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#MustWatchMonday (7/2/18): Your Introduction to Io Shirai


Unless you've been living under a rock, you know it's been a weekend of important signings across sports. Two of the best athletes in their respective sports have found new homes: LeBron James is now a Los Angeles Laker as of this morning, and as of last Saturday, top joshi Io Shirai from World Wonder Ring Stardom is now signed to NXT.

If you're wondering where you've heard the name Io Shirai before, you may remember that she was rumored to sign along with the eventual first Mae Young Classic winner Kairi Sane, but she had to be pulled out due to some issues with her neck. If you keep up with Lucha Underground, you probably also saw her with Kairi and fellow joshi Mayu Iwatani as the Black Lotus Triad on season three.

Otherwise, you've probably just heard her name being thrown around a lot—so you know she's a big deal.

So if you don't know her, allow us to help you out—by showing her work with someone you most likely already know. Here's the lady you know as Nikki Cross challenge Io Shirai for her World of Stardom Championship. (No, Nikki's not wrestling in that bra.)


This video clocks in at a little over 30 minutes, but trust me, the match is only somewhere under 20. Nikki dominates the match to begin, already wearing down Io with submission holds (including a Rings of Saturn) and tossing her outside so the villainous Oedo Tai stable (featuring Fil-Am wrestler Kris Wolf) could beat her up.

Little by little, Io would fight back, proving why she's the ace of Stardom. Nikki proves to be ridiculously tough—she takes a bunch of big moves from the champ, including a German suplex, a tombstone piledriver, and a stiff kick to the head and she still kicks out—but Io is tougher, and she schools the Scotswoman on why she isn't quite on her level so far. After all of that, a moonsault is what does Nikki in so that Io could retain her title.

It would be a bit disrespectful for us to say that if you've seen Asuka and Kairi Sane (and everyone has, I'm sure) you're not going to miss much from Io Shirai. Let's just leave you with the thought that with this addition to the low-key stacked women's division both in NXT and the main roster, it's only a matter of time before women's wrestling in the WWE steps up to an even higher level. You think it's great now, but they've only just scratched the surface.

Photo from Cultaholic

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