Folks, it appears that Sasha Banks will make her professional wrestling re-debut outside of WWE at Wrestle Kingdom 17 when she makes her debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling using a different name, whether it be Mercedes Mone’ or Mercedes Varnado, after roughly seven months of will-they, won’t-they speculation.

Yet why? Why would WWE let a 10-time champion, one of their four horsewomen, along with Becky Lynch, Bayley, and Charlotte Flair, depart to compete in Japan and perhaps even AEW as a member of Bullet Club? The corporation is experiencing one of its richest periods in history, and record-breaking numbers are frequently brought up on conference calls, so it can’t be a financial issue.

The truth is that WWE doesn’t see Banks as being the same caliber star as her contemporaries, as Dave Meltzer explained in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which is why they haven’t signed her back and may never do so.

A new deal between her and WWE was not agreed upon, Meltzer wrote through Inside the Ropes. “WWE specifically declined to comment on her, but business insiders claimed recently that the two parties had divergent financial interests.

 Sasha Banks

She and WWE came to an agreement in the summer regarding her departure, whereby they agreed to release her to become a free agent rather than freeze her contract. However, she was not allowed to resume her wrestling career until the beginning of 2023. Except for the money factor, it was thought that her return was almost a done deal when the administration changed in the fall. However, the two sides ultimately came to very different conclusions.

“Obviously, New Japan couldn’t pay anywhere close to a WWE agreement, as many of the company’s female employees make more than $1 million annually, and the top stars are way above that amount.”

She was reportedly looking for compensation on the levels of Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, and sources close to the situation claim that she wasn’t given anything comparable.

Apart from the fact that it was acknowledged that if she returned, there would be a honeymoon period where people would go crazy for her, they claimed that she is not perceived internally as someone who would be on top for the next five years but is seen as someone who could get a singles or tag team title run.

Wow, Banks has “reached her stardom peak?” Oh my goodness, that is some very tough stuff about how both Vince McMahon and Paul “Triple H” Levesque see one of their all-time greatest performers, even though Meltzer is speaking for WWE. As of 2010, when she was performing matches for NECW, CW, NWA On Fire, and IWE as Mercedes KV, Banks had 12 years of experience in the ring.

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It will be fascinating to watch how she handles the next stage of her professional wrestling career after spending around ten years working within the WWE system with all of the perks that come with it. Will Banks take advantage of the freedom NJPW (and other organizations) have to give, or will she long for a WWE comeback like other former wrestlers Andrade, Miro, and William Regal? The events of the following month may reveal a great deal about that specific circumstance.

Sasha Banks’ post-WWE contract is a huge undertaking for NJPW/Stardom.

The deal reportedly includes at least one additional date outside of the promotion founded by Antonio Inoki, as Meltzer also reported in his December 16th newsletter and later shared on The Wrestling Observer’s website. Banks joining New Japan is an incredible acquisition comparable to signing Chris Jericho back in 2018.

The agreement with New Japan would also include one date for Stardom, according to Meltzer. The corporation had planned for the largest concert in its history, which will reportedly be announced on 12/29 at the Stardom Sumo Hall exhibition, which is believed to be at a location close to Tokyo. However, that would be for a show that is anticipated in April.

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They are hoping that her crossover appeal to Star Wars and WWE fans can assist them with one big show with the goal of that show being to improve the public’s opinion of the business. They think she has enormous mass appeal because she has 5.6 million Instagram followers and 2.4 million Twitter followers, significantly more than any of their talent.

Which organization, WWE or NJPW, is right? Will Banks bring enough of her fans to NJPW/Stardom to make the move financially advantageous, or will WWE ultimately be proven right in their assertion that Banks’ popular appeal has declined from its all-time highs in the previous decade? Fans will learn the initial response soon enough because WrestleKingdom 17 is only about three weeks away.

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