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Thread: Io Shirai

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    Io Shirai

    It's legitimately silly it's August and no-ones made a thread about her yet, so lets rectify that.

    Whether you think she was the best of the trio or not, there's no denying that Io was a big part in the increase of interest in joshi wrestling during this period, particularly in Stardom alongside Kairi and Mayu. I think she was tremendous in-ring for Stardom with so many matches that delivered, the only problem for me was how easily they went back to belting her up instead of planning for her inevitable departure.

    Her work in NXT isn't as much of a home run. I think she struggled a lot more connecting to the crowd compared to Asuka and Kairi coming into a new country. I don't know if that's because the language barrier has been harder for her to overcome, or there's an unfair standard set that she's only compared to two other great japanese women rather than being judged on her own merits. Her matches in the MYC were good, but they weren't blow away, push this woman to the moon great like some might of expected them to be. In fact that goes for her whole run in NXT, I don't think there's anything bad in there, you just know there's a great wrestler in there that isn't coming out in the booking and the performances. The heel turn has been very welcome and I thought the Candice match was her best match in years and the best womens match in WWE of 2019 so things are moving in the right direction.

    I don't think she's going to be in my top 3 women where I feel like she's a slam dunk and has to be in, but she's certainly in that next category where there's a strong case to make it onto the list somewhere based on the peaks (rather like Sasha, I promise I'm not baiting you Dylan <3 ) and a strong last 4 months of the year on the new 2 hour weekly NXT show could strengthen that position.

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    Re: Io Shirai

    I'm a fan, I like what she's done. Had some good matches as well.

    I think the heel turn will do wonders for her as too. Plus she doesn't really need to speak- which appears to be a struggle. She's just got a badass aura about her now similar to what Asuka had and now they've stripped away the colors and the gimmick- gave her a good theme- like you, I feel she could go from strength to strength.

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    Re: Io Shirai

    She is definitely someone that'll be in my top 50. Tons of matches that I can think off the top of my head and really is a stand out amongst the women wrestlers.

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    Re: Io Shirai

    Yeah maddening no Thread for her, but considering only a handful of people know her Career in depth it was expected to happen. I don't need convincing on my List she's one of most gifted talents I've ever watched. Day 1 I saw her in Stardom I was like damn this girl stands out from the Crowd. I look how WWE is treating her now with this new Character of her and I'm like what isn't WWE doing some creative and good with talents like Asuka and Kairi on the Main Roster right now. When it comes to Matches her Matches Momo Watanabe still two of the best Matches between Teacher vs Student you'll ever see. I still give high praise to Io and her leadership in how he helped talents like Momo, HZK, and AZM. All three I see elements of Io in them and it's beautiful to watch young talents growing up before you eyes in such a way.

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    Re: Io Shirai

    I don't think she's like Sasha, who I would rate as an actively bad pro wrestler. Io did a lot of good. But it's hard to put her among others male or female when she's only rarely reached her actual potential. I don't think it's unfair to compare her to her peers. For example her opportunity for breakout matches often fell short. Io vs. Meiko was a great example. It was good but not a touch on Meiko vs. Kairi. The one opponent I think she constantly delivered against was Mayu, who nearly everyone thinks is the best worker in the company. Her run in Stardom was mishandled and made me much less interested in her, but then when that stopped and she was leaving then she turned in some of her best work against Momo and helped get her ready to carry the company for a year. Now in MXT is not that dissimilar, in that she wasn't bad but also didn't deliver truly...until this latest match vs. Candice which was great.

    She has an interesting resume the more I dig into it, because my immediate reaction was an easy no to be honest, but I could see her sneaking in at the very end. I still think there's just too many ahead of her for me but I wouldn't begrudge anyone putting her in.

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    Re: Io Shirai

    I totally meant to make a thread for her after TakeOver and forgot.

    I'm not going to claim to be a joshi expert, because I frankly don't enjoy it that much and historically have found most of the top workers to be pretty bad, however almost every time I watch Shirai I find those expectations beaten. Again, I'm no regular joshi viewer, but I check out most of the big praised matches, and as far as hits vs misses go I've found her to be way more consistent and better value than all of her peers.

    One of the things I like most about her is that she is a flier, but most of her offense actually hits with force and she works stiff, so it rarely feels like a spotfest or just doing cool athletic moves. Big fan of her matches with Watanabe, Satomura, Baszler, and the recent Candice match was a really great showing from her. New moveset and offence, kept the match exciting, and really showed a lot more charisma and emotion (even as a heel) than a lot of her peers to make it feel important.

    If I was to do a list today she'd probably be my #1 female worker I think.

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    Re: Io Shirai

    Joshi fans, what are the Shirai hidden gems to watch? I feel like she's my favourite female worker of the past 5 years but where that puts her I don't know.

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    Re: Io Shirai

    Any Shirai vs Iwatani, Hojo or Satomura match from Stardom should be sought out.

    Shirai vs Nakajima double title match quite fun too.

    There's no real hidden gems because she was booked as the dominant ace for a while. All her big matches delivered, really. Smaller matches were less grand and not all that worthwhile tbh.


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    Re: Io Shirai

    I think despite the odds, she's the one Joshi wrestler who has gotten better since going to WWE. I think Kairi and Asuka are largely significantly lesser in output than their Joshi runs, but Io has stepped up pretty big since her heel turn in a way I didn't think she had in her.

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    Re: Io Shirai

    She has been okay in WWE I think. She had a few good matches with Shayna and she got a decent match of of Candice LeRae who has done nothing but bore me. I think her heel run is terribly goofy though. I can't take it seriously at all.

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    Re: Io Shirai

    What's so terribly goofy about it? I think it's one of the more legit crazy psycho evil heel women gimmicks I've seen for some time.
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    Re: Io Shirai

    Quote Originally Posted by MC 16 View Post
    I think her heel run is terribly goofy though. I can't take it seriously at all.
    Her babyface run was much worse because she just had her in-ring stuff to rely on and it wasn't it. Her heel run is a million times better than that and just compare to the Kabuki Warriors who just play on stereotypes from years past. That said the only thing about Io is that WWE has had too many "crazy" type of characters (Nikki Cross) in the past. If you look at Io's promos she has handled the transition really well and pulled it off effectively. Her stuff against Mia who hasn't been good either was pretty impressive. Also I loved the callback in War Games with her moonsault since all of her big Japanese matches had her go to the top of the Korakuen bleachers and do a moonsault randomly. (I hated those for how long it took to set up and thought often killed a lot of her big matches flow)

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    Re: Io Shirai

    Quote Originally Posted by The EC View Post
    What's so terribly goofy about it? I think it's one of the more legit crazy psycho evil heel women gimmicks I've seen for some time.
    Everything about it, really. It comes off as very unnatural and forced to me. Her mannerisms are really silly to watch. Her actual heel turn comes to mind. One week she is a bland "I fight for my friends" face wrestler and the next she is manically laughing. It's a jarring change and even months after, it doesn't work for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    Her babyface run was much worse because she just had her in-ring stuff to rely on and it wasn't it. Her heel run is a million times better than that and just compare to the Kabuki Warriors who just play on stereotypes from years past. That said the only thing about Io is that WWE has had too many "crazy" type of characters (Nikki Cross) in the past. If you look at Io's promos she has handled the transition really well and pulled it off effectively. Her stuff against Mia who hasn't been good either was pretty impressive. Also I loved the callback in War Games with her moonsault since all of her big Japanese matches had her go to the top of the Korakuen bleachers and do a moonsault randomly. (I hated those for how long it took to set up and thought often killed a lot of her big matches flow)
    I don't think she had any better matches as a heel than she did as a face. Her best match as one (which is the Candice LeRae Takeover match) was maybe on par with the cage match she had with Shayna which was good, but not great. Wasn't fond of the Mia Yim matches either. Although that's not her fault necessarily. She did have some good moments in the Wargames match but similar to the match itself, it really didn't come together as something that's worth much praise pasted the individual spot, like the moonsault of the cage.

    The WWE run has some decent gems but it's not the best run of her life. And I think Kairi Sane had a better WWE run. Overall though, her Stardom run has usually good matches. The biggest ones deliver anyways. Her match with Meiko Satomura was excellent. She will make my top 50 I think.

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