If the latest reports are to be believed, and given the quality of those reporting they should be, Mercedes Varnado for New Japan Pro-Wrestling may soon be ringing in the new year for all of us in a couple of weeks.
Fightful Select was able to confirm that Varnado’s WWE exit had been in talks over the summer, most likely around the time Wrestling Inc.’s Raj Giri reported that he had been released from the company.
This all, of course, stems from the incident in May where Sasha Banks and Naomi squared off Monday night Raw After laying her Women’s Tag Team Titles on the desk of the (former) Head of Talent Relations.
Despite coming to an agreement with the company, Sasha Banks is still listed as an active competitor on WWE’s website – most likely due to a non-compete that expires at the end of the year. Fightful noted in their report that Varnado was contractually unable to take any wrestling related bookings until January 1 and then confirmed rumors that Mercedes had a date with the Tokyo Dome next month.
“The New Japan Pro Wrestling deal is a known one, and was agreed upon as far back as the last week of November. People we spoke to about that deal said they have so far signed deals with All Elite Wrestling and Mercedes. Haven’t heard anything about it but also said that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
Here’s what we know for sure. There are many people who apologize for what they said about Raj Giri during this whole process. And Sasha Banks’ work with WWE is over. For now, and possibly for good.
This should come as a surprise to absolutely no one.
When Triple H took over as Chief Content Officer of WWE, I believed his first official act should have been to pick up the phone and call Sasha Banks. They needed to do absolutely everything they could to mend those fences before one of their biggest crossover stars could leave for potentially greener pastures.
As the days, weeks and months ticked off the calendar, it became clear that Sasha Banks was not returning to the company. Any and all hopes of this happening went up in smoke when the boss didn’t show up survivor Serieswhich was held in his hometown of Boston.
He did appear at TD Garden, but he wasn’t there until a few days later when the Celtics were at home to take on the Miami Heat.
Being a man who prides himself on knowing what’s best for the business, Triple H picked up the phone. Negotiations were held to bring him back into the fold and eventually the two sides reached a standoff.
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer said on his show a few days back that money is an issue.
,[WWE] We were talking to him about coming back and he was very distant about money. That was the last thing I heard. Can AEW afford him? She wanted a lot. What she was asking for was a very high number for a WWE female wrestler, but then again, if you look at the amount WWE charges, she would still be underpaid.
Unlike the NFL, MLB, NBA or any other sport in the world, there is no database that would allow me to extract the details of anyone’s deal with WWE or any other pro wrestling company. Even the money figures we know vary depending on which site you read. It’s mostly a mystery what makes each genius.
In the case of Sasha Banks, the latest update from Wrestling Observer is that she was seeking comparable numbers with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. WWE said no. Banks apparently isn’t seen internally as someone who will be “over the top” for the next five years and didn’t come close to his asking price.
Top WWE officials believe that Banks is “at her peak as a star” and that her return will not extend much beyond the initial honeymoon phase.
It’s a depressing report to read for those of us who watch what WWE, apparently, doesn’t. His mainstream appeal alone should make the company salivate at the thought of bringing him back.
The woman is nothing short of an absolute star, and once Hollywood really gets a hold of her, a potential crossover megastar on par with The Rock. And like its predecessors, it appears the new creative regime is going to miss tapping into that star power.
Despite all her accolades, including being one of only five women to ever main event wrestlemania, Sasha Banks never quite reached her full potential in WWE. And while money can be a significant obstacle in these talks, the bigger issue is that WWE has no idea who they’re ready to walk out the door.
Sasha Banks knows exactly who she is and what she brings to the table. She knew enough to flip the metaphorical middle finger (possibly even some literal ones) at the world’s biggest wrestling company last spring. And it’s already paying off.
The Boss walked out of WWE and went straight to the red carpet at Marvel Studios premieres and the catwalk at New York Fashion Week. He landed another acting role after his successful debut in the Star Wars Universe. When she stopped by Belle’s livestream this week, Varnado mentioned that she has her own make up line launching in a couple of weeks and is probably just scratching the surface of what she’s cooking up.
Mercedes Varnado can walk away from professional wrestling today and has a wealth of new career endeavors to choose from. It appears that he is in high demand everywhere except where his talents are most needed. Even if they don’t realize it.
Now, it’s entirely possible that WWE is just playing hardball in hopes of getting the best deal for their bottom line. They are a business after all. But it’s a dangerous game to play with someone who has options and wants something you can’t provide.
I may not know her personally, but I feel very comfortable saying that Mercedes deserves to be someplace where she takes center stage under the greatest imagination. She wants to be treated the way she treats herself.
Let’s be honest. If Sasha Banks Returns To WWE Tomorrow, She’ll Immediately Be The Third Babyface On The Depth Chart Monday night Raw Behind Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch. His dreams of being the surprise winner of the Royal Rumble next month are just that – dreams.
Triple H may be running the show now, but it looks like WWE is on course to book the same two Women’s Championship matches. wrestlemania 39 Which Vince McMahon himself would have put on the card.
- Ronda Rousey vs Becky Lynch for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
- Bianca Belair vs Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship
Rumor has it there’s a strong push for Rhea Ripley to get cleared against Bianca, and clearly you can sign me up for that now. Even if they do go in that direction, I wouldn’t be surprised if Flair ends up there as well. A triple threat match could always be a possibility. To be honest, I don’t even hate the idea.
Just keep Charlotte away from Ronda Rousey. This is a feud that has run its course and does not need to be rekindled anytime soon. Especially now that both women are heels. It will not work. Rousey desperately needs a Batman for her Joker, which is why SmackDown is the perfect home for Sasha Banks.
Some may think otherwise, but there is no shortage of talent in the women’s division of the blue brand. However, it is the lack of talent that has gone over with the audience. SmackDown needs Sasha and she needs her badly while WWE continues to build women like Raquel Rodriquez, Tegan Knox and Emma and work their way up to Liv Morgan’s next singles push.
We must not forget. A possible catalyst for Banks’ issues with the company, which led to her walkout months later, was when Ronda Rousey was brought back to win the Royal Rumble and face Charlotte. wrestlemania 38, A spot that Joe Banks appeared in before the Baddest Woman on the Planet was brought in by WWE Creative.
The hard part is done. The script has been written. Put them both together on the television and let them cook. I would love to see Rousey vs Banks II. In my opinion, Sasha has had the best match from Ronda Rousey in her entire WWE tenure and I don’t think it’s even close.
But ultimately, with as much potential as the storyline and the match have, Banks will likely just be a place holder. A building block in another Becky Lynch \ Ronda Rousey wrestlemania Showdown.
Besides a bag of cash the size of Charlotte and Becky, what could Triple H possibly offer her to come back? Outside of Trish Stratus or Bayley, is there any WrestleMania event juicy enough to be tempted to forgo their upcoming big payday from NJPW and come back to the company?
Does WWE truly not see Sasha Banks as a top level Superstar or does she simply not have a place on the card to justify cutting such a huge check right now she is not getting paid what She wants.
So if you’re a Varnado, why not do something you’ve always dreamed of and wrestle in Japan?
Voice of Wrestling reported that Banks’ deal with NJPW is on a per-appearance basis and has multiple dates. The big headline is that parent company Bushiroad has given Sasha more money than ever before – for nothing. Even Chris Jericho, who reported to the Wrestling Observer, was being paid $100,000 a show when he worked for NJPW. [Editor’s note: Jericho has since tweeted that those reports are “completely wrong” and he was never paid a flat fee per event],
Which goes to show you that it’s not always important how much you can afford to pay, but sometimes how much you can afford relative to everyone else.
And sometimes your value to a company is greater than the monetary value they can provide you. So no one should be surprised if Mercedes Varnado (or whatever new name she chooses) shows up on AEW in the near future. maybe even like the january 11th episode ammo,
Varnado would be a game changer for AEW’s women’s division, and arguably the biggest free agent signing in the history of Toni Khan’s company. And it’s a signing that I hope will come to fruition.
We live in a healthy wrestling world. It is a thriving community where for the first time in a long time, talent has many viable options to make a good living with their craft. That’s all one can wish for, in any field.
Only a few short years ago, Varnado had little or no choice but to accept WWE’s lowball offer if she wanted to stay in professional wrestling. Now he has the chance to go out and prove to WWE that they have the wrong opinion of him. A formula that worked well for Cody Rhodes.
If you’re a fan of Varnado’s work, follow him with whatever company is lucky enough to have his services. Remove casteism from your heart. It’s all wrestling and it’s all awesome, even when it’s not. I just want him to wrestle on my TV screen. I don’t care what company the ring is from.
At just 30 years old, Varnado is already a guaranteed Hall of Famer and someone who has left behind a legacy that will inspire generations of future professional wrestlers. I am glad that his contribution to the business is not ending yet.
Will we ever see Sasha Banks back in WWE? I believe the answer is yes. But there’s every chance that boss time (!) won’t happen anytime soon.
what do you think Let us know in the comment section below. You can follow Rick Uchino Twitter and subscribe Blew Into The Pro Wrestling Podcast Channel for more of his work.