Mercedes Mone Wins First Title Outside WWE

Mercedes Mone captured gold for the first time in her post-WWE career Saturday night, defeating KAIRI for the IWGP Women's Championship at NJPW Battle in the Valley in San Jose, California. 

In what was her first match since her infamous WWE walkout last May, Mone went back-and-forth with KAIRI for over 26 minutes before putting away the reigning champion. The physical bout spilled out of the ring and included a spot that saw Mone going through a table. Another highlight included KAIRI jumping off the stage with hopes of pulling off her signature aerial assault, only for Mone to deliver a devastating counter. Back in the ring, KAIRI nearly had the match won on a few occasions, but a resilient Mone kept responding with a series of counters. 


Eventually, Mone delivered a Mone Maker to secure the pinfall victory. After the match, the two women hugged it out, as an emotional KAIRI struggled to hold back her tears.

Later in the night, after IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada retained his title against Hiroshi Tanahashi in the co-main event, NJPW created a special moment as Mone and Okada celebrated together in the ring. NJPW's announcers referred to them as "the ultimate dream team" as the show went off the air. 


Mone, in the middle of her self-professed "world domination tour," is now expected to head to STARDOM to wrestle the likes of AZM and Miyu Yamashita, two women she called out during her inaugural NJPW presser. However, there's a lot of uncertainty over Mone's immediate future, with Dave Meltzer reporting that Mone has "only has a few dates with New Japan and Stardom" and that she signed with the Japanese promotions "for the experience." As such, Meltzer speculated about Mone joining AEW or returning to WWE at some point in the future.