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Former WWE Prospect Io Shirai Linked With Impact Wrestling

Shirai was very much on WWE's radar last year, and reportedly almost signed with the company.

Japanese wrestling star and former WWE prospect Io Shirai has been linked with Impact Wrestling, according to an interview with Gail Kim, who was appearing on Konnan's Keeping it 100 with Konnan podcast.

Kim stated:

'Someone brought her name up to me and they said “Hey, we need a Japanese wrestler, that would be awesome.” And so I asked Rebel, because I heard she came from Stardom [...] I said, “Hey, have you heard of this girl? Did you work with her in Stardom?” and she said yes, and she just put her over huge. She said “She is so good, and when she is comfortable with a girl they go balls to the wall.” And she said “You would be so impressed.”'

Shirai was originally reported as being on WWE's radar along with Kairi Sane (then known as Kairi Hojo) in late 2016. In May 2017, Dave Meltzer reported that Shirai had accepted a contract offered to her by WWE.

It later emerged that WWE had reportedly rescinded their offer, due to previous neck injuries sustained by Shirai which became apparent during her medical.

Shirai continued to wrestle for Stardom, and was recently voted Tokyo Sports' Female Wrestler of the Year for the third consecutive time.

She is widely regarded as one of the best female wrestlers in the world - and was arguably the biggest name in Japanese women's wrestling ahead of Kairi Sane, before the latter's move to WWE.

Should she indeed strike some sort of deal with Impact, it would be a huge statement of intent for a promotion keen to emphasise their new direction of inclusivity and global expansion.

Shirai made her professional debut in 2007 at the age of 16, and signed with Stardom in 2011. She is the only two-time holder of Stardom's top title, the World of Stardom Championship - and has held the belt for more combined days than anybody else.

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

Head of News at Cultaholic.com | [email protected]