Sumo World Cup Round 1

At the conclusion of any vacation, one is met with a laundry list of things to do: many should have been done before leaving in the first place, others come out of ideas thought of on vacation. First thing’s first, because thanks to Bruce, Herouth, Josh, and Leonid, and all the commenters, I was able to keep up with the drama -strike that- chaos in Nagoya from my phone. I’ve still got to actually watch the matches though, so I’m setting myself up for a few days of catch-up.

As the temperatures rose the wrestlers sure dropped like flies. I know he’s from Nagano, but perhaps Mitakeumi’s tropical Filipino roots helped keep him from melting under that heat. It would be interesting to map wrestler’s hometowns to their Nagoya success with the theory that being raised in Kyushu would make one less affected by hot conditions than those from Hokkaido. Since they basically all train in Tokyo, though, it’s probably a moot point.

I digress. I dusted off my Sumo World Cup spreadsheet and updated the results. Generally, my predictions are pretty far off. Well, I guess I’m guilty of being generally a tad hopeful. I really wanted Kakuryu to three-peat, for example. Instead, he barely made it through Act One. So, instead of the Kakuryu yusho claiming first place in Group A, Takanoiwa’s 13-win Juryo yusho takes that honor. Takakeisho and Onosho did battle it out for second on 10 wins, Takakeisho slipping through on strength of schedule.

I also really wanted the boss to be in the thick of it on senshuraku. I put sentiment aside and thought that Aoiyama and Kotoyuki’s injuries were too serious for them to move on. So both have promptly moved on. I’m going to pay very close attention to their matches, and Yoshikaze’s in my catch-up marathon this weekend.

Okinoumi did not claim Group C but came in second to Chiyotairyu. Chiyonokuni was my bet for advancement but that kyujo bug claimed him as well.

Goeido and Endo make it through from Group D. I’m excited to see Goeido winning. Endo sneaks past Ikioi because of the fusen victory tie-breaker. In this, I’m considering “quality wins” and then “strength of schedule” as tie breakers. A win is a win, so if you’ve got two fusen, it’s two wins. However, 8 wins without fusen is better than 8 wins with.

The Yama twins easily claimed Group E. 13 and 12 wins are good enough for first in any group. The competition got the better of Giku as he dropped out from injury. Yoshikaze has been in terrible shape and seems to have been lucky to scrape out two wins. I think he has a serious leg injury. In one of the matches I watched before heading to Tennessee, his leg clearly buckled when he tried to brace against the Tawara. The weight of two rikishi appeared to be too much. Also, when he walked, it seemed like he was using it rigidly, as a peg, and not really bending his knee. He will fall but good to hear he won’t fall out of makuuchi yet.

I’m most excited about Group F. Tochi-from-Kochi and Myogiryu both made it out of the group stage. Tochinoshin was my early favorite from this group but then Nagoya happened. I also thought Takekaze may put together some good numbers in Juryo but he’ll fall deeper into the division in September. Instead, it’s two other veterans, Tochiozan and Myogiryu who advanced.

Group G was terrible. When 6 wins is enough to claim a spot in the top two, there’s a problem. When Ichinojo is able to claim the top spot, in spite of the use of adjectives like “embarrassing” to describe his form, we’ve got a weak group. So, on the strength of Kagayaki’s schedule, his 6-wins just beats out those of Kyokutaisei and Meisei. Shohozan was probably over-promoted and just got beat down. In Arawashi’s case, though, I’ve got him on my hidden injury watch list.

Lastly, Mitakeumi’s yusho and Hokutofuji’s 11-wins will see the pair through to the next round at the expense of solid performances from Kaisei, Tamawashi, and Sadanoumi. Hokutofuji and the Yama-twins will fly up the banzuke in September so their competition will be much more fierce in the next round. Mitakeumi already faces the meatgrinder though this time it seems the grinder had to go in for repairs. Cautious jungyo schedules and plenty of rest will hopefully get it back to making burger.