Sasha Banks returned to the ring but not with the WWE. The former women's champion joined New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) as her new ring name, "Mercedes Mone."
In Wrestle Kingdom 17, Mone congratulated Kairi on her championship victory and attacked her. She made a claim that at Battle in the Valley, Mone will make history and become the IWGP Women's Champion.
Although Mone or Sasha Banks, will be wrestling for NJPW, it is unclear if Banks is officially done with WWE. Wrestling INC. reported that WWE released Banks in June. Her profile is listed under alumni but WWE never made an official statement on her departure. However, other superstars in the WWE have wrestled outside the WWE. Shinsuke Nakamura defeated The Great Muta at pro wrestling NOAH, a Japanese promotion. Karl Anderson lost the title match to Tama Tonga, who became the new NEVER Openweight Champion in Wrestle Kingdom 17.
Could the new Mercedes Mone use NJPW a time away from the WWE? It is a tremendous acquisition for NJPW and wish Mone success. Somehow, Mone will return by mid or end of the year.