Former NXT UK star Nina Samuels recently joined NBC Sports Boston for a conversation about all things pro-wrestling, most notably what Samuels thought of the NJPW debut of Mercedes Monet, formerly known as Sasha Banks in WWE. Check out her full thoughts on the subject in the highlights below.
What she thought of Mercedes Mone’s NJPW/STARDOM debut:
She’s definitely a huge brand, for sure. If you think about of the things that she’s done, she made history in WWE time and time again. Then she was in The Mandalorian, multiple mainstream media appearances, and she knows how to her people talking. What’s been on everyone’s lips is, ‘What’s gonna be her next move? What’s gonna be her next move?’ She’s smart, she knew that that’s what was going to happen. I think her ‘surprise’ on Wrestle Kingdom was one of the worst-kept secrets in the business, but maybe it was meant that way. How many people will have been watching Wrestle Kingdom than normal just to see if she was gonna appear because New Japan has its own incredible fanbase already, but it’s when you have names like that that it brings in a new audience.
Compares Mone’s jump to when Chris Jericho wrestled for NJPW back at WrestleKingdom 12
We’ve seen it before when Chris Jericho was working with New Japan. [He] brought in a whole new audience there. I think the same thing is happening here again. I think a lot more eyes were on, not to say they wouldn’t have had a massive audience anyway because Wrestle Kingdom is huge, but you know there were people watching just to see if she would appear. So I think the poorly kept secret was worth it in that respect. Even though people knew it was coming. the reaction for her was still huge, and it still made an enormous impact, so fair play to her.
On the botched move Monet hit KAIRI with:
I have, and actually someone showed me a video of her practicing the move, because I hadn’t seen her do that move before, and someone showed me a video of her doing it in training. I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. It didn’t look quite how she planned.’ But I mean it’s Sasha Banks/Mercedes Mone, it’s her. She’s gonna brush it under the carpet. She’s gonna move on. She’s gonna deliver killer matches. You know she’s gonna be devastated that it didn’t go the way she planned because she’s a perfectionist, but she still looked a million bucks. The impact was made, the business was there. The first match being in America as well, you know that, if it wasn’t sold-out before, it’s gonna be sold out now. So I think, was it the perfect debut that she would have wanted? No, but is she gonna make us forget about it and put on a banger of a match when she wrestles KAIRI.
(H/T and transcribed by Fightful)