More details have come out regarding the deal that Sasha Banks has agreed to with New Japan Pro Wrestling and Stardom.
Following the news that Sasha Banks came close to returning to WWE, but couldn’t come to an agreement due to money issues, fans are looking forward to her appearance at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 17 event on January 4th.
In the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (available via subscription), Dave Meltzer wrote about how the deal for Mercedes Varnado (she won’t be able to use the Sasha Banks name) is with New Japan and for a Stardom show as well. Stardom is a women’s wrestling promotion.
“The deal is with New Japan but would include one date for Stardom. That would be for a show that is expected in April, but the company had planned for the biggest show in its history, which will tentatively be announced on 12/29 at the Stardom Sumo Hall show, believed to be at a venue near Tokyo.”
“They are hoping that her crossover appeal to WWE fans and Star Wars fans can help them with one major show with the idea of that show to build the perception to the public of the company. Their belief is that with 5.6 million Instagram followers and 2.4 million Twitter followers, far more than any of their talent, that she has gigantic mainstream appeal.”
As Meltzer continued, he noted that it was a huge per-event deal that was originally turned down by Stardom, but was overruled by the CEO of Bushiroad, which is the company that owns New Japan and Stardom.
“We haven’t been able to confirm what she will be earning or if it’s more than (Chris) Jericho, but those close to the situation did confirm it was a huge per-event deal, a number Rossy Ogawa of Stardom, when first approached with it, turned it down thinking it wasn’t cost-effective. However, Takaaki Kidani, the CEO of Bushiroad, wanted the deal made at her asked for price. Because of that price tag she’s only going to be used for major dates.”
“What we have been told by Japanese sources is that she will not use the name Sasha Banks, that WWE is not involved in this deal and it is her deal and she’s told them that she is legally free to work there starting the first of the year, and that the talks that came to fruition started very recently. She reached out months ago to Ogawa, but due to the asking price, that went nowhere. Kidani later really wanted her and ordered the deal to be made.”
To date, Sasha Banks has not commented on her appearance for NJPW. Banks did appear on WWE superstar Bayley’s Instagram Live on December 14th and talked about wrestling training in Mexico while also talking to NXT’s Roxanne Perez and Indi Hartwell.