As noted before, Sasha Banks is currently expected to make an appearance for New Japan Pro Wrestling at their Wrestle Kingdom 17 event next month in Tokyo, Japan. Banks is also currently believed to have recently negotiated an exit from her contract with WWE and will be a free agent starting next year.
Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that while Banks is currently not expected to wrestle at NJPW’s upcoming event, she will likely be involved in an angle at the show to set up a future match for the IWGP Women’s Championship against either Tam Nakano or current champion KAIRI.
In regards to Banks’ deal with NJPW, Meltzer reported that this will be for multiple dates for events in both the United States and Japan. These dates reportedly would be for all of NJPW’s major events and not include tours.
Voices of Wrestling reported that their sources stated that Banks’ deal with Bushiroad is currently believed to be the largest ever for a per-date type deal. Banks’ monetary amount reportedly is also believed to be higher than what was paid to Chris Jericho for his appearances in NJPW. Banks’ asking price reportedly was an amount too high for Stardom to accept which led to Bushiroad getting involved and agreeing to pay her price to ensure a deal was made. Jericho recently stated on Twitter that the reports listing his pay with NJPW from 2018 to 2020 are not correct since he was never paid a flat fee amount for his appearances and instead was based on the status of the event itself.
In regards to Stardom, Meltzer reported that Banks is currently believed to be working at least one date for Stardom and likely at their event in April of 2023. Stardom officials reportedly are currently planning for this upcoming event to be the biggest ever in company history. Both Stardom and Bushiroad officials reportedly are currently hopeful Banks’ big star status and mainstream appeal will lead to a huge mainstream boost for Stardom. NJPW officials reportedly are currently hopeful Banks’ star status will also lead to a big boost in New Japan World subscriptions similar on the level of Chris Jericho.
In regards to Banks’ talks with WWE over a potential new contract, Melzter reported that Banks had been asking for an amount similar in value to what Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair are currently making, which is well above $1 million per year. Those close to the situation reportedly stated that WWE’s counter offer was for an amount nowhere close to it. Those same people reportedly stated that this was due to WWE officials did not view Banks as someone who would be a top star for the company for the next five years.
Those spoken to within WWE reportedly stated that they currently believe Banks will return to the company at some point in the future but not at her current asking price.
In regards to Banks’ ring name outside of WWE, those spoken to within Japan stated that she will not being using the “Sasha Banks” name since that is owned by WWE. In regards to the recent rumors of Stardom officials had considered plans for Banks to be the inaugural IWGP Women’s Champion, Meltzer reported that his sources stated that was never the case. Meltzer reported that the only change to Stardom’s original plans was that Mayu Iwatani had been chosen to be the inaugural champion but those plans were dropped due to contract-related issues.