When you find yourself in charge of building a developmental system the likes of NXT, your sole responsibility is to build the Superstars of tomorrow - today. While showcasing them on weekly TV and gearing them up from top to bottom to eventually explode on the main rosters of RAW and Smackdown. Developmental's the likes of NXT give up and coming Superstars a home to grow in and practice in safely. A branded umbrella to thrive under and prosper. Exposure to gain notoriety with and to utilize. With that kind of responsibility in mind, I applaud the signing of Io Shirai! When you think of a Pro Wrestler you'd want to see earn a contract with the WWE, many go over the same ideals. Hard workers, dedicated to their craft, longevity for the investment, entertaining to watch, Superstardom potential, can evolve on T.V with growth, skill, coachable, passion, return on investment. Add all that up and you'll come to the realization that Io Shirai is exactly that. She's all those things. She's exactly what you'd want if you were responsible for a costly venture such as NXT!
Io Shirai is no stranger to the industry. In her young life, she's had immense success overseas and has clawed her way to the top at WWE's NXT. Io's work thus far with Dakota Kai has been some of the most inspired work and character development I've ever seen out of Dakota Kai since being signed to NXT. Being familiar with Kai's work in Shimmer, it was obvious that it was only a matter of time and the right storyline before Kai would explode elevating her on a worldwide platform showcasing all she's capable of. Io Shirai was that opportunity and they've both delivered. Continuously. Regardless of your favorite brands, you have to at least admit the caliber of talent these women possess and its amazing to watch and cheer on.
Since debuting in Pro Wrestling in 2007, Io Shirai has earned success in Japan, Mexico, The U.S and subsequently the world. She's no stranger to tag team titles, stables that at one time included herself, Asuka formerly known as Kana, and Io's sister Mio. Io has had intense matches with legendary Kyoko Kimura, Hikaru Shida, Sexy Star, Faby Apache, Kellie Skater, Portia Perez, Alpha Female, Santana Garrett, Mia Yim, Toni Storm, and numerous others. For Shirai, it was only ever a matter of time before WWE snagged her and seriously job well done! I'd of done the same thing. From All Japan Pro Wrestling to AAA and Stardom, to JWP Joshi Puroresu to Lucha Underground- Io was always a true standout.
Fast forward to seeing Io Shirai in the Mae Young Classic to her signing with NXT and further onto her first reign as NXT Womens Champion. Her evolution from the Classic to now exemplifies her true talent. In my opinion she's doing some of her best work. WWE clearly had a vision of who Io Shirai could be for the WWE someday if you think back to the booking of Io in the Mae Young Classic as she flew through and battled her way to the finals in a well fought match that resulted in her defeat to Toni Storm.
Io's journey from baby face to heel complete with Steel Cage matches featuring Shayna Baszler and kendo sticks with LeRae was nothing short of proving the worth of NXT talent. The Io after her heel turn which introduced a whole new Io further WWE audience weith her newer image, music, gear, and energy is in my opinion main roster ready! And there's no time like the present. Having defeated the likes of Sasha Banks to retain the NXT title to her feuding with Dakota Kai, this would be the perfect spot in their storyline for Io to drop the NXT title to Kai and head up to the main roster. With WWE NXT's Twitter announcing Io Shirai Vs. Dakota Kai championship match for the NXT Womens title at NXT Takeover we'll see if this is the beginning of Kai's chapter as NXT Womens Champion. Io Shirai did an excellent job at elevating the title further and holding the audiences captive wondering what she'll do next, proving she is exactly the type of talent you want to grow in developmental who helps others elevate too. This is that moment, we'll see if Kai captures the title freeing Io to head to the main roster!
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