The wrestlers in my lower banzuke are a mix of three groups: young up-and-comers, injured vets, guys who aren’t going any higher.
Group 1: Young Up-And-Comers are headlined by Ura and Ishiura. I also include Kagayaki, Takakeisho, Daieisho and Daishomaru in this group. However, I don’t see any sanyaku potential from any of these guys, yet. It will be more likely to see makekoshi records among these guys than 10+ wins. I don’t think any of these guys have reached the level of an Ikioi, Endo, or even Sokokurai. Chiyoshoma is tricky. I want to place him in this group but the guy has skill and may be ready to graduate and become a solid maegashira in his own right. He actually has a winning 2-1 record against all three solid maegashira: Ikioi, Endo, and Sokokurai. He and Kagayaki are probably the two wrestlers who will be fighting for advancement rather than just hoping to preserve their maegashira ranks.
Group 2: is the Injured Vets, led by Okinoumi, Myogiryu, Tochiozan, and Kotoyuki. These are veterans with strong skills who’ve got sanyaku experience when healthy. Okinoumi’s injury is painful and really inoperable if he wants to stay in sumo. He’ll probably try to muscle through for a while, but ouch *hat tip to Celina and Bruce*. The success of either of these guys depends on their injuries more than their skill. They have the ability to clean house down in these lower ranks. As they won’t be 100% but do have experience and skill, they will present great learning experiences for the younger wrestlers. I hope we don’t see any demotions into Juryo from this group and instead see some 10 or 11 win records.
Group 3: Guys who belong here and no higher. I’m not expecting stellar performances from these guys. These guys will bounce around the maegashira ranks, dip into Juryo, but likely won’t go much higher. They’ve been around a while but don’t demonstrate promise for serious advancement or long careers. Gagamaru would be my prototype for this group as he finds himself back in Juryo. Given his round physique, I’ll call these guys the yo-yos. Sadanoumi, Kyokushuho, Chiyoo (if he doesn’t get demoted), and Nishikigi. I’m tempted to drop Chiyoo into Juryo and will check the Japanese news to see if that decision’s already been made.