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What the Arrival of Mercedes Monè Means for Joshi Puroresu

Mercedes Monè, formerly known as Sasha Banks during her time in WWE, is now the CEO of New Japan Pro Wrestling and World Wonder Ring Stardom, having previously been one of the most sought-after free agents in wrestling. Monè has stated throughout her entire career that she desires to compete in Japan. Since her dream came true, Joshi is receiving more international attention than ever before, making the topic worth discussing.

Monè is, without a doubt, one of the most popular wrestlers of the last ten years. During her time in WWE, she amassed a multitude of accolades, including Grand Slam Champion and half of the inaugural Women’s Tag Team Champions. She has held the WWE Women’s Championship five times and the NXT Women’s Championship once. Her 2022 title match with Bianca Belair won the ESPY for best WWE Moment and was the first time two Black women competed in the Wrestlemania main event. Monè was “the blueprint” and inspiration for the next generation of female wrestlers in WWE and outside of wrestling.

Mercedes was WWE’s main representative in popular culture, appearing on Hot Ones, Glamour, and Kevin Hart. She also attended the premiere of Spiderman: No Way Home. Since leaving WWE, Monè has attended New York Fashion Week alongside her friend and former tag team partner Trinity Fatu, as well as numerous premieres in the Disney-Marvel universe.

Throughout her career, Monè has made her respect and admiration for Joshi puroresu abundantly clear. During a break from WWE in 2019, she traveled to Japan, where she continued to train with Japanese superstars. A career in Japan has always been one of her lifelong aspirations. Her respect for Japanese wrestlers, especially female Japanese wrestlers, has drawn little attention to Joshi’s promotions over the years.

Joshi puro has a 70-year history, but recognition, categorization, and access are obstacles. International fans struggle to watch something they don’t know, don’t understand, or don’t know how to watch.

The majority of Joshi’s adversaries stem from xenophobic, misogynistic, and racist stereotypes that separate Japanese women from the wrestling world. Joshi has many misconceptions that limit their wrestling abilities and set them apart from men and whites. Due to these factors and cultural differences between Japanese and American pro wrestling, even some of wrestling’s most prominent voices underrate Joshi’s ability.

In reality, Joshi is a distinct subgenre of professional wrestling comprised of exceptionally talented individuals. It strikes a balance between the humorous and the heartfelt, the intense and the intelligent, the artistry and the allure, and combines many aspects of the sport that fans frequently seek out or desire to see. For many, Joshi puro represents the past, present, and future of professional wrestling.

Major signings like Monè bring attention and appreciation to a previously overlooked and underappreciated segment of professional wrestling. It occurs even in the most minute ways. Ticket sales have increased since Monè challenged the inaugural IWGP Women’s Champion KAIRI to a title match at Battle in the Valley in San Jose in February. New fans may become interested in puro after seeing other stars on the card. It will also assist Joshi in showcasing and enhancing their talent, as they will be working alongside another outstanding wrestler.

More exposure means removing the barriers that have limited Joshi puro’s acceptance within the culture of professional wrestling. And for a historical figure like Mercedes Monè, adding to such a phenomenon seems entirely appropriate.

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