Natsu Banzuke – Bruce’s Comments

Mole Boss vs Dia Yokozuna

The Tachiai team will gather for their banzuke podcast next weekend, but with the Banzuke just published, it’s time for some comments and remarks. If you are looking for lksumo giving himself a hard time over his estimates, he will likely publish those soon.

Yokozuna / Ozeki – no surprises here, Kakuryu remains at 1 East. Although Kisenosato has been participating in Jungyo, and making competition noises, it’s far from certain that he will actually compete in Natsu. Takayasu is starting to dream of trying for the rope himself, but this basho will likely feature Hakuho in the roster. Not that the dai-yokozuna is unbeatable, but Takayasu needs to dominate across the board to make a play for the yusho.

In the lower San’yaku is where the excitement starts. We have Ozeki hopeful Tochinoshin taking the Sekiwake 1 East slot, with our favorite boulder Ichinojo taking West. Tochinoshin continues to look very strong, incredibly focused and driven to excel. With Hakuho back in action, the challenge to reach double digits again will be significantly increased. Mitakeumi drops down to Komusubi East, with Endo making his San’yaku debut at Komusubi West. It’s been a long, hard road for Endo, and I am sure that he is savoring this achievement.

Kaisei rocketed up the banzuke to grab Maegashira 1 West, from 6 East last tournament. There were some who speculated that his impressive 12-3 Jun-Yusho should put him in the San’yaku, but there was a pack of over-achievers in Osaka, and the Brazilian is forced to settle for M1. This is further evidenced by Tamawashi only moving from West to East, even though he produced a 9-6 record.

In the Freshmen, Abi continues to over-accomplish. He is now firmly in the Joi at Maegashira 2, with fellow Freshman Yutakayama taking Maegashira 3. Ryuden rises a respectable 4 slots to 7 East, while Asanoyama is settling for a mild promotion at 12 West, thanks to another cohort of solid performance in the lower end of the banzuke in March.

The Oitekaze brute squad is further represented by Daieisho at 3 East, thanks to his 9-6 in March from 8 West. Can someone please get the Oitekaze chanko recipe? I feel it could have wonderful benefits for the infirm and the aged (starting with me!). Daiamami picks up 11 East after 10-5 from 16 East in March.

The tadpoles are licking their wounds to be certain, now. With Mitakeumi out of Sekiwake, Takakeisho down to 10 West, and the fighting red mawashi of Onosho dropped down to Juryo without so much as a “すみません” (Sumimasen). Is Takakeisho a Maegashira 10 rikishi? Ha! No, no and hell no. Is Onosho a Juryo riksihi? Lower division folks, make sure you are taped up when you face the red terror. The tadpoles are down, but not out.

But speaking of large objects, everyone’s favorite spheroid, Chiyomaru, dropped to 7 East while his stable-mate Chiyotairyu took the Koumusubi express back down the banzuke to 4 East.

But let’s not end hungry! Down at the lower rungs of the banzuke, there are some happy faces. Kyokutaisei makes his debut in the top division. He joins returning faces Sadanoumi, Takekaze and… UNCLE SUMO! Yes, Aminishiki returns like that favorite pair of jeans you though were too beat up to wear. Nope, still plenty of life, but enjoy them while you can.

I would be remiss if I did not comment that much farther down the banzuke, our favorite Texan, Wakaichiro, finds himself back in Jonidan at 14 East. This is certainly a disappointment to him, but we encourage him to recall he always fights better in Tokyo. Give ’em hell!

10 thoughts on “Natsu Banzuke – Bruce’s Comments

    • It’s not actually his. In fact, I think he said he was afraid of cats. This guy is Muur, aka “Moru oyakata” or “The Mole Boss”, the head Arashio beya cat, and second only to the Great Cat of the Kokugikan, as exemplified in his powers to instill fear even in dai-yokozuna.

      • Anyone holding a PO’d cat while wearing little clothing has very good reason to fear!

  1. Abi actually put himself in a position where he can grab all three sansho (which he wanted to do when he entered Makuuchi and his stablemaster told him could not be done without facing a yokozuna).

    Whether he will actually be able to pull that off is very doubtful, though. He is very much single-dimensional, and has the typical tsuki-oshi rikishi problem of over-committing and losing balance. His san-ban with Hakuho during the last day of the jungyo was a perfect example of why the yokozuna doesn’t hold oshi wrestlers in much respect.

    If he learns to control those long legs of his, he will be a pleasure to watch, though. He is such a beam of light that it would be a shame not to have him in the NHK highlights regularly.

    • I think Kakuryu is probably the Yokozuna most susceptible to Abi. He is so mobile and with the thrusting attack, if he can goad Kakuryu into moving backwards then he’s got a decent shot of getting him off balance, high and out. I can see a kinboshi there that might help him on his way to that sansho. I actually think the Yokozuna he might have the most trouble with in a basho is Kisenosato – even with his injury the one thing he has that all rikishi must aspire to is his composure, and Abi doesn’t really have any tools he can use to target Kisenosato’s injury (apart from pummelling it).

      A wild guess, but assuming Kisenosato does not fight, I can see Abi knocking off Kakuryu and Goeido but having real trouble against the likes of Hakuho, Takayasu (who, if fit, could knock him off balance with that shoulder blast), Ichinojo and Tochinoshin. That said I think he can still give a game to all of the other folks at Komusubi and below. His match against Tamawashi might be the one I want to see the most.

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