At New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Battle in the Valley PPV event in San Jose, CA, Mercedes Mone, formerly known as Sasha Banks in WWE, defeated Kairi to become the new IWGP Women’s Champion.
Mercedes, who paid tribute to the late Hana Kimura with her ring gear, pinned her opponent after hitting her Mone Maker finisher (which she executed perfectly after a slight botch when she debuted last month) in an excellent match that went over 25 minutes.
Monet and Kairi embraced after the bout.
In a post-match interview, Mercedes was asked about a possible return to WWE.
"I guess people like to say ‘never say never.’ You never know in life. I never knew life would take me here. But I always have to follow my heart, so wherever my heart takes me is where I’m going to go.”
A diplomatic response, but we can't see Mone making her way back to WWE - at least not for the foreseeable future. Mercedes isn't actually signed to NJPW exclusively, and could potentially show up in any number of other promotions.
“The thing is, I’m a free agent. I can go anywhere," she added. "I can go to IMPACT, Mexico, Germany, Europe. The potential matchups are endless. I know there is a little woman in IMPACT I would love to face one day, Mickie James! We’ll see what is in the stars.”