Over the span of the last 24 hours, Mercedes Moné — formerly known as Sasha Banks — offered a series of ‘thank you’ notes to fans and former colleagues within WWE, debuted for NJPW, and the latest news is a report detailing her expected debut for AEW.
Sources: Mercedes Varnado will be Saraya’s partner next week in #AEWDynamite in LA against Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter. Couldn’t announce or make a major hint due to her being still under contract to WWE until the beginning of 2023.
— Steven Muehlhausen (@SMuehlhausenJr) January 5, 2023
When AEW Dynamite takes place from The Forum next Wednesday, Moné is expected to be Saraya’s mystery partner against Britt Baker and Jaime Hayter. Baker stoked the flames of that possibility Wednesday night ahead, referencing her former nickname as Banks:
Moné became a free agent when the calendar turned to 2023, after reportedly attempting to negotiate money in the range of what Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch make. WWE allegedly balked at that price, per the Wrestling Observer, setting up Tuesday night’s events and Moné’s slew of “thank you” notes to the like of WWE, William Regal, Triple H, the WWE Universe, Vince McMahon, and a special one to Sasha Banks.
She then showed up at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 17, extending a hand for Kairi before pulling her in and dropping the IWGP Women’s Champion. Moné then grabbed the mic and introduced herself before challenging Kairi to a title match on February 18 at Battle of the Valley in San Jose.
Moné last appeared in WWE in May 2022, walking out on the company with her then-partner Naomi. While Moné is off enjoying a fresh start elsewhere, Naomi is reportedly “almost certainly be returning to WWE” herself, according to the Wrestling Observer.