On April 23rd, the landscape of the Joshi world is up for grabs as the invader Mercedes Moné defends her title against Mayu Iwatani. I call Moné an invader because that’s exactly what she is, a gaijin who forced her way into Japan and stole a title that she had no claim to. Yes, that is a bit strongly worded but you have to understand where I am coming from when I say that. Moné burst onto the IWGP scene after she packed her bags and left WWE in a show of complete disrespect to the company that made her, waited out her non-compete days and then made her way to Japan. I don’t know why Bushiroad brought her in, she had absolutely no experience wrestling the Joshi style, but they took the chance and made her a champion when they booked her to defeat the inaugural champion KAIRI.
Since then, we’re really only seen her in the ring once which was a defense of that title against the High Speed Champion AZM and the Wild Heart Hazuki. This was a hard fought, really fun match that saw Moné squeek out a win after more than 14 minutes of action. I will never take away from her actual abilities, Moné knows what she is doing in the ring and has proven she can hang with the likes of AZM, Hazuki and KAIRI. That said, when she steps into the ring on April 23rd against Mayu Iwatani, she is facing a whole different animal entirely.
Moné has attacked Mayu on a couple occasions now and seemingly gotten the upper hand over her but that’s not something I feel like Moné should be excited about. She may think she has gotten into the head of the Stardom Icon but there is one thing that she needs to remember, you never want to awaken a sleeping dragon.
“To be the best, you have to beat the best”
Donald Cerone of the UFC once said “to be the best you have to beat the best”, and Mayu Iwatani -is- the best in the Joshi World, if not the entirety of this big blue sphere we call Earth. She’s a multiple time champion in Stardom, winning every title except the Future belt (which she has never been eligible for) and has won all of the major tournaments at least once in her career.
Mayu Iwatani has literally done it all in Stardom and is cemented as the greatest of all time for the promotion. There is no one who has done everything that Mayu has done, the closest being Io Shirai. For Moné to think that she is even in Iwatani’s league is insulting. Not to mention that at the Grand Queendom press conference, she pronounced Mayu’s name as May-you, which is just disrespectful and shows that she has zero regard to someone who has legit carried a promotion for the better part of it’s entire existence.
Yes, in the scheme of WWE, Mercedes Moné is one of the best. She was one of the four horsewomen who changed the way WWE booked their women’s division and she is a multi-time champion for the company but that in no way puts her in the same category of the Stardom Icon. She may call herself the CEO of the Women’s Division, but there is one simple fact of the Joshi world and that is that the entire division, no matter the company, exists at this scale because of women like Mayu Iwatani. There wouldn’t be an IWGP Women’s Championship without women like Mayu and she has a legacy that will never, ever, be tarnished or dismissed. She is quite literally the best of the best and the absolute top of the mountain.
Maybe that’s why Moné has taken it upon herself to attack Mayu at every opportunity, to try and get a mental or physical edge over someone she knows she has little chance of defeating. That may rile up all you Moné fans out there but it’s just a fact. As I said before, Moné isn’t in Iwatani’s league yet. Is, she great in the ring? Yes. Does she play a phenomenal heel? Again, the answer is yes. That said she has not gotten over with Japan and she is, frankly, NOT on Mayu’s level. I do not care what anyone says, I will stand by that opinion until the day I die.
Mercedes Moné has poked the bear and has pushed Mayu in ways that few have done outside of a wrestling ring and I think that will be her biggest mistake and her downfall. Sure, Mayu has not had the best couple of years results wise but she is still an absolute ICON and there is a reason why I call her a sleeping dragon. If Moné isn’t careful, Iwatani will embarass her on April 23rd in Yokohama and will send her scurrying back to America with her tail between her legs.
The American sheep will still embrace her, they will still love Mercedes Moné or Sasha Banks, whichever she decides to call herself when she comes back, but she will always have to live with one simple fact. She may think that she is the CEO and that she runs the Women’s Division, but she will forever be second best to the true ICON of the Women’s Division, the greatest of all time and the woman who will dethrone this wannabe Joshi on April 23rd. Mayu Iwatani.