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Back on December 8, 2022; I promised myself that if Tony Khan ever managed to sign Sasha Banks, I wouldn’t go on a dunking spree. Because I know what it’s like; Whether it’s in wrestling or sports in general, to see your favourite player leave for a new team. In this case, however, my favourite wrestler not named Kenny Omega was coming to my team.
As the self-proclaimed expert on women’s wrestling within AEW, I wanted to reach out to the passionate Mercedes Varnado fanbase aka “The Krew” and, if you weren’t already well acquainted, welcome you into the AEW fanbase.
By the way, if you haven’t been following my work, I often refer to AEW’s Women’s Division as simply The Division. It’s a whole thing that I won’t get into right now.
#TheKrew is #AllElite
In the wake of Mercedes Moné signing with AEW for what reportedly has made her the highest paid woman in professional wrestling, there’s been plenty Krew members online celebrating the fact that—FINALLY!—Mercedes is getting treated like the GOAT she is and will be THE focal point of a women’s division. And from a personal standpoint, Mercedes has always been my #1 overall pick since AEW’s launch in 2019. So needless to say, I am elated.
There’s also plenty of Sasha Banks fans who are less than inthralled by this turn of events. The two main gripes I’ve seen are:
1) They Miss Sasha
For some, they just miss the version of Mercedes Varnado (in Sasha Banks) that they first fell in love with in WWE and were hoping for a reunion. And that’s totally understandable.
My own fandom of Sasha Banks goes all the way back to the deplorable “Sasha’s Ratchet” chants from the Full Sail University era of NXT. And while my WWE fandom fell by the wayside some years ago, my enduring memory of Sasha in that company was of someone who was undeniable yet was constantly being denied in favour of, let’s face it, some white lady. Yes, she did get a big Wrestlemania moment with Bianca Belair and that was special. But other than that, she was clearly never going to get treated like Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch or Ronda Rousey. She even gave WWE a second chance to prove it just recently and they fumbled her again. WWE simply doesn’t deserve her.
2) They Don’t Trust Tony
Another understandable worry about Mercedes getting stuck in AEW’s oft-maligned women’s division.
Look, I get it. But the reality is, Mercedes is stepping into a very, very good situation. Reputations take a long time to shake. Especially if they’ve endured for some time. AEW’s reputation for lacking how it has featured women’s wrestling is, to be honest, very well deserved. One of the side projects I’ve been working on is a “History of The Division“. It’s a complex story. But sometime around Nov/Dec 2023, The Division entered into what I am tentatively calling “The New Hope Era” for a myriad of reasons. Many outside observers have noted that it kind of looks like Mercedes is jumping to a potentially hot product at just the right time. But my hunch is that Tony Khan, in an attempt to court Mercedes Moné, has been out to prove he can book a fire women’s division, and has been setting the table for her arrival. If you’ve been watching Ring Of Honor (you haven’t, let’s be honest), Tony clearly knows what he’s doing. He’s extremely competent in booking women’s wrestling. So whether it was his own personal tastes or some edict from WBD, I believe that potentially fumbling the GOAT was the motivation somebody needed.
Nevertheless, Mercedes Moné is walking in just as things are getting good, which is how it should be. She shouldn’t be expected to grab this company by the scruff of the neck. And while no company is perfect, you can feel the energy around this division. The Division has seen big debuts, big returns, and many women really stepping up their game in anticipation of AEW Dynamite: Big Business. And even after Mercedes finally steps into AEW on March 13th, there’s reason to believe even more exciting prospects are on the horizon.
Now that Mercedes has signed with AEW, she’s going to receive an extra allotment of undeserved hate online. That’s the nature of being an AEW fan in 2024. Whether it’s the blue checkmark bots, attention-seeking grifters, or just your run-of-the-mill haters, you’re going to see a new collection of shit-headed dipshits in her mentions. With that having been said, I take some solace that The Krew is easily the most feared and battle-hardened wrestling fanbase on social media (even Punk’s Cult will tuck tail and turn at the sight of an army of Sasha Banks profile pics coming at them). Just know you’ll see a sudden shift in attitude from people who were previously hyping up Sasha potentially returning at the Rumble.
On that note, if (when) you see some AEW fans besmirching The Krew or attempting to “gatekeep”, try your best to pity these creatures and pay them no mind. There’s still some residual PTSD after Soft Drink Phillip tried to poison the well. They understandably have trust issues.
In any case, if this is how you’re being introduced to All Elite Wrestling, I’m glad you’re here! Like I said, The Division has slowly been built up nicely since late 2023 to where it is now and I’m so stoked to see Mercedes Moné put it over the top! By the way; If you’re interested, checkout my list of Top 5 Money Feuds for Mercedes Monè.
Thanks so much for reading and, as always, remember to let the women in your life know how much you appreciate them! 🙂