Out of the Four Horsewomen of WWE, Sasha Banks (Now Mercedes Mone) is probably ranked third in my opinion, behind Bayley and Becky Lynch. She’s been a bit of a problem child for WWE, walking out on a couple of occasions and just generally being a bit of a headache to work with, reportedly. I will say that she has the talent to be great, she just needs to cool it on the attitude because she is not as good as she thinks she is. She thinks she’s a GOAT, but she’s not fit to touch Mayu Iwatani’s boots or chew the same brand of gum as Aja Kong.
Mercedes Mone is in Japan right now to work a few dates for Bushiroad, primarily Stardom and New Japan Pro Wrestling but why should Mercedes limit herself to just facing off against KAIRI? There is a myriad of women in Japan who have the talent and skill to hang with The Boss and I think today we should take a look at some of them. I’m gonna do something special today for this one and I am gonna pick one woman from each Joshi promotion in Japan that Sasha Banks should face off against while she is in Japan. Saddle up folks because this is gonna be one heck of a list today.
666 – Ram Kaicho
Ram has slowly gotten better in the ring since she began working regularly alongside other women in Ice Ribbon. Her in-ring work still has a ways to go, and her gimmick needs fleshing out beyond her usual schtick, but her look and gimmick are unique within the company. I can’t really rate her on her work as a child, but as an adult Ram has a much higher ceiling working in Ice Ribbon than she ever did being a niche within the niche that is 666. Ram Kaicho reminds me of Alexa Bliss in a way and I would love to see this woman go up against someone like Mercedes Mone.
Actwres girl’Z – Natsumi Sumikawa
Formerly known as Natsumi Showzuki while she wrestled for Stardom, Natsumi is a pretty underrated talent. Natsumi took an extended hiatus away from wrestling, from 2013 to 2021, but since her return to the ring she’s really been one of the new AWG’s bright spots. Crazy that after so many years away, she was able to come back better than ever. Her matches with Wild Bunny (Act Yasukawa) are a lot of fun, and she had a fantastic match with Mari in Osaka. She’s a big building block for the new AWG, and we’re lucky she’s back. A match with Mercedes Mone would be a lot of fun for the 33 year old.
Diana World Woman Pro-Wrestling – Haruka Umesaki
One of the top prospects in the Joshi scene. A girl with great protential with some star presence & already very good in-ring abilities. Haruka Umesake is someone to look after in the years to come as she’s starting to get some name reputation, with appearances in STARDOM, Wave, DIANA & Sendai Girls among others, this year only. She’s only 21 years old, a 3 year veteran, and she is already putting on phenomenal matches with nearly everyone she is in the ring with. This is a young woman that Mone would be lucky to get to face off against and that is fact.
Freelancer – Maki Itoh
Maki Itoh does make our list but not for any promotion, she is a freelancer. Maki Itoh has been making a name for herself in TJPW as well as doing freelance work in the US, gaining a massive following for herself. She’s improved massively in the ring and she has a unique style for a Joshi. I’d love to see Sasha try to take one of those headbutts and stay standing.. I digress. Maki Itoh is one of the most popular Joshi in the world and that alone makes her someone that Mercedes Mone needs to face off against.
Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling – Mei Suruga
The Apple Girl of Gatoh Move is up next! Mei Suruga is one of the most infectiously cheery women in the land of Joshi and frankly, she is one of the best younger talents in Japan right now. I had the pleasure of meeting and seeing Mei perform live at a Deadlock Pro Wrestling show and let me just say that the hype around her is for real. She can move, she can fly and she is at her best when she can play up the crowd and be a total goofball. I love Mei Suruga, she is seriously fun to watch and I think a match against Mercedes would be freaking incredible.
Ice Ribbon – Tsukasa Fujimoto
Up next we have one of the GOAT’s in Japan, the 39 year old meistro Tsukasa Fujimoto. Tsukasa to me is the greatest joshi in-ring performer ever, her offensive is a thing of beauty that she can come out of the lowest quality wrestler at least a good match. I have never seen a bad match for her in my life. She does not miss anything to be a legend but an all-time wrestler even. She is a great single and tag team wrestler, great booker, great trainer, a true GOAT. Mercedes Mone should be lucky to wrestle someone as talented and great as Fujimoto is.
Just Tap Out – Tomoka Inaba
Tomoka Inaba is a student of Taka Michinoku and the influence is very clear in her speed and submission percision. Inaba relies mostly on her strikes and specifically her kicks which are some of the best Ive seen from any wrestler in a while. Tomoka has had a multitude of great matches that highlight her striking and selling abilities against the likes of Maika, Taka Michinoku, Miyako Matsumoto, Saori Anou and Hiroyo Matsumoto. Let me remind you that shes only 3 years into her career and the amount of talent and ring generalship she has is something of a 5 year vet. Shes somebody you want to keep your eyes on because her star is on the rise and I have no doubt shes gonna takeover in the coming years. Mercedes Mone would have a lot of trouble with this young lady, and I would love to see it.
Ladies Legend Pro Wrestling-X – Shinobu Kandori
We’ve got our first legend on the list, the 36 year veteran Shinobu Kandori. Sure, she’s nowhere near as active as she used to be, but the 58 year old Kandori can still go in the ring. Shinobu aged like fine wine in the world of wrestling and she has earned her place among the greats of the Joshi world. With matches against other legends like Aja Kong and Bull Nakano, Shinobu has faced the who’s who of the Joshi Queendom. If Mercedes had the chance to step into the ring with a legend like Kandori, she should drop everything and do just that. Win or lose it would do wonders for her career.
Marvelous – Takumi Iroha
The representative for Marvelous: That’s Women Pro Wrestling was a bit of a toss-up between Takumi Iroha and Mio Momono but today I chose to pick Takumi Iroha as I feel she would be the stiffer test for Mercedes Mone. All Red Everything, Takumi Iroha is only a 9 year veteran in the Joshi World but she is one of the very best in Japan right now. She is easily in the top 10 currently and she has the ability of making anyone look like a 20+ year veteran. She is someone that would take Mone and make her look better than she is, not to mention she would humble that woman in the process. It would be a good thing for Banks.
OZ Academy – Aja Kong
Our second legend on today’s list is the one and only Aja Kong. Easily one of the greatest monsters in wrestling, regardless of gender. In the world of 90’s AJW, where workrate and fast paced bouts were the accepted norm, Kong was the critical outlier in that lot: a bullish, aggressive brawler that brought the old chaotic style of the days of Crush Gals and modernised it into a more ruthless standard. I don’t think we’ve seen a wrestler look so legitimate in beating the snot out of her opponents, just brutalising them with stiff strikes and the BEST backhand in wrestling history.
I could go into her many bloody feuds with babyfaces not only in the 90’s, but all the way up to even 2020 today but there would legitimately be too much to cover. Either in tags or in singles, heels or faces, straight wrestling or hardcore, Kong brought the standard of these matches above and beyond with her antics, squeezing every last bit of intensity out of her opponents while knowing exactly when to sell and be the one dominated in turn. One of the best in the world in her prime and still a force today regardless of age. Mercedes Mone needs to face off against Aja someday before Kong retires for good.
Prominence – Suzu Suzuki
Suzu Suzuki is already working at the top of the world in terms of quality at the age of 20, and the only thing standing in the way of being booked as such by major companies is her strong commitment to her company Prominence and to freelance shows in general – which is no flaw. She has the ability, the natural charisma and the personality to rule the industry in the years to come. She’s hitting the main events of Korakuens now, wait til she hits the main event of even bigger shows. This 20 year old is a true prodigy in Pro Wrestling and would wrestle circles around Mercedes Mone. I want to see that.
Pro Wrestling WAVE – Nagisa Nozaki
Nagisa Nozaki is one of the most underrated talents in the world today. Due to her wrestling within a small promotion like Pro Wrestling Wave, and due to Wave being not as easily accessible, not many are able to see just how incredibly talented she is. Nagisa Nozaki is the total package when it comes to a Joshi wrestler. Her size, strength, physique, execution, presence and confidence are all at the elite level, in my opinion. She’s getting better and better with each passing day and I want to see her face off against someone like Mercedes Mone.
PURE-J – Leon
Leon has worked in Mexico and Japan blending both styles perfectly. She’s incredibly agile as well as technically gifted. She certainly does not get enough recognition. Her frog splash, springboard, and kicks are things of beauty and she is a 22 year veteran. Leon is another legend that is still active in Japan and someone that Mercedes Mone should be striving to be in the ring with. If not to have that name added to her career but to have the chance to learn under someone as great as Leon is.
SEAdLINNNG – Arisa Nakajima
Arisa Nakajima is a proficient user of Strong style with smart technique and vicious strikes. Many of her matches are really brutal and she has taken some serious beatings over the years for sure. That said, Nakajima is still one of the top talents in the Joshi world. She’s consistently giving her all no matter how brutal the match becomes and she is capable of bringing out the best, or worst if you will, in any opponent she faces. I think that Mercedes Mone would be a great opponent for Nakajima, but I wanna see how far Arisa can push the former WWE Women’s Champion.
Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling – Chihiro Hashimoto
Our next pick represents Sendai Girls’ and was trained by Meiko Satomura, that woman is Chihiro Hashimoto. A 7 year veteran, she may not have as much experience as Mone does but she would be an excellent choice to represent Sendai Girls’ against The Boss. She has faced off against the likes of Aja Kong and Meiko Satomura and that’s despite her having a drug arrest a few years back. Chihiro may not have much exposure outside of Sendai Girls’ but she is someone that would benefit greatly from facing off against Mercedes.
That’s it for the independent and minor league promotions in Japan folks. While that is already an insane list of women that Mercedes Mone should face off against, we have two promotions left to go and that’s the two biggest Women’s Wrestling Promotions in Japan, Tokyo Joshi Pro and Stardom.
Stardom – The Entire Roster
You’re out of your mind if you think that I could narrow it down to one name to represent Stardom, that’s just impossible. With the likes of Giulia, Mayu Iwatani, Tam Nakano, AZM, Hazuki, Starlight Kid and Momo Watanabe, Stardom is absolutely packed full of talent that should get the chance to face off against Mercedes Mone. There’s no one woman who would be better to face off against The Boss than any other on the roster. It would be much easier to just book one of the old Stardom Gauntlets where everyone in the roster wrestles one person, ala Io Shirai vs Stardom. There are so many dream matches in Stardom for Mercedes Mone that she needs to just spend a couple years in Japan to have them all.
Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling – Yuka Sakazaki
Picking a representative for TJPW was a little easier than doing so for Stardom. True, there are a handful of names that I wanna see Mercedes Mone face off against in TJPW, there is no one that I want to see her face more than Yuka Sakazaki. The Magical Girl has an in-ring style that I think would be good for Mercedes Mone to face off against. That’s not to mention that Yuka has an intensity that would give Sasha fits. I could have picked Miyu Yamashita, Miyu Watanabe, Shoko Nakajima or even Yuka’s tag partner Mizuki. There just wouldn’t be as much excitement for me as a match with Yuka would bring.