After climbing to the top of the ladder and grabbing the briefcase, Io Shirai became the new number one contender to face the newest champion, Charlotte Flair, for the NXT Women's Championship. Shirai has been waiting for this moment for a long time, and is looking forward to her opportunity.
"I am the best. I was definitely elated, but I knew I was the only one worthy as the next contender. Do you know what I mean? I'm the best," Shirai stated in her interview on WWE's The Bump. "I can't believe I get to have a match with Charlotte Flair. I knew it would come one day, but I didn't think it would come this soon. I'm so excited. This is a big opportunity for me. I definitely want to take that opportunity.
"Having a match against Charlotte Flair is already a dream come true for me, but taking the championship from someone like Charlotte makes the title more attractive. The title will shine even brighter once I have it."
Shirai has made quite the name for herself over in Japan prior to her debut in NXT with promotions like AJPW and Stardom. Though she sees herself as possibly one of Charolette's toughest competitors yet, she feels that her success is just as equivalent to how Charlotte's success has been in the WWE.
"Charolette is definitely a Queen, having the experience and fame altogether. I also have the experience of being the top wrestler in Japan, so I'm going to put my best into this match against her," Shirai informed. "She can express her ability as a Queen and I can hope that there will be chemistry. I believe that Charlotte and I can create not just a great match but an art piece together, and I can't wait for it to happen."
Shirai noted that wrestling here in the United States is a lot different than when she was wrestling in Japan. She mentions how win-loss records play an important factor in how promoters determine the next contenders. As well as how the plays a vital role in determining which wrestlers get over or not by their win-loss records.
"So, wrestling in Japan, the win or the defeat is the biggest factor that makes the audience react," Shirai explained. "But in the US, it's more than the win or the defeat. It's the process that leads into it, which makes the audience react. I'm only focused on the win in Japan. But when I arrived in the US, I realized that just winning the match won't make me supported by the audience. It's more about the process and the story that leads to the win or the defeat. That's shared with the audience. When I realized that, I was able to immerse myself more into pro wrestling. That's the difference between here and Japan."
You can view Io Shirai's full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE's The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.