Mercedes Mone contract talks continues as the biggest free agent story in wrestling

Mercedes Mone continues to impact professional wrestling without stepping into the ring as news breaks about her talks with WWE ending and no idea where she will show up next.
Women's Pro-Wrestling "Stardom" - Allstar Grand Queendom 2023
Women's Pro-Wrestling "Stardom" - Allstar Grand Queendom 2023 / Etsuo Hara/GettyImages

The last weekend of 2023 isn’t going to go away without some type of drama in the professional wrestling world. This time, it was Mercedes Mone yet again shaking up the industry. As potential updates hit the wrestling media about her next steps, it became clear that she is still “the conversation.” Regardless of where Mercedes Mone appears next, her moves will continue to draw the attention of everyone in professional wrestling.

On Friday, December 29, Fightful Select reported that talks between Mone and WWE “fell apart.” According to the report, Mone and WWE were in negotiations about a possible return to the company. WWE sources said that the two sides are no longer in active negotiations, with those sources claiming that their side walked away from the discussions. Within that same report, another source is stated to believe “she would end up appearing elsewhere imminently but didn’t state where.”

Those few paragraphs sent the wrestling world into a tizzy as some would say. Several big shows are coming in the next few weeks, and the anticipation is that Mone could show up at any or neither of them. AEW Worlds End is Saturday, December 30. Wrestle Kingdom 18 is on Thursday, January 4, and TNA Hard to Kill is on Saturday, January 13.

This news comes after a year of Mone proving that she is the top name in women’s wrestling. She started 2023 appearing at Wrestle Kingdom 17, kicking off a run that would see her capture the IWGP Women’s Championship. An unfortunate injury in May while competing against Willow Nightingale forced her out of action for the rest of the year, but it didn’t stop speculation about where she would end up. AEW seemed like the frontrunner, but those talks reported stalled prior to the news about WWE.

This news also comes after reports that Charlotte Flair signed a big money deal with WWE. According to the December 19 report, the new contract is a “huge money increase over her last contract, and one of the highest-paid deals to a woman in WWE history.” Since that report, both Bayley and Zelina Vega have re-signed with WWE, but it is the Flair deal that causes additional speculation in the wrestling-verse.

One of the biggest arguments that Mone fans made over the years is that WWE consistently undervalues her compared to Flair. Her massive fan base would point to booking decisions and title reigns as examples, even though it was Mone that consistently moved headlines and ratings. The only individuals who truly know Mone’s contract demands are herself, her representatives, and those involved from a WWE standpoint. But that perception has long lived within wrestling conversations and this will be another note in a chapter.

What will be interesting to learn is how Endeavor engages in contract negotiations for WWE. Now that the company has merged with UFC to form TKO Group Holdings, fans should ask that question because of Endeavor’s track record with athlete negotiations within the UFC. One of the biggest stories in mixed martial arts is around fighter pay and contracts, specifically from the UFC's standpoint as the industry leader. The company is known for playing hardball with athletes, and keeping fighter pay as low as possible with the goal to have the best impact on the bottom line. If that same position is being made within the WWE, it is going to set the stage for some interesting contract battles in the coming years.

2024 is shaping up to be a huge year for professional wrestling. Both AEW and WWE are gaining momentum in their own ways. As competition ramps up, the performers stand to benefit when it is their turn to negotiate new deals. Mercedes Mone is one of the most important free agents to watch next year and where she goes, legions of fans will follow.

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