Io Shirai: Where Is She Now In 2022? Has She Disappeared?

Io Shirai

Io Shirai is a Japanese female professional wrestler who was born in Kamakura City, Kanagawa, Japan. Odate made her professional wrestling debut on March 4, 2007. Her sister is Mio Shirai, a former female professional wrestler and the sisters have left quite a remarkable imprint in the industry of pro wrestling. She is currently signed to WWE and appears regularly on their show NXT. This Japanese female wrestler’s biggest achievement till 2022 is receiving the NXT Women’s Championship where on July 6 at NXT, she and Zoey Stark defeated Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell to win the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship. With this kickass intro, let’s get into some facts about her life! 

Io Shirai’s Life In Facts: Highschool, Trouble With The Law, Nicknames, Body, and More! 

Io Shirai Body Measurements:

  • Height 156 cm
  • Weight 47 kg 

Nicknames:

  • “Trueno Morado” ( “Purple Thunder”)
  • “Tenkū no Genius” ( “Genius of the Sky”)
  • “Tenkū no Itsujo” / “Itsujo in the Sky”
  • “Darkside Itsujo” / “Itsujo in Darkside”
  • “Darkside Io”
  • “The Number One of Women’s Wrestling”

Finishing moves:

  • Bridging package German suplex – 2014–present
  • Front flip piledriver
  • Inverted Gedo clutch – 2009–2010
  • Arm wrench inside cradle transitioned into a leg clutch hold – 2012–present
  • Moonsault double foot stomp -2013–present
  • Rider Kick ( Somersault leg drop to the back of a standing opponent’s head ) – early career
  • Moonsault slam– 2014–present; adopted from Natsuki Taiyo
  • Thunder Splash or Frog splash – 2007

Signature moves:

  • Arm trap crossface
  • Io Galaxy Meteor ( Standing or a running shooting star press )
  • Lifting sitout double underhook facebuster
  • Moonsault, sometimes followed by springboarding out of the ring
  • Rolling sole butt
  • Shinkansen Attack ( Running double knee strike an opponent sitting in the corner)
  • Tiger kick to an opponent’s head covered by the second rope

Io Shirai is 32 years old in 2022:

Because Io Shirai was born on May 8, 1990, she is currently in her 30s. She was born under a different name: Masami Odate. The 32-year-old wrestles under the name Io Shirai and regularly teams up with her 34-year-old sister who uses the name Mio Shirai.

Io Shirai’s boyfriend:

Odate was previously in a relationship with fellow professional wrestler Kazushige Nosawa ; the two lived together in Koto, Tokyo. Although she is a fan of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Momoiro Clover Z, these men are not interested in her and vice versa. 

Io Shirai got into some illegal issues:

On May 23, 2012, Odate and her boyfriend fellow professional wrestler Kazushige Nosawa were arrested at Narita International Airport in Narita, Chiba, upon their return from Mexico on suspicion of trying to smuggle 75 grams of marijuana, hidden inside the two’s paintings, into the country. 

Both of these highly celebrated wrestlers denied the charges, claiming the paintings were gifts from fans. Odate was released from a detention center on June 12. On June 21, Odate held a press conference, publicly apologizing to her fans, employers, and co-workers, while fervently denying the charges a second time in public. 

Io who was born with the surname Odate also revealed that she had not considered her retirement, but that she wanted to work again and regain the trust of her classmates and fans, as she revealed that she and Nosawa had broken up with her. On June 28, Japan’s prosecutor’s office decided not to prosecute the female wrestler for the incident. On July 9, Mexico-based Japanese wrestler Takuya Sugi held a press conference and confessed to planting the drugs in Shirai and Nosawa. According to Sugi, who had a personal grudge against Nosawa, he had promised her a contract extension with AAA in exchange for the deed.

Beginnings as a free agent:

Io Shirai became the star of NXT as she was confirmed as the new fighter of the brand during the WWE tour of Japan. 

The Japanese wrestler Io’s story begins in 2007, when she, at the age of 16, decided that her future was to be a fighter – but as a free agent because at the time of her debut, Io was only 16 and was working part-time while attending high school. 

Odate trained with Tomohiko Hashimoto and after graduating, she began working full-time as a professional wrestler along with her sister Mio. Sister duo Io and Mio began to fight in the most important parts of Japan, for a couple of years, they ended up gaining fame thanks to their participation in Pro Wrestling Zero.

Shirai debuted for one of Japan’s largest professional wrestling promotions, All Japan Pro Wrestling on October 19, 2008 and by April 29 of the next year, she won her first championship along with her older sister Mio Shirai. 

On December 23, the Shirai sisters lost the TLW World Young Women’s Tag Team Championship to Misaki Ohata and Moeka Haruhi. Over time, she appeared in other various promotions around the world, including in Mexico.

Alliance with Kana:

Around 2010, Io and Mio Shirai began to team up with Kana (Asuka), one of the most popular fighters, this alliance allowed both Io and her sister to continue climbing in the business, although it did not allow them to win championships, since they always who got opportunities, the champions managed to retain their championships.

World Wonder Ring Stardom for 7 years: 

2011 would be the year that Io Shirai arrived at Stardom to make her debut in the promotion on August 14. 

She teamed with Nanae Takahashi, defeating Yoko Bito and Yuzuki Aikawa. During her time for more than seven years, in this promotion, she won several titles and tournaments. In this place, Io positioned herself as the best Japanese fighter, obtaining many championships and achievements such as being an individual champion, in pairs, and in trios. On May 29, 2018, Stardom announced that Shirai would be leaving the promotion after their final fight.

Fighting abroad: 

Io has also had experiences outside of Japan, he has participated in events in Mexico, where her mask and fight stands out. She also had an appearance on Lucha Underground, where she stabled another NXT wrestler, Kairi Sane.

Entering the WWE franchise in 2016 began in a secret leak:

In October 2016, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that two new recruits: Shirai and Kairi Hojo had been contacted by WWE and received contract offers. Shirai reportedly informed Stardom’s management that she accepted the offer. 

In March 2017, Shirai participated in a tryout at the WWE Performance Center. Her test was not meant to go public, but due to a communication issue, she was featured on the official WWE website in an article that was removed shortly thereafter. On May 15, 2017, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Shirai had accepted WWE’s contract offer. 

Her debut was delayed due to a neck injury. The contract offer was withdrawn after it was discovered that she also had a heart problem.

Despite her neck and heart, she kept fighting for the WWE under NXT: 

After several years of speculation, Masami Odate aka Io Shirai made her first official appearance for WWE on June 30, 2018 at a live show in Japan. Here it was announced that she was now officially a part of WWE despite her many physical illnesses (she could have arrived earlier but an injury prevented her). 

A month later, it was announced that Shirai would be participating in the Mae Young Classic tournament, where she reached the final but then lost to Toni Storm. 

In her first appearance for NXT, Shirai debuted on November 17, 2018 at the NXT TakeOver: WarGames event. She formed a tag team with Kairi Sane called The Sky Pirates, during which time the team achieved multiple victories. The team disbanded after Sane was called to the main roster.

After Sane was called to the main roster, she feuded with Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir. During this feud, she was given a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship, but failed to win the title. On November 23, 2019, she took part in the first WarGames women’s match, but she was unable to win it with her team. On June 7, 2020 at NXT TakeOver: In Your House, she won the NXT Women’s Championship in a Triple Threat Match against Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair.

NXT Women’s Champion in 2020 and Loss of Title in 2021: 

On April 8 at NXT, Io won a Women’s No. 1 Cotender’s Ladder Match and became the No. 1 contender for the NXT Women’s Championship. On May 6 at NXT, she defeated Charlotte Flair by disqualification after the latter hit her with a Kendo Stick. After the match, the NXT champion was going to do her Figure Four on a pole, but she was rescued by Rhea Ripley. On the May 20 episode of NXT, she defeated Rhea Ripley by disqualification after Charlotte Flair Big Booted her and Speared Ripley. It is announced that she will face Rhea Ripley & Charlotte Flair for the NXT Title at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. On May 27 at NXT, she lost with Rhea Ripley against Charlotte Flair and Chelsea Green.

On June 7 at NXT TakeOver: In Your House, she defeated Rhea Ripley & Charlotte Flair to become the NXT Women’s Championship. On June 24 at NXT, she attacked Sasha Banks and Bayley. On July 1 at NXT, she defeated Sasha Banks. During that time, the NXT Superstar revealed that she is interested in moving up to the main roster. Io Shirai also confirmed that she wants a rematch with Sasha Banks, and that she is interested in facing Bayley. When she was interviewed by Sports Illustrated about the possibility of moving up to RAW or SmackDown, and if there is anyone she would really like to work with on the main roster, Io commented: 

“Of course I would be open to a move to SmackDown or Raw…. “The opportunity would present new goals and matches different from what I have achieved and experienced in NXT. I would like a rematch with Sasha Banks as soon as possible. I also heard Bayley say that she wanted to have a match with me, and I would definitely love to be able to have my first matchup with her. If it’s a title match, even better.”

On July 15 at NXT, she defeated Tegan Nox and retained her title. At the end of the match, she is attacked on the stage by Dakota Kai who throws her a Big Boot. At NXT TakeOver: XXX, she defeated Dakota Kai and retained her title. On September 30 at NXT, she lost with Damian Priest against Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae. At the end of the match, she is attacked by the latter who celebrates with the NXT Women’s Championship. On October 4 at NXT TakeOver: 31, she defeated Candice LeRae and retained her title. At NXT Halloween Havoc, she defeated Candice LeRae in a TLC Match and retained her title. At NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day, she defeated Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez and retained her title. At NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, she lost her title to Raquel González.

Where is Io Shirai in 2022?

Around the time of the pandemic, NXT TakeOver: WarGames IV on December 6, 2020, she joined Ember Moon, Rhea Ripley, and Shotzi Blackheart in a War Games match, which they lost.

The Japanese female wrestler’s reign as NXT Women’s Champions lasted 304 days as she lost the title, ultimately on April 7, 2021 at NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver to Raquel González.

Last year on July 6, 2021, Io Shirai teamed with Zoey Stark to win the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship where they successfully defeated Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell and their reign lasted 112 days. Io Shirai and Zoey Stark eventually lost the titles to Toxic Attraction Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne on October 26, 2021. 

On March 22, 2022, she teamed with Kay Lee Ray to win the finals of the Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Thus, she secured a chance at the NXT Women’s Championship. She won the title match on April 2, 2022 at NXT Stand & Deliver (2022), but she failed to win. Like history repeating itself, it was announced on June 5, 2022, that Io Shirai (who almost didn’t get into the WWE because of her heart and neck injuries), would once again be out due to an undisclosed injury. 

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