November 2015, Day 11: Kakuryu “Won” One

Our leaders are unchanged. Hakuho beat Kisenosato and Harumafuji slapped the crap out of Tochiozan. It looked like Kisenosato may have had a shot at a hatakikomi win at one point but couldn’t react quickly enough.

I’m sorry, but it looked to me like Kotoshogiku rolled over pretty easy on this one. It was just odd because Giku didn’t even seem to attempt any jack-rabbit thrusts. They clinched, and he “got thrown,” game over.

Goeido effectively lost twice today against Ichinojo, even after the uncalled matta. He will face Harumafuji tomorrow, likely with Yoshikaze, Myogiryu and Tochiozan still to go. It will be hard to pick up 2 wins in there.

Yoshikaze put up a great effort against Terunofuji but all for naught as the one-legged ozeki was able to score a great throw. The most amusing match today was Tochinoshin pulling a henka on Aminishiki. Beautiful.

NekoDamashi x2 + Henka = Angry Japanese Press

Okay, the hilarious Hakuho/Tochiozan match had more going on than I noticed when I watched this morning. I obviously saw the henka but I didn’t notice the hand-clapping. The clap is called neko damashi. Mainoumi, who is frequently the Japanese commentator for NHK, was famous for this move. Apparently the Japanese media is all aflutter because they think the trick is not becoming of a yokozuna, nevermind the fact that he did it twice and topped that with a henka.

Mainoumi could get away with it because he was tiny and needed to pull out all the stops to succeed. This is another bit of silliness.

November 2015: Kakuryu Falls

Kakuryu fell to Goeido in the final match and biggest upset of the day. Previously, Hakuho’s failed henka was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. Tochiozan stopped his momentum before falling out, so Hakuho had to run over and shove him a few times to get him out of the ring.

After Shohozan’s loss to Ikioi, Takayasu’s loss to Kyokushuho, and Kisenosato’s loss to Toyonoshima (arguably a bigger upset than Goeido over Kakuryu), Harumafuji stands as the lone competition trailing Hakuho who still controls his own destiny. If Harumafuji wins out, including victories over Hakuho, he will win the tournament.

November 2015, Day 9: Hakuho Rules

Hakuho is back to his usual, dominant self. He forced Goeido out quickly, without trouble. Afterward, the camera panned to him as he sat ringside for Kakuryu/Tochiozan and he just seemed so bored. Tochiozan will be a more interesting matchup tomorrow as he looked great against Kakuryu today. He forced the yokozuna out so quickly, one has to wonder if Kakuryu is injured. They met head-on but Tochiozan was able to get a head of steam and send the Mongolian into the crowd with his third loss of the tournament, any yusho hopes dashed.

Ikioi proved to be a great challenge for Harumafuji in the sanyaku’s match of the day. This was a well-contested bout. The two met with a strong tachiai and Ikioi powered through Harumafuji’s nodowa, forcing a battle on the belt. Three times it looked like Ikioi might get the better of Harumafuji, forcing the yokozuna to the edge. On the third try, Harumafuji proved the master escape artist, forcing Ikioi to the ground and landing on top.

It’s been a while since Kisenosato got up to his matta-inducing trickiness. He baited Terunofuji today, I think wanting to make sure the young ozeki was committed to a strong tachiai and not prepared for a henka. However, with that bum knee he showed little resistance and Kisenosato forced him out. Kisenosato and Harumafuji remain the lone sanyaku challengers, one off Hakuho’s usual, dominant pace. Resurgent Shohozan and Takayasu are the lone rank-and-filers holding up to also get their kachi-koshi today. If they carry on, they’ll be in contention for special prizes and to find themselves back in the midst of the banzuke, where they belong.

Okinoumi picked up a great upset of Kotoshogiku. He met Giku strongly at the tachiai and defended well, for a while, against the jack rabbit thrusts. Once the ozeki had committed to going forward, Okinoumi retreated, pulling back as Kotoshogiku flopped on his belly. As such, Kotoshogiku will be hoping to play the role of spoiler tomorrow against Harumafuji, rather than as a contender.

Ichinojo looked back to his old self against Myogiryu. The sekiwake had nothing to counter the bulk and was forced out quickly. Myogiryu will face Terunofuji tomorrow. If he can’t beat the weakened ozeki, he is clearly not up to sanyaku snuff this tournament and will likely tumble down the banzuke in January.

Yoshikaze was utterly dominant versus fellow komusubi, Tochinoshin. The little guy met the Georgian head on at the tachiai and then produced drive, forcing Tochinoshin backward. Tochinoshin pivoted but Yoshikaze picked up his leg and then carried him out the other end. Yoshikaze’s probably already measuring space on his mantle for a few more special prizes. He faces Osunaarashi tomorrow while Tochinoshin will face Ichinojo. Tochinoshin has owned Ichinojo and Osunaarashi has a dominant 7-1 advantage against Yoshikaze but they should both be good matchups.