With the September results in the books, let’s take our customary preliminary look at how they’re likely to reshuffle the rankings ahead of the November tournament.
Yokozuna and Ozeki
No changes here, except that Kirishima and Takakeisho will swap sides based on their Aki win totals. And all three Ozeki will be in good standing after the kadoban pair posted winning records and shin-Ozeki Hoshoryu recorded his 8th win on the final day.
All three Sekiwake—S1e Daieisho (10-5), S1w Wakamotoharu (9-6), and S2e Kotonowaka (9-6)—will stay at exactly the same ranks. We had two new Komusubi this time, and neither Nishikigi (5-10) nor Tobizaru (6-9) came close to holding rank, so they will be replaced by M2e Abi (9-6) and M1 Hokutofuji (8-7). M2w Asanoyama (9-6) actually has a slightly better numerical case for promotion than Hokutofuji, but no M1e with a winning record has been denied a san’yaku rank since 1969.
Given the above, the former Ozeki Asanoyama will have to settle for the top maegashira spot, where any winning record would return him to the named ranks for the first time since his suspension-driven fall two years ago. The rest of the occupants of the M1-M5 ranks are clear, though the order is not. We have 6 other maegashira with winning records who belong here: M4w Ura (9-6), M3e Shodai (8-7), M5e Gonoyama (9-6), M7e Takayasu (10-5), M6e Onosho (9-6), and M9e Midorifuji (10-5). We also have to slot in M1w Meisei (7-8), as well as the two falling Komusubi, who usually get some preferential treatment. Tobizaru and Meisei could slot in after Shodai, and Nishikigi after Onosho, but I’ll need to look more closely to figure out the most likely solution.
We have four rock-solid demotions: absent M9w Hakuoho, lowest-ranked M17e Daishoho (3-12), M15w Chiyoshoma (3-12), and M16e Kagayaki (5-10). There were 3 other men in danger going into senshuraku, and only Nishikifuji picked up a win, so the potential additional denotion queue stands as follows: M14w Kotoshoho (5-10), M14e Aoiyama (5-10), M13w Nishikifuji (5-10). Who stays and who goes comes down to evaluating the promotion cases in Juryo.
The bad news for Kotoshoho is that there are 5 solid promotion cases. These are headed by J3e Tomokaze (11-4), who will finally be back in the top division after a four-year comeback, and J7w Ichiyamamoto (13-2), who took the yusho after he beat Daiamami and J14e Onosato (12-3) lost to promotion-chasing Roga. With that all-important win, top-ranked J1e Roga (8-7) clinched a long-awaited top-division debut. The other solid promotion cases belong to the king of negative sumo, J4w Tohakuryu (10-5), and J5e Churanoumi (10-5).
Sixth in line for promotion is J2e Kitanowaka (8-7), who is a hair short of a numerical promotion claim but should nevertheless replace Aoiyama, although this isn’t a lock. A harder question is whether Nishikifuji’s senshuraku win will be enough to save him; I am guessing that it will just be, given that the best candidate to replace him is J5w Bushozan (9-6).
Oh, and the only record in Makuuchi worse than 5-10, aside from Chiyoshoma and Daishoho, belongs to iron man M3w Tamawashi (2-13), who is in no danger of demotion, but it will be interesting to see how much the banzuke committee opts to cushion his fall down the rankings.