Io Shirai Wanted To Make a “Big Change” With Her Heel Turn

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Image via WWE

NXT Superstar Io Shirai recently spoke with the Hindustan Times about her current role as a heel and where she got the idea for her character.

Shirai’s heel turn took place when she attacked her former friend Candice LeRae. She told the Hindustan Times that many fans think the turn was sudden but it was actually the product of a lot of thought and the desire to try something new.

“I took a long time to think about it and it was a gradual process for me,” said Shirai.

“When I came to WWE, I wanted to try out something different. They already had Asuka and Kairi. 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,” she added.

Previously, Shirai got a chance to be a heel-ish character during her brief stint as Hitokiri on Lucha Underground and she admits that she is currently building her NXT character from that.

“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,” she said.

Shirai is currently set to be part of the first women’s WarGames match during the NXT TakeOver event on November 23.

She was also asked about who, if ever, she would like to face among the women in the main roster. She named another former Japanese woman who made the jump to WWE as well as two women who were considered part of the original “Four Horsewomen” of NXT.

“I would really like to fight Sasha, Charlotte, and Asuka,” Shirai told the interviewer.