Time for the latest dirt on Mercedes Mone (aka former WWE Superstar Sasha Banks). If you've been keeping up with the rumors of where Mercedes will wrestle next, you know the stories have her working everywhere with the possible exception of WCW.
At one point, it looked like Mercedes was a lock to work in AEW. Mercedes appeared in the crowd at AEW's Wembley Stadium show, All In, leading to talk she would work for the company once her ankle injury had healed.
Things went silent until rumors began circulating that Mone was close to returning to the WWE. However, rumor has it that the negotiations fell apart due to both sides being far apart on compensation.
Skeptical fans wondered whether this might be a smokescreen for hiding Mercedes' return and knowing how the industry likes to keep fans guessing, who can blame these skeptical fans?
Now, it appears that the Mercedes Mone negotiations have shifted back to her working in AEW. Let's look at the latest dirt on Mone heading to AEW.
Dave Meltzer recently reported about the likelihood of Mone debuting in AEW:
The other rumor was that Mercedes Mone would be starting with AEW shortly. The only thing we heard is that she was in talks with WWE and they were far apart on money. Some in WWE speculated that this could be a Punk situation where everyone denies it to lead to a Rumble surprise. Mone was talked about by others in WWE as Khan’s counter punch for losing Andrade. Khan did say he would be very active in the free agent market in 2024.
If Khan thinks he needs to "counter punch" Andrade's exit, that's not a good sign for how AEW is operating its creative department. Andrade's booking was weak in AEW and it's easy to understand why he felt he wasn't going anywhere in the company. Certainly, he's not the first wrestler in AEW to be underutilized but he's an example of a top star being sidelined for much of his run in the company.
Meltzer seems to be taking a wait-and-see attitude with Mone appearing in AEW:
Right now I wouldn’t take anything regarding her as definitive until she signs a deal. WWE and AEW have clearly both been talking with her. Obviously this has gone on with AEW for months if not a year and she’s never signed yet. There was a lot of talk within wrestling of her on this week’s Dynamite which she wasn’t on. My gut is that if she is to debut, while they may not mention her name, and probably wouldn’t, but they would hint of a major debut or make a special announcement that something big will be on the show ahead of time. We do know that the expectation is she will be in AEW fairly soon, but until a contract signing is confirmed, anything can happen.
8 January 2024 Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Is Mercedes Mone playing both sides against each other in an effort to get the most money possible? The answer is an obvious yes and who can blame her? Wrestling (especially in the WWE) is enjoying such a surge in popularity that it's understandable she wants to capitalize on her free agency status. While she has to be careful not to price herself too high, the demand for the Mercedes Mone brand makes it likely she'll eventually find work in a promotion willing to pay her a tidy sum.
One of the interesting questions in this equation is how what type of commitment a promotion will expect from Mone if they sign her to a big-money contract. You may recall Mercedes did not want to be signed to a long-term contract. At least, when rumors first surfaced of Mercedes working for AEW. It's difficult to imagine either the WWE or AEW paying her a substantial sum without Mone signing at least a two-year deal. It's also unlikely the WWE would allow her to work outside dates if she signs with them.
If Mercedes does sign with AEW, will the promotion keep it a secret? Dave Meltzer discussed this on a recent Wrestling Observer Radio:
On last night’s show there were no teases for Mercedes Mone or for her appearing Wednesday in Jacksonville. What I know is that AEW does expect her to start on TV soon, but as noted, until it happens and the contract itself is signed, I wouldn’t consider anything 100 percent. One would think there would be some sort of a tease of a surprise if she was to appear, since that’s been the case with most major signings. But Sting’s original debut in Jacksonville came out of nowhere.
H/T Ringside News
WrestleLamia always recommends fans take a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to wrestlers jumping to another promotion. This applies even more to Mone as she appears to be a shrewd negotiator and knows her value.
Where do you think Mercedes Mone will show up?
Photo Credit: WWE