NXT superstar Io Shirai recently spoke with Sports Illustrated to hype her triple-threat women’s championship match at this Sunday’s Takeover: In Your House pay per view. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
Being called one of the best in the world and goals she wants to accomplish in WWE:
A few years ago, many people started saying I was one of the best wrestlers in the world. I was competing in Japan and had received every award and accolade possible for a female in the industry. That was when I really started thinking about competing and proving myself on WWE’s global stage, which is the biggest in our profession. My main goal is to let the world know WWE has the best and most competitive women’s division in professional wrestling. We are just as dedicated, athletic and talented as the men, and I think what we can do with our platform is a beautiful thing. I have a very special opportunity to change how fans view women’s wrestling and I plan to use my abilities to do so.
What the NXT women’s championship means to her:
It’s hard to fully explain what the NXT Women’s Championship means to me personally. It is proof that you are one of the best performers in the world, and after I win the title, the world will know who I am.
What inspires her the most in wrestling:
Everything I do is for our passionate fans. They motivate me to be the best performer I can be, and I always want to give them the best match possible when I am in the ring. It is more than just wins or losses for me. I always want to find ways to entertain and excite them whenever I am competing so they can leave with a memory that lasts a lifetime.
Her respect for Charlotte Flair:
I know how hard it is to be on top and remain in that spot. It may look glamorous from the outside, but it is a huge responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. I have nothing but respect for Charlotte, and for the mental toughness she has shown throughout her career in WWE to remain as one of the top female performers.
What she enjoys about living in the U.S. and what she misses from Japan:
Whether I was wrestling or not, I have always been interested in living in the United States and learning English because my mother grew up in New York when she was a child. That being said, meeting all the great people and making new friends has probably been the most exciting part of living here. The thing I miss most about living in Japan are the convenience stores. You can always find all sorts of sweets made by pastry chefs that are very inexpensive and they are open 24/7.
What she wants the world to remember about Hana Kimura:
Hana was one of the most talented female wrestlers in the world, and I was looking forward to watching her grow to see how far she could go. I will always remember her smile that would brighten up any room she walked into. It is so important that we all love and treat each other with respect.