Mercedes Mone Pays Homage To Hana Kimura At NJPW Battle In The Valley

It was an emotional Saturday night in San Jose, California, on February 18 as Mercedes Moné won her first title outside of WWE, paying homage to a fallen Joshi star along the way.

Before she formally stepped into the ring with reigning IWGP Women's Champion KAIRI, Moné emerged on the NJPW Battle in the Valley stage sporting a very familiar ensemble. As dancers moved aside to clear a path for "The CEO," she appeared from behind the curtain, revealing a new, colorful attire lying beneath her crystalized black jacket. As a tribute to the late Hana Kimura, Moné donned bright blue gear, accompanied by a green tail cape, gas mask, and blue-furred leg warmers — staple pieces of the former Artist of STARDOM Champion's look.


As an added bonus, Moné included accents of pink in her hair and gear, a color often associated with Kimura, as her first name translated to "flower" in Japanese. After her performance at Battle in the Valley, Moné confirmed the tribute to the former Tokyo Cyber Squad leader, tweeting, "Hana Kimura," followed by a blue heart and flower emojis.

Prior to her untimely passing at the age of 22 in May 2020, Kimura worked her way up the ranks of STARDOM, winning the company's prestigious 2019 5-Star Grand Prix tournament and Fighting Spirit Award in the same year, in addition to multiple championships. Her final match came on March 24, as she forced a draw against Mayu Iwatani in the first round of the 2020 Cinderella Tournament.