Day 15 put an end to a Nagoya basho that marked a further evolution of a trend that started with Hakuho’s injury a year ago. At that time, it was clear that “The Boss” was damaged, and no one knew if he was going to be able to return. Hakuho has been such a dominant force in sumo for an extended period of time, and his internal presence at the top of the banzuke set the rules for every basho for years.
With his win at Nagoya, Hakuho has managed to achieve back to back yusho after surgery and an extended recovery period. How long will his new reign last? Hakuho hopes at least 3 years, as he has stated yet again that he wants to perform a dohyo-iri as part of the 2020 Olympic ceremonies immediately following the Nagoya basho. His achievement of coming back after most fans (and it turns out the YDC) thought he was done, drew comment from the committee in their post basho meeting at the Kokugikan. They have decided to give Yokozuna Hakuho a special award for breaking the all time wins record and being the Michael Jordan of sumo. I am going to assume he needs to buy a shed to keep all of this stuff in. Maybe he can have Ishiura build him one with parts from Tokyu Hands.
We are in a transitional period where the old guard is either fading or staging their last mad surge of glory. We now have the next generation (I call them Tadpoles, because they mostly share the same body shape), in Makuuchi, and they are getting comfortable at the higher levels of competition. We guess that would be one of the stories at Nagoya, and it turns out it was a big continuation of the evolution in sumo.
- Aoiyama – Jun Yusho! Congrats, prepare for your brutal fisting at Aki.
- Takayasu – You did not choke in your first Ozeki basho. Rest up that pulled groin and bask in the fact that your peers are both kadoban.
- Tochiozan – Not sure where that came from, but please, can we have more of this version of Tochiozan? He’s great. Calm, calculating, patient. He dismantles his opponents methodically.
- Onosho – Two basho in makuuchi, two 10 win results. That’s big stuff. Get in line behind Aoiyama at Aki, you get to play with the big guns.
- Ura – Yeah, you ended up with a make-koshi, but you survived a trip through the upper ranks without doing too poorly, and you got your first kinboshi. Excellent work expanded your sumo repertoire! Go heal up that knee and come back healthy.
- Tochinoshin – When your healthy, you can really unleash some great sumo. It was great to see you genki again. I just know you are one more tweak to that knee away from being a breath away from intai.
- Nishikigi – Never give up, never surrender. Fighting spirit like yours makes the sumo world go ’round!
- Goeido – Kadoban again? You won Aki 2016 in a clean sweep! You are a fantastic Ozeki when you are in your groove, but it’s getting harder for you to find that groove.
- Kakuryu – The YDC is talking about Aki being your last chance. It had to happen some time, please get well soon.
- Terunofuji – I hope you did not damage that freshly repaired knee. Sumo needs you big kaiju.
- Kisenosato – No, you can’t “naturally” heal a torn pectoral. Get your giant self to a surgery and get rebuilt.
- Okinoumi – I wish there were some way you could get that painful injury repaired without retiring from sumo.
- Gagamaru – Again we ask, “what are you doing in Makuuchi?”
- Ikioi – Everyone wants you strong and ready to fight. Do you have one last run in you?
- Kotoyuki – Either you get healed up, or you fade away. The modern sumo schedule is brutal, and it’s tearing you apart.
- Kotoshogiku – You continue to fade, your spirit is strong but your body is failing your sumo. You make me sad now to watch you fight.
Thanks to all the readers who gave us yet another record breaking month. We are eternally thankful for you spending part of your day with us, and we hope you tell your friends and family about the joy of sumo. Onward to Aki!