WWE NXT/Stardom: Who is Io Shirai? | Part One

Shirai’s Quest to Become Queen of Stardom

Io Shirai

By then, Io Shirai had already made her World Wonder Ring Stardom debut. On August 14, she and Takahashi defeated Yoko Bito and Yuzuki Aikawa. Right after, she challenged Aikawa for the Wonder of Stardom Title. The two clashed on September 25, where Aikawa retained the title.

For the remainder of the year, she continued to appear mainly for Stardom. She produced her own event on March 4, 2012, Carino!, to celebrate her five-year wrestling anniversary. During the event, she officially ended her freelancing days and joined Stardom full-time.

After running into some legal trouble in May, Shirai returned to Stardom on July 22 during the Stardom Rumble. She scored the final elimination, earning a spot in the 5Star Grand Prix tournament. However, she failed to advance to the finals after scoring two wins, a draw, and a loss. To close out 2012, Shirai lost to Kimura, where the winner was able to fight for any Stardom title.

That March, Shirai entered a tournament to determine the number one contender for the World of Stardom Title. She won the tournament, beating Yoneyama and then Dark Angel. On April 29, she beat Alpha Female to capture the gold for the first time in her career. She successfully defended the title multiple times. The first came on June 2 against Yoshiko, and the second was on August 17 against Kimura.

She once again entered the Stardom 5Star Grand Prix, where she finished with three wins, one loss, and a draw. But that draw against Takumi Iroha cost her a spot in the finals. The two then teamed up for the Goddesses of Stardom Tournament in October. However, they lost in the first round to Kairi Hojo and Takahashi.

The following month, Takahashi challenged Shirai for the World of Stardom Title at Stardom’s 100th event. In the 30-minute time limit match, Shirai retained the title with one second remaining.

Afterwards, the champ wanted her next challenger to be Arisa Nakajima. She accepted, if she could win back the JWP Openweight Title. Once that happened, the two faced off in a winner-takes-all match on December 20. It ended in a time limit draw, so both champions retained their titles.

Immediately after, High Speed Champion, Taiyo, challenged Shirai to a title match. She accepted and the two clashed on January 26, 2014 at Stardom’s three-year anniversary show. Shirai won the match, marking her fifth successful title defence.

Shirai vowed to break Takahashi’s records of longest title reign (602 days) and most successful title defences (seven). She was able to break one of those records, successfully defending the title ten times. To do that, she beat Cheerleader Melissa, Alpha Female, Star Fire, and Meiko Satomura.

On May 6, she became a double champion after winning the High Speed Title from Taiyo. Her reign as World of Stardom Champion ended on August 10 at the hands of Yoshiko. This totalled 468 days, the third-longest reign in the title’s history.

Check back next week for part two of our look into the career of Io Shirai!

You can find some of Io Shirai’s phenomenal matches from her time in Stardom over at their YouTube and at stardom-world.com

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