Day 11 Highlights

Day 11 of the Haru Basho opens with news from Givemechanko that Kaisei has been gifted a fusen win with the exit of Takakeisho. Having succumbed to a losing record as a result, Takakeisho joins Oh No Show on the couch, watching from home. They will return in May ranked considerably lower than their abilities; while, if it holds up, Kaisei’s jun-yusho would make a case for Komusubi. Tomorrow he’ll face Endo, who at M1E is also eyeing the sanyaku slot Chiyotairyu will vacate. I’m circling that match. Kaisei will bring it with Endo-level cash on the line. I’m still in shock at Herouth’s point about the Ichinojo-Kaisei bout lacking kenshokin.

What did I say yesterday about Daiamami? As has been noted on Twitter, my predictive powers are lacking. Kyokutaisei picked up a surprise win on his visit from Juryo, sneaking in a swift trip during an oshi bout that evoked more bighorn sheep than grappling. Daiamami didn’t seem bovvered, while Kyokutaisei’s fighting hard to finally garner makuuchi promotion after two years bouncing around in Juryo.

Myogiryu does not want to drop into Juryo but he’ll need to find his mojo. He sure lost it today. Asanoyama picked up an easy hikiotoshi as Myogiryu over-committed at the tachiai. At first he was firmly met but once he committed to driving forward, the limber Asanoyama slipped his grasp, ducking to the left, letting Myogiryu fall. Hidenoumi offered token resistance to Daishomaru’s oshi attack, little more than an animate blocking sled. Daishomaru picked up his kachi-koshi while Hidenoumi’s 9th loss and counting will find him deeper in Juryo.

Kotoyuki’s frustrated spin was the oddest thing I’ve ever seen. It was like he saw the futility of his oshi attack and just took a frustrated swing at Yutakayama, totally whiffed, and spun around like a ballerina. Yutakayama gently pushed him out. Ishiura caught out Tochiozan in a…surprise…surprise…henka. Next! Aoiyama and Chiyonokuni engaged in a strong tachiai with Aoiyama slowly giving ground until his yeti feet got hold of the tawara, where he slipped to the side and Chiyonokuni fell to hatakikomi. Aoiyama got his kachi-koshi while Chiyonokuni is still on pace at 6-5.

Sokokurai and Okinoumi locked into a fierce grapple, Okinoumi clutching Sokokurai’s left arm from above, Sokokurai securing Okinoumi’s right from below. Okinoumi’s initiative drove the pair backward, Sokokurai pivoting on the tawara at the last second, for a clever but costly sukuinage. Sokokurai was unable to return to the dohyo under his own power. If he goes kyujo, as it looked bad, he’ll be likely to drop back into Juryo.

Next, Daieisho locked horns with Nishikigi. After a brief tussle, with Daieisho shoving hard at Nishikigi’s face, he did a quick change-a-roo, got his hands behind Nishikigi’s head and drove him to the floor. Daieisho rose to 6-5 while Nishikigi needs to win out to avoid a makekoshi.  Kagayaki was ready to go against Ikioi, met firmly at the tachiai, and soon went for a nodowa…but on one leg? Once he rocked over on one leg, Ikioi found the drive to push him out and get his kachi-koshi. That was a theme for today with five wrestlers picking up that all important 8th win today.

Yoshikaze is out of sorts. He literally fell to Ryuden, and as a result is makekoshi. Can he arrest his slide down the banzuke, or will he take the Takakeisho way to the couch? He needs to recoup and regroup. Ryuden has delayed his own makekoshi for another day. Abi shot like a bullet into Chiyoshoma, thrusting his arms into his opponent’s face…but Chiyoshoma didn’t want to give it back. Disarmed, Abi struggled to respond as Chiyoshoma walked him backward and off the dohyo.

Shohozan followed with another brawling attack against Hokutofuji. Hokutofuji weathered the storm, however, and countered as Shohozan tired. Oshidashi. Hokutofuji improves to 5-6 while Shohozan falls to 6-5. In a scene similar to Yoshikaze’s sad fall, Kotoshogiku flops onto his belly as Tamawashi’s mass disappears. This was Giku’s 8th loss, sealing his losing record.

Takarafuji had eyes on Endo’s stack of envelopes, engaging in a very entertaining, back-and-forth battle. Endo pulled, but Takarafuji wasn’t going to fall for any tawara tricks. So instead, Endo drove hard, knocking Takarafuji off balance and onto his back. Endo keeps his money and stays on pace for a winning record. As I mentioned, this may leave planners with a promotion conundrum if there’s only one sanyaku slot up for grabs.

Chiyotairyu sensed blood against 1-9 Arawashi, so he blasted off. Arawashi found a bit of guile, and after meeting firmly at the tachiai, suddenly pulled and Chiyotairyu fell. Both stand at 2-9. Chiyomaru withstood Mitakeumi’s early attack and, after some determined leaning, drove Mitakeumi out for a yorikiri win. Both stand at 5-6.

Goeido blasted Shodai, who seemed to be a bit weak on his left foot. Tochinoshin lost another controversial bout against Takayasu. He needs 10 wins to have any hope of Ozeki-hood. Regardless of whether he was in or out, I wasn’t a fan of the pull. He ran out of space quickly and the odds of falling out first seem greater than if he took the fight to Takayasu and battled on the belt. That’s how he will become Ozeki, not with hatakikomi attempts.

We close today with a showdown with Kakuryu and Ichinojo. Ichinojo put some great effort into this. The taller, wider behemoth was in control for much of the bout. But Kakuryu dug deep, worked Ichinojo briefly off balance, back to the tawara and out for yorikiri. Kakuryu will face a desperate Tochinoshin tomorrow. Should be a great one.