At NJPW Battle in the Valley, Mercedes Mone returned to the ring for the first time since walking out of WWE back in May 2022.
The star had reportedly reached her breaking point after becoming increasingly dissatisfied with her creative direction and headed for the door alongside tag team partner Naomi. Despite talks with WWE, Mone’s contact with the company eventually ran out and she became a free agent.
This led to an appearance at Wrestle Kingdom 17 where she challenged IWGP Women’s Champion KAIRI to a match at Battle in the Valley. However, her appearances with New Japan Pro-Wrestling haven’t stopped speculation that she could be heading to AEW, or even back to WWE.
Speaking ahead of her match with KAIRI, Mercedes Mone sat down with Alex McCarthy to discuss her future and current NJPW run. When asked about her contractual situation, and whether she could sign with AEW, Mone said that she’s going to go wherever the IWGP Women’s Championship goes, and that means, wherever the money is.
“I’m as free as a bird. I’ve got the choice to decide anything that I want to do. Especially tomorrow when I win the IWGP Women’s Championship, I plan to take that title all over the world, not just New Japan. It’s about to be a global championship. So wherever that championship ends up, whether it be on United States TV, Japan TV, Mexico TV, Germany TV, anywhere all over the world is wherever I choose to make it happen. So whoever has the best bag, whoever writes the best cheque for Mercedes Mone, that’s where I might end up.”
Mercedes Mone Is The New IWGP Women’s Champion
At NJPW Battle in the Valley, Mercedes Mone delivered on her promise and became the IWGP Women’s Champion. Mone and KAIRI battled for over 25 minutes before the debutant got the upper hand. Although KAIRI blocked a huge Frog Splash she was quickly pinned following the Mone Maker.
After the match, the two women embraced in the ring, with the former champion putting the title belt around Mone’s waist.
Mone’s long-time friend Bayley was in attendance for the match, and AEW star CM Punk was also pictured in the stands.
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