Mercedes Mone debuts at AEW Big Business: ‘I need to be here’

It’s Boss time in AEW.

Mercedes Mone’, formerly Sasha Banks in WWE, made her anticipated debut at AEW Big Business at TD Garden in Boston — where she’s billed as being from — on Wednesday night.

It makes her one of AEW’s most high-profile signings, along with the since-departed CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, and Adam Copeland.

An emotional Mone — fighting back tears — opened the show to a new theme and chants of “CEO!” and with “All Elite CEO” painted in her hair.

“Thank you for giving me the courage and the strength to be here,” Mone said.

And it’s the continuation of a strong start to 2024 with Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay recently joining the company full-time.

“We are going to be creating so many moments and so much magic together,” Mone said.

This is the first we have seen of the 32-year-old Mone’ since she suffered a serious ankle injury competing in a match for the NJPW Strong women’s championship against Willow Nightingale. Mone’ said on the Kick Rock’s podcast that her doctor told her it could be career-ending.

Bayley and Naomi, Mone’s friends and current WWE stars, were reportedly in Boston for her AEW debut.

Mercedes Mone debuted in AEW on Wednesday night. AEW

Her arrival in AEW comes at a time when the women’s division is deeper and more talented than ever with the additions of Deonna Purrazzo and Mariah May, and the return of Serena Deeb. The hope is Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter also could be back this year.

“I need to be here. I want to be here,” Mone’ said. “AEW is the only place that can take this revolution global.”

She also mentioned having unfinished business with Nightingale and told the rest of the female locker room she “can’t wait to tear it up with all of you.”

Mone’ ended the night coming to the aid of Nightingale, who was attacked by Julia Hart and Skye Blue.

Mone’, who has WrestleMania main-eventer on her résumé and likely got a hefty contract from AEW president Tony Khan, could be the catalyst for taking the division to the next level.

Mercedes Mone Ryan Nixon/AEW

AEW hiring Emmy award-winning producer and former WWE writer Jennifer Pepperman — who is close to Mone’ — as vice president of content development to work alongside Khan is seen as a step in the right direction to deliver deeper storylines for the women’s division.

Mone’ always has been a proponent of advancing women’s wrestling.

She was a leader of the women’s revolution in WWE and she and Bianca Belair were the first black women to main event WrestleMania in 2022.

Mercedes Mone and Willow Nightingale AEW

Her time with WWE did end in controversy as she and Naomi walked out of a Monday Night Raw in May 2022 instead of partaking in a six-pack challenge match because of creative differences around their WWE women’s tag team championships.

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