Sasha Banks Debuts At NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 As Mercedes Mone

After weeks of speculation, ex-WWE star Sasha Banks is reborn as Mercedes Mone.

Mercedes Mone

Sasha Banks is now Mercedes Mone - and the former WWE star is in NJPW.

As expected, the multi-time WWE Women's Champion made her hotly-anticipated debut during today's Wrestle Kingdom 17 event, accosting IWGP Women's Champion and former Stamfordian rival KAIRI. This came after KAIRI's quickfire title defence over STARDOM standout Tam Nakano.

The Tokyo Dome's lights cut while KAIRI was celebrating her triumph. A video package and unfamiliar music then hit, leading to the former Sasha Banks' walkout. Introduced as Mercedes Mone - and sporting some impressive new hair colouring - she initially greeted KAIRI with a handshake, then put her down, debuting a new finisher. Seconds later, Mercedes was on the microphone, issuing a challenge for KAIRI's IWGP Women's Championship at NJPW's 18 February event in San Diego, California.


Mone appears to have a new nickname, too, having christened herself 'The CEO' of her new division.

This was Mercedes' first true pro wrestling appearance since she and tag team partner Naomi walked out of a May 2022 WWE Raw taping. The duo were suspended indefinitely and stripped of their Women's Tag Team Championships as a result of this, but while Naomi's contract status remains up in the air, Mone has been free to compete and sign elsewhere since 1 January.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.