Riho was able to retain the AEW Women’s Championship by defeating Emi Sakura at AEW Full Gear 2019.
Before the start of the match, AEW showed a video package to let fans know the history between Riho and Sakura. Sakura has been Riho’s mentor and Riho revealed she first met Sakura in grade school. The commentary team also mentioned that they have met in the ring for 100+ times and around 17 times in a title match.
Being the senior and having complete knowledge of Riho’s game, Emi Sakura dominated. Riho would have some moments but every time Sakura came back quickly. There were several near falls including one late in the match when Riho executed a northern lights suplex. Riho hit a double stomp off the top rope and went for a pin but Sakura bridged out of it.
Sakura broke free and hit a backdrop driver and then a torture rack powerbomb. Riho survived the pin by getting her foot on the bottom rope. After some quick counters, Riho won the match with a crucifix pin. Sakura raised Riho’s hand after the match and acknowledged her student’s win.
This was Riho’s second title defense after she won the title against Nyla Rose at the AEW Dynamite premiere episode. Her first title defense came against Britt Baker on the 16 October episode of AEW Dynamite.