Special thanks to Herouth who is absolutely killing it with her commentary.
The Aki basho continues to be a chaotic swirl as the new order battles the old for the future. This is most likely the “false dawn” of this new order, as the stalwarts of sumo are not yet gone, simply too injured to compete for now. Will they be able to return? For some of them, no. At least not in any appreciable form.
Indicative of weakness in the old order, reports are coming in that Ozeki Terunofuji has once again injured his knees, and is considering just accepting the demotion and declaring himself kyujo. Meanwhile, the other surviving Ozeki – Goeido, has yet to really show us Ozeki level sumo. We have seen him strong and dominant. We have seen him crumple and fold Kisenosato, Harumafuji and Hakuho. But for whatever reason he is locked in some kind of survival mode, and he dares not fight by moving forward.
In response to Herouth’s headline – we are going to see a wave of retirements (Intai) in the next year, there can be no doubt. All that is required is for one senior / stalwart to boldly be the first to make a move for the exit, and many will follow suit. For those of us who love the “old guard”, steel your hearts. Thanks to people like Jason and Kintamayama, we will have their matches to re-enjoy online for as long as we wish. But the new age is rising now, and there are many many wonderful battles yet to be fought, and oh so many victories large and small to witness.
Asanoyama defeats Okinoumi – I suspect that Okinoumi could be the rikishi who breaks the Intai damn and starts the cascade. We know the guy is competing with an injury that makes him ineffective on most days. Again Asanoyama looks great, and seems happy to just have a chance to compete.
Kotoyuki defeats Endo – Wow, Kotoyuki found a way to heal up from all of the damage he was suffering from this year, and he looked very strong against Endo. I try to keep in mind that Endo is M14e, which is barely above Juryo. He has a long way to go with his recovery before he can be a solid Maegashira again.
Nishikigi defeats Takekaze – Another candidate for the “Dam Buster”, the winless veteran dropped one to Nishikigi, who is also far from full power.
Ichinojo defeats Ikioi – No longer satisfied with his career as a bridge abutment in Yamaguchi prefecture along the Shinkansen line, Ichinojo has decided to return to sumo. Granted it’s the kind of sumo you might see a bridge abutment do, but it trashed Ikioi today.
Shodai defeats Kotoshogiku – I owe a debt of thanks to Shodai. I bust him hard about his crummy tachiai, but he went a long way to preventing the now perilous “Kotoshogiku Day”. His crummy tachiai is exactly what made this match a real contest. Kotoshogiku knew that Shodai would simply stand up at the tachiai, so no henka was possible. So he had to really bring some sumo moves, but Shodai kept him from getting the gaburi-yori rolling. Well done!
Tochiozan defeats Tamawashi – Tochiozan dropped his Mongolian foe like a bag of rotten mochi. Tochiozan is capable of some amazing sumo, and I don’t know who he is renting it to this basho, but he’s actually one of the guys who could play a spoiler.
Yoshikaze defeats Hokutofuji – We love you Not Kaio, but I am very happy that Yoshikaze finally won one. Very very interested to see who comes out on top in day 6’s Yoshikaze vs Tochiozan match.
Shohozan defeats Terunofuji – I remember watching Godliza, and feeling sorry for the big monster. He was not inherently evil, he did not want to be a giant radioactive lizard. It’s clear that Terunofuji is done for a while. Sadly it might be for good.
Onosho defeats Harumafuji – Onosho continues to impress. I dearly hope we can get a functioning Ura back, because and Onosho – Ura rivalry could be infinite awesome for years to come. But Harumafuji is in trouble, and he is very close to intai as of today. Out of all the Yokozuna, he is the one I had hoped would have to most longevity, as his sumo is unique and for a good percentage of rikishi, a massive challenge. But the cumulative injuries are clearly too great for now, and it’s go kyujo or go intai, it seems.