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WWE officially signs Japanese sensation Io Shirai

Io Shirai

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) officially announced that they have signed Japanese sensation Io Shirai. Shirai made an appearance during the 6/30 WWE Live event at Tokyo’s Ryōgoku Sumo Hall, and confirmed that she’ll be joining WWE NXT. WWE didn’t confirm that Shirai will compete in the upcoming second annual Mae Young Classic. 

Tokyo Sports reported on May 28 that Shirai is headed to WWE. Shirai posted a blog confirming that she’s departing STARDOM and her last match for the promotion took place on June 17.

Io Shirai and Kairi Hojo (Kairi Sane) were contacted in October 2016 and went back-and-forth about going to WWE. Shirai eventually accepted the offer in May 2017. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter had reported that a heart issue was the reason why she go to WWE. Sane signed with WWE and defeated Shayna Baszler (the current NXT Women’s Champion) to win the inaugural Mae Young Classic in September 2017.

Last year, Shirai attended the WWE Live event in Tokyo, Japan where Kairi Hojo (Kairi Sane) appeared on the video screen to say hi to her fans. In STARDOM, Sane and Shirai were the top two stars of the promotion. Io Shirai was considered the ace and Kairi Sane was the clear number two. 

Shirai, real name Masami Odate, 28, made her debut in 2007 alongside her sister Mio Shirai (who retired in 2015) Shirai’s breakout performance came in 2013 when she defeated Alpha Female (Jazzy Gabert) to win the Wonder of Stardom title which she held for over 15 months. Shirai’s second championship reign came in December 2015 when she defeated Meiko Satomura. 

Her matches with Meiko Satomura in 2015 and Mayu Iwatani in 2016 were award the women’s match of the year. Shirai also won the Japanese Women’s MVP in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Rumours of Shirai heading to WWE heated up when she dropped the Women of Stardom title to Momo Watanabe on May 23rd.

It was a given that Shirai would go to WWE if she was offered another deal and her health issues were cleared. Considering that Shirai is recognized as being one of two best female wrestlers in the world and that she looks very pretty it was a lock that WWE would offer her another deal. 

WWE announced the second Mae Young Classic will be taking place on 8/8 and 8/9 from Full Sail University. Although it wasn’t announced, my guess is Shirai will likely compete in the Mae Young Classic. Just like Sane did last year, I would like to see Shirai win it this year. My fantasy booking would be Kairi Sane winning the NXT Women’s Title at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and face Shirai during WrestleMania weekend in 2019.

Below is a list of Shirai’s accomplishments in STARDOM. 

WWE uploaded a clip of Io Shirai appearance at the WWE Live Event in Tokyo, Japan.

Welcome #WWE’s newest signee, #IoShirai! #WWETokyo

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Image Credit – WWE

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