NXT Superstar Io Shirai recently spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated to promote the upcoming NXT Takeover: In Your House event. While most of the interview was spent speaking about various topics, including her ambitions and Charlotte Flair, Shirai took some time to out talk about recently deceased Joshi wrestler Hana Kimura.
Shirai was friends with Kimura, and believed that she brightened up any room she walked into with a radiant smile. She was eagerly waiting to see how far Kimura would grow as a person and as a pro wrestler.
"Hana was one ofthe most talented female wrestlers in the world, and I was looking forward to watching her grow to see how far she could go. I will always remember her smile that would brighten up any room she walked into. It is so important that we all love and treat each other with respect."
Hana Kimura had a rare distinction as a pro wrestler
Hana Kimura was one of the female wrestlers to have the distinction of wrestling at both the Madison Square Garden and Tokyo Dome, and was Kimura was also a part of the first women's match in the history of NJPW's prestigious Wrestle Kingdom event.
Kimura committed suicide after being targeted by fans of reality show 'Terrace House,' where she got into an argument with a co-star for washing her Tokyo Dome ring gear to the extent that she could not wear it again. She was 22 years old at the time of her sad demise.
Kimura was the daughter of Kyoko Kimura - also a Joshi wrestler. While she started in Wrestle-1 - a promotion founded by Keiji Mutoh, Kimura soon found success in World Wonder Ring Stardom. Io Shirai also worked for Stardom and was the biggest star in the promotion before leaving to sign a contract with WWE.
NXT Takeover: In Your House will take place on June 7, 2020, at the brand's home: Full Sail University. At the event, Io Shirai is scheduled to face NXT Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley in a triple threat match for the title.