First, the headline item. If Shodai can prevail over fellow Ozeki Asanoyama, and Okinoumi, with kachi-koshi on the line, can upset Daieisho, we’ll have a playoff between the two for all the marbles. Any other outcome will see the M1w lifting the cup.
The san’yaku ranks
All the incumbents are kachi-koshi, which means that they will keep their ranks. Daieisho (12-2) has certainly done enough this time to force at least an extra Komusubi slot, and another win would probably see him vault all the way to Sekiwake. Takarafuji (9-5) will be ranked at M1e, which will either be a somewhat unlucky break if he loses, or a very unlucky break if he ends with 10 wins. With a 10-man san’yaku, the M17e rank will disappear.
In what must be a bitter disappointment for Bruce, all but three rikishi ended up above or below the 7-7 line by Day 14. In addition to the above-mentioned Okinoumi, we have M9 Myogiryu and M15 Yutakayama, who are indeed matched up in the final day’s only Darwin bout.
M17e Sadanoumi (5-9) will be heading down. M13e Akua‘s (5-9) top-division slot will be on the line in what is likely an exchange bout with a leading promotion candidate, J6 Hidenoumi (10-4), Tobizaru’s big brother, who hasn’t been in the top division since March 2018. The other Juryo rikishi hoping to move up with a win are J8 Tsurugisho (11-3), J1 Daiamami (7-7), and J8 Daishomaru (10-4), a somewhat marginal candidate, who is matched with another endangered incumbent, M8e Tokushoryu (3-11). Should all four promotion candidates be successful, Yutakayama would be well-advised to get his 8th win in order to avoid leaving his fate in the hands of the banzuke committee.
Oh, and the Juryo race just got interesting, with Tsurugisho leading Hidenoumi, Daishomaru, and J10 Ura by one win. If the leader loses to former top-division mainstay J13 Ikioi (6-8), who needs a win himself to stay in the salaried ranks, we may not know if we will have a playoff until after the third Makuuchi bout, at which point the top-division action would have to take a break. Fingers crossed!
J14e Ryuko (5-9) will be heading right back down to the third division, as will J11w Oho (4-10), who may want to revert to his old shikona, Naya. In addition to Ikioi, J7w Nishikigi (3-11) and J9w Kotoyuki (4-10) also need to win to remain sekitori. With 6 winning records in the Makushita promotion zone, none can count on being saved by banzuke luck.
Makushita barnyard brawl!!!
I covered this yesterday, but we will have a nine-way playoff for the Makushita yusho! No, that’s not a misprint. As usual, two rikishi went into day 13 with 6-0 records, but because they hail from the same heya, they could not be matched head-to-head ad instead faced 5-1 opponents. Both lost, letting their opponents and 5 other lucky men into the playoff, which will feature everyone from Ms5w promotion candidate and recent sekitori Nishikifuji to the last man in the dvision, Ms60w Fukamiyama.
I believe the protocol here is they draw straws for a bye, the other 8 are paired up and we’re down to 5, another drawing of straws, 4 rikishi paired up, and we’re down to 3, who enter the usual tomoe-sen in which the first wrestler to win two consecutive bouts is the champion.