Backstage News On Sasha Banks' WWE Future

The future of Sasha Banks in WWE has been up in the air since her walkout from the company in May. Amidst initial reports that the former "SmackDown" Women's Champion had been released from WWE, more recent reports from Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer claim she is still under contract with the company. Based on the latter, the two sides were reportedly undergoing negotiations to work out a potential on-screen return date for "The Boss." Unfortunately, the two parties experienced some "hang-ups."

In the latest update on Banks, "Wrestling Observer Radio" is reporting that Banks and WWE were "far apart on money" during negotiations, which meant a new deal hadn't been reached. "As of right now, she's done with WWE. It could change at any moment, but that's the situation right now," Dave Meltzer said. As Banks' future in WWE seemingly dims, the future of Mercedes Varnado in New Japan Pro Wrestling shines brighter.

On January 4, Banks will appear at the Tokyo Dome for NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom 17. According to Meltzer, Banks has "pretty much" agreed to the terms set of a deal struck between the two parties for her to appear for a series of dates. While the dates were not specified, the multi-time champion will not resume her "Sasha Banks" name, but will instead likely assume her real name of Mercedes Varnado or her recently trademarked Mercedes Mone' name. In addition, Banks' appearance at the Tokyo Dome will strictly be just an appearance next month, however, future dates of her wrestling haven't been ruled out just yet.

With the IWGP Women's Championship set to be defended at Wrestle Kingdom 17, many have speculated the possibility of Banks playing an integral role in the title's first defense in the United States, reportedly slated for February 18 in San Jose, California, but there is no confirmation.