Mio Shirai and Io Shirai both debuted on March 7th, 2007 and for the first several years of their respective careers worked primarily as a tag team in various smaller promotions. But like all siblings, sometimes Mio and Io had to stand on opposite sides of the ring to see who was truly the better sister.
Since Io Shirai went on to the bigger lights of Stardom, many forget that Mio is the older sister by almost two years. Io was always the more high risk wrestler, even back when they first started, while Mio was a bit more grounded. It was an interesting dynamic, with the more “mature” older sister and the more reckless younger sister going from promotion to promotion and honing their craft together in their own respective styles.
Their first singles match that I was able to find a record of occurred on April 29th, 2010. This was a special event, as it was promoted by Big Van Vader and featured him tagging with his son in the main event. Earlier on the card however, Mio and Io faced off against each other in a Pinfall or Submission Only Match. Just the month prior they had a tag team match against each other, but now it was just one on one.
Mio Shirai vs. Io Shirai in Vader Time 5
The streamers before the match get stuck in the rafters, getting the match off to a unique start, but the referee figures it out and the ring is cleared. The match starts with wristlocks until Mio gets her sister to the mat, but Io kicks her square in the face to get the dominant position. Mio has none of that and elbows Io repeatedly in the chest, back up Mio kicks Io but Io trips her and goes for Mio’s leg on the mat. Back up, Mio kicks young Io around and throws her down by the hair. Io elbows Mio in the corner and then hits the Space Rolling Elbow followed by a face crusher for a two count. Io avoids all of Mio’s kicks since she knows her offense like the back of her hand but Mio catches her with a STO. Mio works over Io’s arm and then puts her in a crab hold, but Io gets to the ropes. Io avoids Mio’s charge in the corner and then headscissors Mio over her top rope down to the floor.
Io jumps up to the top turnbuckle and sails out onto her sister with a plancha suicida. Back in, swandive missile dropkick by Io followed by the Tiger Feint Kick for a two count cover. Double underhook facebuster by Io, she goes up top and nails the moonsault, but Mio kicks out of the cover. Io goes up top again but Mio avoids the Rider Kick and kicks Io in the back of the head. Scissors kick by Mio and both wrestlers are down on the mat. They slowly get up and trade elbows, hard punch by Io and she goes back up top, but Mio gets both feet up when she dives off. High Kick by Mio and she hits a swinging kick to the head for a two count. Io ducks the next kick and rolls up Mio for two, another cradle by Io but she can’t keep Mio down for three. Io goes for a hurricanrana but Mio goes under it and kicks Io in the head. Modified bodyscissors into a sunset flip by Mio, and she picks up the three count! Mio Shirai wins the match!
In the end, it was Mio’s quick thinking and strikes that helped her to victory, while Io’s high flying was her downfall. Io had Mio down several times, but Mio managed to come back each time and win the match. There were no hard feelings as they hugged afterwards, and they were teaming again the following month as if nothing happened. They teamed together until 2011, but then Io Shirai joined Stardom and the sisters would be separated in the ring for many years afterwards.
As for the match, it was fun to watch and naturally they had great chemistry since they had been wrestling together for three years. The strikes were snug, which is normal when two wrestlers are comfortable with each other, and it had less mistakes than most Io Shirai matches from that time period. As it was an undercard match and was only ten minutes long, in most circumstances it would be forgotten as soon as it was over, but seeing a glimpse of the Shirai Sisters early in their career is still special as you can see the talent was already there. Worth a watch to see the Shirai Sisters before they became Joshi Superstars.