NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai was recently interviewed by Sports Illustrated ahead of her title defense against Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez at “NXT Takeover” Vengeance Day” this weekend. She discussed a number of topics, including being the NXT Women’s Champion, competing at WrestleMania 37 and more.
Below are some questions along with the “Genius of the Sky’s” answers:
Sports Illustrated: You have had a phenomenal title reign so far. What are you most proud of during this run with the belt? And what is one area where you want to improve and make even more special?
Io Shirai: I am so proud to be the champion in what is considered one of the most talented women’s divisions in NXT history. The fact that I have been able to defend my title against a series of skilled challengers in such high-level matches has been a great experience for me. I fully intend to defend my title in an effort to raise the brand profile of NXT and its women’s division by continuing to have quality matches week in and week out.
SI: What do you respect most about Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez?
IS: Despite Toni’s young age, she has already experienced and accomplished so much in this business. It is not easy to travel around the world, compete in different promotions and stay on top wherever you go. Toni has managed to do that wherever she has been, including NXT.
And Mercedes Martinez, I feel a lot of veteran confidence with Mercedes since she has had the longest career among the three of us. The fact that she came to NXT for title shots proves she is still very hungry, and not just satisfied with being here or what she has done in the past.
SI: Would you like to compete this April at WrestleMania 37? Would you defend your title in a match against Meiko Satomura?
IS: No question about it. WrestleMania is the grandest stage we have in this business and I have always wanted to compete under that spotlight. A match with Meiko Satomura is another dream match for me. Fortunately, she has joined NXT UK, making it a real possibility now. I am so excited.
They also discuss her rivalry with Mayu Iwatani, competing in Japan, and more.
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