NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai recently spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated to promote Sunday’s “Takeover: Vengeance Day” event, where she will defend against Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez in a Triple Threat.
Speaking through a translator, Shirai expressed interest in defending her title at WrestleMania 37 this year. She was asked if she would like to compete on The Grandest Stage of Them All, and if she would like to defend her title against Japanese wrestling legend Meiko Satomura, who recently debuted for NXT UK.
“No question about it,” she answered. “WrestleMania is the grandest stage we have in this business and I have always wanted to compete under that spotlight. A match with Meiko Satomura is another dream match for me. Fortunately she has joined NXT UK, making it a real possibility now. I am so excited.”
New RAW Superstar Damian Priest recently told SI that he thinks Shirai is the most talented pro wrestler in the world. Shirai responded to that praise and was asked who she thinks if the most talented in-ring performer. She named Rey Mysterio and talked about watching him when she was younger, which is why she uses t he 619 today.
“That was very nice of him to say, so thank you, Damian,” Shirai said. “My definition of talented is how much a performer can attract others to what they are doing. So I would have to say Rey Mysterio. I watched him when I was younger and that was when I knew I wanted to be in a WWE ring one day. And now after a long journey, here I am.”
Shirai has currently held the NXT Women’s Title for 250 days, winning it from Charlotte Flair at “Takeover: In Your House” on June 7. She was asked what she’s most proud of during this run, and what is one area where she wants to improve to make even more special.
“I am so proud to be the champion in what is considered one of the most talented women’s divisions in NXT history,” she said. “The fact that I have been able to defend my title against a series of skilled challengers in such high-level matches has been a great experience for me. I fully intend to defend my title in an effort to raise the brand profile of NXT and its women’s division by continuing to have quality matches week in and week out.”
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