Mercedes Mone Took Month-Long Sabbitical To Train In Mexico Before NJPW Debut

Mercedes Mone fka Sasha Banks in NJPW

At Wrestle Kingdom 17, Mercedes Moné made her highly anticipated NJPW debut. The artist formerly known as Sasha Banks made her entrance after the IWGP Women’s Championship match.

The title bout saw inaugural champion, KAIRI successfully defend against challenger Tam Nakano. Moné interrupted KAIRI’s celebrations before dropping her with a Gory Bomb-DDT and laying down her challenge for the title at Battle of the Valley.

Mercedes Moné Will Face KAIRI For The IWGP Women’s Championship

Moné’s move to NJPW has paid dividends for the promotion. Shortly after they announced the title match the company officially revealed the event was sold out. The title match will be her first match since a WWE live event on May 15th, 2022 before she sensationally walked out of the company.

In the lead-up to the show, NJPW conducted an interview with their latest superstar signing and spoke all about her debut and it was like taking the jump to Japan after WWE.

In her answer, Moné revealed that while she was busy filming movies, TV shows and modelling, she spent a month in Mexico learning new styles from new teachers.

“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.

I went to all different wrestling schools to learn from trainers that I had grown up watching; from Skayde to Ricky Marvin to Bandido, there are so many legends there to learn from. To train at that altitude as well, it gets you ready from a conditioning perspective so much faster as well. But yeah, I was ready in October, and I knew coming to Japan was exactly what I wanted.

I was shooting a movie in between training in Mexico then, but I knew I was going to Japan to train in December whether it was doing something with New Japan or not. When it all came together with NJPW though for Wrestle Kingdom it was ‘wow, OK, this is really happening’. This has been a dream literally since I was a teenager.

NJPW Battle of the Valley takes place on Saturday, February 18th at the San Jose Civic. The event also features Jay White vs Eddie Kingston, Tom Lawlor vs Homicide and the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship will be on the line.