Those in New Japan Pro Wrestling only found out about Sasha Banks‘ impending Wrestle Kingdom appearance when they read the news online.

This week, it was reported that Banks will be attending the January 4, 2023, event, but it is unclear if she will be competing, appearing on-screen, or just being present at the show.

Banks has been suspended from WWE programming since May after she and Naomi walked out of an episode of Raw over a creative dispute.

In the Dark

Banks’ involvement with New Japan is huge news given that she remains under contract with WWE.

During the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer reported that everyone he spoke to in New Japan was not told that the Boss would be at the show.

“There’s nobody there that knew anything about it… including some big insiders.”

Dave Meltzer.

Meltzer added that the winner of the IWGP Women’s Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom between champion KAIRI and challenger Tam Nakano will have their next title defense in San Jose.

Next Stop, AEW?

Banks could be competing for New Japan Pro Wrestling soon enough, but many have speculated whether AEW is next on her list.

Fightful Select reported this week that some in Tony Khan‘s promotion believe Banks at Wrestle Kingdom is a sign that her WWE contract is up.

One source who wished to remain anonymous said they believe bringing Banks in could turn around AEW‘s dwindling ratings compared to previous years.

Some have suggested that Banks could be Saraya‘s mystery partner for her January 11, tag match against AEW Women’s World Champion Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker.

It was Banks’ kick that would cause the neck injury that cost Saraya nearly five years of in-ring action.