Mercedes Mone made her NJPW debut at Wrestle Kingdom 17 but that has done little to calm speculation over her future.
During her appearance on January 4th the star laid down a challenge to NJPW Women’s Champion KAIRI. This led to an announcement that the pair will meet at Battle In The Valley on February 18th in San Jose. However, there had also been speculation that the star would be heading to AEW.
Is Mercedes Mone Still Going To AEW?
This speculation centred around Mone being Saraya’s mystery tag team partner when she takes on Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker on the January 11th edition of Dynamite. Prior to the star appearing in Japan it was reported that some in AEW were expecting her to come in and partner Saraya. This was followed by a further report from Steven Muehlhausen that the former Sasha Banks will be appearing on Dynamite.
“Sources: Mercedes Varnado will be Saraya’s partner next week in #AEWDynamite in LA against Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter. Couldn’t announce or make a major hint due to her being still under contract to WWE until the beginning of 2023.”
However, on the January 4th episode of AEW Dynamite Saraya announced that her partner will be Toni Storm. It has also been reported by Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio that Mone will not be involved on the show.
“She is not in Los Angeles. She is not coming to AEW. I don’t think she wants to make that commitment. Because if she goes to AEW it’s a long commitment.”
Bryan Alvarez noted that during the segment announcing Storm, Britt Baker said “I’m the Boss,” seemingly a reference to Mone’s WWE nickname. He added that nobody in AEW has denied that the star will be debuting on January 11th.
Meltzer replied : “I’ve heard denials from AEW people in the match. They knew that it was really screwed. That’s why they had to announce somebody this week because they knew it was really screwed because everybody was thinking that it was her and it wasn’t her.”
Alvarez: “If that’s the case, I’m wondering why the line was in there about ‘I’m the boss.’ Because what it has achieved is now people are still thinking she’s going to be there because of that boss line. So what I thought was, maybe she is going to debut next week but she’s not allowed to wrestle until after the Battle in the Valley, like her first match is gonna be for New Japan…if New Japan signed her they are gonna want her last match. Is it possible that she is coming in but she is not wrestling next week, obviously?”
Meltzer also claimed that WWE are “strongly under the impression” that Mercedes Mone will return to the company.
“I also know from WWE that they are very strongly under the impression that she will not wrestle for AEW…They think that she’s coming back at some point and she’ll get this out of her system [and] she’ll do her New Japan matches. She’s only contracted for a couple of matches…”
Mercedes Mone hasn’t wrestled since competing at a WWE live event on May 15th, 2022. The star and her tag team partner Naomi walked out of a Monday Night Raw taping and out of the company just 24-hours later.
H/t to WrestlingNewsCo