As previously noted, Sasha Banks (Mercedes Varnado) will be in attendance for NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 and there is speculation about Sasha possibly being Saraya’s mystery partner on the January 11th 2022 edition of AEW Dynamite in Los Angeles.
According to VoicesOfWrestling.com, NJPW has reportedly been working on a limited appearance deal for Varnado with “a fee that would be significantly higher that what New Japan paid for Chris Jericho” and make her “the highest paid Bushiroad (parent company of NJPW and Stardom) contracted wrestler.” It hasn’t been confirmed yet if Varnado actually signed a deal.
During Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline.com discussed the report…
“Voices of Wrestling said that it was a per-appearance deal at the highest price that Bushiroad has ever paid anyone, and they said it was more than Chris Jericho. Which to me sounds… I don’t know. Chris Jericho made $100,000 a shot when he was working for New Japan, and, man, $100,000 a shot, she’s gonna have to … with Chris Jericho he was actually underpaid because of how much revenue he drove between New Japan World and ticket sales at the different shows and things like that. But I don’t see her driving that revenue, but I guess we’ll find out.
The Tokyo Dome may be one thing, but for other shows, and a lot of them in the United States, I don’t see where she’s gonna drive $100,000 of extra revenue. On a per-appearance basis, obviously tons more than she would have made in WWE, but in total, they’re not gonna book her on enough shows to where she would make in the long run what she would make in WWE. It’s only a few shows, she has plenty of time to do other projects, perhaps work for AEW.” (quotes courtesy of WrestleTalk.com)