For starters, Homarenishiki jumped from Jonidan #82 to Jonidan #8. He’s moving up so quickly, he’ll be making his makuuchi debut before the Sumo Kyokai’s webpage loads. Oh, wait, no, the page loads so slowly, Goeido will be kadoban for the 10th time before you get to see the banzuke. More seriously, It would be nice to see Homarenishiki start the new year in Sandanme, Makushita by summer, Juryo by 2017? We’ll see. Just stay healthy!
Champion Kakuryu will lead the November Tournament from the East with Hakuho taking a very unfamiliar position as West yokozuna. Harumafuji returns as yokozuna #2 in the East. Terunofuji claims the top ozeki slot, O1E. Kisenosato follows as O1W with Kotoshogiku O2E and kadoban Goeido O2W.
The lower sanyaku ranks are pretty much the same as in July, Tochiozan and Myogiryu as sekiwake and Tochinoshin as komusubi East. Yoshikaze gets to move into the komusubi West position, returning to the sanyaku for the first time since May 2014. His last three tournaments have been excellent, cleaning house during the last two tournaments with one of each special prize, two kinboshi, and a jun-yusho.
The maegashira is where it gets interesting. Ichinojo returns to maegashira #1 East, basically on the strength of his ability to lean on lighter wrestlers. He’s paired with Osunaarashi in the West. I look forward to a rematch of their first bout last tournament – if they’re not beaten down too hard in their first week. I wouldn’t be surprised if these two can pick off quite a few ozeki and maybe even get some more gold stars against the yokozuna. Ichinojo was able to weather some thunderous blows from the Great Sandstorm and win on the belt in a long match.
Aoiyama slips one spot to M2E, joined by Okinoumi in the West. Okinoumi only fell two slots which surprised me a bit but with the injury to Takayasu and Sadanofuji’s dreadful record, there weren’t many rising to the top this time. A notable exception is Toyonoshima, whose ten wins at M8 sees him jump to M3E, paired with henka-bot Aminishiki in the West. And at maegashira 4 we find the two popular up-and-comers, Ikioi in the East and Endo in the West. They will need to start strong and pick up wins early in this tournament because the middle bouts are going to be rough as they will face many sanyaku opponents.
A rising Amuru meets a falling Sadanoumi at M5, with Sadogatake’s Kotoyuki joined by Homarefuji at M6 and Kaisei meets Kyokushuho at M7. Tokushoryu rounds out the top half of the rank-and-filers with Uncle Taka. Takarafuji’s on a downward spiral with two 4-11 tournaments in a row, losing his last 10 bouts. Tamawashi and Sadanofuji both dropped like rocks down to M9. Sokokurai’s winning record gets him up to M10 with Juryo Yusho winner, Shohozan. Shohozan makes his return to the makuuchi after three basho in Juryo. It’s good to see him back and with the yusho he seems to be on form again.
Gagamaru fell two slots to M11, which he shares with Mitakeumi – the makuuchi debutant. After a very strong Juryo run, spoiled by Shohozan, Mitakeumi looks like the wrestler to watch this tournament. My guess is he’ll not want to make too big of a splash and fly too high, too quickly. Takekaze and Takayasu follow at M12, Chiyotairyu and Toyohibiki at M13, Daieisho and Tokitenku at M14, and Kitataiki joins Chiyootori at M15. Asasekiryu rounds out the makuuchi banzuke.