Backstage Report Offers Details On Mercedes Mone's Negotiations With AEW, WWE

Mercedes Mone still has the entire wrestling world talking following her debut for All Elite Wrestling. The woman WWE fans know better as Sasha Banks opened up the "Big Business" edition of "AEW Dynamite" on March 13 in front of her hometown fans at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Mone has been seen as one of the biggest free agents in wrestling since the moment she walked out of WWE in May 2022, and new details have emerged regarding her decision to become "All Elite."

According to a lengthy report by PWInsider, Mone was in talks with both WWE and AEW at separate points over the past two years, but chose AEW for a variety of different reasons. AEW's discussions with Mone reportedly stretch back as far as 18 months before her debut at "Big Business," putting the initial discussions in September 2022. This rapport blossomed over time, and while WWE entered negotiations late, Mone ultimately decided to choose a company she saw as having more potential for herself, the current women's division, and any future women who want to get into the business.

The former WWE star is all about the money in terms of her character, but the amount of cash that Mone is earning in All Elite Wrestling is unlike anything a female performer has ever seen. PWInsider claims that both AEW and WWE offered Mone deals that would have amounted to eight figures if she worked the entire length of her contract. If accurate, this not only makes her the current highest paid female performer in wrestling, but the highest paid female performer in the history of the business. However, it should be noted that no official figures for Mone's multi-year deal with AEW were disclosed in PWInsider's report.

AEW provides more freedom outside the ring

Arguably the biggest thing that held WWE back from securing Mone's signature was how insular the company can be. While they did enter discussions later than AEW and sent top executives to speak with her in hopes she'd be "back in the family," PWInsider noted that a big part in why Mone turned WWE down was AEW's willingness to help her maintain a healthy balance regarding her non-wrestling ventures.

It's believed that if Mone went back to WWE, virtually all of her focus would be on WWE, closing potential doors that have been opened in recent years. Mone has developed fashion and music projects since leaving WWE, and even more so while she was out injured — such ventures would have taken a backseat if she had re-signed with WWE, as would her acting career, which received a huge boost thanks to her role as Koska Reeves in the Disney+ series "The Mandalorian." There is a belief that AEW is not only more flexible when it comes to Mone's acting career, but that they would be willing to set up a direct relationship with their parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, in order to potential explore other film and TV franchises.

AEW is also reportedly more willing to let Mone take time away from wrestling to pursue more acting roles. Koska Reeves could feature in the upcoming "The Mandalorian and Grogu" film that's in the works, and AEW is willing to work with the team that Mone has built around her to maintain her physical, emotional, and mental health to help her stay happy in whatever avenue she travels down outside of the ring, while also not mitigating opportunities that potentially come her way.

Mone is thinking about her legacy

As proven by the fact that the first quarter-hour of "Big Business" was AEW's first segment of 2024 to reach one million viewers, Mone has taken the opportunity to be a top-tier performer for a company who, according to sources close to Mone, need to capitalize on the fact that they have a star on their hands who can do great things for the company.

Per PWInsider, those sources agreed that Mone not only wants to leave a lasting legacy on wrestling, but to make it better for the women that follow her on both a practical and financial level. She now owns all of her own trademarks, something that wouldn't have happened in WWE. She was instrumental in the hiring of Jennifer Pepperman, who will not only work with Mone but all of the AEW roster as the company's new Vice President of Content Development. Mone even stated that she wants to take things global on "Dynamite," meaning that she wants women's wrestling to be elevated to a much bigger and prestigious scale, and she wants to be the one at the forefront as someone who bet on herself and managed to build a platform and an empire for herself as a reward.

Both Mone and AEW seem happy to be working together. The fans haven't stopped talking since the moment the letters "CEO" came over the speakers at the TD Garden. Mone will be appearing live on the March 20 edition of "Dynamite" in Toronto, where fans will learn what her next move is in the lead-up to the company's next pay-per-view, "Dynasty," and if the situation stays rosy, she could be with the company for the long haul — though PWI did mention Mone's recent comments about returning to WWE, noting that this could be as simple as one final match with Bayley years down the road.