5 things WWE fans need to know about Io Shirai
It's now official. Io Shirai is WWE's newest superstar. With the obvious exception of Ronda Rousey, it's WWE's biggest women's acquisition in a long time. She's scheduled to start at the WWE Performance Center in mid-July, and it's expected that she'll take part in the second Mae Young Classic tournament.
She must be considered the early favorite to win. In fact, she was slated to win it last year before injury intervened and her contract was rescinded at the last minute. Thankfully, this time fate has been kinder to her.
If you aren't familiar with Shirai's work, you're in for a treat. She's been widely regarded as the best female wrestler in the world for the past few years, and her arrival is set to elevate the NXT women's division to a level of competition not seen since the days of the four horsewomen.
I recommend watching her match with Meiko Satomura from this past April, as it's arguably the best women's wrestling match this year so far.
And having only just turned 28, Io Shirai can be a mainstay in WWE's women's division for many years to come.
With Japan's top female star headed to the Performance Center, here are 5 other things WWE fans should know about her.
#1 She teamed with Asuka on the independent circuit
Prior to her start as a singles competitor at World Wonder Ring Stardom in 2011, Io Shirai was a tag team wrestler, teaming with her older sister Mio. In 2010, the two would join forces with another freelancer on the Japanese independent circuit, Kana, who would go on to become Asuka in WWE. The stable dubbed itself Triple Tails.
The stable remained together for around a year before splitting up. Shirai has recently stated that a reunion with Asuka as Twin Tails is one of her dreams in wrestling.
Hopefully this particular botch won't happen again though!