Kyushu Day 5 Highlights

Nishikigi

What The Hell Was That?

Kyushu has mutated into a strange and quirky basho, which is quite entertaining for those who love to see the mighty take one in the pants. Day 5 dawned with news that the lone surviving Yokozuna, Kisenosato, was pulling out of the tournament. Fine, no wins, 4 losses, and we go to a Nokozuna format. Don’t get me started on how the NSK needs to sort out their aging kanban rikishi situation.

Then all of the Ozekis lost. No, really. Nishkiki dismantled Goeido, when his updated GoeiDOS crashed on tachiai, and Tochinoshin took special care to piss off Hokutofuji before the match. Enjoy your clay sandwiches, boys!

Both Sekiwake phoned it in yet again today, and are ripe for demotion and replacement. Both have held the rank too long, and seem to have looked at the steep wall to climb to try for Ozeki, and just shrugged.

For some long term fans, the weakness at the top of the banzuke became a foul stench on day 5, as the rot started to putrefy. Hopefully that can be cleaned up going into the middle weekend.

Highlight Matches

Daishomaru defeats Chiyomaru – Notable because Chiyomaru drops to 1-4, and is clearly in trouble. The round one has many followers and fans, and it will be sad for them should he drop to Juryo. He has been without any real offensive power so far in Kyushu.

Daiamami defeats Takanosho – These two went chest to chest early, and battled hard for a superior grip and balance. Every time Daiamami would gain advantage, Takanosho found a way to counter. They were evenly matched, and brought some solid sumo to the dohyo.

Endo defeats Meisei – I am delighted to report that Endo actually looked on form today, and showed strength, balance and endurance. Although he could not muster speed as well, it was just enough to best Meisei, who gave him a good fight. Japanese fans still love Endo, and they are going to need to pin hopes on someone for the rest of Kyushu.

Onosho defeats Okinoumi – Onosho kept the match short enough that he could maintain offensive power, though he finished Okinoumi just as he was running out of steam and the big man from Shimane was starting to apply pressure. Onosho improves to 4-1, and I anticipate that he will be looking for a mid-Maegashira posting at New Years.

Yutakayama defeats Takarafuji – Yutakayama finally gets his first win over hapless Takarafuji. I am not sure what problems Takarafuji is facing with his body, but Isegahama needs him back in winning form.

Ikioi defeats Sadanoumi – I did not expect Ikioi to rally and overcome Sadanoumi, but I am happy to see that he is not completely out of genki. Ikioi takes a lot of pride in his sumo, and even hurt and tired, we have seen him put a little more into each match.

Abi defeats Kotoshogiku – How can we convince Abi to try something else when the double arm thrust keeps producing results? Kotoshogiku looks rather disappointed at the final bow, maybe because he leaned into Abi’s attack and was too far forward to recover when Abi stepped to the side.

Chiyotairyu defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki could not maintain balance or stance in the face of Chiyotairyu’s overwhelming and powerful cannon-ball tachiai. A quick “Stand him up, knock him down”, and the match was done.

Takanoiwa defeats Yoshikaze – Fans can now take satisfaction that it’s officially a honbasho because Yoshikaze splattered blood on the dohyo. He and Takanoiwa exchanged blistering attacks from the tachiai, but Takanoiwa was able to get inside. On replay there was quite a bit of hand-hair interaction from the Mongolian, but hey – I guess it was not flagrant.

Shodai defeats Asanoyama – Watch this match on slow-motion video. Shodai’s tachiai is still too high, but I dig that he is hitting a near perfect angle at the initial merge. From that moment, Asanoyama is off balance and struggling to find his footing. Asanoyama never recovers and its Shodai for the win with an authoritative body slam to punctuate the end.

Takakeisho defeats Ichinojo – Let me reiterate the theme that both Sekiwake are on the way out this basho. Lackluster, lethargic and uninspired, they must vacate their spots to more worthy rikishi. Takakeisho once again demonstrates his “wave action” sumo, and it seems that for most opponents, they are unable to counter with much effect. Takakeisho 5-0 at the end of act 1.

Kaisei defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi, sir, it’s a shame that you need a pride-obliterating demotion to get your act together, but it seems you are hell bent to do just that. Why would you go chest to chest with Kaisei? It’s like hugging a pachyderm. You can feel like the king of the world for a few seconds, but you are still going exactly where that elephant wants to take you.

Nishikigi defeats Goeido – It was at this point I realized that I should have stayed up all night drinking sake and watching sumo. I might have possibly been drunk enough for this to make sense. Clearly Nishikigi is some master level hacker who put Goeido into the much feared and completely useless bouncy-castle mode. I wept tears of joy for Nishikigi, and could not stop laughing for a time. You know what would make this even funnier? If this ends up being the ONLY win that Nishikigi has at Kyushu.

Hokutofuji defeats Tochinoshin – Though NHK may not show this, Tochinoshin launched a brutal tachiai that was a matta, and did not seem the least bit apologetic. But I think that really cranked up Hokutofuji. Then Tochinoshin decided he was going to repeatedly try to pull Hokutofuji down, and wasted a lot of time pawing at his head. By the time that he realized that Hokutofuji was about to put him away, he desperately tried for a mawashi grab… But no dice. The look of satisfaction on Hokutofuji’s face is worthy of a large format, tastefully framed portrait.

Tochiozan defeats Takayasu – …But the madness that was day 5 was not yet complete! That Tochiozan guy who has been a mid-Maegashira guy for a long time? He cranked up some big sumo against the last undefeated member of the named ranks. Takayasu decided he was going to start with his ridiculous, superfluous and ultimately pointless shoulder-blast, but Tochiozan was ready for it. He used the poor arm position that move requires to pretzel up the Ozeki and punish him. A lot. I can’t say for sure, but I think at that point Takayasu started to lose his composure and retreat. Tochiozan ran him down and made him suffer again. The two went chest to chest, but Tochiozan has found a way to deny Takayasu’s grip. Takayasu’s sumo became increasingly frantic until Tochiozan could package him up and ship him face first into the east side tawara.

16 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 5 Highlights

  1. This is the craziest, most unpredictable basho I can recall! Loads of fun with high quality sumo from unexpected quarters, and highly-ranked rikishi shamed by opponents who choose not to roll over for them. Who’s going to win this thing? Who the heck knows!!!

    With Day 5, I witnessed something I’d never seen before in a sumo bout: Aoiyama actually raised his arms above his head to entice Chiyonokuni to come in close. When Chiyo took the bait, the bulky Bulgarian simply grabbed him behind the head and pulled him out and down. Come into my web, said the spider to the fly.

    Henka-meter: Still zero after five days of competition.

    By the way, the sumo gods did no one any favors by keeping Arawashi, Chiyomaru and even Takarafuji in the top division for this basho. Surely there were stronger competitors to be found among the lower ranks.

    • My memory played tricks on me: Aoiyama’s arms did go above his head, but he then used those massive members to slap down on Chiyo’s arms, which allowed the Bulgarian to surround the smaller man and herd him over the ropes.

    • I’m saddest about Arawashi. That man has got wonderful technique, when he can actually use his leg. His current state is as sad as Terunofuji’s. The sumo is in there somewhere, and can’t be executed because of stupid Newton’s laws.

      The henka-meter has gone silent since Ishiura dropped to Juryo.

  2. I don’t know if I’d say Tochinoshin’s matta was a brutal hit, just a needless and vigorous shove off the clay. Much more shocking, as you say, there absolutely no sign of apology. Maybe the camera missed it somehow, but I don’t think so. Not a good look for the big guy. Kudos to my man Hokutofuji.

    And let’s not forget: Nishikigi is a SURVIVOR.

    • I already mentioned that Hokutofuji seems to be a wild matta magnet. Good for him that this time it didn’t end in a concussion or being shoved out of time.

    • I’ve been a fan of Tochinoshin for some time, but he went down a few pegs in my book with that matta/no apology. Good on Hokutofuji for the karma win.

    • the karma bus sided with Hokutofuji for sure and no, the cameras didn’t miss the non-existant apology. Bruce – if you get that picture to frame then please make available for purchase in the Tachiai shop!

    • Finally had to see this and holy cats. I swear I’ve seen bar fights that started with exchanges of glares like those. Ugly, ugly.

  3. Kaisei’s sumo seems to dominate Mitakeumi’s; their head-to-head is 6-1.

    Takakeisho’s career continues to roughly parallel Mitakeumi’s with a delay. Both were make-koshi in their first appearance at komusubi; Mitakeumi immediately bounced back with an 11-4 from M1 while Takakeisho went 3-8-4 at M3 and then rocketed back up the banzuke with two 10-5 records. If this parallel continues to hold then Takakeisho is due to become a sanyaku fixture; I just hope he doesn’t hit a wall the way Mitakeumi has.

    Speaking of sanyaku fixtures, Tochiozan was one for three years, from 2013 through the end of 2015, before he began to bounce up and down the banzuke a bit. I think he’s actually a sanyaku-caliber rikishi who has just been struggling with injuries for the last few years, and has just now managed get into a basho uninjured and with good pre-basho training.

    • Be that as it may, if somebody were to ask Kasugano oyakata which of his sekitori is going to be 5-0 after day five, I’m pretty sure the answer would not have ended in “ozan”.

  4. was a fabulous day of upsets that had me chortling with glee. an old primary and high school girlfriend is travelling Japan atm and they attended Day 5 – what a wonderful day for their introduction to sumo! pity they didn’t get to experience the yokozuna stomp but i think the day’s play made a lasting impression. and even though he went down now i really know Yoshikaze is back to being genki – there was blood! he’s back, my berserker’s back!

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