Masami Odate (大館正美, Ōdate Masami) is a 31-year-old professional wrestler from Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan. She is signed with the WWE and performs on NXT under the ring name, Io Shirai.
Masami started her wrestling career when she was only 16 years old. At the time of her debut, she was working as a part-time wrestler while attending high school. She made her wrestling debut on May 4 2007 alongside her older sister. They adopted the ring names Io and Mio Shirai. In their debut match, the sisters teamed with Toshie Uematsu to face the trio of Erika Ura, Nozomi Takesako and Yuri Urai.
Masami’s Early Wrestlng Career
After graduating from high school, she started working full-time as a professional wrestler. During their first year, the Shirai sisters represented Team Makehen, a stable made up of wrestlers trained by Tomohiko Hashimoto, in several independent promotions including Ibuki, Pro Wrestling Wave, JWP Joshi Puroresu, and Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling.
All Japan Pro Wrestling
In October 2008, the sisters then made their debuts for All Japan Pro Wrestling, defeating the team of Kyoko Kimura and Mikado. On April 29 2009, the Shirai sisters won their first championship by defeating Moeka Haruhi and Tomoka Nakagawa in a tournament final to become the first TLW (Totally Lethal Wrestling) World Young Women’s Tag Team Champions. The Shirai sisters defended their titles successfully until December when they lost them to Misaki Ohata and Moeka Haruhi.
Shirai continued wrestling for various Japanese promotions including Smash, Osaka Pro Wrestling, and the Oz Academy. In 2010, she traveled to Mexico for further training and wrestled for International Wrestling Revolution Group, Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and Wrestling All-Star Pros.
In 2011, Shirai signed with World Wonder Ring Stardom and made her debut on August 14, 2011, when she teamed with Nanae Takahashi to defeat Yoko Bito and Yuzuki Aikawa in a tag team match. She wrestled for WWRS until 2018 and held numerous titles including the Artist of Stardom Championship, Goddess of Stardom Championship and High Speed Championship.
Io Shirai’s WWE Contract & Debut
In 2017, Io Shirai signed a contract with the WWE after she took part in a tryout at the WWE Performance Center in Florida. Shirai’s debut was delayed a month after a WWE medical examination discovered that she had a neck injury and heart issue. WWE rescinded its offer initially but after six months, they announced she had signed with the promotion and would be competing in the company’s developmental territory, NXT.
Shirai made her in-ring debut at the second annual Mae Young Classic Tournament in 2018. Io Shirai made it to the finals but was defeated by Toni Storm at Evolution. Io Shirai had many title matches in NXT but saw even more after turning heel on Candice LeRae when they stole the show at NXT TakeOver Toronto in 2019.
On the January 22, 2020 episode of NXT, Shirai suffered a minor injury in her match against Toni Storm. Io Shirai returned on the March 25 episode by replacing Xia Li in her match to qualify for a number one contender’s ladder match for the NXT Women’s Championship. She defeated Aliyah to earn a spot in the match.
Io Shirai Wins NXT Women’s Championship
In June 2020 at NXT TakeOver: In Your House, Io Shirai defeated Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley to become the new NXT Women’s Champion. On the July 15 episode of NXT, Io Shirai made her first successful title defense against Tegan Nox before being attacked by Dakota Kai. This led to a match at NXT TakeOver: XXX where she successfully retained her title against Dakota Kai despite interference from Kai’s enforcer, Raquel González.
In September, Shirai renewed her rivalry with Candice LeRae. As a result, their feud sparked two title matches at NXT TakeOver 31 and NXT: Halloween Havoc, including the first ever tables, ladders and scares match, in which Shirai retained her title. On the November 18th episode of NXT, Shirai also successfully retained her title against Rhea Ripley.
At NXT TakeOver: WarGames, Shirai was a part of Team Blackheart (herself, Shotzi Blackheart, Rhea Ripley and Ember Moon) who faced Team Lerae (Candice LeRae, Toni Storm, Dakota Kai and Raquel González) in a losing effort in which Shirai was pinned by González.
On February 14, 2021, at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day Shirai defeated Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm in a triple threat match to retain the NXT Women’s Championship. On the March 10, 2021 episode of NXT, Shirai was challenged by Storm for the title, which she retained.
Io Shirai’s reign as NXT Women’s Champion ended after 304 days when she lost the title to Raquel Gonzalez at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver pay-per-view event.
Birth name: Masami Odate (大館正美, Ōdate Masami)
Born: May 8, 1990, Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
Height: 5 ft 1 in (155 cm)
Weight: 119 lb (54 kg)
Ring Name(s): Biba Kasai, Hitokiri, Io Shirai, Lotica, Midnight Angel, Oyuki, T-2 Mask, Tenkū Shōjo Lusca
Current Roster: WWE NXT
Finishing Move(s): Moonsault
Io Shirai’s Social Media:
Career Championships and Accomplishments
- JWP Joshi Puroresu
- 5th Junior All Star Photogenic Award (2007)
- Pro Wrestling Wave
- TLW World Young Women’s Tag Team Championship (1 time)
- Captain’s Fall Six Person Tag Team Tournament (2009)
- TLW World Young Women’s Tag Team Tournament (2009)
- World Wonder Ring Stardom
- Artist of Stardom Championship (6 times)
- Goddess of Stardom Championship (1 time)
- High Speed Championship (1 time)
- SWA World Championship (1 time)
- Wonder of Stardom Championship (2 times)
- World of Stardom Championship (2 times)
- 5★Star GP (2014)
- Artist of Stardom Championship Tournament (2017)
- Goddess of Stardom Championship Tournament (2015)
- Goddesses of Stardom Tag Tournament (2015)
- Red Belt Challenger Tournament (2013)
- SWA World Championship Tournament (2016)
- First Grand Slam Champion
- 5★Star GP Best Match Award (2015)
- 5★Star GP Technique Award (2013, 2017)
- Best Match Award (2015)
- Best Match Award (2016)
- Best Match Award (2018)
- Best Tag Team Award (2015)
- MVP Award (2013, 2014, 2016)
- Outstanding Performance Award (2017)
- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
- NXT Women’s Championship (1 time)
- NXT Year-End Award (1 time)