WWE Rumors on Sasha Banks to NJPW and William Regal; Becky Lynch Still Injured

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 9, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 26: Mercedes Varnado attends the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever World Premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on October 26, 2022. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
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Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe and All Elite Wrestling.

Sasha Banks Reportedly Expected to Attend NJPW Wrestle Kingdom

Sasha Banks will reportedly be present next month at New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom event.

According to PWInsider.com's Mike Johnson, NJPW is bringing her in for Wrestle Kingdom 17, which will emanate from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, on Jan. 4.

The second day of Wrestle Kingdom will take place over two weeks later on Jan. 21 at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.

Women's wrestling in Japan was previously relegated to all-female companies such as Stardom, but since Stardom and NJPW are sister companies, a working relationship was forged, and the IWGP Women's Championship was recently created.

Former WWE Superstar Kairi holds the title, and she is putting it on the line against Tam Nakano on Jan. 4. That has led to speculation that Banks may confront Kairi after the match, leading to a bout between them on Jan. 21.

Johnson noted that it hasn't been confirmed if Banks will appear in front of the crowd at Wrestle Kingdom or if she will merely be in attendance.

Banks has not appeared on WWE programming since May when she and tag team partner Naomi walked out prior to an episode of Raw. WWE condemned their actions by suspending them and stripping them of the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships.

Multiple reports suggested that the walkout was because of unhappiness on the part of Banks and Naomi for how WWE was handling their title reign.

While there has been plenty of speculation since then, there has been no concrete proof regarding whether Banks and Naomi are still under contract with the company or if they were released or allowed to have their contracts lapse.

Banks potentially appearing at Wrestle Kingdom could be a sign that she is no longer with WWE and is free to work anywhere, or it could merely be a working arrangement between WWE and NJPW.

WWE leadership has changed significantly since Banks and Naomi were suspended by Vince McMahon, as he retired and was replaced by the combination of Stephanie McMahon, Nick Khan and Triple H.

They have already shown more of a willingness to work with other companies, as Shinsuke Nakamura is being permitted to wrestle Great Muta for Pro Wrestling Noah on New Year's Day, and WWE roster member Karl Anderson is still a champion for NJPW.

If Banks is still under a WWE contract, Wrestle Kingdom could be a precursor to her WWE return, especially since the Royal Rumble is on Jan. 28.

Regal Reportedly Returning to WWE in January

William Regal's official return to WWE is reportedly only a few weeks away from happening.

According to Johnson, Regal is set to start again with WWE during the first week of January following his departure from AEW.

AEW president Tony Khan discussed the Regal situation during a media call on Wednesday. Per Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp, Khan said Regal requested that his AEW contract not be renewed so he could return to WWE.

Khan said Regal had "a lot of good reasons" for wanting to return to WWE, including the desire to coach his son, who wrestles under the name Charlie Dempsey in NXT.

It was also noted by Khan (h/t Marc Middleton of WrestlingHeadlines.com) that it was a conditional release, meaning Regal will be permitted to work backstage for WWE once 2022 ends, but he won't be allowed to appear on television until 2024.

Regal was a longtime wrestler in WWE before transitioning into a backstage role in 2014. He had a lengthy run as the general manager of NXT, but much of his work involved coaching up-and-coming wrestlers and recruiting new talent to WWE.

He was surprisingly released from the company in January amid a firestorm of releases, especially in relation to the NXT brand.

Regal arrived in AEW in March and formed the Blackpool Combat Club with Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson. Wheeler Yuta and Claudio Castagnoli eventually joined as well.

He shockingly turned on Moxley at Full Gear last month, allowing MJF to become the AEW world champion. MJF then double-crossed Regal on the Nov. 30 episode of Dynamite by hitting him with brass knuckles, thus spelling the end of Regal's AEW tenure.

Regal has long been close to Triple H, and his rise to power following the retirement of Vince McMahon in July undoubtedly has plenty to do with Regal's desire to return to WWE.

Lynch Says Shoulder Still Isn't 100 Percent

Although she returned to action at Survivor Series WarGames last month, Becky Lynch suggested this week that she doesn't feel like she's all the way back from her shoulder injury.

Speaking to Matthew Connell of Verge, Lynch said the following about her health: "Truth be told, my shoulder still isn't feeling right. So to say I was nervous is probably a bit of an understatement. But once you get out there, once you get in front of the crowd and you feel that energy, then you forget everything else. There's not another feeling like it."

Lynch was out for about four months with a shoulder injury suffered during her Raw Women's Championship match against Bianca Belair at SummerSlam in July.

She returned on the go-home episode of SmackDown prior to Survivor Series WarGames to be announced as the final member of Belair's WarGames team.

The team of Lynch, Belair, Alexa Bliss, Asuka and Mia Yim was victorious, as they took down Bayley, Iyo Sky, Dakota Kai, Rhea Ripley and Nikki Cross.

Lynch was arguably the star of the show, as she won the match for her team with a leg drop off the top of the cage and through a table.

Despite perhaps not being 100 percent healthy, Lynch has been active since her return, as she also competed in a Triple Threat match against Bliss and Cross on Monday's Raw for a chance to challenge Belair for the Raw women's title.

Damage CTRL members Sky and Kai interfered and cost her the match, which suggests she is trending toward a rivalry with Damage CTRL leader Bayley.

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