Well, all of the buildup in Jonokuchi over the past 10 days culminated with a rather perfunctory oshidashi win and yusho for Nakashima over the blocking-sled, Nishikimaru. It’s the first great leap forward as he attempts to climb back to Makushita. Congratulations!
In Juryo, Ryuden had been penciled in as a repeat champion, certain to defeat zambara-wearing Nishikawa. Leonid has been keeping us posted on the yusho and promotion situation there as things heated up.
If Ryuden had been a 90% favorite in each bout in Juryo, it’s still a significant challenge to put together a string of 7 consecutive wins. He had succeeded in Kyushu. Here in Tokyo he certainly defeated his biggest threats earlier in this tournament by defeating the up-and-coming Atamifuji as well as former top division wrestlers like Tomokaze and Akiseyama.
Despite his experience as a top-division competitor, after the matta I have to wonder if nerves got the better of him today. He very nearly lost flat out at the tachiai. You can hear the gasps of the crowd as Nishikawa’s first pull down attempt nearly succeeded. He briefly recovered but didn’t have much of a counter-attack going. Nishikawa took his chances and the second pull down attempt was successful.
Down in Jonidan, Asahanshin defeated Kawamura for the yusho. You may remember Kawamura had been in our Jonokuchi coverage in November but had the bad luck of facing both Chiyoshishi and Raiho, losing to both, and squeaking by with a 4-3 record. It was a very close call for Asahanshin but he successfully pushed Kawamura out from behind for the okuritaoshi win. Both are likely on track for sandanme. Speaking of Sandanme, Asahanshin’s Takasago stablemate, Osanai, will face Mukainakano in a playoff on senshuraku.