Sun. Nov 29th, 2020

I will break her with my grace: Io Shirai looks ahead to NXT Takeover XXX

High-flying Io Shirai will put her gold on the line against Dakota Kai inside the Thunderdome at NXT Takeover on Saturday.

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Io Shirai will put her NXT Women’s Championship on the line against Dakota Kai on Saturday and the champion has opened up about her experiences in the WWE so far.

In the world of sports entertainment this weekend promises to be a bumper TV experience with NXT Takeover happening on Saturday and WWE Summerslam on Monday.

Shirai won the NXT Women’s title at TakeOver: In Your House in June, pinning Rhea Ripley to claim victory in a triple threat match that included then champion Charlotte Flair.

Charlotte is the Queen

The NXT Women’s Champion spoke of her respect for both women in a recent interview.

“Being honest and with no sense of irony: Charlotte is the Queen. It takes a lot to be on top, only someone who has been there can understand, and one mistake can be exploited and attacked,” Shirai said.

“Charlotte has a strong heart and remains unfazed and stands tall. She is also humble, kind and very professional, all of which have contributed to her success. I have only had a few encounters with her, but I am glad I have been able to have those opportunities. 

“Rhea has an incredible aura. She has a great personality and I respect the effort she puts in at the gym. Her look, her momentum, her youth and her athletic abilities are very appealing.”

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Io Shirai launches at Charlotte Flair during their triple threat match also involving Rhea Ripley at TakeOver:
In Your House in Winter Park Florida. Photo: WWE ©

Io Shirai is not a champion who can be broken

Shirai has promised to retain the gold this weekend against Kai.

“Dakota is trying to win in any way she can, by changing her style, kicking me in the face, or bringing in Raquel González. 

“Io Shirai is not a champion who can be broken. I will be smart and I will break her with my grace.”

The 30-year-old Shirai has impressed since being introduced to the WWE Universe and is considered among the best in the business by several respected figures.

When asked how it felt to be honoured in this way, Shirai said: “Honestly I am very thankful. 

“The people who are saying that are also some of the best in the world at what they do, so to hear it from them, I am truly honored. 

“I am also thankful to the fans for the support I receive in Japan and around the world. They pushed me to reach where I am today.”

Asuka in the crosshairs for Io Shirai

Shirai indicated her desire to face compatriot and former Raw Women’s Champion Asuka in the future to complete her list of dream WWE matchups. Shirai teamed up with Asuka before they both arrived in the WWE Universe and facing the Empress of Tomorrow is the final box Shirai wants to tick in the company.

“When I first came to WWE I said I wanted to face Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Asuka. Now only Asuka remains. We have a long history together. Before I turned 20 I teamed up with Asuka in Japan but then we went our separate ways. 

“Asuka went to WWE first and I always thought, someday, somewhere, it would be great to face her again. If it happens in WWE it would be a dream come true. 

“If I could go back in time and tell myself as a teenager, she would not believe it. Back then I dreamt of coming to WWE and I trained hard in Mexico to make it come true. Facing Asuka would be a dream match, 10 years in the making. It would be even better if we both had Titles when it happens.”

Io Shirai will defend the NXT Women’s Championship against Dakota Kai this Saturday at NXT TakeOver: XXX, live on the WWE Network. The show will go out on the WWE channel (DStv channel 128) in the early hours of Sunday morning SAST.

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