Right now, the drive-by online news reporting media is trying to speculate where Sasha Banks/Mercedes Moné will end up. Will it be AEW, as she appeared in the crowd at AEW All In 2023 and they even featured her in the crowd with a graphic displaying her “Mercedes Moné” name? She also has the New Japan connection, though I do not believe she is currently working for them. Or could she return to the WWE as Sasha Banks, as the Royal Rumble is conveniently just 2 weeks away for a major return. Charlotte Flair getting injured has opened that door as a possibility to step in, while she has great relations with Triple H.
Right now, we’re all hearing the headlines and the opinions that follows… “WWE is killing it, AEW is in turmoil”. With the way everyone is heavily praising WWE, the expectation is that she’d return to WWE as Sasha Banks. Why would she join AEW, a place that terminated CM Punk and had lots of backstage drama? Some of the recent online chatter, if true, could also be concerning.
Because everyone is somehow labeling me “pro-WWE” and “anti-AEW” lately, even though I’ve been ripping and praising BOTH WWE and WWE for years as you can read in my damn COLUMN ARCHIVE, I’m going to give the AEW hardcore fanbase a day off… That’s right, I’m going to discuss reasons why the person behind Sasha Banks SHOULDN’T return to the WWE (and presumably join AEW).
REASONS WHY SASHA BANKS SHOULD NOT RETURN TO THE WWE
WWE writers are still there, everything is controlled and scripted.
Yes, Triple H is steering the writing staff in a better direction… But none of those writers, aside from Dana Warrior, have been let go in volumes. They are still there scripting everyone’s promos. Granted, they have better direction with Triple H, but they are still restricting FREEDOM by still having mostly the same writing staff in place.
Too much hope on Triple H.
Yes, the Game is doing a great job and he took great care of Sasha Banks both in NXT and he tried, with Vince McMahon veto power, to push her in WWE. But WWE still has a bunch of Vince McMahon stooges around, as I didn’t see Bruce Prichard or Michael PS Hayes retire, did I? There are many Senior Vice Presidents and Vice Presidents who were loyal to Vince that are still around. Yet, Vince McMahon could also have a chance to have more input once the RAW television deal is finalized, too.
WWE isn’t that much safer, at times.
I seemed to remember Sasha Banks going for high risk moves in WWE and enduring multiple injuries. If the argument is that AEW is “too dangerous”, then how did Sasha get injured so much? Those WWE cage matches, ladder matches, Elimination Chambers, and War Games aren’t all that safe. Lots of tables broken there, too.
Charlotte Flair is the Salary Cap for the Women’s Division.
Reportedly, Sasha Banks stepped away from the negotiating table because she made an offer that was higher than the new Charlotte Flair contract that was just recently signed. Thus, ANY female wanting to join the WWE, it’s Charlotte Flair’s contract that will be the maximum salary that you could ever achieve EVEN IF you are actually more over than her (I’d be curious how close Becky Lynch is to her on salary). If Tony can pay Mercedes at or above Charlotte’s rate, win for Mercedes.
Bigger splash in smaller pond helps.
AEW needs Mercedes Moné more than WWE needs Sasha Banks. WWE has already taken the character as far as they could and had a few big Wrestlemania matches with her (even though Sasha never wins them). However in the WWE, Charlotte, Becky, Rhea, and Bianca are all there and holding onto their top position strongly. Who is a bigger star than her in AEW as a female right now? None of them. Instantly, she’s the top female act and it would allow for more creativity. If AEW adds Mercedes Moné, that’s something to impress Warner Bros. Discovery to re-sign AEW for television rights.
AEW backstage drama won’t affect her.
The one who handled the Women’s Division was Kenny Omega, but he’s stepped back on talent and creative duties there. Unless the Young Bucks dislike her salary, they won’t mess with her. And again with Mercedes, if she doesn’t like what’s happen, she’ll walk out. She did it twice in the WWE. I don’t think she’d be prey for backstage drama.
Easier schedule in AEW.
While WWE has cutback on houseshows say versus 2019, they still have a demanding schedule with more needs on television days and much more personal appearances. If you’ve seen Mercedes at photo ops, she’s a bit hesitant to get too close to wrestling fans (especially male ones). In AEW, there’s less of a demand for this kind of thing and a much easier road schedule.
AEW lets you do more things outside of the ring.
Sasha Banks was in Star Wars: Mandalorian, but I guarantee she had to jump through WWE hoops to get time off to be in that role. Furthermore, WWE is likely to take a cut… If you look at AEW, they give their wrestlers freedom to tackle different projects or work within different promotions. WWE wants to control any money made outside of the ring, whereas AEW is very generous. Try to stream a video game on Twitch and see how WWE reacts.
Promotion opportunities in AEW, not at all in WWE.
Once you wrestle in the WWE, that’s it… Sign that Legends Contract and make appearances where we want you to make appearances. In AEW, there’s a valid chance that you could be promoted to a management position. Wrestlers have much more say about the company in AEW than in WWE, by a margin. If Mercedes likes what she’s doing and succeeds well as a wrestler, then there’s possibilities of managing talent, creative, or other duties. Tony is a very hands-off manager and gives his direct reports freedom to do their own thing, even if they shouldn’t. Just baffles me how guys like Edge, Christian, Mick Foley, Steve Austin, and the Undertaker can retire and there are ZERO backstage management or creative opportunities for them.
Less sponsorship and promotional opportunities within WWE, unless they control it.
Mercedes is an outspoken user of CBD products and has been featured praising such products in her post-WWE career. She couldn’t quite do that while there, as WWE has a history of being anti-cannabis on its use (though they let Road Dogg and Godfather allude to using it during the Attitude Era). But the point is, with WWE, they restrict what you say publicly and what you do as well. In AEW, they are happy that you show up events and as long as you do that, have fun outside of the ring and promote what you want.
No Vince McMahon in AEW.
Think about Mercedes during last year when all of that Vince McMahon NDA stuff game out… As a female, she was probably cringing because she had to endure Vince and his horndog stooges like John Laurinaitis and Kevin Dunn assessing her career, looks, and opportunities within the WWE. I believe that crew, along with the other Vince McMahon loyalists, were partially responsible for her two walk-outs of the WWE.
Say what you will about Vince McMahon and his new TKO role, but despite $20 million spent and many NDAs signed, Vince is STILL there and though of highly by Endeavor’s management team. While they listed him as a “risk” on some SEC filings, he’s still there and they’d have to pay him BILLIONS to leave. Even if Triple H is in charge of day-to-day operations, Vince can still show up at WWE events and that should make any female backstage cringe.
THE LAST WORD
As someone who enjoyed her contributions to both NXT and WWE, I’d LOVE to see a tremendous moment of Sasha Banks returning to the WWE via Royal Rumble 2024… I’d be very curious as to where Triple H could take her now that he’s in charge of Creative.
HOWEVER, some people like a challenge… If Mercedes Moné succeeds in AEW and makes it better, it would be like Joe Flacco winning the Super Bowl for the Cleveland Browns. By making her mark in AEW, the company would appreciate her and “Mercedes Moné” would be discussed for years in AEW documentaries or specials as “one of the greats”.
AEW also presents Mercedes with more freedom to what she wants, when she wants… If even if she doesn’t make an impact, as Eric Bischoff has insisted she wouldn’t, the fact is that she’s making good money while also having freedom. I believe that the pressure cooker in the WWE got to Mercedes, along with the toxic Vince environment.
And keep in mind, we’ve seen Mercedes Moné training with Tessa Blanchard. Could you imagine that being a 1-2 punch addition to the AEW Women’s Division? Oh man…
I see benefits to Sasha/Mercedes, either way… And THIS is why COMPETITION is great… Sasha/Mercedes is in a position of strength where she can negotiate for better terms and money for herself. Had there not been competition, she’s negotiating with 1 buyer of her skills and the terms/money would be much less. For anyone who hates AEW, just realize that the WWE’s creative quality and pay-scale for its wrestlers has greatly improved since 2019 when AEW began.
My prediction? I think she joins AEW… I think that she wants to be perceived as a bigger star rather than being lost in the shuffle. If she’s truly capped financially at Charlotte Flair’s salary, Mercedes will get more creative breaks in AEW while also being paid more to work there. Easier schedule, more outside opportunities… Both Sean Ross Sapp and Bryan Alvarez reported that she’d be appearing soon, and I just don’t see 2 reasonably reliable sources getting trolled. That said, insiders were trolled on CM Punk walking away from the WWE negotiating table, too.
But damn, surprising everyone at the Royal Rumble would get the entire wrestling world talking… That temptation could sway her that way.
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