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Ex-WWE star makes return to pro wrestling for new company under different ring name

Sasha Banks had been missing from the wrestling ring since she and her tag team partner Naomi walked out of WWE and were suspended indefinitely over a contract dispute back in May.

On Wednesday, Banks returned to pro wrestling but with a new company and under a new name and thanked some WWE figures on her way out. She appeared at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 17 as Mercedes Moné.

Moné came out to address the IWGP women’s champion KAIRI after she defeated Tam Nakano in their match. The lights went dark in the Tokyo Dome and out came Moné. She came out to the ring with similar money and boss themes as she had in WWE, but sported a bit of a different hairstyle as she walked down the entrance ramp.

Moné beat down KAIRI and then addressed the crowd.

“Congratulations on making history tonight,” she sarcastically told KAIRI. “I also know a thing or two about making history. I am here in New Japan and Stardom to make some more. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m the standard, the conversation, the blueprint and the CEO of this women’s division.”


Sasha Banks attends Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man: No Way Home" Los Angeles Premiere on Dec. 13, 2021 in Los Angeles.

She then vowed to defeat KAIRI for the title at the next event in San Jose, California.

Before appearing on the show, she sent a few tweets thanking various WWE figures for her journey in the company.

Moné and Naomi relinquished their tag-team titles in May and were suspended after they walked out of a show. The two were reportedly upset over their contracts.

Sasha Banks, pictured, during the Smackdown Women's Championship match at WrestleMania 37 at Raymond James Stadium Apr. 10, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

Moné won the tag-team championship at WrestleMania Night 2 over Carmella and Queen Zelina. It was their first win as a tag team, the third for Banks and first for Naomi individually.

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