New Behind-The-Scenes Details On Sasha Banks And Wrestle Kingdom

Mercedes Varnado (AKA Sasha Banks in WWE) is reportedly expected to arrive in Japan on Wednesday, December 21, ahead of her planned appearance at NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4. 

According to PWInsider, NJPW's sources have confirmed that the veteran wrestler is currently traveling to Japan, and will spend a few weeks in the country in the lead-up to the promotion's biggest show of the year at the Tokyo Dome.


The report added that "Varnado is expected to at least make a cameo" at Wrestle Kingdom 17 but did not specify if there were plans for her to wrestle or get physical in any capacity. One of the marquee matches at the event will pit IWGP Women's Champion KAIRI against STARDOM legend Tam Nakano.   

PWInsider – the outlet that broke the original story of Varnado appearing at Wrestle Kingdom 17 – had previously noted that Varnado wasn't just attending the event on her own accord as a spectator and that she was being brought in by NJPW. This bit of information had left fans wondering if the recent working relationship between WWE and NJPW could have facilitated Varnado's cameo at Wrestle Kingdom 17, even as multiple reports suggested Varando was done with WWE. It's worth noting, however, that Varnado's profile page on has yet to be moved to the alumni section, which is the norm when a superstar is no longer with the company.


Earlier this week, Varnado fueled the rumor mill by posting a GIF of Ric Flair from his time as NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion, which several fans took as a sign of Varnado wanting to be a traveling champion appearing in multiple promotions. There's also been chatter of Varnado possibly appearing as Saraya's partner on the 1/11 episode of "AEW Dynamite" where the former Paige & a mystery partner will wrestle Dr. Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter in a tag team bout.