In the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer, Dave Meltzer had more details about Mercedes Varnado’s (Sasha Banks) deal with New Japan-Pro Wrestling.
As things stand, the former Raw and Smackdown Women’s champion will be part of the Wrestle Kingdom pay-per-view on January 4 but will not be actually wrestling on the show and rumors are that she will be there for an angle revolving around the IWGP Women’s title.
While her deal will be with NJPW, she will also be appearing on one show for the all-women STARDOM, which is also owned by the same parent company. Varnado has reportedly agreed multiple dates with the Japanese promotion and will become a free agent starting January 1, 2023.
Meltzer writes that when STARDOM’s Rossy Ogawa inquired about getting her on the show, Varnado asked for a lot of money and he wasn’t ready to go ahead with it. But Takaaki Kidani, the CEO of Bushiroad who owns both promotions, was ready to pay the asking price with the idea that she will bring in a lot of new fans from the United States.
Meanwhile, Voice of Wrestling is reporting that Varnado’s deal with NJPW is the biggest per-event agreement NJPW has ever made, so she will not be under a long-term deal, but rather paid for every appearance she makes for the promotion.
Meltzer also adds that Varnado asked for a lot of money to return to WWE and while there was an agreement to return, WWE was not ready to pay her the amount that she wanted, rumored to be in the same bracket of what the company pays Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, the two most-paid female Superstars in the company.