Nothing like a big, stinky, dank basket of sumo scandals to make me on the gumbly side, so apologies if things are a bit snarky today.
I spotted Asanoyama a bit early, and I was a fan because he just seemed happy to be there. Just excited that he was getting paid to compete in sumo, and genuinely the kind of guy who is thankful for every day they get on this good earth. That may be the case, but now he is in deep trouble. Given the seriousness about the current state of emergency in Japan, I expect the NSK is going to be quite harsh on Asanoyama. As an Ozeki, he has a unique position to uphold the traditions and spirit of Japan’s national sport. The infraction was bad enough, but maybe some long shot, long climb back up the banzuke to try again was conceivable. But he lied about it as well. I expect an intai announcement before the end of the month.
If there is any upside to be had, it’s that Takayasu will finish day 12 with a fusensho that will take him to 8 wins, and kachi-koshi for Natsu. This leaves the door wide open for him to win 2 of the remaining 3 matches, ending with 10 wins and keeping hopes of an eventual run to return to Ozeki alive.
Looking across the torikumi, it seems the scheduling committee took my advice, and continued to drink heavily. The results are wonderful to behold.
Some goobers gave Terunofuji a disqualification on day 11, so now he has a loss. I was hoping for a 15-0 mega-win from the kaiju, complete with double fish lift and drinking sake out of the Prime Minister’s Cup. Win it anyhow, Terunofuji!
Chasers: Takakeisho, Endo
Hunt Group (2 wins behind): Ichinojo, Okinoumi
4 matches remain
What We Are Watching Day 12
Ishiura vs Tokushoryu – Last man to hit a 14-1 yusho? None other than Tokushoryu! He’s kicking around a J2e right now, but a win today makes him kachi-koshi, and maybe punches his return ticket to the top division. He’s facing a damaged Ishiura, with a badly mangled hand. I am not sure if he can manage to find 3 more wins out of the remaining matches, but I know he’s going to give it his all.
Chiyotairyu vs Okinoumi – Sure, make Chiyotairyu take down the old man that is Okinoumi. Chiyotairyu has a 9-5 career lead over Okinoumi, but Chiyotairyu’s left elbow is not in good shape. Plus, the thunder-demon has lost the last 2 in a row. A win today and he’s kachi-koshi.
Tamawashi vs Kaisei – I adore that the scheduling team sees the vast potential for Darwin matches wall to wall on Sunday, and seem to be cultivating keeping the pack headed for 7-7 as broad as possible. This match has a fair chance in yielding two 6-6 rikishi.
Daiamami vs Terutsuyoshi – Now two 5-6 face off, with at least one of them headed straight to 6-6, sure I think Terutsuyoshi is more likely for the win today, so sure, let’s tee him up for a day 15 doom contest against someone like Tamawashi.
Shimanoumi vs Akua – Not quite as much potential, as Shimanoumi is 5-6, and Akua is 4-7, but if Akua can gamberize today, he can drag Shimanoumi down into the 5-7 tar-pit from which there is only a narrow path to escape. Can we get both of these guys to 7-7 please?
Kotonowaka vs Kagayaki – Kagayaki holds a 2-0 career record, and if he can beat Kotonowaka today he can make them both 6-6 at the end of the day. Are you digging the numerology running wild in sumo? Give me some of what those guys are drinking please!
Tsurugisho vs Chiyomaru – Here it is once more. Tsurugisho at 4-7 has a substantial career advantage (8-5) over Chiyomaru at 6-5. A good chance that Tsurugisho can pick up win 5, and Chiyomaru loss number 6.
Kotoeko vs Endo – Now it’s getting fun, and I am going to assume the schedulers had finished bottle number 3 by now. Sure, lets put Kotoeko at 6-5 against 9-2 Endo. Kotoeko won their last match in November, and Endo’s already kachi-koshi. He’s going to ease up, right? It will come down to who gets to dictate the format of this match. Look for Kotoeko to get at least the right hand against Endo’s upper body at the tachiai, and stop him from that left hand frontal mawashi grip.
Chiyoshoma vs Takarafuji – Its 6-5 Chiyoshoma against 5-6 Takarafuji, in another match to set up what might be the biggest Darwin Sunday in my memory. Who will win this one? Not sure it matters, they are both headed toward 7-7.
Hoshoryu vs Tochinoshin – Those that feel pity, this is the match. Tochinoshin, already make-koshi and clearly hurt, gets his first ever match against a fairly genki Hoshoryu, who needs to find 3 more wins over the next 4 days. You know where he’s headed, right? I hope Tochinoshin’s knee can hold on until Sunday night.
Aoiyama vs Myogiryu – 22 career matches between these two, and they are split right down the middle. Aoiyama is 1-2 since coming back from kyujo, and not really making much of a case for himself. But in the interest of Sunday’s august proceedings, I hope he can rally and smack Myogiryu to the clay today, sending him to 6-6.
Kiribayama vs Tobizaru – Both of them are already make-koshi, so they are shunted off to the side so they don’t interrupt the beautiful dance that is shaping Sunday’s battle-space. Fight it out you guys, you are getting demotions anyhow, but you will stay in the top division. Just make sure nobody gets hurt.
Wakatakakage vs Hidenoumi – Also safely away from the glorious parade of 5-6/6-5 struggling to their final day judgement, 7-4 Wakatakakage must overcome a 2-6 career deficit against 4-7 Hidenoumi today to get his kachi-koshi. You can just hear them laughing in that back room in the basement of to Kokugikan as they came up with this.
Mitakeumi vs Meisei – But ok, throw Mitakeumi a bone. We may need a reserve Ozeki some day, and maybe if he can buckle down and work like a madman he could push himself enough to hit 33 wins. Who am I kidding, I love Mitakeumi, but that’s not happening any time soon. But he has a 4-0 career advantage over Meisei, so he is probably going to get his 8th win today. Should Meisei prevail, he would go to 6-6 (see what they did there? Drinky bastards…)
Hokutofuji vs Daieisho – If you can’t do something nice, as my granny would say, you may as well make sure you ruin somebody’s day. And that’s certain here, as one of these two are going to pick up their 8th win. it may as well be Hokutofuji, as he is practiced at such outcomes while fighting like a mad man and looking like he should win.
Shodai vs Takanosho – Shodai needs 2 more wins to hold on to Ozeki. I am going to guess they are going to protect him if they can because they are about to lose an Ozeki. But there is only so much that can be done given he has to face the other 2 Ozeki, both of which are going to take his chanko money. So he needs to win this one. I know at least one sick bastard in the scheduling committee would love to put him in a day 15 Darwin match just to put the fear of Raiden in him.
Ichinojo vs Takakeisho – And now, the crowning achievement of what a lot of drinking, a calligraphy brush and an Excel spreadsheet can bring you. Hell, I laughed for a while when I saw this one. Takakeisho is already kachi-koshi, as is Ichinojo. So this is more or less just for fun. Like when you dared the kid down the street to jump his Schwin bicycle over that string of 12 flaming car tires. Probably going to achieve the same outcome, except your mom won’t hit you with a spoon.
Onosho vs Terunofuji – But wait, there is more, maybe they were past the “can’t stand and need to puke” stage, looked at the spreadsheet and there were only two names left. Where this is fun is that Onosho actually has a 4-1 career against Terunofuji. Onosho has trashed him in each of the last 2 basho, so I am wondering if he can get his mega-thrust running and just send the Kaiju out for his first real loss. If not (that’s right.. you guessed it) Onosho will finish the day at 6-6.
Drunken laughter fills the basement of the Kokugikan, as the Great Sumo Cat lies quietly on the tarp covered dohyo and dreams of the day ahead.