Mercedes Varnado, formerly known as WWE’s Sasha Banks, is confirmed to appear at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 17, but her WWE status has remained very much a mystery up until seemingly now.
Ahead of Varnado’s first appearance at a wrestling event since walking out on WWE in 2021, she appears to have closed the chapter on her WWE tenure with a slew of “thank you” notes to the like of WWE, William Regal, Triple H, the WWE Universe, Vince McMahon, and a special one to Sasha Banks.
Banks will not be heading to NJPW alone, as her former partner Naomi, as well as apparently one of her fiercest rivals, Bayley, will be in attendance for her match, per PWInsider.
Bayley is under WWE contract and reportedly is unlikely to appear on camera. Naomi will also reportedly “almost certainly be returning to WWE” herself, according to the Wrestling Observer.
Varnado became a free agent when the calendar turned to 2023, after reportedly attempting to negotiate money in the range of what Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch make. WWE allegedly balked at that price, per the Wrestling Observer. Since her WWE exit, Varnado has also apparently requested a trademark for ‘Mone’ Banks, and ‘Bank Mone’ signaling what could be her post-WWE ring name.
Varnado’s appearance at Wrestle Kingdom is still very much a mystery as to what to expect, but we’ll get an answer very shortly.