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Io Shirai reported not to take part in Mae Young Classic

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Right at the intersection of the excitement about Stardom’s recent departures and WWE finally announcing the Mae Young Classic is the question of whether Japan’s finest will take part in the tournament.

Alas, Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required but recommended) that World of Stardom Champion Io Shirai will not be done finishing up her dates for Stardom in time to participate in the tournament.

Her fellow departing star Kairi Hojo, in fact, will only finally finish up her dates with an Artist of Stardom trios championship defense this Sunday, June 4, so you get an idea of the timeframe we’re looking at for Io, given that Kairi made her decision to jump to WWE back in March. And Shirai is on the challenging team, to boot, so even if she finishes at a faster pace, she’s got a couple more hoops to jump through yet.

But the good news there is that means Hojo, along with expected Performance Center classmates Evie, Nixon Newell, and Demi Bennett (all also set to report soon per Meltzer), remain entirely possible as entrants to the tournament, although WWE have yet to announce any names for it.

One more exciting name from Dave? Toni Storm is expected to be one of the stars of the Classic.

And it’s not all doom and gloom for Stardom in the wake of two of their top stars departing for WWE, as Mayu Iwatani is said to be no longer considering retirement in light of her now being the top star remaining in the promotion. Which makes sense, given that she’s on a collision course to be the first woman to ever hold both the World of Stardom and Wonder of Stardom Championships at the same time, with the match for Shirai’s title set for June 21 in Korakuen Hall.

There you have it, folks

A bit of a bummer that Io won’t make the move in time to be part of the tournament, but overall I think we have some real encouraging news here. Excited, Cagesiders?