Riho defeated Nyla Rose on the debut episode of AEW Dynamite on Wednesday to become the first AEW women's champion.
The match featured a number of high-flying and frankly jaw-dropping spots, with Nyla showing off her elite strength while Riho consistently put her body on the line.
Both Rose and Riho earned the opportunity to vie for the AEW women's title thanks to their victories at All Out in August.
On the All Out pre-show, Rose outlasted 20 other women to win the Casino Battle Royale. Then, Riho faced Hikaru Shida on the main card in a de facto No. 1 contendership match. After winning a hard-fought battle, Riho established herself as Rose's opponent.
Riho vs. Rose had the makings of a true David vs. Goliath battle because of the massive size disparity between them. Rose unquestionably had a significant advantage in terms of strength and power, which required Riho to use her speed, quickness and agility.
While AEW is still in its infancy, Wednesday was not the first time Riho and Rose faced off. At Fyter Fest in June, Riho and Rose butted heads in a Triple Threat match that also included Yuka Sakazaki.
Despite Rose physically dominating both Riho and Sakazaki for much of the match, Riho managed to catch Rose by surprise with a roll-up to score the upset victory.
While there was some concern about whether that loss would damage Rose's credibility, especially after previously losing a Fatal 4-Way match that included Britt Baker, Awesome Kong and Kylie Rae at Double or Nothing, that was virtually erased with her strong performance in the Casino Battle Royale.
AEW boasts a talented women's division and any number of competitors deserved a chance to be in the first Women's Championship match, but Rose and Riho was an ideal showcase of the type of diversity AEW possesses.
Rose, who is the first out transgender woman to compete for a major wrestling company, is also a Washington, D.C., native, which made her a sentimental favorite in Wednesday's match.
She fell short despite that, but given Riho's apparent connection with the fans, it is tough to argue with AEW's decision to give her a shot as an underdog babyface champion.
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