Analyzing the matchup between NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai and Toni Storm

Analyzing the matchup between NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai and Toni Storm

Io Shirai has been one of the most dominant NXT Women’s Champions in recent memory, but Toni Storm has vowed to bring her reign to an end.

Storm has been on a single-minded mission since arriving on the black-and-gold brand, fixing her sights on Shirai and her title. She’ll finally get her chance in a one-on-one setting Wednesday night on NXT at 8/7 C.

Will Storm capitalize, or will Shirai prevail once again?


For weeks, Storm has insisted that she has Shirai’s number. Is she correct? The record books don’t refute the Auckland, New Zealand, native’s case.

Their first one-on-one meeting took place on a massive stage: in the finals of the 2018 Mae Young Classic at WWE Evolution, and Storm prevailed in a show-stealer, capping a tournament run that also included victories against Mia Yim and the legendary Meiko Satomura. 

Io Shirai dropkicks Toni Storm from the top rope: WWE Evolution 2018 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Toni Storm and Io Shirai battle it out in the 2018 Mae Young Classic Finals: Courtesy of WWE Network.

Last January, Storm was also victorious over Shirai in a Six-Woman Tag Match and a one-on-one contest, albeit by disqualification. And when Storm turned her back on Ember Moon to join Candice LeRae and company this past fall, she picked the winning side, helping Team Candice prevail over Shirai and Team Shotzi at NXT TakeOver: WarGames.

While Shirai prevailed in last month’s Triple Threat Match at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day also involving Mercedes Martinez, she pinned Martinez — not Storm.


Shirai now owns the third-longest reign in the history of the NXT Women’s Title. Few champions have been as consistent, and few have battled such a variety of challengers — not to mention having conquered them all.

Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae – NXT Women’s Championship Tables, Ladders and Scares Match: NXT Halloween Havoc, Oct. 28, 2020

The Genius of the Sky and The Poison Pixie battle to retrieve the NXT Women’s Title high above the ring. Catch WWE action on WWE Network, FOX, USA Network, Sony India and more.

Perhaps most impressive is how Shirai first won the championship in the first place, prevailing over both Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley in a Triple Threat Match at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. With that victory, Shirai set the tone for a spectacular reign that has also seen wins over the likes of Dakota Kai, Candice LeRae and Tegan Nox.


Storm comes with a championship pedigree in her own right. After winning titles almost everywhere she went, including in wXw and Progress, she also tasted gold shortly into her WWE career, knocking off Ripley to become the second-ever NXT UK Women’s Champion.

Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley slug each other into exhaustion: NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool (WWE Network Exclusive)

Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley come out swinging in the NXT UK Women's Championship Match at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool. Courtesy of WWE Network.

Storm put down the likes of Nikki Cross, Bianca Belair, Jinny and others during her 230-day reign.

Will Shirai be the first victim of a new era in the NXT Women’s division? Or will The Genius of the Sky finally prove she can beat Storm? Find out tonight at 8/7 C on USA Network! 

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