Io Shirai may no longer be NXT Women's Champion, but she already has her sights set on one main roster competitor.
Io Shirai was NXT Champion for nearly a year. Her reign came to a halt when she was defeated by Raquel Gonzalez at NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 1.
Shortly before that match, Shirai was interviewed by Sports Illustrated. In the interview, she was asked who she would like to face should she successfully retain the belt. Her answer? Friday Night SmackDown’s Bayley. She even noted that she would like to have that match at WrestleMania 37.
“I would love to compete against Bayley,” Shirai says through a translator. “I have a great amount of respect for her. If we ever got the chance, I would like it to be on a huge stage like WrestleMania. As far as that happening at WrestleMania 37, I have not been told that yet—but never say never.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Shirai noted that her versatile style was inspired by another SmackDown Superstar, Rey Mysterio.
“I watched Rey Mysterio compete against bigger superstars when I was young and always came away impressed with how he overcame his smaller stature with his quickness,” Shirai says.
She later added, “My style and highlights always alter depending on who my opponent is. I am sure I could find something new to showcase competing against a male and would enjoy the opportunity if it ever presented itself.”
As it stands right now, both Rey Mysterio and Bayley will not be featured at WrestleMania. Rey Mysterio will challenge for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship with his son Dominik on the April 9 episode of Friday Night SmackDown.
As for Bayley, she says that WrestleMania this year just wasn't in the cards for her. Learn more here.