Update On Sasha Banks' Deal With NJPW

As Sasha Banks' expected return to professional wrestling grows closer, more details are coming out about how often fans can expect to see her in the ring once again. According to Friday's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, following an expected appearance at New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 17 — likely to set up a match with the winner of the IWGP Women's Championship match between KAIRI and Tam Nakano — Banks will begin making appearances on major shows for NJPW; it is not believed that she will be going on tour in Japan for the promotion. 

Banks apparently came to an agreement with NJPW back in November, and New Japan expects Banks to be cleared to wrestle for them whenever she wants in 2023, as it appears she has zero ties binding her to WWE at the moment. Banks struck a "huge" deal on a per-event basis with a price tag reportedly so high that Stardom first turned down the offer;  Bushiroad CEO Takaaki Kidani then stepped in and pushed to meet the longtime WWE star's asking price.

Banks has been missing from the squared circle since May when she and Naomi walked out of WWE at an episode of "Raw." Both women were subsequently suspended indefinitely and haven't been seen in wrestling circles as their situations were sorted out. In early December, Banks filed for several new trademarks, including for the name "Mercedes Mone" as well as the terms "Mone' Talks," "Bank Mone,'" and "Statement Maker" –- indications that new names are coming for her and perhaps her signature moves to match those changes.