Whatever plans New Japan & Stardom (or their partners at AEW & Ring of Honor) have planned for the wrestler formerly known as Sasha Banks, they’ll continue at NJPW’s Battle in the Valley. That Sat., Feb. 18 show in San Jose, California is where Mercedes Moné will challenge KAIRI for the IWGP Women’s championship.
The show will stream on Fite, which is good. Because as of last night (Jan. 9), Battle in the Valley is sold out.
The venue (Civic Auditorium) isn’t huge. WrestleTix reports its currently configured to hold 2,152 people, but notes there are some limited view sections New Japan can open up to meet additional demand. Per Wrestling Observer, New Japan’s first big 2023 United States show was likely headed toward a sellout anyway, but that they moved 600 tickets since Moné was announced last Wednesday.
The Mercedes vs. KAIRI title bout is currently the only match booked for next month’s card. Wrestle Kingdom 17 main eventers Kazuchika Okada & Jay White have been promoted for the event since it was announced last fall, however.
Is this a sign the investment in Sasha Banks will pay off for Bushiroad? We’ll probably need more information to make that call, but it’s certainly better than if she’d had no impact on ticket sales.