Match Day 5 brought several surprises. First up, I wanted to show the valiant efforts put forth by Shonanzakura. He had two great bouts — one against Higohikari and the other against Kato. Often, when Shonanzakura mounts the dohyo and surveys his opponent, you just see fear in his eyes. I’ve seen that fear in Kato, as well. Several times this tournament, he’s curled up his arms or turned his back after the tachiai, to protect himself.
I can’t say that I blame them. I’ve not climbed up there to face a 300 lb linebacker with no pads (or pants) and I imagine that first few times would be rather intimidating. There was no intimidation yesterday as Shonanzakura powered through a nodowa or today as he nearly worked Kato over the edge. Still, the outcomes were as everyone predicted…despite much more drama than usual. That losing streak may come to an end sooner than we thought.
The Yusho Race
Shonanzakura’s effort would not be the only shocker of this Match Day. Kiryuko fell to Mogamizakura in the first bout of 4-0 undefeated wrestlers. Kiryuko appeared to want to drive forward but his foot slipped and he came to a knee. There may be some celebrations at Shikihide-beya! With Mogamizakura moving to 5-0, Shunrai would have to defeat Iwata in order to stay on pace. He did his job, and he did it in rather dominant fashion with a well-executed throw in the middle of the ring. This sets up a Shunrai/Mogamizakura bout on Match Day 6 for sole possession of the lead.
This also means that unless the winner also wins on Day 7, the door is still open for potential playoffs among 6-1 wrestlers. There’s quite a number at 4-1. Six wrestlers, including the aforementioned Kiryuko. Miyagi, Asasorai, Mukainakano, Abe, and Takashoki are all still in this race and sure set up the possibility of several great bouts over the coming days. In the video above, I included Asasorai’s victory over Matsugi as a bonus because I found that particularly hard-fought and entertaining. Enjoy!