The Latest On Io Shirai's Status With WWE

Io Shirai hasn't yet signed a new contract with WWE, but that doesn't necessarily mean she's leaving.

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter is reporting that people in "WWE NXT" believed that Io Shirai had still not signed a new contract with the company as of last week, and that she would be returning to Japan in order to be closer to family — and to her former promotion, Wonder Ring, Stardom, which now has stronger financial backing than it did when Shirai left.

Despite that, there is an offer on the table for Shirai by WWE to retain her services, and those who know her from Japan believe that she had a goal of making it to WWE's main roster. There's a belief that if she could secure a move to either "WWE Raw" or "WWE SmackDown," Shirai would sign a new deal with the company.

"There is an offer on the table and her current deal hasn't expired yet," Meltzer said. Whether that offer involves a move to the main roster remains to be seen.

The situation regarding Shirai has been going on for several weeks now, with reports claiming that her deal runs out in August, which would make her a free agent if she didn't agree to a new one. This means that as soon as her contract is up, the former "NXT" Women's Champion and Women's Tag Team Champion would be free to work wherever she wanted. Despite claims that she had one foot out of the door in WWE, Shirai took to Twitter earlier this week to seemingly refute those claims, simply writing "Rumors" alongside an emoji of a face being sick.

Shirai has not been seen on television since the "NXT" Stand & Deliver event, which took place during WWE WrestleMania 38 weekend back in April, as she suffered an injury and was seen with a protective boot on. Shirai has reportedly been back training at the WWE Performance Center lately, and she is nearing a return to full fitness in order to compete again. Shirai joined WWE in 2017 after a 10-year career wrestling in Japan and Mexico and has spent the entirety of that time in "NXT." At this point, she is essentially the last remaining women's division star from the "Black and Gold" era, and as Meltzer notes, the main roster could use her after the apparent — but still not official — departure of Naomi and Sasha Banks.