At NJPW Resurgence, Willow Nightingale shocked the world with her surprise win over Mercedes Mone in the finals of the NJPW Strong Women’s Championship tournament. The win was not without controversy as Mone reportedly broke her ankle during the match, leading to the finish being changed and Nightingale becoming the inaugural champion.
It was an unfortunate turn of events for Mone who has been on a hot streak since returning to pro wrestling action at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 earlier this year. The expectation was that Mone would walk away as the first woman to hold the NJPW Strong Women’s Championship, potentially leading to a big match at AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door 2 later this month.
During the AEW Double or Nothing media call, AEW President Tony Khan told me that he had been in communication with Mone but any plans they had, including a possible bout at Forbidden Door, were kept between them. In an update on AEW’s interest in the former Sasha Banks, Fightful is reporting that AEW has inquired with NJPW about possibly working with Mone but there is no word on if any progress has been made.
Sources from NJPW’s camp say that the conversations regarding Mone started as far back as January of this year when she debuted at Wrestle Kingdom. At that time, the topic of her involvement in Forbidden Door came up but it doesn’t look like she’ll have any involvement with the big show, even if she wants to, due to her injury, which is expected to keep her out of action beyond it.
Before Mone was involuntarily taken out of action, many in AEW believed she would be competing at Forbidden Door 2, possibly against Saraya. The two women have a history together as Mone was involved in the former Paige’s match five years ago where her neck injury took place, resulting in her temporary in-ring retirement before making the leap to AEW.