Mercedes Mone: I Achieved What I Wanted To Achieve In WWE, Now I Live Out This International Dream

Mercedes Mone became a free agent on January 1, officially ending her time in WWE, where she performed as Sasha Banks.

Mone made her NJPW debut at Wrestle Kingdom 17, confronting and laying out IWGP Women's Champion KAIRI, setting up their match at NJPW Battle in the Valley on February 18.

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Speaking to NJPW, Mercedes discussed her decision to join NJPW and her Wrestle Kingdom 17 debut.

"Personally, I always knew I was going to make an impact here. But it’s cool to see how quick it was, the turnaround to go from another name and character I’ve done for ten years to now be Mercedes Moné, and to see that instantly trend… just people obviously caring and wanting to see my match with KAIRI was cool. For it to sell out with that match being the only thing announced at that time was amazing. I know my fans always love and support me, so I knew it was going to do well, but it was kind of a shock to see how quickly it went that well," she said.

When asked about the thought process to jump from WWE to Japan, Mercedes said, "I’ve been working every single day since I left there. I’ve been making movies, making TV shows, magazines, modelling, I haven’t stopped. But wrestling has always been my number one love, and there was no soul searching involved in coming back to wrestling. I went to Mexico for a month in October and lived there."

She noted that she watched joshi matches on YouTube and then discussed the style of women's wrestling in Japan compared to America.

"Seeing Manami Toyota and Akira Hokuto, Aja Kong, all these hard hitting matches, and it was like ‘wait, there are matches where women are outperforming and having better matches than the men?’ They were hitting just as hard as the men, having these 30 minute long five star matches. I was so amazed by them that Japan became my number one goal even before WWE. So I managed to achieve what I wanted to achieve in WWE, and now I get to live out this international dream," she said. "I’ve been saying ‘Moné makes the world go round’, and I mean that. I’m thrilled to start this in Japan, and with NJPW and STARDOM. STARDOM, to me, has the best women’s wrestlers in the world, and I really want to cement my legacy with my wrestling fans, to cement my name with the greatest of all time. I’m ready to f**king go."

STARDOM and NJPW are both owned by Bushiroad and the two promotions recently came together for Historic X-Over. Otherwise, they largely run as separate promotions with STARDOM being all-female shows.

I’ve only gotten to experience WWE Evolution as an all women’s show. I’ve never been part of an all women promotion like STARDOM is, so that will be a first for me. I’ve always been mixed with the guys and sharing, what, maybe five minutes of a three hour weekly TV show. So I’m really excited to be a part of STARDOM and be a part of all women’s shows. I’m intrigued to see what it’s like and how it all works, but it’s been working for Japan for a very long time, and being involved with all these potential fresh matchups makes me excited about the future," said Mercedes.

Mercedes hasn't wrestled since May 15, 2022 when she competed at a WWE live event. She & Naomi walked out on WWE on May 16 after meeting with Vince McMahon during a WWE Raw taping. They were subsequently suspended by the company and stripped of their WWE Women's Tag Team Titles.

Fans can view the current lineup for NJPW Battle in the Valley by clicking here.

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