Mercedes Mone has shared how she felt about her NJPW as well as the reaction of the locker room now that she is part of the company.
The first major wrestling show of 2023 was NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4th. While there were many great matches on the show, one of the most memorable moments happened when Mercedes Mone (formerly known as WWE’s Sasha Banks) made her debut in NJPW as she confronted and dropped the IWGP Women’s Champion KAIRI.
On Saturday, February 18th at the NJPW Battle of the Valley event in San Jose, California, Mercedes Mone will make her NJPW in-ring debut when she challenges KAIRI for the IWGP Women’s Championship. There is a familiarity between them since they worked together in WWE when their names were Sasha Banks and Kairi Sane.
In her first exclusive interview with the NJPW website regarding her debut in the company, Mercedes Mone was asked how she felt about her NJPW debut.
“I’m still trying to recover from it all (laughs). It takes a while to recover after you come back from Japan, an I’m still getting tagged in all these Wrestle Kingdom pictures, still seeing so many people’s reactions about what happened. It was two weeks ago but I’m still taking it in.”
As she continued, Mercedes spoke about how being in the Tokyo Dome with NJPW was a dream of hers while being asked if she had watched her NJPW debut yet.
“No, I still haven’t! I still haven’t had the chance to, but it’s still taking time to feel real, because it’s been such a dream of mine. Not only to perform and wrestle in Japan, but to be in the Tokyo Dome. When I was 12, 13 I used to watch All Japan Women’s wrestling, and I used to see those matches in the Tokyo Dome.”
Mercedes was also asked about how the locker room reaction was to her NJPW debut.
“Meeting the staff and the women at Wrestle Kingdom, there was a lot of respect and acceptance right off the bat. That meant so much to me. I met a few of the STARDOM wrestlers already from coming to Japan and training with them- I always try to hop around a lot of dojos and learn from a lot of people when I’m there.”
“I feel like doing that earns some respect I hope. I can only show the respect that I have for them, and the passion that they have for wrestling is the same that I do. I’m, not nervous, I’m excited to earn more respect from the fans and the other Japanese women. But then, if I don’t get it, hey, I’m the ‘CEO’ not them, so it doesn’t really matter (laughs).”