During a recent interview, AEW head honcho Tony Khan was asked about two big names who reportedly are or could soon be available for bookings.
Adrian Hernandez of The Bet Las Vegas first brought up someone who’s been linked to AEW on the rumor mill for months — Mercedes Moné. The wrestler formerly known as Sasha Banks kept the speculative fires burning herself during a convention Q&A last weekend. When asked about appearing at June 25’s AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door, Moné said she could be available (reports are her current contract with New Japan & Stardom ends after a pair of April appearances) and implied it would depend on the offer. Mercedes has repeatedly said she’s open to wrestling pretty much anywhere if the money is right.
Khan was asked about those comments. He liked what he heard but — as he has in the past — was careful to point out that Moné is currently representing New Japan as their IWGP Women’s champion:
“It’s a very encouraging thing to hear, and I have so much respect for Mercedes. I think she’s such a great pro wrestler, and certainly she’s one of the best in the world. Any wrestling company in the world, including AEW, is very fortunate to have Mercedes. Currently, she is the world champion for our partner New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and I think she’s a great champion for them.
“I’m glad she brought up Forbidden Door because that’s gonna be a very exciting event. Certainly the shadow of Mercedes is looming large in New Japan Pro-Wrestling right now. When AEW and New Japan clash at Forbidden Door, it’ll be very interesting to see what happens. Certainly she’s one of their top stars and it makes for a very interesting situation going into Forbidden Door.”
With reports indicating Goldberg’s WWE contract expired at the end of last year, there’s also been talk Khan could bring in the WCW legend for an AEW run. Goldberg’s one of the business’ most recognizable names, but he’s also someone who might not be welcomed with open arms by AEW’s core fanbase.
TK played it cool, praising Goldberg and expressing some interest — but only saying he’d monitor the situation at this point:
“I have a lot of respect for Bill. I think Bill Goldberg’s a great professional athlete, and he’s had a great career in pro wrestling, and is a very nice person...
“I think he’s a household name in pro wrestling. And certainly, that’s interesting to hear that Bill is a free agent. That’s something to follow. He’s one of the biggest names in wrestling, and certainly will be something else to keep an eye on for us. We have so many great wrestlers in AEW and so many exciting things happening in AEW week-to-week that it’s always an exciting time. Bill is [an] exceptionally exciting name, and one of the biggest names in the sport. Certainly, it’s a big thing for us to pay attention to — so I would take notice of that.”
For all the criticisms of Khan’s booking, his handling of older veterans like Sting has generally been very good. Could he keep that streak going with Goldberg? Bill doesn’t seem like a great fit for the mentor role AEW likes to use legends in, but we’ll see if that ever becomes something Tony needs to worry about.
Mercedes in AEW, on the other hand, feels like something that has to happen at some point — at least for a few dates, right?
Let us know what you think, Cagesiders. And check out Khan’s entire conversation with Hernandez here.