Twitter Erupts for Sasha Banks' Debut as Mercedes Moné at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 4, 2023

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 10:  Sasha Banks attends the 2021 ESPY Awards at Rooftop At Pier 17 on July 10, 2021 in New York City.  (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Former WWE Superstar Sasha Banks left the wrestling world buzzing early Wednesday morning when she made her New Japan Pro-Wrestling debut at Wrestle Kingdom 17 under the name Mercedes Moné.

After weeks of rumors and speculation, Moné confronted Kairi after her successful IWGP Women's Championship defense against Tam Nakano at the Tokyo Dome. Moné attacked Kairi and then cut a promo, challenging her to a title match at NJPW Battle in the Valley in San Jose, California, on Feb. 18:

njpwworld @njpwworld

IT'S MERCEDES MONÉ!<a href="https://twitter.com/MercedesVarnado?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mercedesvarnado</a> is in the Tokyo Dome!!!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wk17?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#wk17</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/njpw?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#njpw</a> <a href="https://t.co/PD54lqLr1L">pic.twitter.com/PD54lqLr1L</a>

Mercedes not only had a new name from her time in WWE, but also a new look, as her hair was significantly shorter and featured a cheetah-print pattern:

NJPW Global @njpwglobal

Mercedes Moné is here!<br><br>Welcome to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/njpw?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#njpw</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/MercedesVarnado?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mercedesvarnado</a>!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/njwk17?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#njwk17</a> <a href="https://t.co/MCuWSs99y4">pic.twitter.com/MCuWSs99y4</a>

She also executed what was perhaps her new finishing move on Kairi, potentially retiring the Bank Statement in the process.

Moné has long been one of the most popular stars in wrestling, so it came as little surprise that her fans were out in full force on social media to support her despite the time difference that resulted in Wrestle Kingdom airing in the middle of the night in the United States:

YahsiWretling @YahsiWrestling

🥹 I'm so happy for her 🎉🥹🥹🤍. I'm gonna miss Sasha Banks but we got Mercedes Moné👏🏾 <a href="https://t.co/nceSPdX6DT">pic.twitter.com/nceSPdX6DT</a>

Pulkit ✨ @FerventMaharaja


🌟Kayla🌟 @BlissfulxBoss

Mercedes Mone', I love you 💙🥺 <a href="https://twitter.com/MercedesVarnado?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MercedesVarnado</a> <a href="https://t.co/oXYPGisJ4K">pic.twitter.com/oXYPGisJ4K</a>

Rassling Fan @RasslingFAN

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MercedesMone?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MercedesMone</a> has star power where ever she goes <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wk17?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#wk17</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WRESTLEKINGDOM17?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WRESTLEKINGDOM17</a> <a href="https://t.co/FQMS42WqT6">pic.twitter.com/FQMS42WqT6</a>

Steph De Lander @stephdelander

Also can we talk about Mercedes Moné's banger of a theme song? Sheeeesh 🔥

BXsavageschasn28snz @MikeDesorbo1

Happiness looks good on her 🧡💙 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MercedesMone?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MercedesMone</a> <a href="https://t.co/QHPPH6PcT5">pic.twitter.com/QHPPH6PcT5</a>

Victor Taylor Perry @wallflowerperry

Mercedes Mone. <br>The standard. The conversation. The blueprint. The CEO of the women's division. <br><br>PERIOD. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wk17?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#wk17</a>

quinn @quinnbvk

it's mercedes monè's world and we're all just living in it. <a href="https://t.co/fUYzvo5fxx">pic.twitter.com/fUYzvo5fxx</a>

emiliosparks @emiliosparks

Mercedes Moné debuting at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wk17?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#wk17</a> is a very big deal. The woman is a undeniably a star.

DeonteDDJ (-_•) 🔥ジ🤘🏽🦥 @deonteddj

Mercedes Moné looked so icy in her NJPW debut, ready to have a generational run. <a href="https://t.co/DH5LxQny1i">pic.twitter.com/DH5LxQny1i</a>

During her time in WWE as Sasha Banks, Mercedes enjoyed a special run over the course of a decade.

In addition to revitalizing women's wrestling in WWE as part of the Four Horsewomen with Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, Moné established herself as one of the most decorated female Superstars in WWE history as well.

She held the Raw Women's Championship five times, WWE Women's Tag Team Championships three times and both the SmackDown and NXT Women's Championships one time each.

Mercedes also competed in the first one-on-one women's main event in WrestleMania history when she and Bianca Belair headlined Night 1 of WrestleMania 37 just two years ago.

After essentially doing it all in WWE, Moné apparently felt it was time for a new challenge, and she now has an opportunity to put the NJPW and STARDOM women's division on the map globally, just like she did for WWE.

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