WWE: The Top 5 Champions of 2020

Sasha Banks, Bayley, WWE SmackDown (photo courtesy of WWE)
Sasha Banks, Bayley, WWE SmackDown (photo courtesy of WWE) /
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WWE NXT, Io Shirai
WWE NXT, Io Shirai (photo courtesy of WWE) /

4.) Io Shirai

At NXT Takeover: In Your House in June 2020, Io Shirai dethroned Charlotte Flair in a triple threat match with Rhea Ripley to become the new NXT Women’s Champion. She went on to retain the NXT Women’s Championship against top contenders, such as Dakota Kai, Candice LeRae, and former NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley. She is now feuding with Raquel Gonzales, who pinned her in the Women’s War Games Match at NXT Takeover: War Games.

Her victories over Rhea Ripley have definitely given her more credibility. Many WWE fans expected Ripley to win back the NXT Women’s Championship since her reign was cut short at WrestleMania 36 against Charlotte Flair. This was a reasonable expectation since Triple H did declare that there were long term plans for Ripley back when she lost the championship to Charlotte. Now, he has declared that the original plans Ripley’s direction in NXT changed altogether.

Despite that failed promise and loss of momentum for Ripley, her star power never diminished and definitely helped put Io Shirai over as an indomitable champion in the eyes of the common viewer who would be cognizant of Rhea Ripley’s greatness from her main roster appearances at Survivor Series and WrestleMania. While Ripley does deserve some credit for elevating Shirai as champion, Shirai deserves credit for elevating the NXT Women’s division as a whole.

Io Shirai, the Genius of the Sky, is a charismatic babyface who proves herself as a top champion each and every week on NXT by delivering 4-5 star matches. She is smooth in the ring, performs daredevil aerial maneuvers, and has elegant landings. Her promos are short and sweet with helpful subtitles that showcase her control over the division while putting her opponents over as challenges worth indulging. Her most entertaining moment was flying off the top of the War Games structure with a trash can over her head.

She has held the NXT Women’s Championship for six months now, and it has been well-deserved as she delivers in one of the most talented yet poorly booked women’s divisions in the world of professional wrestling today. However, her prestigious title run has elevated the division in many ways and overshadowed the poor booking for which only WWE is responsible. Her marketability is at an all-time high simply by being renown as one of the best wrestlers in the world.

In-Ring Work: 5.0/5.0 Stars (A+)

Promo Work: 4.0/5.0 Stars (B+)

Fresh Entertainment: 3.5/5.0 Stars (B-)

Division Elevation: 5.0/5.0 Stars (A+)

Box Office Attraction: 4.5/5.0 Stars (A-)