AEW: Willow Nightingale Signing, WWE Backstage Reaction to CM Punk Buyout, Thunder Rosa Update

Willow Nightingale Signs with AEW

Friday’s AEW Rampage show at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida featured a match between Willow Nightingale and Leila Grey, which was won by Nightingale.

Following the match AEW announcer Tony Schiavone held a post-match interview with Nightingale revealing that she recently was signed to an official deal with the company. Similar to other official signings, Nightingale was given the “#AllElite” graphic as part of the announcement.

WWE Backstage Reaction to CM Punk Potentially Leaving AEW

As noted before, AEW and CM Punk are currently in talks regarding a potential contract buyout which would end Punk’s time in the company. Punk has been suspended from AEW since this past September due to his involvement in a backstage fight incident following AEW’s All Out 2022 event.

Fightful Select reported that their sources within WWE stated that had Vince McMahon still been in charge, they believed he would not bring Punk back to the company following his infamous backstage brawl incident in AEW. Those same sources also stated that Paul “Triple H” Levesque likely would be more open to the idea under the view of “anything with reason” in regards to needing the right situation, right money, and right creative plans.

It was reported that FOX officials had pushed for WWE to bring back Punk prior to his signing with AEW last year.

In regards to Levesque’s stance over the situation, one source spoken to stated “Triple H wants to be a success and make compelling programming more than anything. CM Punk back in WWE is compelling programming, but I can’t see it being a full-time deal like what he has in AEW, because of exactly what happened in AEW. That’s even if he as interest. If he gets a buyout he may not need to work again.”

Thunder Rosa Injury Status Update

As noted before, Thunder Rosa has been out of action for AEW since this past September due to her suffering a spinal-related injury.

A recent episode of the Busted Open Radio podcast featured Rosa as the guest. One of the topics discussed included Rosa providing an update on the status of her back injury and her thoughts about the criticisms she has received from those who believe her injury is not real or as serious as been told.

“Toni Storm had something to say about Thunder Rosa and the interim championship. I really wanted to address this because it has come to my attention, not necessarily from the people at the place where I work, but some veterans have informed me that there is a widespread of lies going on in different parts and I’m part of these rumors. When I read this comment about the interim championship, it came to me as no surprise. I have not been on national TV for the last two months and my name keeps being mentioned for good or for bad. The first month and a half was a lot of the former. A lot of controversy around Thunder Rosa and what Thunder Rosa was or was not doing, first with people diminishing my line of work. It is interesting because as a Latina, and for a long time I tried to stay away from it, but it is time for me to say something about my work. As a Latina, it is very hard to make a name for yourself. I am not a second-generation wrestler. I am self-made, and I had the great chance to work in many companies and they believe in my work. Sometimes, it just takes one privileged person or someone with clout to like a tweet and destroy everything you have done. It influences how fans see and perceive you as a wrestler. A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how one of my co-workers had to come out and do a live feed. If you don’t hear it from me, just don’t say anything. If you’re in the back and you’re in distress about me being the champion or being called the champion, I don’t call the shots. I have a boss and there is a booker in our office that make the decisions. If you’re distraught about what is being booked, maybe you should talk to the booker and keep my name out of your mouth.

It’s really hard when people are approaching you and are still asking me if I’m faking an injury. These rumors were started by one or two people and they spread. I don’t feel like any other wrestler has gone through this. When someone gets hurt, ‘Oh, they’re hurt.’ When it was me, it was immediate. It was a flood of disgusting things that were not true that came out. I’m sick of it. It’s hard for me to manage some of this stuff, but I have to face it. I am hurt. If you have something to ask, go watch my YouTube videos. I’ve posted every time I’m in a doctor’s office showing and explaining what’s going on with me. In another week or two, I’m getting another epidural so I can go back to training because I want to get back in the ring. I want to show you when they put the needle in my back so they can shut the fuck up in saying that I’m not hurt. That hurts.

I’m trying to mentally get prepared to get back in the ring and get back to do what I love the most, which is pro wrestling, but there are certain people who can’t keep my name out of their mouth. Am I that important in their lives to where they create more and more rumors about what I’m doing or not doing? Enough is enough. I want to get better mentally, psychically, and spiritually. When people have nothing better to do but to create rumors, instead of texting me directly, because y’all have my number, it creates a lot of problems in my career too. My family is worried, they get harassed. It’s tough. Just keep my name out of your mouth and shut up. If you have a problem, you know I’m transparent. One thing I want to mention, I will never forget that I time I was trying to raise money for Uvalde families and I don’t know who made the decision to talk to the dirt sheets and talk shit about me and unfortunately, we were not able to raise money like we tried to. We only raised $5,000, which is nothing. They took away the goodness of what we were trying to do for other purposes. What are the purposes to try and destroy someone’s status when they are just trying to feed their family?”

Rosa also gave a potential timetable for her return to in-ring action.

“I am still hurt, they haven’t given me a time of when I’m coming back, I’m saying it’s January and I hope it is January. If Toni Storm disagrees with what was decided in the back, that’s not my problem. When I get better, because I will still be the champion if my boss lets me be the champion, and if he doesn’t, I will be okay with that too. I don’t make the rules. That needs to be said. I feel your pain Toni. I know you’re doing the work every week, but I’m doing the same work. I’m trying to get better and get back in the ring to defend this championship. In the meantime, get some wins under your belt so you can talk shit about Thunder Rosa. That goes for anyone in the back because I am still champion. Have some respect. I never disrespected anyone in the company. I had so many opportunities because I work for Busted Open Radio and if I want, I could trash anyone, but what is the point?”

In an interesting note, Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources within AEW stated that a lot of extras who had been brought to shows and were close to Rosa have not been brought back or booked for shows of late. Meltzer reported that KiLynn King, Madi Wrenkowski, and Jazmin Allure were among those who had been close to Rosa in the company.

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