With the WWE’s Women’s Tournament fast approaching, WWE has been locking down some of the top women’s indie talent in the world of late, with recent signings like Kairi Hojo (Stardom), Andrea (SHINE), Crazy Mary Dobson, and Kimber Lee (CHIKARA). Rumours continue that WWE is currently pursuing former Impact Knockouts Jade (aka Mia Yim) and Marti Belle as well.
In the past 24 hours, it appears that WWE has signed two more women’s wrestlers to deals, most likely debuting with the Women’s Tournament this summer.
Widely regarded by many as the top women’s performer in the world, Stardom’s Io Shirai is one of the company’s most decorated stars: she’s a 2-time and current Stardom Champion, 4-time Artist of Stardom Champion (6-Woman Tag), Goddess of Stardom Champion (Tag Team), and Wonder of Stardom Champion (Intercontinental). She had a WWE tryout a few months back and was offered a deal. According to new reports from Dave Meltzer today, Shirai has agreed to the deal and will be reporting to the Performance Center shortly after finishing up her Stardom commitments (and to drop their Championship).
SHINE’s C4 faction loses another member to the WWE in a short span, as Kennadi Brink joins Andrea (who has been wrestling as Mary Kate, Lana‘s enforcer at NXT Live Events). Squared Circle Sirens (perhaps the most comprehensive and accurate website in regards to women’s wrestlers) reported this morning that Brink has accepted a contract with the WWE, following several tryouts, including a brief stint as an NXT referee at some Live Events.
While there is no confirmed news of O’Reilly finally finding a home after leaving Ring of Honor after eight years this past January, there was a buzz at last night’s WCPW Pro Wrestling World Cup Canadian Qualifier in Toronto, Ontario that he may have finally decided to head to NXT. O’Reilly was part of the Canadian bracket and, along with another entrant Michael Elgin of NJPW, was highly favoured to be one of the two competitors advancing to August’s final 16-man World Cup tournament to represent Canada. But last minute changes occurred and Mike “Speedball” Bailey was added to the tournament. But that wasn’t the shocking part – in the Final Four, Bailey upset O’Reilly, thus heading to the World Cup in August. While it’s always possible it was simply a swerve, the last minute insertion and defeat of Kyle O’Reilly had many people buzzing that O’Reilly had to be dropped from advancing as his NXT commitments would make him ineligible for the upcoming tournament in August. Treat this as speculation at this point, but it’s something to consider.