Former WWE Star Sasha Banks Returns To Wrestling Ring

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Wrestling fans were shocked on Tuesday night after former WWE star Sasha banks returned to the squared circle with her debut in New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Going under the new name of Mercedes Mone, Banks came down the Tokyo Dome ramp at New Japan’s WrestleKingdom 17 event in front of a sold out crowd.

Mone surprised the current IGWP women’s champion “Kairi,” before attacking her leading to an eventual match between the two at New Japan’s Battle in the Valley on February 18th in San Jose, California.

Mone ended her in-ring promo with a nod to her previous wrestling character when she signed off with, “And you can bank on Mone.”

The debut did come with some ring-rust however. Mone received some online criticism for botching her finishing move which isn’t what you want as a performer. Granted it could have been nerves or just not being on the same page as the other wrestler.

Arguably one of the biggest female wrestlers in the business right now, Banks made headlines after a controversial moment when her and her tag team partner Naomi quit the WWE during a live televised episode of WWE SmackDown. WWE announcers Michael Cole and Pat McAfee subsequently announced later that night that the two were suspended from the organization.


With wrestling being a uhm, somewhat “scripted” event, many fans didn’t know if it was real or not. There have been plenty of similar phony storylines in the past that resulted in a wrestler “leaving” only to then return at a later time. However, various reports began confirming that this was not a work and was in fact real.

Wrestling Inc. reported that Banks was released from her WWE contract in June.

Since then, Sasha Banks – whose real name is Mercedes Varnado, went dark in the wrestling world. Many wrestling fans hoped that she would join the WWE’s rival in AEW Wrestling, however it appears she has now decided to pursue a career in New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Prior to her NJPW debut, Mercedes tweeted a string of thank you messages including to Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon as well as other wrestlers she previously worked.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.

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