WWE Rumors: Io Shirai to Sign


You may not know Io Shirai’s name now, but it won’t be long before you hear it every week when she officially joins the WWE.

Io Shirai (AKA Masami Odate) may not be familiar to western wrestling fans but she is one of the biggest names on the Japanese wrestling scene. Dave Meltzer confirmed that Shirai would be leaving the Japanese promotion “Stardom” and joining the WWE in the near future although no official arrival date has been released:

"“Shirai, 27, is considered one of the top wrestlers in the Stardom promotion. She had previously attended a Performance Center tryout back in March, though WWE quickly wiped out all mentions of her in an accompanying article.”"

Shirai will join another one of Stardom’s female superstar, Kairi Hojo, who has also signed with the WWE and is set to appear within the next few months. The departure of both women is a big blow to the Stardom brand but a huge acquisition for WWE. With its ever-expanding reach across the globe, the recent influx of talent from Asia suggests that WWE will soon begin more international tournaments and specials similar to what is already happening in the UK. What this means for us is exposure to varied styles of professional wrestling that would have normally been relegated to smaller brands and more obscure websites.

Shirai has worked within various promotions in both Japan and Mexico and has developed a rabid cult of followers. In addition to her record-breaking title reigns, she was named women’s wrestler of the year for 2015 and 2016 by Tokyo Sports. She has held numerous titles in both singles and tag team competition which will make her a valuable asset for the WWE. Tag team wrestling is a unique skill and not every superstar can pull it off effectively, but Shirai will bring a unique blend of experience and athleticism to the biggest wrestling brand in the world.

Getting used to so many new names and faces will take some time for many WWE fans but these signings are a good thing for them and us. NXT has proven to be a great success in getting fans accustomed to in-house talent who work their way from unknown dreamers into the superstars of tomorrow but there are numerous other wrestlers who have achieved fame in different parts of the world and now have a chance to showcase their abilities to a different audience who will hopefully appreciate them in the same way.

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Whether Shirai and Hojo go to RAW or Smackdown is irrelevant because both women are force multipliers who can instantly improve the quality of either show. The women’s revolution can only continue with this sort of growth as fans are quickly growing tired of the same women holding the titles again and again. This is not a criticism of the current talent but merely a reality of the professional wrestling business which states that more competition is most certainly better in this instance.