Did WWE just leak that one of the top pro wrestlers in the world is heading their way? Well, if they did, they don’t want you to know about it.
On Wednesday, WWE.com posted pictures some wrestlers at a tryout in their Performance Center in Orlando. Spotted in those pictures was one Io Shirai, one of the best — if not the best — female pro wrestler in the world. WWE eventually took down the photos with Shirai in them, but the Wrestling Observer confirmed that Shirai was indeed there.
The Observer’s Dave Meltzer later relayed on his radio show that this was less of a “tryout” for Shirai, and more of a tryout for her and WWE, as the company is open to signing her whenever she is willing to come over from Japan.
If Shirai does sign, she will be joined by one of her fellow top performers from the Japanese promotion “Stardom”, as Kairi Hojo signed with WWE last week. Both Shirai and Hojo were rumored to be signing with WWE last year, but they decided to stay with Stardom until now.
Shirai, 26, is generally regarded as one of the best pro wrestlers in the world, regardless of gender. Shirai finished eighth in the Wrestling Observer’s “Most Outstanding Wrestler” award race, which is the highest finish by a female wrestler in that award category since 2001.
If Shirai does sign, she would be a boost to an already blossoming women’s division in WWE that features Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Asuka, among others. The possibility of Shirai facing all of them is just good for wrestling in generally, as those matches should be excellent.