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Stomping Scrawny Vanilla Midgetesses
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I remember some people talking a lot about Io Shirai being "the best women's wrestler in the world", "she's the second coming of Manami Toyota!" and stuff and...something isn't clicking since I've seen her in the Mae Young Classic.

Io Shirai being here feels similar to like, when Taka Michonoku came to WWE, yes, seemed very technically good, but like, surrounded by such larger presences like The Rock and Steve Austin and has to do like, a lot of moves to get the point across and try so much harder.

Okay, when comparing to her fellow Japanese crossovers, Kairi Sane (yes I know I made a thread about her last year similar to this, but bare with me) entered the Mae Young Classic telling like these decent babyface storytelling outings and she just has this pirate gimmick that the fans can attach themselves to. Asuka, who, ok, isn't like "as workrate heavy", is fierce and has this intensity that makes her come off as a main eventer. She's felt like a main eventer ever since she got here.

Meiko Satomura just feels like a veteran with poise and just commands like she knows what she's doing with every move, so that's another comparison.

Io Shirai...she just kinda has been coming on and just doing some flips and some spots and that's really it. She feels like a cruiserweight who you throw on to hype up the crowd for the main event matches...OH WAIT A MINUTE...that's exactly what her match with Toni Storm was! This quick and dirty match that would hype you up for actual main events like Kairi vs. Shayna, Becky vs. Charlotte and Rousey vs. Nikki of all things even. And that's exactly just how I've been feeling. It sunk in even more with her Evolution matches and her presence on NXT TV where she's resorting to these quick and dirty spots or GETTING GERMAN SUPLEXED ONTO THE APRON to wake up the not so alive crowds for her matches! There's just this lack of presence I feel, like ok, that fatal four way, she was in there with 3 more louder characters, Lacey Evans who feels like she would have stolen the show in the 80s women's division, Mia Yim who's got this spunk to her and Bianca Belair who's like, this total complete package in her look, her presence, her ringwork, her psychology and storytelling abilities. Io in that match felt like...just moves. Some of these ladies can do less moves and elicit more of a crowd response and more emotional storytelling into the matches.

When she hits her moonsault, she just kinda does it without this gravitas at all, where as someone like Kairi Sane going for her elbow drop, has like all the energy in the world being focused into it, psychology if you will. Heck, when Charlotte goes for her moonsault, there's just this presence about it when she's setting it up, this gravitas, is it as near technically perfect as Io's? Maybe not, but it sure as hell feels like it's psychologically investing the crowd as she gracefully floats and rotates through the air.

Please, somebody tell me if I'm out of line here, she doesn't feel like she's standing out like this main eventer everyone is saying she is. It doesn't help when she plays as a backup for Kairi Sane who just LOOKS more complete as a character on screen just standing next to her.
 

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Her moonsault is one of the best int he biz

I dont understand how she's being put with bigger personalities. I haven't watched much NXT but her tag match with Dakota Kai was abysmal and its because Dakota Kai fucking sucks. She's a great wrestler, can work longer matches, and can work any style of match. She's like a majority of NXT signings, good wrestlers, need to find their niche in WWE.
 

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She's been here two months dood I would be surprised if she already felt like a big star. Bryan didn't feel like a main eventer for a few years until after he came over even though he was The Guy in ROH.

Watch these btw:

Io Shirai v. Momo Watanabe (Stardom 2/18/18)
Io Shirai v. Meiko Satomura (Sendai Girls 4/19/18)
Io Shirai v. Momo Watanabe (Stardom 5/23/18)
Io Shirai v. Rachael Ellering (Stardom 1/13/18) (not THAT good a match, but Ellering is terrible in a lot of it and Shirai pieces the match together + makes up for Ellering's crummy offense with her selling)


She can be spotty but that's not her *whole* thing. Like in the Watanabe matches above I thought the two clearly communicated the difference in hierarchy.
 

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#1 Somamaniac
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people talking a lot about Io Shirai being "the best women's wrestler in the world
Like I said in the CB, that is mostly from hype who only saw her from LU and is the only one in Stardom that they knew so they called her the Best. And because Meltzer said she was (Don't listen to him, he also said Asuka was from Stardom so don't listen to him), and people just go along with what he says. I wouldn't even put her in my top 5 women wrestlers today if I'm honest.

Now whilst she isn't the the best women's wrestler in the world, she is still a fantastic wrestler and can easily have great matches when put with people who are good. Just look at the carry job she pulled on Storm at Evolution. Storm is a mediocre wrestler 8/10 times and they had a very good match. Now put her with Shayna (She had a fantastic match with her in 2017 to check out) and you're golden.

From what I gathered, she has only just debuted so I wouldn't think too much of it right now. Kairi was meh at the beginning of her run and has really come into her own. Maybe Io will too, maybe she won't. Well see.

Edit:

And yes. Watch the matches Yeah93 recommended. Especially the Meiko and Momo matches.
 

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Stomping Scrawny Vanilla Midgetesses
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Discussion Starter #5
Will say, I'm not opposed to like, giving her a chance, but organically like, letting her work her way up the card, I just hope that there isn't some group that I was seeing earlier this year like, over complain if she's not like NXT Women's Champion by X date or something. There was just a lot of hype around her signing too.
 

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I think the issue here is that she's being put with the bottom of the barrel talent as well. Like you see star power in Bianca, I see someone who is massively overhyped. Bianca isn't bad, but she's MASSIVELY overhyped in every department. Her ringwork is passable, but she still gets lost fairly often. You could see it in the fatal four way.

I mean Io's first real feud seems to be with Jessamyn and Marina. So of course her matches aren't going to be good (because Jessamyn and Marina are fucking terrible). And out of everyone in that fatal four way from the latest episode of NXT, she definitely looked the best from a workrate perspective (Mia looking the worst). I think someone compared Io to Okada. She has good long marathon matches, but isn't super amazing in squash/short matches. She'll learn over time, but still. An Io you see in a 3 minute match will not be as impressive as an Io you see in a 10+ minute match.

As for charisma, her current WWE character sucks, and I hope NXT evolves on it soon. The whole IM HERE TO PROTECT MY FRIENDS thing is real stupid. She is way better off as a cocky, arrogant babyface/tweener, like she was in STARDOM. Io thrives when she's on top of a division. Which would be a problem on the main roster (since she wont always be on top), however she knows how to turn it up to 11 during big events. While I don't see her in the title picture soon, she'll probably be in it by Takeover: New York if Shayna retains at Phoenix.
 

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The Empire will Reign again
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Ice you aren't wrong here, people are missing the point-- Io may be fantastic at the technical aspects of wrestling but her presence is severely lacking, and unlike Asuka or Kairi she doesn't have a character that resonates through her psychology. Kairi is the spunky underdog who puts her heart into every match, Asuka is this aggressive and cocky ass kicker who fears no one; their characters extend through their movesets, how they sell, how they play to the crowd, even through their limited promo skills; Io just doesn't have that yet. Early in the MYC she was smiling a lot and toying with her opponents, finishing them off with little effort and I was thinking she was going to have a female Orton kinda swagger, but then she went bland Babyface for some reason.

Maybe it's Creative's fault because they put her in the Kairi support role to build to her turning on Kairi; because this is a very real possibility it's way too early to give up on Io, if she turns heel or Kairi gets called up and she's still bland, then it might be time to start worrying.
 

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Ice you aren't wrong here, people are missing the point-- Io may be fantastic at the technical aspects of wrestling but her presence is severely lacking, and unlike Asuka or Kairi she doesn't have a character that resonates through her psychology. Kairi is the spunky underdog who puts her heart into every match, Asuka is this aggressive and cocky ass kicker who fears no one; their characters extend through their movesets, how they sell, how they play to the crowd, even through their limited promo skills; Io just doesn't have that yet. Early in the MYC she was smiling a lot and toying with her opponents, finishing them off with little effort and I was thinking she was going to have a female Orton kinda swagger, but then she went bland Babyface for some reason.

Maybe it's Creative's fault because they put her in the Kairi support role to build to her turning on Kairi; because this is a very real possibility it's way too early to give up on Io, if she turns heel or Kairi gets called up and she's still bland, then it might be time to start worrying.
That's the key issue here. Io isn't going to turn on Kairi as long as one of them don't have the title either. And neither of them are in the title picture right now for some godforsaken reason (they unceremoniously dumped Kairi out of the picture and made her look like a fucking idiot for just accepting defeat at War Games). I feel like Kairi getting sick right before the last set of tapings derailed their plans massively. And while Bianca is getting a push, putting the title on her would almost certainly send the division into another death spiral because she isn't ready to be champion. She can't carry matches, and her going over talent like Io, Kairi, etc will likely piss people off because Bianca is very inexperienced still.

NXT has a huge problem of not allowing women's feuds to thrive that don't involve the title. There haven't been two women's matches on a Takeover card for a VERY long time. And I don't see that changing. Which is why one of them needs to be the champion for that feud to actually take off.
 

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As of now she's the second coming of Kairi Sane, a cringeworthy goof who's been watered down.

For me outside of WWE she had the best Women's match this year against Momo Watanabe in Stardom, she came into WWE with high expectations but she wasn't impressive in the Mae Young Classic, she hasn't appeared on NXT television enough but in terms of character she's portrayed herself so far as a smiley cringeworthy goof, we already have one of them in Kairi, we don't need another.

So far she's shown nothing to get excited about but of course it's very, very, very early days.
 

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She’s Japanese and has tits. Of course all the marks on this forum are going to proclaim her the greatest wrestler in the world.

The problem is every other damn wrestler with half an ounce of technical prowess is the greatest wrestler in the world to them. Bonus points if they wrestled in Japan once.


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Immovable
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Even as a fan I'll admit that as great as Io is in the ring she is definitely not a finished product yet. Unlike Kairi she does still have a lot of growing to do character wise if she wants to succeed in WWE. I feel that in order for her to maximize her chances of success she'll need to turn at some point and work as a heel for the better part of her run in WWE because as a babyface she will never be able to eclipse Kairi. She also didn't come in at the best time either because the NXT women's division is at a very low point right now talent and creative wise. But she'll be in NXT for awhile so I would say give it time.
 

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I don't really know what the problem is….i mean she only had 2 matches in NXT and she's not in the title picture so it's kind of normal that we don't see to much of her.
Also we know that in NXT (and WWE in general) if you're not in the title picture then you'll not have the chance to show a lot.
One big problem for Io is that she's going to have to get used to the fact that nobody except Kairi is able to follow her if she go full speed.
 

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If I may examine the source of the issue OP, I think you may be noticing the difference between a wrestler who has much more characterization i.e. American style compared to one who has a less characterized, straight forward Joshi approach less about gimmicks and more about athleticism.

The urgency from American fans over the years to add more pure athleticism and wrestling into the WWE's product has brought you those like Io Shirai and others, over the perceived "silliness" of toonish characterization within the PG era. I display to you that it's all in preference. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

You I can see by your repeated usages prefer psychology and storytelling that perhaps you are used to, more than feats of agility and grace which others prefer.

I've been paying attention to this myself where it concerns American fans, and I mentioned something like this early on in other threads before Io came to the States. Why Kairi Sane seems to work better is because she meets more of a midground between classic dramatic American wrestling with vivid characters like being a white-clad pirate, and dynamic, spot-heavy matwork.

If you look historically at where Io came from (this is key), the majority of her matches have been more or less the same theme: outperforming, workrate, strength and endurance, in traditional Japanese wrestling style. She has an added lucha background to her ring work, but other than that she's very much pragmatic and conservative in presentation, like most Japanese wrestlers who aren't about clowning around.

If you see the WWE product as psychology first, she's most times out of every match going to look different from what you're used to.

I haven't watched much NXT but her tag match with Dakota Kai was abysmal and its because Dakota Kai fucking sucks.
:beckywhat

Dakota is top 5 best performer on the roster consistently.
 

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It's criminal what they're doing with her so far. Absolutely criminal. This is the stuff I'd usually say about the main roster, so it sucks that I have to say it about NXT now. This is the top women's wrestler in Japan, one with considerably more popularity than Asuka or Kairi, and they're butchering her.

She's being given shit to work and it appears they've slowed her down worse than I feared, though hopefully the beast within comes out soon.

The worst part is her character though. This chivalry angle fucking sucks, and you're damn right I'm blaming this terrible horseshitwomen stuff for it.

Io needs to turn and play that "I'm the queen bitch of the universe and you can't do anything about it" character she did in Stardom, which actually does shine through her ring work. It's still early so hopefully it does happen, but it probably won't as long as Shayna is there shitting up the division. Io looks set to be another casualty and while I do think she's ultimately going to beat her for the title, how she does it is equally important.
 

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I kind of like that they're not pushing her hard for the moment because the sooner you're pushed the sooner you get called up. Personally i don't want to see Io on the main roster in 2019 or early 2020, so HHH have plenty of times to do great things with her.
She's not in the title picture for the moment so it's normal that we don't see much of her, because she's not THE priority (for the moment).

Also don't try to compare her situation with the one of Kairi, when Kairi debuted in NXT they were much less talent than now so that's why she got pushed sooner (and she was also the winner of the MYC)
 

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Wheel Man for SCOTT STEINER
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At some point, we gotta stop pretending that this is 2008 and the only thing that's relevant is WWE. Pretty much every other wrestling organisation except TNA & WWE have bloomed in the past half-decade. Plenty of her work is online. Delve into the catalogue and use a deeper reference point than a gimmicked single-elim bracket tournament.
 
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