Inaugural IWGP Women's Champion Kairi will defend her brand new title for the first time at New Japan Pro Wrestling's (NJPW) biggest show of the year, Wrestle Kingdom, in 2023.
The former Women's Tag Team Champion in WWE parted ways with the Stamford-based promotion in July 2020 and did not wrestle a single match in the proceeding year-and-a-half. She finally returned to the squared circle with premier Japanese women's wrestling promotion Stardom in March of this year.
Stardom came together with NJPW for the Historic X-Over event on November 20. The show also marked the debut of the IWGP Women's title, for which Kairi defeated Mayu Iwatani to be crowned the inaugural champion.
After the match, Tam Nakano stormed to the ring to challenge the champ for a title match. In the show's aftermath, NJPW put out a statement announcing that a title match between the two will take place at Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4, 2023.
"The first ever IWGP Women’s Champion KAIRI will have her first defence in the Tokyo Dome opposite Cosmic Angels’ Tam Nakano," read New Japan's statement.
This will be the first women's singles match in Wrestle Kingdom history, with past matches being multi-person Stardom exhibition bouts.
Sasha Banks previously teased a match against IWGP Women's Champion Kairi
It has been over six months since Sasha Banks, along with Naomi, handed over the WWE Women's Tag Team titles and walked out of RAW.
While there is no indication regarding her return or release from the company, the former SmackDown Women's Champion recently teased that her in-ring return will be outside WWE and against IWGP Women's Champion Kairi.
A fan recently mocked up a match graphic for Banks and the Stardom wrestler. This hypothetical match would have the brand new IWGP Women's Championship on the line (this graphic was made before the inaugural champ was decided).
The Boss put this picture up on her Instagram story. The 24-year-old Japanese star then posted a picture of the story on Twitter.
Sasha recently changed her social media handles to her real name (Mercedes Vernado). This might be an indication that she is set to part ways with WWE. If that happens, Banks has several avenues she has talked about in the past that she can pursue, from acting to singing and more.
But if she still craves some action inside the squared circle upon her potential WWE release, a title match against Kairi would certainly be a unique attraction.