NXT: It’s time for Io Shirai to start putting more women over on her way out of NXT

WWE NXT, Io Shirai (photo courtesy of WWE)
WWE NXT, Io Shirai (photo courtesy of WWE) /

With all the time Io Shirai has spent over at NXT, having the caliber of matches she’s been having, we applaud her recent tag win alongside Zoey Stark, but we are left to wonder if it isn’t time for Io Shirai to start putting more women over on her way out of NXT if that is in fact what is to happen?

It’s great that she is tag champ, but is it the right time for this? Should she give chances to other members of the roster that need a push and some momentum added to their respective runs? At the age of 31, Shirai still has a ways to go in the business and many things to offer on either Raw or perhaps even SmackDown.

Leaving NXT for the main roster is necessary for NXT and its stars. It can only garner more of an investment from the fans once they see how well these performers do on the main roster.

Bianca Belair and Ripley

Ripley and Belair, two former ex-pats of NXT, are certainly doing well, both women holding the coveted Women’s Championships of Raw and SmackDown respectively. This most definitely directs the attention back to NXT…fans wondering just what the heck is going on over there that produces these stars, they wonder, and with very good reason. It took Ripley a little longer than Belair to make it over, but once she arrived, one and all were made aware of her “brutality,” and in a hot minute.

The earlier NXT generation to bloom

Before that Sasha Banks, Bayley, Charlotte Flair, and so many others paved the way, not only putting on incredible matches over at NXT but bashing the door open once they arrived to what is often considered the main roster of talent over at WWE.

The Genius Of The Sky’s soaring rise

She started her career in 2007, wrestling the independent circuit. She was trained by Team Makehen and wrestled extensively in Japan with her sister, Mio. Only after a year in the business, she made it to what is considered the big leagues in Japan…AJPW (All Japan Pro Wrestling) and she made quite the name for herself.

She followed her incredible career in Japan over in Mexico, where she worked on and off over a span of 5 years (2011-2015). She interspersed her time there at World Wonder Ring Stardom from 2011 until 2018. It was in 2017 that she was offered a WWE contract after a tryout, but according to reports by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, she wasn’t able to star with the company as they had found a problem with her neck. They later also found an issue with her heart and they backed out of the contract offer.

After these issues were cleared up, she started with the company in 2008.

Epic moments on NXT

Diving off the skull set design at Stand And Deliver in February of this year is definitely one of those epic moments we would hope to see on Raw. Another epic moment is from War Games (2020) where she jumped off the cage in a trash can! And there are so many other moments and memories from her time on the NXT roster but we’ve hopefully proven our point.

Losses are necessary

If we can be permitted to speak of the men for an instant, one need only look at the veterans over on NXT. Johnny Wrestling himself has not only lost to The Colossal Bronson Reed, but to Karrion Kross as well, just this past week; thus resulting in the “making” of the aforementioned winners. This is something that’s been happening in the wrestling business since before anyone reading this was born…unless that’s you reading, Grandpa…and if so, much respect, Sir.


Before that Finn Bálor had done the exact same thing, and if I may be permitted once again to make a prediction: Adam Cole (veteran) and Kyle O’Reilly are tied 1-1, and if and before Cole steps up to the main roster, which he most definitely deserves, that feud and series should end 2-1 for Kyle O’Reilly. But perhaps a little more on that another time…

A void felt on Raw

The possibilities are endless, and it can only shake things up, adding a little more spice to what many are calling a stale program. Most of the women on Raw keep having matches against each other, the same few facing off over and over again.

Shirai can do wonders on Raw, reuniting with her old pal, Ripley. Now there’s a SummerSlam match if ever there ever was one. She could face Asuka; she could even take on the Queen herself, Charlotte Flair. Even Becky Lynch is rumored to be returning soon and that would be an incredible battle to feast our eyes on as well.

The possibilities are indeed endless. And with the epic Shotzi Blackheart premiering on SmackDown, Raw seems to be left out of the loop a tad.

Triple H has stated of her: “…Io Shirai has earned the right to do what she wants to do…To me, if Io Shirai wants to take time off, she takes time off. If she wants to come back and go after Raquel Gonzalez, she’s earned that right. If she wants to do something else for a bit, or any of that, she’s earned the right to do all of it. It’s an interesting thing here where whenever somebody loses in NXT, they’re so dominant, they’re so big, they’re so whatever. They have this incredible run. Then, all of a sudden, there’s a bump in the road. They lose a match. Then everybody goes, ‘Clearly, they’re going someplace else.’ Why is that? It’s just a funny thing because anybody in the world loses someplace else, nobody goes, ‘Oh, they’re going someplace else.’ There’s always more to do. There’s always more to prove you’re the best. There’s the next challenge. The next competitor. There are the next all of those things. For me, it’s whatever Io wants to do, but I don’t see that as she lost one match over the past three hundred something days she’s been champion, all of a sudden she’s just moving on…”

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It isn’t exactly clear by the end of those statements where Triple H sees her going, but we hope it’s to Raw if anywhere at all. The fact that she has the tag titles mean it’s probably going to be a little while, though.

However in the end, for Io Shirai, there should only be one limit…and that’s the sky.