Should you had been like me, and god enable you to if you’re, and also you wanted some type of wrestling cleanse after WWE barfed up WWE things on Saturday, then Mercedes Moné got here to your rescue late within the evening. Mercedes made her return to the ring in NJPW’s Battle In The Valley in San Jose, wrestling Kairi (the previous Kairi Sane in WWE) for the newly-created NJPW Ladies’s championship. And if that is the kind of match that Mercedes had been aching to bust out whereas beneath New York’s supervision, and if that is what she’s going to be offering going ahead and extra, then possibly she ought to have struck out on her personal some time in the past.
There’s all the time been a suspicion, one which clearly Ms. Moné carried herself given her walkout, that her WWE profession by no means fairly mined every thing she was able to. Whether or not it was an absence of dance companions who may stretch her creatively, Vince McMahon’s aversion to the ladies’s division or something totally different from his imaginative and prescient of wrestling, or simply merely the celebs not aligning. Mercedes all the time clearly needed to do lots, thought she may do extra, and solely briefly ever received to flash all that was in her holster.
A few of Moné’s finest work in WWE got here through the pandemic when she carried each the tag titles and finally the SmackDown girls’s title when the corporate was both into experimentation or just not caring and simply let their performers go. She ran an excellent match with Io Shirai and others in NXT, began one more sensible feud with Bayley, truly let Asuka be Asuka, and week-in week-out placed on nice matches. However after all, there have been limits to what anybody may do in empty arenas stuffed with screens.
The final nice second for Sasha Banks got here in her Mania match with Bianca Belair, which unquestionably stole each nights of the occasion. Belair offered sufficient versatility, character, and athleticism to do all of the issues that Banks needed to do, and the produced a basic. And but it was solely 17 minutes.
Everybody is aware of the story from there. Banks was sunk into the ladies’s tag division the place she and Naomi did their finest to enliven a scene that fairly merely WWE didn’t care about, and finally, they walked out due to the dearth of consideration paid to it (and in addition as a result of Ronda Rousey sucks). And all of it left a sense, as nice as Banks was in WWE, that there was a lot left on the desk.
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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.