Despite a loaded lineup of great matches such as Hangman Page vs. Jon Moxley and Konosuke Takeshita vs. Bryan Danielson, the biggest talking point coming into last night’s (Jan. 11) episode of AEW Dynamite in Los Angeles was the status of former WWE star Sasha Banks.
AEW announced a women’s tag team match with a mystery partner on this card five weeks earlier, so many folks assumed that Banks was going to make her AEW debut under her new ring name, Mercedes Moné. Hope for an appearance from Mercedes remained strong even after Toni Storm was announced as Saraya’s mystery partner, especially because Britt Baker gave a wink while using the phrase “the Boss” in a final promo before the match.
Needless to say, many fans were extremely disappointed when Mercedes never showed up on last night’s show. You can hear the boos for yourself in the following video.
Everyone fell for it pic.twitter.com/NQDqDYEDz7— Miguel/Sopita/Soup (@SopitaDeVaso) January 12, 2023
According to Denise Salcedo, this moment occurred right after the women’s tag match was over. Many people in the live audience thought the lights going out meant that Mercedes was coming out, but they were instead treated to a graphic promoting Rampage.
So, what the heck happened here? Why did AEW announce a tag team match with zero stakes five weeks ahead of time if there was no plan for a big angle or appearance? Did Tony Khan just want to get people talking and sell more tickets on the hope that a big surprise was coming? Was there an actual negotiation with Mercedes going on at the time the match was announced, but a deal could not be reached? Is she under an exclusive deal with NJPW right now? Was the five week window simply the time frame needed for Toni Storm to return to the ring after having her face busted up at AEW’s November pay-per-view?
We don’t have the answer to this mystery today, unfortunately, but hopefully more information will be coming soon. In the meantime, a lot of us are left scratching our heads trying to make sense of it all.
How did you feel when Mercedes Moné didn’t show up in AEW last night, Cagesiders?