Nagoya Coverage Summary Page, Now Live

With the conclusion of the Nagoya basho, I have posted the “omnibus” page with easy-to-navigate links to consolidate Tachiai’s coverage of the tournament. It was a very interesting tournament with many twists and turns, and some controversy. I hope you all enjoyed coverage of the Jonokuchi division yusho race and found yourselves fans of new wrestlers. There is a lot more of interest in that division than just the Shonanzakura losing streak.

In the Top division coverage, there are also many exciting storylines aside from the yusho race. This whole tournament brought back Hakuho and provides sumo fans a bit of clarity with new “White Hat” rival with a White Belt in Yokozuna Terunofuji. (It’s pretty exciting to be able to refer to him that way.) Hakuho seems to be everything Terunofuji is not and I am eager to see Terunofuji take on his nemesis in September.

That said, one of the big talking points coming out of the tournament will be Hakuho’s antics on the dohyo, particularly his euphoric shout on senshuraku and this shocking tachiai against Shodai. (*Edit* My son pointed out that the video below has more DISLIKES than Likes by a long shot.)

Personally, I think Hakuho was sending a deliberate message to Shodai during the now infamous tawara tachiai. If we go back to last year when Hakuho stood up during his bout with Takakeisho, goading the Ozeki to challenge him, we see more of that behavior in this bout with Shodai — and even earlier with Tobizaru. While Terunofuji was an Ozeki, worthy of his challenge, Shodai has only once cracked 10 wins as Ozeki. His “brand of sumo” is derided by sumo fans as “cartoonish” and his tachiai is notoriously weak. I believe Hakuho was saying, “I am tired of playing cat and mouse. I do not give chase. You come to me, ‘Ozeki’.”

His knee is obviously a concern, as are the numerous injuries and chronic ailments of other top-division wrestlers, not least of which are those of new Yokozuna, Terunofuji. But Hakuho was able to put together an undefeated run in his first tournament back from knee surgery, facing the sport’s top competition. Standing back a few feed did little to protect that knee from the strain of a top-level sumo bout. This did force Shodai to move forward and come to him.

Before the tournament, I had thought we would be lucky if he finished all fifteen days. With this win, though, and with Hokuseiho’s imminent promotion to Juryo, I have to wonder if he might stay around long enough to have Hokuseiho join him during his dohyo-iri. He has already said he wants win #900. But before he retires, others need to start beating him and they need to bring out their best sumo — even if Hakuho is displaying his “worst.” Rather than a drop-off in quality from the “prime-Hakuho” era, sumo fans deserve a clear transition where others are able to beat him, consistently.

7 thoughts on “Nagoya Coverage Summary Page, Now Live

  1. I haven’t seen anything about Teru’s physical condition following the bout. Hakuho appeared to come very close to breaking that arm. I’ve commented on every video of that bout that I could find hoping someone could enlighten me. Teru appeared injured even before he got up and was still flexing that arm all the way back to the dressing room. Elbow damage of some sort has to be a major possibility.

  2. I saw Hakuho’s bout with Shodai in the same terms. It was a challenge and an opportunity. If Shodai had gotten off the shikiri sen with power and determination, he would have met Hakuho halfway to the tawara and had an advantage. Predictably, his sumo was timid and not forward-moving. In a sense, this bout was a reflection of Shodai’s Ozeki tenure: so concerned with maintaining his rank that he stagnates rather than move forward. It could have been a turning point for him. Hakuho gave him a chance to act as a real Ozeki and he probably didn’t even realize.

  3. Thank you Andy for the Jonokuchi coverage! It’s my first time to dip my toes beneath Juryo. I do wish that they held the non-salaried division tourneys on off-months (i.e. August, October, etc…). There’s just so much to unpack in the upper divisions during tournament time that I just don’t have time to focus on the lower divisions.

  4. I had much more fun watching Jonokuchi than I expected. Jonidan and Sandanme are far less interesting.

    Vive Byakuen!

  5. Hakuho’s Elbow shiver has come under fire again and IMHO deserved. I’ve often said I don’t like a lot of the tactics Hakuho will employ to get the upper hand at times. The Almost out Line up aside, which did little more then confound Shodai, the Elbow shiver, his sudden down into stance and instant charge he’s pulled before. Late hits that guys like Aoyiama have been called out for, but not Hakuho.

    He might be the GOAT in terms of raw numbers, but I’m sorry, in terms of honoring The rank of Yokozuna? He walks a VERY thin line between okay and not. To me he falls well behind others. Yea, I might be a little salty over Fuji losing, but I’ve said this long before this match. As for this match, Fuji deserved a straight up bout, not an elbow to the side of the head.

    • Screw that, Hakuho can use any weapon he needs to win. If the JSA doesn’t like yokozunas using elbows, then ban them. Otherwise let the face slaps roll!


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