Mercedes Mone Pays Tribute To Hana Kimura During NJPW Battle In The Valley

Mercedes Mone with IWGP Women's Championship

Mercedes Mone picked up her first IWGP Women’s Championship at IWGP Battle In The Valley in San Jose, California on Saturday evening and paid tribute to a late former star in the process

Mercedes Mone pays homage to Hana Kimura

The former Sasha Banks has made quite the impact since her departure from WWE, debuting the Mercedes Mone persona at NJPW/Stardom Wrestle Kingdom 17 at the Tokyo Dome in January.

Her confrontation with IWGP Champion KAIRI set up the bout at IWGP Battle In The Valley and the former 5-time Raw Women’s Champion would use her spectacular entrance to pay homage to the late Stardom Superstar Hana Kimura.

Kimura, who was the winner of the 2019 Stardom 5-Star Grand Prix tournament sadly took her own life in May 2020 following struggles with online bullying.

Mone would make her way to the ring in gear that paid homage to Kimura, with her bright blue outfit, complete with green tail and blue leg warmers a tribute to the former Tokyo Cyber Squad leader.

She would later go on to confirm the tribute on Twitter, with a simple tweet stating “Hana Kimura”, complete with blue heart and a flower emoji in response to a fan video comparing the outfits.

It was Mone’s first match since sensationally quitting WWE following the 13th May 2022 edition of WWE SmackDown, citing creativity differences with the company. At the time she was co-holder of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships with partner Naomi, who also walked out and has still yet to return to action.

Mone recently revealed that she received text messages from two of her mentors, WWE Chief Content Office Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque and William Regal, WWE Vice President, Global Talent Development. Both mean have played key roles in Mone’s career to date.