Hours after tweeting her round of thank you notes to members of the WWE, Mecedes Varnado debuted her post-Sasha Banks persona as part of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 17 — Mercedes Moné — from the Tokyo Dome.
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 4, 2023
Moné’s music hit shortly after Kairi successfully defended the IWGP Women’s Championship against Tam Nakano with the insane elbow off the top rope. Moné then made her way to the ring and extending a hand for Kairi before pulling her in and dropping the champ. Moné grabbed the mic and introduced herself before challenging Kairi to a title match on February 18 at Battle of the Valley in San Jose.
Moné became a free agent when the calendar turned to 2023, after reportedly attempting to negotiate money in the range of what Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch make. WWE allegedly balked at that price, per the Wrestling Observer, setting up Tuesday night’s events and Moné’s slew of “thank you” notes to the like of WWE, William Regal, Triple H, the WWE Universe, Vince McMahon, and a special one to Sasha Banks.
Moné last appeared in WWE in May 2022, walking out on the company with her then-partner Naomi. While Moné is off enjoying a fresh start elsewhere, Naomi is reportedly “almost certainly be returning to WWE” herself, according to the Wrestling Observer.