WWE Rumors: Io Shirai is currently at the WWE Performance Center. Could she be set to sign?
The best female professional wrestler on the planet is currently at the WWE Performance Center.
What’s the story?
Dave Meltzer and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has provided fans with an update on the WWE status of arguably the best female professional wrestler in the world. Io Shirai is known to be at the WWE Performance Center as part of a WWE tryout, but Meltzer is speculating that Shirai’s involvement may be less about trying out and more about crossing T’s and dotting I’s. The ball is the Genius In The Sky’s court.
In case you didn’t know...
Io Shirai is widely regarded to be the number one female professional wrestler on the planet today. Shirai has worked all over Japan and also in Mexico but it is her work in World Wonder Ring Stardom (known informally simply as Stardom) that has gained her the most notoriety over the last five years. Shirai is the current World of Stardom Champion, a title she has held on two occasions and is far and away the biggest draw in the company.
She also worked briefly in Lucha Underground last year.
The heart of the matter
Shirai has been on WWE’s radar for a number of years and has been able to resist the temptation to move to the number one professional wrestling promotion on the planet, but reports suggest that it is more a case of ‘when’ as opposed to ‘if’ now. Shirai is at the WWE Performance Center but unlike the others invited to the WWE tryout she more than likely already has an offer on the table.
Shirai’s presence in Orlando is reported to be a mere functionality, allowing Shirai to check out all of the facilities and make an informed decision on the next step in her career. Her fellow Stardom star Kairi Hojo has reportedly put pen to paper on a three-year contract, and if Shirai was to sign with WWE it would be further proof that the company are serious about the presentation of women’s wrestling.
It would also be catastrophic for Stardom, who would lose two of its three biggest stars in the blink of an eye.
The ball is in Io Shirai’s court. Shirai is widely regarded as the best of her generation and as such can pick and choose where she wants to work. There is no doubt that WWE wants her, it is purely a case of whether Shirai is ready to move to the United States and work the WWE schedule. More news will break on the subject over the coming weeks but Shirai’s presence in Orlando suggests a deal could be close.
The prospect of Io Shirai in WWE is a tantalising one, to say the least, but it is difficult to ignore the damage this will do to Stardom. With Shirai and Hojo gone (and Mayu Iwatani likely to retire) the number one women’s wrestling promotion in the world could well be finished, as replacing such an immense loss of talent is considered impossible by most. Shirai deserves the biggest stage on which to perform, however, and there are no bigger pro wrestling stages than WWE.
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