Another week, another brilliant hour of wrestling with AEW Ramage. This week’s show from Baltimore, Maryland, had a distinct Joshi flavor. As the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament brackets continue to fill, one more name was added to the list as Riho was victorious over Yuka Sakazaki.
But a spot in the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament was not the only thing at stake here. The match also marked the return of both Riho and Sakazaki to All Elite Wrestling.
Riho has been off AEW programming since sustaining a broken collarbone in her match with Britt Baker at Battle of the Belts on January 8th. On the other hand, Sakazaki has not appeared on AEW programming in almost a year. She continued to work with Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling until being requested by AEW. At the time, AEW gave no clear answers as to why Sakazaki was requested. Now we have our answer.
With no build going into the match, it was a straight face vs face qualifying match in the classic Joshi style.
The two women fought like they had something to prove to the AEW fans, as they matched forearm shivers with forearm shivers. Riho hit a particularly fiery Snapdragon suplex in homage to her mentor Kenny Omega. The spot of the match came when Sakazaki hit a top rope face buster. After an extensive back and forth, ultimately, Riho proved victorious with a quick rollup.
Overall, the match was everything you would expect from Joshi wrestling. It was fun. It was fast. Most importantly, it marked a tremendous in-ring return for both women.
Joshi wrestling is something you rarely see on mainstream television. Wrestlers have always incorporated aspects of Japanese wrestling into their repertoire. But rarely do they wholly lean into the Joshi style. This match on Rampage was Joshi in its purest form. Wrestlers like Yuka and Riho add some much-needed variety to the women’s division and are talents that should be better utilized.
But what do you think? Would you like to see more Joshi wrestling on AEW? What did you think of the return of both Riho and Yuka Sakazaki? Share your thoughts. We love hearing from you.