New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Resurgence event in California on Sunday night used its main event to crown the first NJPW Strong Women’s Champion. The tournament to the first title-holder came down to Mercedes Moné (known in WWE as Sasha Banks) and Willow Nightengale, a star of AEW and ROH. Willow was crowned champion after a fantastic match, but fans have left wondering if a potential injury might put a damper on the evening.
Mercedes seemed to injure her leg at one point during the match, visibly unable to put much weight on it at various spots. The match wrapped up with Willow taking the title, and it was followed by Mercedes being carried back to the locker room, looking to be in some real pain.
They had to carry Mercedes Moné out after the match. Hoping nothing is seriously wrong with her pic.twitter.com/a0zCF7ACLz
— Public Enemies Podcast (@TheEnemiesPE3) May 22, 2023
Based on the actions after the match, and the fact that the match itself was shorter than many expected, fans believe the injury is legitimate. This is wrestling, so there’s no way to tell for sure in the moment, but everyone watching has been sending their well-wishes to Mercedes since the match ended.
There haven’t been any actual reports or statements on the injury just yet. Not only are people concerned with whether or not the injury is real, they’re also hoping it won’t be something too severe.
Mercedes Varnado Acting & Wrestling
Mercedes Varnado (aka Mercedes Moné) has been wrestling across the world for New Japan Pro Wrestling since returning from her long hiatus after exiting WWE. She quickly won the IGWP Women’s World Championship, though lost it ahead of NJPW Resurgence. In addition to wrestling, Varnado has also been branching off into the world of acting, taking on a recurring role in hit the Star Wars series, The Mandalorian.
Earlier this year, Varnado said she brought a lot of her wrestling persona to her acting roles, especially in the case of Koska Reeves, her Star Wars character.
“I really took a lot of myself and turned it up. I took a lot of my wrestling character, being a boss and a badass, and didn’t take no for an answer and that could stand up to any man that wanted to step in her way and take him down and throw a tornado DDT. I wanted her to be who I am, just a badass and going in there with Katee, I had to step up my game because she is a legit badass,” she said.