Earlier this month, PWInsider reported that Mercedes Varnado (FKA Sasha Banks in WWE) is set to appear at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 17 event at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th, leading many to believe that her time with WWE has come to an end. Banks was indefinitely suspended by WWE alongside her former tag-team partner Naomi for allegedly walking out of an episode of Raw on May 16th.
Fightful Select have now provided an update on Varnado’s situation, corroborating a report made by Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc. stating that Banks was no longer with WWE, although Fightful also highlights that there is yet to be an official confirmation of this from the company themselves.
“It was confirmed to Fightful that Mercedes’ WWE exit was negotiated “months ago,” likely when Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc. reported as much. However, WWE has yet to officially confirm this, and she remains listed on the company’s official website.”-Fightful
Additionally, Fightful also noted that they’ve received further confirmation regarding a report they made last summer stating that Varnado would be able to take wrestling-related bookings as of January 1st, 2023. Per the report, this condition is believed to be “contractual”, with WrestleCade being far from the only operation to have made attempts to book the former multi-time WWE Women’s Champion.
One event cited by Fightful as having an interest in booking the 30-year-old was The Big Event, with the report going on to state that numerous conventions made attempts to book Varnado before January 1st, however this wasn’t possible.
Regarding reports of Varnado’s involvement with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Fightful believe the deal is a go, revealing that they were informed that the deal was agreed upon as far back as the last week of November.
On top of Varnado’s seemingly imminent NJPW debut, many fans have been speculating that the former WWE star may also be AEW bound as the mystery tag-team partner for Saraya in her match with Britt Baker and AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter on the January 11th edition of Dynamite.
Those familiar with Varnado’s NJPW deal told Fightful that they are yet to hear of anything in terms of Mercedes working with AEW, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t happening.
As always, we’ll aim to provide any updates on Mercedes Varnado’s future in pro-wrestling as soon as we hear more.