— Mercedes Varnado, now known as Mercedes Mone and formerly known as Sasha Banks, made her return to the wrestling scene earlier today at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 17 in what was a poorly kept secret for the last few weeks. Banks’ status on the North American wrestling scene remains a topic of uncertainty as she continues to be rumored to be the mystery partner of Saraya next week on Dynamite.
— Fightfulselect.com sources within AEW have noted that they have been “no sold” when asked about the possibility of Mercedes being Saraya’s partner but the consensus opinion backstage is that it is going to be her. These individuals point to the fact that when AEW officials are asked about this, they don’t flat out deny it while still promoting the mystery partner for several weeks. Given the history between Mercedes and Saraya and the timing of the match (second week of January after her NJPW appearance) are more reasons to believe that it is her.
— It should be noted that while AEW has been promoting the mystery partner for weeks, it is unlikely that the promotion and Merceds could put pen to paper until this week due to her contractual issues and no-compete clause stemming from her old WWE agreement. Within WWE, the report adds that some writers were caught “off guard” by Banks’ appearance for NJPW as they worked under the assumption that she would be back with WWE for the Royal Rumble and leading into WrestleMania.