Report: Io Shirai Is Set To Leave STARDOM For WWE


WWE has been signing some of the biggest names in professional wrestling this year, and just a month after it was reported that they would be bringing in Keith Lee, it has been reported that Io Shirai is WWE bound.

In Asuka and Kairi Sane, WWE has successfully signed two of STARDOM’s top talents, and both Asuka and Sane have become two of WWE’s best performers. According to Tokyo Sports, Io Shirai is set to join them, as she will head to WWE after finishing up with STARDOM (hat tip to’s Andrew Thompson).

Shirai and Sane (then known as Kairi Hojo in STARDOM) both initially signed with WWE at the same time, but the Wrestling Observer News’s Dave Meltzer reported that WWE was forced to rescind their offer to Shirai due to a neck issue. Much to the excitement of wrestling fans, it appears WWE has cleared her, and Shirai’s neck will hopefully be a non-issue going forward.

Having Shirai in WWE would be an absolute dream come true, and it would be interesting to see how long she spends in NXT. There are fans who want to see seasoned, elite talents like Shirai on the main roster as quickly as possible, but I honestly love it when even the best of the best get to spend a lengthy amount of time in NXT. They get to have memorable feuds and storylines that they may not otherwise have on the main roster, with the old Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor storyline coming to mind.

Currently, Shayna Baszler is the NXT Women’s Champion, and the promotion already includes Candice LeRae, Bianca Belair, Nikki Cross, Dakota Kai, and Sane as its top talents. Steffanie Newell, Kacy Catanzaro, and Rhea Ripley are among the promising prospects in the Performance Center who could be called up.

WWE is set to have a second Mae Young Classic in early August, and Shirai is a likely candidate to both compete and win the tournament. Even if she doesn’t win, she should have a fabulous showing, a la Sane and recent WWE UK signing Toni Storm.

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This is exciting news for WWE fans, as Shirai truly is as good as everyone says she is. She might be even better than Asuka and Sane, which is high praise indeed. After all, Shirai is a 13-time champion in STARDOM, the first ever Grand Slam champion in STARDOM, and the winner of Tokyo Sports’s Joshi Puroresu Grand Prize for three straight years.

And yes, I’m not even going to try to contain how (Rusev voice) elated I am.