Mercedes Mone will step into the ring for the first time in almost a year when she takes on KAIRI at NJPW Battle in the Valley.
The star hasn’t wrestled since teaming with Naomi at a WWE live event on May 15, 2022. Meanwhile, her most recent match on pay-per-view came on the second night of WrestleMania 38 on April 4th.
Mone walked out of the May 16th, 2022, taping for Monday Night Raw alongside Naomi, and the pair haven’t wrestled since. While Naomi’s future remains uncertain, the former Sasha Banks has already begun her new adventure. Mercedes Mone made her NJPW debut at Wrestle Kingdom 17 in January and will now challenge IWGP Women’s Champion KAIRI on February 18th.
Speaking during an appearance on Under The Ring, Mone discussed why she chose to sign with NJPW once she became a free agent.
“This is such a huge honor for me. It made it a really easy decision to go to New Japan to help kickstart this women’s division for this company. With New Japan being the biggest pro wrestling company in Japan, it was just an easy, easy decision to be like, ‘This is the place that I want to be.’ I grew up watching New Japan, I grew up watching Pro-Wrestling NOAH and all these Japanese women’s wrestling [companies] growing up.
So this was such an easy decision. It’s a dream come true for me. I think [NJPW Battle in the Valley] is just going to create so much magic and so much history for women’s wrestling that I just want everyone around the world to be like, ‘This is the company that I want to be in,'”
When asked about competing in STARDOM, which is owned by the same parent company as NJPW, Mone said that she was excited to bring an American audience to the promotion and its stars.
“Oh my god, I see it as one of the greatest potential companies in the world right now. I just keep seeing it growing and growing and getting bigger. I’ve been hearing about STARDOM for years. Just knowing that it’s an all-women’s promotion with the greatest women’s wrestlers all over the world, [moreso] now that you have Mercedes Mone in the game, as well. I think just watching, I’ve been watching it for the past couple of months, really fine-tuning up, ‘Who do I want to face? Who is the best out there?’ They have some of the top wrestlers I have ever seen.
I’m just so excited to introduce the American audience to the style of STARDOM women. I think just giving them the opportunity to show what they can do to a global-scale audience is just going to open up the doors for women’s women’s wrestling all over the world. I think they have the greatest wrestling, so I’m excited to be a part of it and just to expand this broadened audience to something so different that they’ve never seen before.”
Mercedes Mone Releases New Documentary
Ahead of her in-ring return Mercedes Mone has released a short documentary that chronicles the month before she appeared at Wrestle Kingdom 17. During the film, the star revealed that William Regal and Triple H both contacted her before the big night.
H/t to Fightful