Mercedes Mone will defend her IWGP Women’s Championship against Mayu Iwatani this Sunday at Stardom All Star Grand Queendom. The feud between the two women added some last-minute heat this past weekend when Mone, dawning all-black attire and a black wig, launched a sneak attack on Iwatani. The visual of a cackling Mone standing over her opponent has already become a popular gif on social media platforms.
Inside the ring, Mone is telling a story that seems to be gaining attention from the fans. Outside of the ring, speculation among many of those same fans about her NJPW contract status and future in Japan has also been generating buzz. Recently, it was reported that following Mone’s defense against Iwatani, the former WWE star’s NJPW contract will be expiring. Both sides appear to be talking, and one more date, possibly at Dominion, is a part of the discussions.
In a new interview with Sports Illustrated, Mone was asked about the recent reports regarding her NJPW and Stardom contract status.
“The rumors are so far from the truth,” Mone asserted. “If it’s not coming from me or my voice, then how does anyone else know my business? None of it is true unless it is coming from me. It’s just a reminder that I’m a conversation starter.”
As part of The Boss’ uptick in work for NJPW and Stardom has come a change in scenery. Many American stars who have made the leap to Japan wind up staying there for long periods of time. Others do short stints and return to the states, where they usually have a home. How much time Mone is intent on staying in Japan has also been a talking point.
“This is my new home,” she said. “I’m embracing the way of life. I’m riding the train, I’m eating the food. I’m not here for a quick second. I have a kitchen in my apartment, but when I go out, I’m eating yakiniku. It’s this amazing barbecue. I’ve been enjoying everything. The pancakes are amazing, too. This has become my second home. And I’m committed to staying here to make history.”
It doesn’t sound like Mone will be making money outside of Japan anytime soon but perhaps Tony Khan will be able to coax her back to North America for Forbidden Door 2 in Toronto. We can hope!
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