Mercedes Moné should have left WWE a long time ago

Mercedes Moné, formerly Sasha Banks, put in a performance in her first game for NJPW.

Mercedes Moné, formerly Sasha Banks, performed in her first game for NJPW.
Photo: NJPW

If you’re like me, and god help if you’re like that, and you need some sort of struggle to clean up afterwards. WWE bans everything WWE on Saturday, then Mercedes Moné comes to your rescue late at night. Mercedes brought her back to the ring in NJPW’s Battle In The Valley in San Jose, wrestling Kairi (Kairi Sane formerly in WWE) for the newly created NJPW Women’s Championship. And if this is the kind of match that Mercedes has been trying to blow up while under New York watch, and if this is something she will deliver in the future and beyond, then maybe she should be on her own. I joined a while ago.

There’s always been a suspicion, one that Moné has clearly carried with her when she went out, that her WWE career has never fully exploited everything she’s capable of. Whether it’s the lack of dance partners that can creatively stretch her, Vince McMahon’s aversion to the women’s department or anything other than his vision of wrestling, or simply the stars are not aligned. Mercedes clearly always wanted to do a lot, thought she could do more, and in a short time was able to unleash all that was in her holster.

Some of Moné’s best work in the WWE came during the pandemic as she carried both titles and ultimately… SmackDown women title when the company is experimenting or simply doesn’t care and let their performers go. She had a great match with Io Shirai and the rest of the NXT, started another vendetta against Bayley, literally let Asuka be Asuka, and week after week had great matches. great. But of course, there are limits to what people can do in empty arenas full of screens.

The last great moment for Sasha Banks was during her Mania match against Bianca Belair, a match that certainly stole both nights of the event. Belair offers enough versatility, personality and sportsmanship to do all the things Banks wanted to do, and create a classic. And it’s only 17 minutes.

Everyone knows it since then. Banks got caught up in the women’s division, where she and Naomi did their best to liven up a scene that WWE simply didn’t care about, and in the end, they walked out because of lack of attention to it (and also because Ronda Rousey sucks). And it all leaves a feeling, as great as when Banks joined WWE, that there’s a lot more left on the table.

And they was right

Saturday night proved anyone who felt that way correct. It’s startling that after nine months out of a ring, Moné could return and in her first match produce a 27-minute banger that somehow blew a Kazuchika Okada-Hiroshi Tanahashi match off the screen (and the latter was very good!). When did Moné ever get 20+ minutes with WWE? Maybe one of the Charlotte matches all the way back in 2016?

Mercedes showed off a wide range of skills and influences against Kairi, whether it was a lucha transition:

Or some Joshi acrobatics, or Mercedes’s flair for putting herself in as much danger as she can:

Or a new finisher that whips all the ass:

It must be said that Kairi is the perfect opponent for Moné, given their chemistry, Kairi’s stiff work now that she’s back in Japan, and her ability to make just about everything look fatal, whether she’s taking it or giving it. We have to hope this is far from the last time these two will dance.

The match touched every nerve of Moné’s storytelling capabilities, as she was able to waver from her cutthroat Boss persona to the everyman hero she is now thanks to standing up for her principles and back again. She even got to hit some historic beats, whether it was using bestie Bayley’s belly-to-Bayley move or paying tribute to Hana Kimura with her gear. Give her time, she’ll put everything into the stew.

What happens now is still something of guesswork. The NJPW women’s division so far has consisted of three matches spread over months. If Moné is going to take the NJPW title with her into Stardom for more matches, that is still a website and portal that isn’t really up to taking on a whole new audience that Moné will provide. There is still no English outlet for Stardom for fans to pick up who’s who and what’s what.

And people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come if this is the quality of match that Mercedes Moné is going to produce with all the shackles off. Now she can do whatever she wants, and that looks to be a very full folder indeed.

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