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Sasha Banks Reportedly a Free Agent Following WWE Contract Rumors, Legendary Career

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 2, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13:  Sasha Banks attends Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man: No Way Home" Los Angeles Premiere held at The Regency Village Theatre on December 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Longtime WWE Superstar Sasha Banks reportedly became an official free agent in the world of pro wrestling on Sunday.

Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp tweeted that Banks is "free to take wrestling bookings" now that the calendar has turned to 2023.

Banks last appeared on WWE programming in May, as she and Naomi walked out prior to an episode of Raw due to an apparent disagreement with WWE Creative's plans for them as women's tag team champions.

In response, WWE suspended both Banks and Naomi and stripped them of the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships.

There has been plenty of speculation about their status since then, but it wasn't until recently that something more concrete emerged. Last month, PWInsider.com's Mike Johnson reported that plans were in place for Banks to appear at New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 17 on Jan. 4.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Ian Carey of F4WOnline) then reported that agreement was reached through NJPW, suggesting that Banks is done with WWE, at least for now.

According to Fightful Select (h/t Cain A. Knight of Cageside Seats), Banks negotiated her release from WWE "months ago" with the understanding that she would not begin taking pro wrestling bookings until Jan. 1, 2023.

On Sunday, Banks, whose real name is Mercedes Varnado, tweeted a somewhat cryptic message that may have been referencing new beginnings in her wrestling career:

Mercedes Varnado @MercedesVarnado

When you take a risk doing what you love, that's exciting. <a href="https://t.co/pR5xkBapXh">pic.twitter.com/pR5xkBapXh</a>

Banks is arguably one of the most significant female wrestling free agents in years due to all she accomplished in WWE.

During her decade with the company, Banks was a five-time Raw women's champion, three-time WWE women's tag team champion, one-time SmackDown women's champion and one-time NXT women's champion.

She was also the first woman along with Bayley to ever main-event an NXT TakeOver show, and she and Bianca Belair were the first women to main-event WrestleMania in a one-on-one match when they closed Night 1 of WrestleMania 37.

All signs are pointing toward Banks now doing some work with NJPW and potentially STARDOM, but the door is now open for her to explore other wrestling companies as well, provided she isn't under an exclusive deal.

There has been plenty of speculation about her making the move to AEW, but given the change in leadership in WWE with former NXT boss Triple H taking over for Vince McMahon as head of Creative, a WWE return could always be in the cards as well.

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