#AndNEW: Riho Wins the AEW World Women’s Championship

On October 2, 2019, Riho defeated Nyla Rose to win the AEW World Women’s Championship.

As I covered in my first AEW Diatribe, the road to the first episode of AEW Dynamite on TNT wasn’t without its peaks and valleys. Riho and Rose made their AEW debuts at Double or Nothing. On this night, Riho teamed with Hikaru Shida and Ryo Mizunami in a winning effort against Rose, Emi Sakura, and Aja Kong. From there, Riho and Rose set their sights on the AEW World Women’s Championship. At All Out, while Rose secured a title match in the Casino Battle Royale at All Out, Riho conquered Shida in singles competition to earn her spot. From there, both were off to the races.

The size discrepancy between Riho and Rose will catch anyone’s attention at the onset. On one hand, Rose has been known as “The American Kaiju,” mainly due to her stature and strength compared to others in the AEW women’s division. Meanwhile, Riho stands at a petite five foot one, making her one of the smallest competitors to step into an AEW ring. Nonetheless, her quickness and heart endeared her to viewers. On the inaugural episode of AEW Dynamite, these styles clashed to determine the first-ever AEW World Women’s Championship.

This match began with Riho immediately using her quickness to evade the larger Rose, peppering the larger wrestler with forearms. Riho’s speed was also on display as she not only executed a head scissors but bridged out of a pin attempt by Rose. From there, Rose took control, catching Riho following a flying cross body attempt. Rose’s offense took a more violent approach when she elected to brandish a steel chair. The official’s scolding didn’t deter the beast, though, as she not only brought out more chairs but piled them on top of one another. Rose set Riho onto said chairs before attempting a senton onto them. Riho was quick to evade, causing Rose to be met with unforgiving steel across her back.

Now in control of the match, Riho executed a double stomp outside of the ring before landing the double stomp between the ropes. From there, Riho and Rose exchanged close pinfalls, with Riho using a rolling cradle and Rose executing a Death Valley Driver. Even after a superplex by Rose, Riho refused to give up. The match came to a conclusion when Riho hit a final double stomp, covering Rose for the 1… 2… 3! With this pinfall victory, Riho became the inaugural AEW World Women’s Champion.

Following the match, AEW signee Michael Nakazawa made his way inside the ring to interview the new champion. Before Riho could get a word in, a frustrated Rose attacked her and Nakazawa from behind. Rose planted Nakazawa with a powerbomb before setting her sights on the fatigued Riho. Before Rose could cause further damage, Kenny Omega rushed to the ring to Riho’s aid. While Omega checked on the new champion, Rose made her way to the back.

Despite a lackluster end, in terms of the post-match interview, this doesn’t take away from Riho’s newfound status as AEW World Women’s Champion. There is no doubt that Rose will be gunning for the champion following this loss, but Riho must also consider another potential opponent. Britt Baker was on commentary for this match to survey the landscape of AEW women’s wrestling. Will we see Riho defend the title against Baker, who many considered to be an early favorite to win the title? Only time will tell.