Ever since Mercedes Mone and Trinity Fatu, formally WWE stars Sasha Banks and Naomi, walked out of Raw, both have found themselves the center of attention for many pro wrestling fans. While Fatu has kept a relatively low profile away from the ring, Mone has reinvented herself in Japan as a star for NJPW and Stardom. Mone is the current IWGP Women’s Champion, a title which she won after dethroning the original champion, and fellow former WWE star, KAIRI.
Mone’s next title defense takes place this Sunday at Stardom’s All-Star Grand Queendom tournament. She will put her championship on the line against Mayu Iwatani, a woman she just left laying with a backstabber this past weekend. As Iwatani celebrated a tag team win in the ring, Mone, disguised in all black, with a black mask and black wig, snuck through the crowd and up behind her impending opponent. Following the attack, she flung off her mask and wig before eliciting a cackling laugh.
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer gave his insight into where things sit contractually between Mone, NJPW, and Stardom heading into this Sunday’s title defense.
“They are in negotiations for one more match,” he revealed. “Her final match of her current contract is the match this coming Sunday at the Okahama Arena against Mayu Iwatani for the IWGP Women’s title. I do not know if the deal is done, it was not done the last I was told but she is in talks for one more date. I don’t know what that date would be. I don’t know if it would be Dominion or what, exactly. So, that’s where her situation is right now.”
If Mone is not able to come to a new deal with NJPW and Stardom, it is possible she returns to a very fertile free agency market. After proving herself outside the boundaries of WWE, it is possible she could make a “never say never” type return that we’ve seen with Cody Rhodes. Over in AEW, Tony Khan is reportedly looking to launch a new Saturday night brand, perhaps with a separate roster from Wednesday night’s Dynamite. With more TV time comes more opportunities, possibly for Mone if she so chooses.
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