Sasha Banks, now known as Mercedes Varnado, is said to be in Japan ahead of her rumoured appearance at Wrestle Kingdom 17 in January. However, neither New Japan Pro-Wrestling nor STARDOM have advertised or announced this. They want her presence to be a surprise on the night.
Of course, Varnado’s reported NJPW presence was released a while ago, so many wrestling fans watching the event won’t be surprised. However, she is currently rumoured to be in Japan, marketing herself ahead of the big show. While the choice to pre-announce her can be changed, that is not the current plan. It’s unclear what kind of role Varnado will play on the show or whether she’ll end up getting physical in any capacity.
Her time with WWE, however, appears to have ended in the summer, freeing her up to work somewhere else—even though her profile remains in the active section of WWE.com. Since she and Naomi walked out of a “WWE Raw” taping due to creative differences with officials, the company has made no official announcement about her status. Kairi will defend her IWGP Women’s Championship against Tam Nakano at Wrestle Kingdom, which would be expected to be Varnado’s debut for the firm.
In the meantime, there has been speculation that she may compete for AEW as Saraya’s mystery partner on the January 11 episode of “AEW Dynamite,” but this remains to be seen. Mercedes Varnado is expected to arrive in Japan on Wednesday, December 21, ahead of her scheduled appearance at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4. As per NJPW sources, the veteran wrestler is currently heading to Japan and will spend a couple of weeks there in preparation for the promotion’s biggest show of the year at the Tokyo Dome.
The report went on to say that “Varnado is expected to at least make a cameo” at Wrestle Kingdom 17. But it didn’t say whether she was going to wrestle or get physical in any way. Sources previously stated that Varnado was not simply attending the event as a spectator but was brought in by NJPW. Fans were left wondering if the recent professional relationship between WWE & NJPW could have enabled Varnado’s cameo at Wrestle Kingdom 17, despite multiple reports saying Varnado was done with WWE.