It’s Friday night, and you know what that means? Park yourselves in front of the TV as it is time for another episode of AEW Rampage. Returning to in-ring competition for the first time since All Out, Jamie Hayter takes on Willow Nightingale.
This isn’t just a match for the sake of having a match. Things came to a head earlier in the week. During the Lumberjack match on Dynamite, Hayter and Willow clashed. Now we have this match.
Willow comes out of the gate strong in the early going. We are treated to what makes Willow such a treasure to watch, as we get to the crux of the match, how will Hayter deal with a bigger opponent? Usually known for her power and strength, Hayter has the challenge of taking on someone who can overpower her.
After attempting to bring the larger Nightingale down with a shoulder tackle, Willow hits a bodyslam into an effortless senton into a running crossbody. Still showing she is all about entertaining the crowd, Willow strikes a double bicep pose for good measure.
Hayter turns things around, hitting a pump-kick after Willow lets showmanship take over, winning the match with an admittedly awesome cartwheel. The match slows down with Hayter in control as they head into a commercial break. Things heat up as Willow hits the pounce, knocking Hayter to the outside. Pulling her back into the ring, Willow hits a death valley driver. But a little outside interference from Britt Baker is all Hayter needs to regain control. In a moment of pure power, Hayter smoothly transitions from a devastating german suplex into a short-arm lariat to get the three count and the victory.
A good competitive match, in which both women walked away looking strong. This could have easily been a quick squash, but, unlike last week, the two women were given time to flesh out a match and a story, and as a result, both got over. As I have mentioned previously, Willow is always a joy to watch, and Hayter continues to look impressive as she gains momentum.
The match was a way of testing Hayter’s popularity. Hayter is a name that has been on everyone’s radar, including mine, for a while. Her popularity has continued to rise as a singles star in the last few months as the seeds of her split from Britt Baker begin to grow. Now in the ring with a fellow fan favorite in Willow Nightingale, Hayter had the crowd on her side. While the match didn’t outright lay the groundwork for a babyface turn, it did a great job at showcasing Hayter and showing why you should love her.
Those are my thoughts, but what do you think? Is Hayter ready to break away from Britt? Do you think she has what it takes for a lengthy babyface run? Let us know what you think. We love hearing from you.