that she belongs in the main event of any show she graces.
Willow still has hopefully many years ahead of her, and if her next five years in wrestling are as good as her first five, we're in for a real treat!