Mercedes Moné on Her ‘Unbelievable’ AEW Debut: ‘I Felt Like Stone Cold Steve Austin’

Mercedes Moné officially debuted for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) on Wednesday night and instantly changed the face of the company’s women’s division.

Moné, whose given name is Mercedes Varnado and is also known for her time in WWE as Sasha Banks, hit the ring in her hometown of Boston to a thunderous reception from the fans in attendance.

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“It was unbelievable,” Moné told Variety. “I still haven’t gotten to take everything in yet, but my heart was just pounding out of my chest. Once I heard the beat drop in the music and the ‘CEO’ chants were on the screens, and then they revealed the ‘Mercedes Moné’ name, that eruption was so electric. I felt so cool. I felt like Stone Cold Steve Austin, when fans just lift up all their signs and stand up with their arms raised. I felt so cool. It was the best feeling in the world.”

Moné left WWE in late 2022 but in no way rested on her laurels. Since that time, she has appeared in notable promotions like New Japan Pro Wrestling and Stardom, while also training at the famed NJPW Dojo, the Pro Wrestling NOAH Dojo, and in Mexico with the likes of Juventud Guerrera and Skayde.

“I’ve been in the wrestling business for 14 years now, and to be able to keep on learning and growing, to sharpen my tools, I think that’s really exciting,” Moné said. After suffering an injury last year, she also began training again with Tyler Breeze at the Flatbacks Wrestling School in December in preparation for her AEW debut.

Now the question becomes who will be her first opponent in AEW? As Moné herself says, she has history with roughly half of the AEW women’s roster, including stars like Willow Nightingale and Saraya (aka Paige in WWE). But she is also very open to mixing it up with someone entirely new.

“I always feel like it’s best when I’ve never been in the ring with an opponent before just so we can feed off that the natural chemistry and the magic instantly. But to tie up with Willow again when we only had like half a match, to tie it up with Saraya again would be amazing. I’ve never gotten to wrestle [AEW Women’s Champion] Toni Storm. I’ve never wrestled Skye Blue, or Julia Hart. The talent is just endless. I’m looking forward to facing everybody.”

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