We’ve been hearing (and hearing, and hearing) for weeks that Mercedes “Sasha Banks” Varnado will be making her Japanese debut next week at Wrestle Kingdom 17.
Everyone figures this will involve coming out after KAIRI and Tam Nakano’s IWGP Women’s title match, setting up a big match a little later in 2023 for New Japan’s sister promotion Stardom. We know that Varnado is in Japan, and that she hasn’t done anything to dissuade fans of the notion she’s NJPW-bound. But the latest report indicated New Japan didn’t plan to say anything in advance about her arrival, preferring to make her appearance in the Tokyo Dome on Jan. 4 a surprise.
They haven’t officially done anything to change that. But perhaps sensing it might help sell NJPWWorld subscriptions if they validated the rumors and speculation a bit, the head of New Japan & Stardom’s parent company dropped a teaser in a new interview with Yahoo Sports Japan.
There’s some question about translation. One interpretation has Busiroad CEO Takaaki Kidani saying “Sasha Banks may show up at the Jan. 4 Wrestle Kingdom show,” while another translates Kidani’s answer as a more playful, “There’s quite a chance that she may appear at the Dome.”
Either way, it’s not the kind of seed you plant if you don’t think the crop is going to come in, if you catch my drift.
Only a few more days of this...