Mercedes Monè Defeats KAIRI to Become New IWGP Women's Champion at Battle in the Valley

Mercedes Monè vs KAIRI was finally here at tonight's NJPW Battle in the Valley, marking Monè's first in-ring match for New Japan. After nine months away from the ring since departing WWE, Monè and KAIRI tore the house down with several near falls, a shattered table, and more. At one point the referee was knocked out and things took a turn outside of the ring, with speakers and tables involved. When things moved back to the ring, both stars were pulling out everything they had, defending against big moves from the top rope. It was ultimately the Monè Maker that would seal the deal and get Monè the win, making her the new IWGP Women's Champion!

At first they locked up and attempted to gain the upper hand but pushed each other away, and then they exchanged holds until Monè leaped off the ropes and spun KAIRI into another hold on the mat. They locked up again and attempted to overpower the other, but Monè kicked KAIRI's arm to loosen it and locked in a hold.

KAIRI then brought Monè down to the mat and then hit a huge dropkick that sent the challenger through the ropes and to the floor, and she followed it up by attacking her on the outside. KAIRI rolled the challenger back into the ring and hit a loud open-hand chop on Monè before hitting another one. KAIRI went for a third but Monè evaded and delivered several punches to KAIRI's chest before sending KAIRI flying across the ring.

Monè hit the double knees on KAIRI in the corner and then went to work on KAIRI's right wrist and arm, but KAIRI was able to throw her into the corner turnbuckle and get her caught up in the corner. Monè managed to kick the Champ in the head and then get free of the turnbuckle before putting KAIRI between the post and pulling her down with force, doing big damage to KAIRI's midsection.

Then she slammed her arm on the ring post and the ring apron before rolling KAIRI in for a cover, but she kicked out. Monè then pulled KAIRI up and slapped her hard in the face before standing on her back and taunting a bit. KAIRI fought back but Monè hit a single-arm DDT and went for a cover, but KAIRI kicked out. KAIRI caught Monè with a quick roll up but she kicked out, and then Monè returned the favor with a quick cover attempt but the Champion kicked out.

Monè then threw KAIRI's hat at the Champion before pushing her boots against KAIRI's neck on the ropes. KAIRI was on the outside and Monè rolled her back into the ring, and then she brought down KAIRI's arm hard on her knees before going for a cover that KAIRI kicked out of. Monè then locked KAIRI up in the corner turnbuckle before stomping her repeatedly, but before she could slam KAIRI's arms against the post again, the Champ countered and drove Monè into the post instead. Then she slammed the challenger into another post before trying to throw her again, but Monè countered and threw the Champ to the floor as the count started.

Both stars made it back into the ring at 19 and then charged at each other, but Monè won the exchange, attacking the Champion's shoulder. Monè lifted KAIRI up and kept attacking the Champ's back. She tried to send her off the turnbuckle but KAIRI countered and got her trapped instead. KAIRI then hit the double stomp on Monè as she was holding onto the ropes, but couldn't capitalize on a pin right away.

She got to her feet and caught Monè, hitting a neck breaker and a spear on the challenger in quick succession. KAIRI looked to get the crowd behind her and build some steam, and she slid with a powerful forearm before going for a splash into a cover, but Monè kicked out. KAIRI locked Monè in a Figure Four around the neck, and Monè got to the ropes so had to break the hold. KAIRI went to lift Monè but Monè broke it up with a kick to the face that knocked the Champ to the outside. Monè then hit the double knees from the ring apron onto the floor, and Monè got KAIRI back in the ring.

Monè went up top and hit the Meteora into a cover, but KAIRI kicked out at the last second. Monè went for a move but KAIRI countered into a rollup. Monè countered with one too but both were kicked out of. KAIRI missed with her spinning backhand and then Monè went for Double Knees again but the Champ evaded and applied a submission on Monè's legs and knees. Monè almost got to the ropes but KAIRI dragged her back to the center of the ring, but then Monè got out of it and locked in the crossface.

KAIRI was able to break the hold though, and then caught her with the Cutlass, but Monè kicked out of the cover attempt. KAIRI slammed Monè down and then tried to go up top but Monè caught her leg to stop her. KAIRI hit a huge axe kick on the back of Monè's neck, but then Monè caught her with a Belly to Belly into a cover for a near fall. Monè hit the Triple Suplexes with a nod to Eddie Guerrero, but then KAIRI caught her with a DDT.

They exchanged punches for a minute and then KAIRI went for the Cutlass but she caught the referee. KAIRI was livid and started attacking Monè on the outside and onto the ramp, ending her attack with a big kick to the back. Monè rolled to the floor and KAIRI built up some steam and ran towards her only to get caught by Monè and slammed into a speaker. Monè then pulled out a table and set up KAIRI on the speaker.

She tried to lift the Champ but the Champ reversed it, got under her, and slammed her through the table. KAIRI then threw her money all over the place and picked up Monè, dragging her back to the ring. She went up top for the Elbow Drop but Monè got her boots up and totally derailed the Champ. Monè went up top and went for a splash but she ate knees from KAIRI. KAIRI then locked Monè in a crossface in the middle of the ring, but Monè bit her hand to escape the hold.

They were in lock step back to back, but then Monè hit the Money Maker and was able to get the pin and the win, making Monè the new IWGP Women's Champion. After the match, Monè extended her hand to KAIRI and she even put the Title around her waist.

What did you think of the match? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things wrestling with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!