Mercedes Mone Called Change In NJPW Title Finish After Suspected Severe Ankle Sprain

A week and a half ago, the tournament final to crown the inaugural NJPW STRONG Women's Champion took a surprising turn when Willow Nightingale defeated Mercedes Mone, the presumed winner, to win the title. It was clear, though, that something had gone wrong, with Mone favoring her ankle in a non-performative way and the finish seemingly being changed without the referee catching on. Now, a new report from Fightful Select not only confirms previous reporting that Mone was scheduled to win, but that Mone herself called an audible when she realized she was injured, despite the fact that "the NJPW STRONG Women's Championship was created with her in mind."

According to the report, the NJPW office is of the understanding that the injury is a "severe sprain without a break," but "those close to Mercedes have said that there's definitely a sprain and the fear of a break." Those sources close to Mone claimed to Fightful that the swelling was too severe to be able to tell if there was a break just yet. It's not clear exactly what was meant by that, as X-rays don't see soft tissue injuries or inflammation, so they wouldn't impede the visibility of a fracture. In the meantime, no prognosis has been given for Mone's injury, and Fightful says they have not heard of any immediate plans for another match involving her.

Mone, who had previously won numerous titles in WWE under the name Sasha Banks, arrived in New Japan Pro-Wrestling at Wrestle Kingdom back in January, an overseas move that came after she and her former tag team partner, Trinity Fatu, walked out of WWE over creative differencesShe won the IWGP Women's Championship from KAIRI in February before losing that title to Mayu Iwatani at Stardom All Star Grand Queendom in April.