Zensho Goeido *updated*

As Bruce reported yesterday, Goeido won his first yusho. Bruce also has a great rundown today. Goeido managed it in spectacular fashion, going undefeated over the 15 days. This is obviously the biggest headline coming out of the Fall Tournament but there are many other key storylines:

  • Tokitenku intai – I’m very sad to see Tokitenku officially call it a career. The former Komusubi has not competed in the past year since his diagnosis with lymphoma.
  • Endo resurgence – Endo picked up a jun-yusho and the technique special prize with his 13 wins
  • Whispers of Ozeki Takayasu – Fighting Spirit special prize and 10 wins at sekiwake gives him a good first step. We need two more great tournaments!
  • WTF, Okinoumi? – One of the most spectacular runs ever, followed by a week of mediocrity
  • Terunofuji kadoban – I hope he heals quickly because another basho with a kadoban ozeki magically retaining his rank does harm to the sport.
  • Injuries – Will Hakuho and Osunaarashi be able to recover in time for November?

A Konishiki-sized “Thank You” to Bruce for his great reporting; I’m really looking forward to November! It’s always much more fun when I know there are others out there, like me, who enjoy professional King of the Hill.

If any of you all are in the DC area, maybe we can get a Happy Hour going?

Nagoya 2016: Special Prizes

Yes, I’m dragging this out because it’s going to be a long time until September. Four wrestlers took home special prizes and there were likely other candidates for special prizes, like Shodai and Ichinojo, if they had managed wins the last day. In all, four special prizes were awarded. That’s the most since September of last year.

  1. Technique: Takayasu (1st) – The technique prize hasn’t been awarded much over the past few years, only 6 times in the previous 21 tournaments. His 10 competitive wins came from using a variety of 7 different winning techniques.
  2. Fighting Spirit: Takanoiwa (1st) & Takarafuji (1st) – Takarafuji’s fighting spirit prize came by virtue of not only having 10 wins at the difficult Maegashira #2 position, but punctuating that record with wins over 4 of 7 sanyaku wrestlers faced: 1 Yokozuna, 2 Ozeki and 1 Sekiwake. It’s important to note that as a stablemate of Harumafuji and Terunofuji, he did not wrestle either of them. Takanoiwa’s strong second-place finish was rewarded with the Fighting Spirit prize…and likely a position in the rough-and-tumble top Maegashira ranks in September.
  3. Outstanding Performance: Yoshikaze (2nd) – Yoshikaze’s 10-5 record, including a critical win over cup-winner Harumafuji, ended a special prize drought of three tournaments. This time last year he started the remarkable streak of 4 special prizes and two kinboshi in 3 basho, propelling him to sekiwake. He’s fallen back of late from those highs but he still owns Harumafuji with a shocking 5-3 record against the yokozuna.

Tochinoshin, Mitakeumi Awarded Special Prizes

Tochinoshin was awarded the technique prize and Mitakeumi won the Fighting Spirit prize. I can’t help but think that Endo would have won a prize if he’d been able to win today.

In another story line, Kaisei beat an unmotivated Tochiozan easily to get his kachi-koshi and likely promotion to sekiwake for the July tournament. All I have got to say after this one is, Yeesh…. Tochiozan looked like Marcus Davis on a called run. He took today off. Ikioi would have brought it.

初場所 2016, 15日目: Special Prizes

Shodai’s makuuchi career is off to a great start; 10 wins and a Fighting Spirit award. To provide a bit of a comparison with highly touted debuts: Endo got his first kanto-sho after his third tournament while it took Ikioi almost 2 years to pull it off. Of course Ichinojo’s rise was even quicker as he scored two special prizes and a kinboshi, finishing in second place upon his debut. However, we’ve all seen the ups-and-downs those three have gone through. Continue reading

November 2015, Day 15: Storylines

  1. Harumafuji Yusho
  2. Special Prizes
    1. Technique: Yoshikaze
    2. Fighting Spirit: Ikioi & Shohozan
  3. Homarenishiki 6 Wins, Promotion to Sandanme
  4. Goeido Kachi-koshi
  5. Death of Kitanoumi
  6. Injuries

20002308YushoThe first storyline from this month’s tournament is that Harumafuji picked up his 7th Yusho. He’s the fourth different winner over the last four tournaments: Terunofuji(五月), Hakuho(七月), Kakuryu(九月), Harumafuji (十一月). The last time there were four different winners in a row actually wasn’t that long ago. Coincidentally, it was also the last time there were four winners all in the same calendar year, 2012: Baruto(一月), Hakuho(三月), Kyokutenho(五月), Harumafuji(七月).

Special PrizesYoshikaze had another great tournament. As Myogiryu and Tochinoshin faltered, he will likely be able to take over the vacated sekiwake spot. He was only just able to pick up his kachi-koshi on Saturday, losing on Sunday to Ikioi.

Ikioi had another stellar tournament and won the fighting spirit prize along with Shohozan. They finished the tournament tied with Hakuho with 12 wins. It was Ikioi’s 4th fighting spirit prize, his second in a row. Ikioi is particularly strong in these middle maegashira ranks. As I’ve noted before, he’s had a lot of success when ranked M4-M6. I really appreciate how he goes after every bout with the same intensity.

HomarenishikiThe up-and-coming Canadian wrestler, Homarefuji, is doing well and is moving quickly up the ranks. He’ll likely jump into the top half of Sandanme division, likely into the Sd40s.

Goeido Remains Ozeki. Barely.I’m not a big fan of people who just do the minimum. So with Goeido seemingly kadoban every other tournament, I just wonder how much longer this can go on. At sekiwake, he was so solid, almost never going make-koshi over the course of 14 tournamets & more than two years. Only twice he finished with 7 wins and five times he had 10 wins or more. However, as ozeki he has yet to win 10 bouts in a tournament. He can’t string together more than four wins in a row and it’s usually just two in a row…if that.