Nagoya 2015, Day 2: Dohyo Awareness Key to Longevity (updated)


Endo’s getting back into the swing of things with another impressive yorikiri win. The key for his health is going to be: ring awareness. He needs to know where he is on the dohyo to avoid aggravating his healing knee injury. If he’s close to the edge, he may want to back off slowly rather than continue to press and risk a nasty looking fall.

Speaking of nasty looking falls, Satoyama needs to learn this lesson because he was awfully close to serious injury at the brutal hands of Toyohibiki. Backed to the edge, Satoyama continued to try to press forward but he wasn’t able to counter the ruthless nodowa. If he had the girth of Ichinojo, maybe he could try a straight forward counter when his feet are backed to the straw bales. Without size, he’d only win with dexterity by dodging to the side and letting the opponent’s momentum do the work. But forced into a backward arch, he was in no position to try it.

Case in point, Kotoyuki plowed into Kyokutenho and clearly was dominating the match. The geezer gave it his all to counter but couldn’t. When he sensed he was close to the edge, he pulled up and stepped out. This is why he’s still wrestling in makuuchi in his 40s. Same with Tokitenku’s step out loss in the next battle. AVOID INJURY.

Amuru amazes me. He controlled his bout with Homarefuji, battled for a good long while and pulled out an impressive yorikiri win. Osunaarashi was able to get Toyonoshima spun around and bulled forward until both wrestlers toppled into the crowd. He probably could have held back at the end to avoid sending himself into the crowd but it must be difficult to judge when you can let up w/o ceding a chance for the opponent to counter. In this case, though, I think the Sand Storm could have stayed in the ring and won. Gagamaru slipped again. He seems to fall victim to that quite a bit at this level.

Updates…

The other end of this rink awareness is the sportsmanship shown by Okinoumi against Aminishiki. Having Aminishiki on the edge and off balance due to an ill-timed kick, Okinoumi held Aminishiki on the dohyo rather than throw him into the crowd. It’s a restraint that some wrestlers haven’t learned. Kaisei also demonstrated that restraint in his next match against Takekaze. After thoroughly dominating Takekaze, Kaisei helped keep him on the dohyo. Aoiyama picked up an odd win against Ichinojo. Sometimes Ichinojo needs to just go for it.

Tochiozan showed some real strength against Kisenosato. Got him spun around and pushed out. Kisenosato doesn’t have the recovery skills of Hakuho when it comes to these situations. As always, Ikioi put in effort to the end but he was no match for Terunofuji — the only ozeki to win today. The murmurs from the crowd after Kotoshogiku flopped onto his belly were eerie. It was like everyone seemed to know we’re seeing a turning point in Giku’s career and it’s not looking good. Takarafuji, on the other hand, is on his way up. He met Goeido head on and prevailed in a close one.

The match of the day, though, had to be Hakuho vs Takayasu. Takayasu’s been an up-and-down wrestler. On the belt, he went toe-to-toe against the greatest. It wasn’t until he disengaged that he got outplayed. Hakuho seems to have been doing great at these arms-length bouts.

To close out the day, Kakuryu just outplayed Sadanoumi.

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