WWE Rumors: Sasha Banks Negotiated Departure 'Months Ago' amid NJPW Buzz

Doric SamDecember 16, 2022

BOSTON, MA - MAY 8: Six time WWE Women's Champion Sasha Banks holds up her arms after throwing out the first pitch before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park on May 8, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

The status of Sasha Banks remains a hot topic in the world of professional wrestling, but things are starting to become clearer for the former multi-time WWE Women's Champion.

Banks, who has been using her real name Mercedes Varnado, raised eyebrows when it was reported last week that she'd be making an appearance at New Japan Pro-Wrestling's marquee event, Wrestle Kingdom 17, at the Tokyo Dome on Jan. 4.

According to a new report from Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful (h/t Sunil Joseph of Ringside News), Banks is free to take bookings starting on Jan. 1 and her departure from WWE was known for quite some time:

"It was confirmed to Fightful that Mercedes' WWE exit was negotiated 'months ago,' likely when Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc. reported as much. However, WWE has yet to officially confirm this, and she remains listed on the company's official website."

Giri reported in June that Banks was released from WWE following her walkout from an episode of Monday Night Raw alongside her tag team partner Naomi over creative differences. When longtime WWE chairman Vince McMahon retired in July, it had been speculated that Banks and Naomi would return to the company at some point, but that no longer appears to be the case.

It remains to be seen what the future has in store for Banks, but as one of the biggest stars in the wrestling business, she will surely have no shortage of options.

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