Sasha Banks is reportedly returning to the wrestling world in January 2023, but her first appearance won’t be a WWE event.
It has been reported that Mercedes Varnado, who WWE fans know as Sasha Banks, is going to be appearing at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4th, 2023 according to PWInsider.
The report from PWInsider notes that it’s unknown if Varnado would be appearing in front of a live crowd, but several sources confirmed that she would be at Wrestle Kingdom.
In October, Varnado put out a tease of a possible match with KAIRI, who WWE fans know as Kairi Sane, in a match with Stardom. NJPW and Stardom have the same corporate owner and they recently did an event together. Since KAIRI is the current NJPW Women’s Champion, it’s possible that Banks could be going there to set up a match between the two women that worked together plenty of times in WWE.
Over the past several months, Varnado has posted photos and brief videos of her working out in a ring with some notable names like Juventud Guerrera among others. As more photos and videos appeared, it was believed by fans that she was planning to wrestle again somewhere soon.
The last time that Varnado appeared on a wrestling show was in May 2022 when she was a WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion as Sasha Banks with Naomi. The former Women’s Tag Team Champions were frustrated with the creative direction at the time and chose to walk out rather than stay in the company.
Since Sasha Banks and Naomi (Trinity Fatu) walked out on WWE, there have been numerous reports about both women returning to WWE, especially after Triple H took over as WWE”s Chief Content Officer after Vince McMahon retired in July. Banks and Naomi walked out on WWE when McMahon was still in charge.
Varnado has also filed several trademark filings recently including her birth name along with Mercedes Mone’, Mone’ Talks, Bank Mone’, and Statement Maker with all of that coming under her company name Soulnado.
We will have more updates on Varnado’s future in NJPW and how it might involve WWE or another wrestling promotion.