After making her return to independent wrestling and debuting under her Mercedes Monè gimmick at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 17, AEW fans patiently waited for the performer formerly known as Sasha Banks in WWE to make her long-awaited return to American television on the January 11 edition of Dynamite. On paper, the idea was pretty self-explanatory; Saraya was scheduled to wrestle her first television match in seven years and had to find a partner to face off against Britt Baker and the AEW Women’s World Champion, Jamie Hayter. Though Toni Storm was ultimately announced for the match on the Dynamite, being selected over Hikaru Shida, fans still hoped that one way or another, Monè would make her way down to the ring and make an appearance a la her arrival in New Japan.

… unfortunately, that didn’t happen; AEW cut to a backstage interview before the match with Juice Robinson that was met with boos, and when the bout came to an end without any interference save Shida, the boo birds rained down once more.

While the night was ultimately saved for the Angeleno crowd with a fantastic, five-star match between The Elite and Death Triangle, fans were still met with one question that rose above the rest: what happened to Monè? Was she ever booked for the match? Was she ever even approached about the match? Or did, for one reason or another, Tony Khan fail to realize just how much of the greater AEW audience expected Monè to make her debut and now has to strategize about where to go from here? Though we may never know, all fans can hang their collective hats on are the facts: Mercedes Monè isn’t All Elite, at least not right now, and unless TK pulls out the checkbook to get back on the fanbase’s good side, it doesn’t appear that’s going to change any time soon.

Mercedes Monè earns a new challenger after no-showing AEW Dynamite.

While Monè didn’t appear on Dynamite, she isn’t without a new challenger, as none other than “La Wera Loca” herself, Taya Valkyrie, who currently holds the Lucha Libre AAA Reina de Reinas Championship, the HOW Women’s Championship, the MLW Women’s World Featherweight Championship, and the Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championship with Jessicka as The Death Dollz has called her out. Stopping by the Comedy Store Wrestling podcast, Valkyrie named Monè her dream opponent and suggested that her respect for Lucha Libre could make for a fantastic showdown.

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“Well I’m gonna say her and she’s now out in the world and free to play,” Valkyrie said via Fightful. “She has a huge respect for Lucha libre, which for me is very important and something that I hold dear and close to my heart. So why not Mercedes Monè? Mercedes, you know where to find me.”

That’s true, since being released from NXT, where she briefly worked as Franky Monet – coincidence? – Valkyrie has worked all over the world, as her championship resume clearly proves. Back in the character that made her an international superstar and helped her to become acquainted with her future husband, Johnny Superstar/Mundo/Impact/Blackcraft/Caballero/Elite/Game Changer/Progress/Downunder/Hardy/Showcase/WrestleCade/Warrior/Hollywood/Fusion/Nitro/Onyx – aka WWE’s John Morrison – Valkyrie knows a thing or two about putting together a presentation that looks straight money.

“I just wanna talk about her entire look because she came out looking like money,” Valkyrie said. “She looked great. Even though that crowd was being not as loud as people expected, just because that’s just how it is, I think that she just commanded that stage and walked that runway and killed it.”

Would Monè actually show up in Impact, MLW, or even AAA? Frankly, no one really knows; fans expected AEW to be the next stop on Monè “World Domination Tour” since before she was even booked for Wrestle Kingdom, so her trajectory moving forward is very much up in the air. Still, if Monè loves Lucha Libre, as Valkyrie suggested, it’s not too hard to imagine “The Boss” showing up in Mexico for a match or two, especially if it keeps her options open for a huge payout down the line from AEW or WWE. If the ultimate goal of the “World Domination Tour” is to get the biggest paycheck on a long-term deal, then AEW was clearly the play outside of WWE, but if Monè instead wants to test her mettle against some of the best female wrestlers on the planet, which Kairi and Valkyrie genuinely are, then who knows, maybe an appearance in MLW, HOW, AAA, or even Impact could be in the cards, assuming the promotions are down with short-term, high-price tag paydays.