Act 1 is in the history books, and we ended the first third of the basho with 4 strong rikishi in the undefeated column. This likely portends a fantastic week 2, with a vigorous battle for the Emperor’s Cup. Though he is looking a bit shaky, I would say that Hakuho is the man to beat for Osaka. We know he is not 100%, but the man has an iron will, and he is using it to keep himself in the competition.
I have to remark about how impressive it has been to see both Kotoshogiku and Ichinojo open the basho with spotless records. Ichinojo is a force of nature when his body is cooperating, and it seems his health is good right now. As a former Ozeki, Kotoshogiku knows how to dominate, but it’s been some time since we have seen him this genki. I love it. How great would it be to see him in the running for the cup?
What We Are Watching Day 6
Ishiura vs Chiyoshoma – It’s a stage 1 henka warning in Osaka. Conditions are right for a henka to be deployed. If you are easily offended, take cover at once in the part of your house farthest away from your television. Which one will use it, and will it work?
Daiamami vs Toyonoshima – Daiamami returns from Juryo for a one-day visit, and oddly enough it’s the first time he has matched against veteran Toyonoshima. Toyonoshima has been hit or miss, so its hard to tell what kind of sumo he will deliver day 6.
Yutakayama vs Kagayaki – Kagayaki showed some signs of life day 5, so maybe he’s not quite ready to shuffle back to Juryo. Yutakayama is still a fraction of his former self.
Kotoeko vs Yoshikaze – Kotoeko continues to impress, while Yoshikaze seems to be right at the point of giving up. This is their first ever match.
Ryuden vs Tomokaze – Are you surprised that Ryuden is 4-1? I am, he kind of snuck up there. He has the body, the strength and the skill to do it, so lets hope he is on a hot streak and can continue to win.
Shohozan vs Meisei – Did Shohozan get bored with hitting people? He seems to be going for the mawashi this tournament. Not that I am complaining, but if I were facing Shohozan, and I did not get a couple of big whacks to the face, I would feel short changed.
Asanoyama vs Ikioi – Ikioi’s pride won’t let him go kyujo unless he is in surgery, and maybe not even then. To me his body seems completely broken, and unable to support much in the way of sumo.
Aoiyama vs Kotoshogiku – What a match! Both of these rikishi are fighting well, have strong winning records, and are at polar opposition for sumo style. Though Aoiyama going for the mawashi on day 5 proves his technique catalog is much broader then it would seem. But who wouldn’t want to see Kotoshogiku give Aoiyama a series of powerful pelvic thrusts? Parental guidance suggested….
Chiyotairyu vs Abi – I am taking a strange pleasure from watching Abi-zumo failing over and over again. Because I assume that means that he is taking another step closer to diversifying his sumo. Once he does that, he’s on the road to higher ranks.
Tochiozan vs Onosho – As an Onosho fan, I have to resist the urge to see him dominate every match. What he really needs is a kachi-koshi at this rank, and a slight move higher. He is getting his sumo back, but his strength is still recovering from that surgery kyujo last year.
Ichnojo vs Endo – That black eye on Endo seems to only underscore the fact that everyone is beating him up and stealing his lunch money every day. Endo possesses excellent sumo skills, but right now Ichinojo is on fire. Can the Boulder take it to 6?
Takakeisho vs Kaisei – Takakeisho has lost a couple of matches that might impact assessment of any Ozeki bid, and he needs to regroup and put himself back on track. Kaisei has really underwhelmed thus far, but I expect him to come roaring back pretty much now.
Hokutofuji vs Tamawashi – I am probably as excited about this match as I am for the Aoiyama – Kotoshogiku mating dance. Just in time, it seems Hokutofuji found his sumo again. This is going to be an oshi-battle of possibly epic proportions, as long as nobody tries for any early pulls.
Goeido vs Daieisho – I have taken to watching these Goeido matches in slow motion about 3-4 times, they are just that good. I expect that this new, resurgent Daieisho will give him a good match, but it may not last long.
Takayasu vs Myogiryu – Myogiryu has made a habit out of beating the Ozeki, and this could be the match that shoves Takayasu out of any reasonable consideration for a yusho bid.
Tochinoshin vs Mitakeumi – Tochinoshin showed day 5 that he is willing to endure the pain to get a win. Of course Kaisei let him plant his feet and square his shoulders to get the lift underway, which I expect will not happen with Mitakeumi.
Hakuho vs Nishikigi – Enjoy your visit with the Yokozuna, Nishikigi. Your fans love you, even when you have no wins.
Shodai vs Kakuryu – The YDC is meeting right now in special session to determine if Shodai’s winless start to Haru is grounds for Yokozuna consideration. “Shodai the Flaccid” has never beaten Kakuryu, and I am guessing day 6 is not going to be the day he changes that.