3 blockbuster opponents for Sasha Banks to face in Japan

WWE diva Sasha Bank gets introduced before her match on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford.Wwe Supershow010
WWE diva Sasha Bank gets introduced before her match on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford.Wwe Supershow010 /

After months of speculation over her future in professional wrestling after walking out from WWE, Sasha Banks appears set to make her debut in Japan.

With Banks reportedly due for an appearance at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 17 in January, it has emerged that her WWE exit was negotiated months ago as first reported by Raj Giri. Her appearance at WK17 will be her first appearance in a wrestling capacity since May of this year.

It may well usher in a new era for Mercedes Varnado, or perhaps Mercedes Mone as recent filings suggest, as she breaks free of WWE for the first time in 12 years. She’s the complete pro wrestling package of work rate and aura and that can only bode well as she leaves the restrictive WWE for the expressive NJPW.

Banks is a dream match connoisseur with bouts against Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, Ronda Rousey, and Asuka on her record. Now she has an entirely new crop of talent to craft art. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three potential opponents for her in Japan.

Honorable Mentions: Starlight Kid, Utami Hayashishita & Mayu Iwatani.


KAIRI and Banks have clashed once before in singles action. It was by no means approached with the respect it deserved however. As the Kabuki Warriors pairing of KAIRI and Asuka chased the WWE Women’s tag titles held by Sasha and Bayley, The Boss and the Pirate Princess met in the ring for a singles match on RAW in July 2020.

It was at the height of the Pandemic era so it felt inconsequential all things considered. It was given just 10 minutes and ended in a DQ and that was their first and only ever clash against one another.

So now that the Pirate Princess holds the IWGP Women’s Championship in NJPW, let’s see how the pair fare when given the stage they deserve. KAIRI vs Sasha in NJPW is a certified dream match, both recognizable and valuable names in the Western market as well as the Eastern it would be a great debut for The Boss and the perfect way to establish her in the new setting.

Beyond the economics of it, it’ll just be a great match between two of the most believable women’s talents in the world. It’ll benefit Sasha to work with someone familiar with the style she has been working over the past 12 years and KAIRI offers just that. With the new IWGP Women’s title on the line, there is the added layer of prestige that both Sasha and the title deserve, even if she doesn’t win it in the end.

2. Giulia

Giulia currently stands as one of if not the most exciting talents in Joshi wrestling today. The 5 Star GP winner has an insane work rate in the ring and very much echoes a certain Best Bout Machine on their own meteoric rise.

She has become one of the more recognizable names on the market today and shows no signs of slowing down any time shortly. So why not add a blockbuster clash with a WWE Grand Slam Champion to the growing list of accolades?

A match-up of benefits for everyone. For Banks, a clash with one of the leading Joshi talents right now, an exhibition of what she offers any women’s division with a supreme dance partner. For Giulia, a momentous occasion that can advertise her to a new market, a real prize fight. And for the fans, everything above and more.

As with any other sport, it’s the dream matches that draw the crowd and crucially the box office. As can be said for Gotch vs Hackenschmidt, Flair vs Sting, and Rock vs Hogan, Banks vs Giulia could very well sit on the Mount Rushmore of pro wrestling prizefights.

1. Syuri

KAIRI is one world champion Banks could face in Japan. But if she wants to truly prove herself in the Joshi playground she should probably look at the true leader of the pack. Look no further than Syuri, an MMA and Pro Wrestling belt collector.

The current World of Stardom and former Pancrase Strawweight Champion is in the midst of a dominant reign of over 350 days. Holding the top prize in the top Joshi promotion cements her as the top opponent for Sasha in Japan. The best need to face the best in order to determine the fact they are the best, that’s the basis for every combat sport. Pre-meditated or not, pro wrestling emulates combat sports and therefore conforms to the same basis.

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Beyond that, for fans of both Stardom and Sasha Banks, there is an opportunity for exploration. It’s an exhibition of two worlds of the sport, someone who has achieved everything possible in the North American Premier League that is WWE against the flag bearer of the Stardom brand. It’s what wrestling is about. Besides, it would be beyond cool to see Sasha Banks as Stardom’s champion.