Mercedes Mone Announced For Tournament To Crown Inaugural NJPW Strong Women's Champion

After losing her IWGP Women's Championship last week at STARDOM's All-Star Grand Queendom, NJPW's Mercedes Moné's wait for her next chance at championship gold is already over. That's because Sunday, May 21, at the Resurgence event in Long Beach, California, she'll join three other woman in a one-night tournament that will determine the first ever NJPW Strong Women's Champion. Moné will take on CMLL luchadora Stephanie Vaquer in Round 1, while STARDOM's Momo Kohgo battles AEW's Willow Nightingale for a spot in the finals.

In February, Moné became the second IWGP Women's Champion in NJPW history by defeating KAIRI (formerly known as Kairi Sane in WWE) at NJPW Battle in the Valley. It was her first title since leaving WWE, where she attained superstardom (along with numerous championships and accolades) under the name Sasha Banks. While Moné recently re-signed with Bushiroad, owners of both NJPW and STARDOM, recent reports suggest her new contract may only cover the Resurgence show, with Moné becoming a free agent upon its conclusion. Whether Moné ends up winning more NJPW gold could end up being a crucial clue to her wrestling future.

If Moné does end up staying in Japan, where she seems to enjoy living, the presence of Willow Nightingale in the Resurgence tournament also becomes very interesting. The second edition of Forbidden Door, the joint PPV presented by AEW and NJPW, is coming up in June, and Moné and Nightingale both advance to the tournament finals, it would be Moné's first post-WWE match against signed AEW talent.