The Latest On Sasha Banks' Pro Wrestling Future Could Be Bad News For A WWE Return

Sasha Banks in the WWE
(Image credit: WWE)

2022 has been a massive year for the WWE in terms of getting back some of its most beloved former superstars. We’ve seen Cody Rhodes jump ship from AEW and Bray Wyatt re-emerge from the shadows, but there’s still one big star frequently rumored to return who still hasn’t yet. Now, it appears that Sasha Banks' return to the WWE could be on hold indefinitely in light of a recent report that states she’ll be at a major international event. 

As the WWE’s main roster rests up ahead of upcoming WWE events in 2023, Mercedes Varnado, known in the WWE as Sasha Banks, is reportedly headed to Japan. PWInsider reported that Banks will be at Wrestle Kingdom 17, which is scheduled to take place on January 4th in the Tokyo Dome. The report admits it doesn’t know if Banks will appear in front of the audience or just be in attendance but adds that she’s being brought to the event by New Japan Pro-Wrestling. 

For those unaware, Wrestle Kingdom is NJPW’s equivalent to WWE’s WrestleMania. To hear that NJPW wants Sasha Banks at its event may indicate the company wants the superstar to work there. Banks has been training in facilities prior to this, though to this point, some believed it was for her eventual return to the WWE. 

Sasha Banks also previously teased a team-up with former WWE star Kairi Sane who currently works for another Japanese wrestling company, Stardom, which shares the same corporate owner as NJPW. These two factors have fans wondering if Banks has been training in preparation to work over in Japan, which several WWE stars past and present have done in their careers. Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, and Shinsuke Nakamura all worked in NJPW at various points when they weren’t in the WWE. 

Sasha Banks hasn’t wrestled in the WWE since she and Naomi handed in their women’s tag-team championship belts and walked out of Monday Night Raw back in May. The WWE issued a statement on the incident soon after and suspended both wrestlers indefinitely for what fans soon realized was not scripted and instead a very real situation. 

Ever since Triple H stepped in as head of creative, there have been many rumors about Sasha Banks and Naomi making their way back into the WWE. For all the smoke of those rumors, though, there’s yet to be a fire or definitive proof that Banks or Naomi will return. Currently, one could argue the opposite as beyond this latest report about Banks, Naomi was recently spotted with current AEW TBS women’s champion Jade Cargill.

It doesn’t sound like either is all that close to returning to the WWE at the moment, but that doesn’t mean things can’t turn on a dime. The WWE, especially under this current regime, seems very willing to let water flow under the bridge when it comes to past issues, and would no doubt love to have two of its top women superstars back in the mix. Unfortunately, it looks like they might’ve found new homes elsewhere. As it stands, though, this is just a rumor. We’ll have to wait for confirmation and see where Sasha Banks might be headed in 2023. 

Anyone with a Peacock Premium subscription can still check out some of Sasha Banks' greatest matches with the Wee, and certainly should. The women’s division definitely feels crowded these days, but I’d wager there’s always room for a talent like Banks if she does come back. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.