At the beginning of Match Day 6, there were two undefeated Jonokuchi leaders. Since Shunrai was a new recruit and lower on the banzuke than Mogamizakura, and they needed Mogamizakura to face the lowest-ranked Jonidan leader, the Kyokai did not pit Shunrai and Mogamizakura against each other. Instead, Shunrai faced 4-1 Takashoki. Shunrai quickly wrapped up Takashoki at the tachiai; Takashoki’s arms flailing like a desperate, angry kraken. Shunrai plowed forward and forced the beast over the edge. Arrr…matey…ye’ stand at 6-0.
Mogamizakura was paired with the lowest-ranked undefeated Jonidan wrestler, Tanimoto. Sadly, there will be no yusho celebration at Shikihide beya. Tanimoto shifted left at the rather slow tachiai, and then drove forward to usher Mogamizakura safely over the tawara.
So, where do things in Jonokuchi stand? Basically, it’s Shunrai’s title to lose. If he wins tomorrow, he will win the yusho. I believe he will face the lowest undefeated Jonidan wrestler, Tanimoto. If he loses, senshuraku will have a barnyard brawl with the remaining 6-1 contenders. That field will be whittled down from the current 5-1 group as several go head-to-head. That 5-1 group is Mogamizakura, Kiryuko, Mukainakano and Abe.
I’ve got the video of Kiryuko’s exciting and hard-fought win over Miyagi and an extra, bonus bout of Chiyofuku versus Byakuen. Miyagi and Kiryuko both fought very hard to stay in this title chase. Miyagi clung to the tawara as long as he could but Kiryuko was too powerful and forced both to tumble hard over the edge. The ending of the bout, we also see Kiryuko’s deep bow as he headed down the hanamichi.
As for Byakuen, he will face serious challenges in Jonidan if he happens to get kachi-koshi. But the kid has heart so it’s good to see him win. Just before their bout, the video pans over to see Mukainakano, one of the chase group, come in and take a seat. The video starts a bit earlier than I usually crop the videos, I wanted to catch the early few moments of the day and the announcer stating the beginning of Jonokuchi.
*Note: I am a bit puzzled by the pairing off of Asasorai and Abe. Rather than having both Jonokuchi wrestlers face each other, the schedulers have put both against Jonidan competition. It doesn’t make sense as an “exchange” bout, like what we see up in Juryo and Makuuchi where a loser from the higher division faces demotion and a winner from the lower division can earn promotion. In each case, all of these guys are moving up the banzuke. If Asasorai and Abe faced each other, it would guarantee one 4-1 wrestler would fall off the pace.*
Speaking of Jonidan
The Jonokuchi champion from Natsu, Fujiseiun, is in the lead for the Jonidan yusho. Here’s his quick win against Higanzan. Fujiseiun should be paired against Osanai while we saw that the third wrestler, Tanimoto, would face Shunrai. If Shunrai wins, the yusho is his and the Jonidan winner of Fujiseiun/Osanai will win that yusho. However, if Shunrai loses, we get the big playoff down there and then Tanimoto would face Fujiseiun/Osanai. As a reminder, the playoffs would take place on senshuraku, if needed.
The next report will be on Friday, at the close of Match Day 7, and we’ll see then if we’ll have a playoff. Right now, though, it looks like Shunrai has this one in the bag.