Latest behind-the-scenes news on Sasha Banks and NJPW hours before Wrestle Kingdom 17

As one chapter draws to a close, another soon begins for Sasha Banks.

In just a few hours, “The Boss” is set to make his first professional wrestling appearance outside of WWE in over a decade. Banks will also likely swap her old ring name, opting for her real name, Mercedes Varnado, or the recently trademarked names Mone ‘Banks or Mercedes Mone’. In Tokyo, Banks is set to debut at New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s biggest event of the year, Wrestle Kingdom 17.

While Banks’ presence has long been confirmed, the quality in which she will appear has remained a mystery. The former “WWE Raw” Women’s Champion is expected to at least make an appearance, but many are hoping her appearance will serve as a precursor to a future shot at the IWGP Women’s Championship. The inaugural KAIRI champion will defend the championship against Tam Nakano at the January 4 event, with a subsequent title defense scheduled in the United States next month.

Since arriving in Japan on Dec. 21, Banks has been “out socializing and in good spirits” according to Fightful Select. The media even attempted to secure interviews with Banks, perhaps to inquire about the parameters of his highly anticipated NJPW appearance. They, as well as figures involved in Wrestle Kingdom 17, however, weren’t given much more information, as the background to his appearance was “kept very quiet.”

Talent speaking with Banks also received the same response. It was reported, however, that Banks had brought some company with her, with her former tag team partners Bayley and Naomi joining her in town for the special occasion.

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