The former NXT Women’s Champion’s contract with WWE is set to expire next month, according to Dave Meltzer.
In the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Meltzer states that Shirai has not accepted WWE’s latest contract offer, and unless she agrees to a new deal, she’s expected to leave this summer.
He also explains that Shirai has told people close to her that she wants to return to Japan and be closer to her family, making re-signing with WWE seem quite unlikely.
Io Shirai has not signed her newest contract offer. She will be a free agent next month if she doesn’t sign her new deal. She had told people in Japan that when her contract was up she wanted to return to Japan and be closer with her family.
If Io Shirai does leave WWE, so could well follow in the footsteps of Kairi Sane, who also returning to STARDOM after also leaving WWE.
Shirai is recognised as one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world, and she’s proved that wherever she’s gone, so the 32-year-old will be a big loss to WWE if she does move on.
There’s always a chance that WWE could offer her a deal she simply cannot refuse before she becomes a free agent, but as of right now, it does seem likely that Shirai isn’t going to be staying around.
Shirai will become just the latest person to leave WWE with their deals expiring, following the likes of Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano, who have all done the same over the last year.
While she may be one of NXT’s top stars, Shirai actually hasn’t wrestled for the last three months, with her last match coming at NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver over WrestleMania weekend.
In fact, Io has only wrestled five TV matches during the first six months of 2022, with it being believed that she’s out of action with an injury right now.
This situation is likely to develop over the coming weeks, so for updates as they become available, make sure you’re staying tuned to GiveMeSport.
With one female star seemingly out of the door, WWE may have already found Io Shirai’s replacement, with MMA star Valerie Loureda (formerly of Bellator) signing with the company just this week.