Sasha Banks, real name Mercedes Varnado, will go to Japan earlier than expected. 

It was originally reported that the former WWE Women’s Champion is expected to appear at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17. It has since been revealed that Varnado has verbally agreed to a deal with NJPW after negotiating her release from WWE months ago with the stipulation that she couldn’t do anything wrestling related until 2023.  

Hiroaki Sawa confirmed that Varnado would be back in Japan in the middle of this week. Sawa tweeted (Translated from Japanese):

The Announcement

Sasha Banks
(via WWE)

“Sasha Banks, a female top wrestler who has surpassed 5.6 million Instagram followers and is active in the American professional wrestling organization WWE, will be staying in Japan from the middle of this week. Hope to collaborate with Japanese brands. If you are interested in brands or agencies, how about MTG including her on the night of 12/21 (Wednesday) or 12/23 (Friday)? I’ll be waiting.”

Although not confirmed, the belief is Banks will appear at Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4 to confront KAIRI, who will be defending her IWGP Women’s Championship on the show.

Contract talks between Banks and WWE fell through due to money, as Banks wanted to be paid on the level of Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. They also thought she had peaked as a top star.