In December, PWInsider broke the news that Mercedes Varnado (known as Sasha Banks in WWE) is expected to appear at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 17 event at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th, noting that she’s now believed to be done with WWE. Since then, multiple sources have confirmed the report, and it is now apparent that Varnado is indeed in Japan ahead of the show.
PWInsider are now reporting that Varnado won’t be alone in Japan, as her former tag-team partner Naomi is also expected to be in the country at the time of Wrestle Kingdom 17. Naomi, alongside Banks, was suspended by WWE for allegedly walking out of the May 16th episode of Raw, with neither woman making any wrestling-related appearances since then.
“PWInsider.com can also exclusively confirm that Banks’ WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship partner Trinity “Naomi” Fatu is currently slated to be in Japan.”-PWInsider
Per the report, New Japan sources wouldn’t confirm that they’re bringing Fatu in for WK17, and instead implied that the former Smackdown Women’s Champion is coming to Japan is simply travelling to the country to support her friend.
Wrestle Kingdom 17 will feature the first defence of the IWGP Women’s Championship, as KAIRI will put the gold on the line against Cosmic Angels’ Tam Nakano. Varnado is likely to appear after said match to challenge the eventual winner, however it’ll be interesting to see whether she brings company with her.