Mercedes Moné wins IWGP Women’s Championship at Battle in the Valley

Image Courtesy: NJPW

Mercedes Moné has won her first match in an NJPW ring, taking the IWGP Women’s Championship from KAIRI.

In the co-main event of NJPW Battle in the Valley in San Jose, California, Moné came to the ring wearing gear inspired by the late Hana Kimura.

It was a physical match that spilled out of the ring in the final stretch, including Moné going through a table.

Back in the ring, after a series of counters, Mercedes was able to hit the “Moné Maker” for the pin after a match that surpassed 25 minutes.

Moné, 31, made her first appearance for New Japan Pro Wrestling during Wrestle Kingdom at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th.

During that appearance, she stated that KAIRI would become the first victim of her “global domination tour’”.

KAIRI defeated Mayu Iwatani to become the inaugural IWGP Women’s Champion at Historic X-Over on November 20th, 2022. She then successfully defended the title against Tam Nakano at Wrestle Kingdom.

Moné, formerly Sasha Banks, meanwhile, was wrestling her first public match since May 2022.

During her 10 years with WWE, Banks (real name Mercedes Varnado) won the Raw Women’s Championship twice, the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships three times and both the SmackDown and NXT Women’s Championships one time each.

About Neal Flanagan 818 Articles
Based in Northern Ireland, Neal Flanagan is a former newspaper journalist and copy editor. In addition to reporting for POST Wrestling, he co-hosts The Wellness Policy podcast with Wai Ting and Jordan Goodman.