Thursday, August 3, 2017

Io Shirai Is Not Going to WWE

Shirai will be staying in STARDOM
Photo via Pro Wrestling Wikia
Kairi Hojo, now Kairi Sane, and Io Shirai were set to bring a STARDOM invasion to WWE and its women's division. Sane has made her splash in the Mae Young Classic. For the benefit of those wishing to avoid spoilers, well, all I'll write is it's been a good splash, even though she suffered a concussion (don't click the link if you don't want to be spoiled). But Shirai hasn't made her way over yet, and furthermore, she's returned to STARDOM for a few dates. While finishing up in a home promotion isn't unheard of when it comes to new signees, Shirai's return was more of a full return and not a farewell. WWE has rescinded its contract offer to her.

Dave Meltzer in the latest Wrestling Observer reports that Shirai's neck injury concerned WWE to the point where it hemmed and hawed on offering her when it offered Hojo/Sane. The company wanted her to rehab her neck, but even after she did and was cleared to work, WWE had already cooled to the point of not offering the contract. One might say WWE was well within its right to do so, but the way this whole deal was reported feels like the company put the screws to Shirai. It just goes to show that corporations hold all the power, and labor, especially independent contracted labor from another country, has no real recourse.

Shirai losing out on the money and fame that comes with being in WWE sucks, and she obviously seemed like she wanted to be there, but overall, this bit of news will end up as a net positive for non-corporate wrestling. Shirai will return to STARDOM where she'll be able to carry the promotion with Mayu Iwatami and the rest of the cast of characters that populate Japan's most noteworthy joshi promotion at present time. The more elite talent that isn't concentrated in WWE is better for the overall health of wrestling anyway.