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Mercedes Monè Wins IWGP Women’s Title At NJPW Battle In The Valley

Mercedes Monè is the new IWGP Women’s Champion, and you can bank on that.

New Japan Pro-Wrestling presented Battle in the Valley in San Jose on February 18. The card only featured one women’s match as the former Sasha Banks had her first match since May when she challenged KAIRI for the IWGP Women’s Championship in the semi-main event of the evening.

The anticipated encounter was met with “this is awesome” chants before the bell even rang as Monè dawned gear in tribute to the late Hana Kimura. The pace started on the slower side with holds in the ring until KAIRI sent Monè flying out of the ring with a head scissors takedown. As the bout progressed, Monè leaned into her heel roots and picked the champ apart with various holds.

KAIRI turned the tide with a big double stomp off the top before connecting with the sliding elbow in the corner. Monè came back with a Meteora, but it wasn’t enough. They took turns applying their signature submissions before Monè pulled out a Bayley to Belly for a nearfall.

Monè then dragged the ref in the way of a back fist from the champ, which prompted KAIRI to drag Mercedes out onto the ramp. They spilled to the floor where Monè set up a table. Unfortunately for her, KAIRI countered a suplex and powerbombed The CEO through it. Back inside, Monè blocked the Insane Elbow, then KAIRI blocked the Frog Splash. KAIRI locked in her own cross face, but Monè bit her to break it up.

In the end, Mercedes pulled out the Money Maker for the three-count to seal the deal after approximately 26 minutes. As the new champ celebrated, KAIRI hugged Mercedes and strapped the title around her waist to make it official.

KAIRI became the inaugural champion in November when she defeated Mayu Iwatani in a tournament finals match in the main event of NJPW x Stardom: Historic X-Over. This marked only the second singles match between KAIRI and Monè as they clashed on Raw in July 2020, which was KAIRI’s second to last WWE match. Monè’s NJPW debut marked her first match outside of WWE since August 2012.

What did you think of Mercedes’ return to wrestling? Sound off with your thoughts below!


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