Mercedes “Sasha Banks” Varnado reportedly became a free agent yesterday (Jan. 1, 2023). It’s the biggest milestone yet in a seven month saga that began when she & Trinity “Naomi” Fatu walked out of Raw over a disagreement with management over creative, and left their WWE Women’s Tag Team titles behind.
The end of Varnado’s tenure with WWE is said to have been a result of the company opting not to meet her demand that she be paid at the same level as fellow NXT Horsewomen Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, allegedly because those currently running WWE believe the 30 year old Grand Slam champion’s career has “peaked”.
Now, attention turns to Mercedes’ next move. She’s expected to debut for New Japan & Stardom in the Tokyo Dome on Weds., Jan. 4 at Wrestle Kingdom 17, and there’s still plenty of speculation she could make her first AEW appearance a week later on the Jan. 11 Dynamite in Los Angeles.
“I love the fact that she took her career into her own hands, and she knows her worth and she knows she wants to be treated a certain way, and she deserves to be treated that way because she’s done a lot for the wrestling business. She’s one of the girls that puts butts in seats, and you want to see wrestle and you wanna see main event. She deserves all those things.”
The wrestler formerly known as Paige reminded the wrestling world about the money angle she could potentially have with Mercedes, too.
“Wherever she ends up, I’m gonna be happy for her, and anyone that gets her is gonna be very, very lucky. I just selfishly hope that I get to wrestle her one day. I don’t know if she’d want to because she’d probably be scared to wrestle me again [laughs].”
Varnado was working with Saraya back in 2017 when the second-generation wrestler aggravated the neck injury which forced her into retirement for five-plus years. The AEW star’s spoken in the past about how she doesn’t blame Sasha (even though quite a few fans did at the time, and a few still do to this day), and her desire to someday lock up with The Boss again. But she gets it if Mercedes doesn’t want to.
“I totally understand that. She’s just a really good wrestler, so any opportunity, if anyone wanted to wrestle her, they would take it.”
No reason she wouldn’t want to team up though, right?