Joshi Corner: Io Shirai

Added by Luke Hickey

As news filters out that Io Shirai is indeed leaving World Wonder Ring Stardom to join the likes of Asuka and Kairi Sane in the ‘big league’ of WWE. While WWE is not to everyone’s liking, this has been a dream of Shirai’s, so a congratulations is in order and while the hope is things work out for her, I wish to see her back in a Stardom ring in the future.

The purpose of ‘Joshi Corner’ is to put a spotlight on Joshi wrestlers, matches in Japan or matches abroad that features them and hopefully bringing the attention of a new demographic to the Joshi Puro scene. Not every piece will focus on a particular promotion or performer, some may just be a series of matches that are worth a watch but for now, the current ace of Stardom is the one grabbing the attention.

Io Shirai made her debut in 2007, working for various independent promotions around the country such as Pro Wrestling Wave, Ibuki, and JWP. She would later go on to work for DDT, and even having matches in legendary promotions like AAA in Mexico and traditional puro company All Japan.

After leaving the Triple Tails stable in 2011 to pursue a singles career, she made the aforementioned WWR Stardom her home promotion, during her tenure at Stardom she would occasionally appear for other promotions such as the legendary Meiko Satomura’s, Sendai Girls Pro Wrestling.

During her time in Stardom, she would become the promotions ace due to her success as both a singles and tag competitor, winning all available titles at least once.

She is a 2x Wonder of Stardom champion, the second title in terms of hierarchy. Her first win was in a tournament final against Nikki Cross, to determine a new champion after the belt was vacated, this crowning came in 2015 and would reign for 190 days. She was eventually defeated by Santana Garrett. Her second reign came after defeating Yoko Bito in November 2017, her reign would last 185 days this time, losing the title to Momo Watanabe on May 23rd 2018, which is up now on Stardom World.

She is also a 2x World of Stardom champion, the primary title of Stardom, it’s most sought after prize. There has only being 9 reigns in this titles history, a testimony to the strength of each champion, Toni Storm being the current champion. Io Shirai first reign came after defeating The Alpha Female, Jazzy Gabert in 2013, she would hold the title for 468 days and defend it a staggering 10 times before being deposed by Yoshiko. Her second reign came after defeating the legendary Meiko Satomura, December 2015, she would go on to crush her previous record, holding the title for 546 days and defending the title 14 times.

Nanae Takahashi record of 605 days is still safe, but Io Shirai’s two reigns coming in at 1,014 days and 24 successful defences, cementing her as a Stardom and joshi legend. At only 28 years of age, she has a lot more left to go.

You can find her defeating Meiko Satomura for her second reign HERE

You can find Momo Watanabe being crowned the new Wonder of Stardom champion HERE

The reason for the inclusion of Watanabe’s victory over Shirai is due to the symbolism of the ‘White Belt’, which is a tribute to All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling, more on that on future edition of Joshi Corner.