Mercedes Mone has only held the IWGP Women’s World Championship for a matter of days but now she already has her first challenger for the gold.
Before Battle In The Valley Mone had not competed in a bout since May 2022, the same month that she and her fellow WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Naomi walked out of WWE. The former Sasha Banks gave an insight into what her NJPW odyssey meant to her and emotionally revealed that she had received messages of support from Triple H and William Regal before her debut bout.
Mone’s former Boss ‘N’ Hug partner Bayley was in attendance at the event to support her friend as was AEW star CM Punk and Mone did not let them down.
Wearing gear inspired by the late Hana Kimura, Mercedes Mone broke out a belly-to-belly suplex to honor Bayley before later nailing KAIRI with the Mone Maker to pick up the win and with it, the title.
During a STARDOM press conference, current High Speed Champion AZM issued a challenge to Mercedes Mone for her title with Mone responding to the 20-year-old star on social media indicating that a showdown between the two could be on its way.
— Mercedes Moné Varnado (@MercedesVarnado) February 20, 2023
Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer indicated when a match between the two women could take place:
“Azumi (AZM) was at a press conference and challenged Mercedes, so I think that’s going to be the April 8 (Sakura Genesis) match at Sumo Hall, which would be her first match in Japan.
“I know they had talked about KAIRI getting a rematch but Azumi is a different match. In that sense, Azumi is a really fast, great, technical, athletic wrestler.
“I really enjoy watching Azumi, as far as her matches, they are really good.”