On the inaugural episode of AEW Dynamite, the world waited with bated breath as the diminutive Riho went up against the powerhouse known as Nyla Rose, to crown the first-ever AEW Women's Champion. After a thrilling contest, David felled Goliath, as Riho became the face of the women's division in All Elite Wrestling, bringing Joshi wrestling to a whole new audience.
Riho caught up with global pro wrestling sensation, Baliyan Akki, who was kind enough to convey a few questions from Sportskeeda. Riho's energy was infectious as she described how her life has changed ever since she became the inaugural AEW Women's Champion:
"It feels incredible but it has not sunk in yet. Just a while ago, I was wrestling in front of 60 people. And now, I'm competing in front of the world! It's almost impossible to comprehend."
Riho genuinely believes that not only is her victory a big step for her, but in fact, it is a big step for Joshi Wrestling, something that AEW has presented wonderfully to the world. Riho is overwhelmed by the scale of All Elite Wrestling, and is really enjoying her time in the roster:
"Everyone was very excited and happy for me when I came backstage. The atmosphere was like 'WHOA!' (Laughs) Everybody congratulated me and said good things about my match with Nyla Rose. It was very special. People were very helpful and nice backstage."
Riho brushes aside a question about the Wednesday Night Wars, saying that she's doing her best to stay on top of the situation, doing her own thing. So how does she plan on managing her time between AEW and her Japanese commitments?
"Right now, I’m wrestling both in Japan and AEW, but if AEW gives me a date then that takes precedence."
Riho is living her dream and is thrilled at the fact that she can even see advertisements for AEW at Shopping Malls when she's out and about in the US. Always the underdog, she's wrestled both men and women, so competing against a bigger opponent like Nyla Rose was never a challenge. When asked about her match with Nyla Rose, she says the following:
"Well, obviously she was bigger and more powerful so the match was difficult in that sense. But because I've wrestled guys in the past, I didn't have to change anything. I combined everything I've learned and brought it to my match against Nyla!"
You can catch Riho live every Wednesday Night on AEW Dynamite. Fans in the United Kingdom can catch Baliyan Akki at a live show near you!