NXT Star Io Shirai spoke with the Hindustan Times about her heel turn and where she originally got the idea to become a more sinister character. Shirai also revealed who she really wants to face on the WWE main roster.
Originally coming into NXT as a face, Shirai turned on her friend, Candice LeRae, a few months back, sparking a new, much more evil side. The NXT Superstar was asked how fans reacted to her change and if it was too sudden.
"To the fans, my character changed suddenly," Shirai began. "But I took a long time to think about it and it was a gradual process for me. When I came to WWE, I wanted to try out something different. They already had Asuka and Kairi [Sane]. So, I wanted to show something new. I wanted to show a new side of Japanese woman wrestlers. I have mainly been a babyface in my career, but I wanted to make a big change."
Lucha Underground fans will remember Shirai playing the character, Hitokiri. Although her time was brief in the company, it allowed Shirai to get a glimpse of how dark her gimmick could potentially go.
"That was just one time," Shirai said. "I can see the small similarity, but that was a small part of it. I got the idea from that character, but this is what Io Shirai is capable of. This is something that I have worked a lot on."
After appearing in the Mae Young Classic, Shirai debuted for NXT in November of 2018. Still honing her craft there today, Shirai does have dreams of facing a few women in particular on the main roster.
"I would really like to fight Sasha [Banks], Charlotte and Asuka," Shirai revealed.
Shirai is scheduled to be in the first-ever women's WarGames on November 23 at NXT TakeOver. It will be Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox and Mia Yim vs. Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Shirai, and a partner to be named.