Sasha Banks is returning to wrestling at some point soon, but where she works on a regular basis remains a bit of a mystery.
It was reported earlier this week that Sasha Banks is expected to appear at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4th.
The last time Sasha Banks appeared on a wrestling show was in May, prior to when she chose to walk out of WWE with fellow Women’s Tag Team Champion Naomi. The team was upset with WWE’s creative direction at the time, so they gave up their titles and left the company. Banks is a six-time WWE Women’s Champion and three-time Women’s Tag Team Champion.
In October, Banks (who uses her real name Mercedes Varnado for appearances now) put out a tease of a possible match with KAIRI, who WWE fans know as Kairi Sane, in a match with Stardom. 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.
What isn’t currently known is if Banks is still under contract to WWE or if she’s considered a wrestling free agent that can work when she wants and where she wants.
With regards to the NJPW news regarding Banks, Fightful Select reported that NJPW would not confirm or deny the story, which is something they usually do quickly if it was false.
It was also reported by Fightful Select that the Wrestlecade event in North Carolina during Thanksgiving weekend tried to book Banks for an appearance, but they were told she wasn’t taking wrestling bookings until after January 1, 2023.
The story from Fightful noted that they asked about Varnado’s status with WWE considering she was featured in commercials for the USA Network show Barmageddon that is hosted by WWE Hall of Famer Nikki Bella. They noted that “nobody at WWE had heard any change or update on her status, or were at least willing to say as much.”
What’s interesting about the Fightful story is that several people in AEW were excited about the possibility of Banks/Varnado potentially appearing for AEW.
On the December 7th edition of AEW Dynamite, a match was made for the January 11th edition of Dynamite with Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. teaming up with AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter for a tag team match against Baker’s rival Saraya and a mystery partner. Since it’s a mystery partner that is over one month away, there has been a lot of speculation that it could be Sasha Banks in that spot using her real name of Mercedes Varnado.
A source in AEW believes that if Sasha Banks was in AEW she could be an anchor for the AEW women’s division and would help AEW’s TV viewership.
Regarding Sasha Banks potentially returning to WWE, there was a report in August, shortly after Triple H took over WWE’s creative team as the Chief Content Officer, that Banks and Naomi agreed to a WWE return. It hasn’t led to a television return, so it’s unknown if that’s true.
TJRWrestling will continue to provide updates on the wrestling status of Sasha Banks (Mercedes Varnado) as we learn more in the days and weeks ahead.