OK, the Japanese media has calmed down, and with the expulsion and public embarassment of Otake and Kotomitsuki, the dissolution of Kise-beya, suspensions for gamblers (for the most part), slaps-on-the-wrist galore, and now the resignation of Musashigawa as rijicho, everyone has stopped calling for the blood of oyakata and rikishi alike to quench their thirst for public scandal. Now the good ‘ol boys can take a 2 or 3 basho furlough from yaocho, gambling, throwing special privelages at the Yakuza, and other such activities. My guess is it will be business as usual come Hatsu.
The assumed “alright guys lets show the public that we have cleaned up our act” scharade carries one big question on its back… is Kaio going to come out of kyujo for Kyushu? I mean it is his home basho, but I just don’t see him picking up the 10 he’ll need with out buying a bunch of bouts. However maybe the public’s raging boner for him will block their view enough for them not to notice what will inevitably be some stank-ass bouts.
As for Aki, Hakuho will undoubtedly steamroll his way through to another record or 3, and with the banzuke in the f-ed up condition it will be I think we’re going to see some insane records from low maegashira and high juryo, and some piss poor performances from upper maegashira and lower sanyaku…duh.
This is going to be what former-rijicho Mushashigawa called a “once in 100 years banzuke.” I’m not sure if that’s an attempt on positive spin on a shit-show situation, but I do know that this one is a bit of a problem to predict the further down we get on the list. I’ve heard from some sources that we can expect all rikishi suspended for Nagoya to move down to the next division. While for guys like Okinoumi, thats a no brainer; guys like Toyonoshima and Goeido are a bit more of a puzzle.
Precedent certainly shows that rikishi at M4 with a 0-0-15 record can be demoted to juryo, though it’s tough to imagine the NSK sending their (for whatever reason) golden boy down to the minors. Yeah, maybe he’ll yusho, but he’d probably do just as good in lower maegashira, maybe he’ll even pick up a junyusho, and a couple special prizes. Personally I think we’ll see Goeido hang on by the skin of his teeth, but Toyonoshima will be at the top of the juryo ladder.
As said before, I think we’re gonna have Goeido tear this one apart from M16 (even though I hate the guy, his sumo, and his face), but I’m also interested in watching the following guys starting at the top and working down:
Aran: 12-3 with a junyusho and a kantoshi in Natsu from M10 + 11-4 with a junyusho and a kantosho in Nagoya from M2 (pretty much the same rank where he got a dismal 1-14 back in Haru) + Not too tough schedule for the first few days of Aki = someone I’m going to watch intensely this basho. I’m not sure if his stuff is mature enough to hang in sanyaku for very long, but it will be interesting to find out.
Tochiozan: His stuff is looking better and better. He’s not hesitating at the tachi-ai anymore, and its lead to some pretty solid wins. Like Aran, his first few days’ schedule isn’t too rough. Expect to see 8 wins outta Ohzan, but I’m hoping for at least 9 or 10. Lets start that push for ozeki while the joii is weak.
Kakuryu: Slippery little fish face. Certainly not ready for ozeki yet, but should be in, or competing for, sanyaku spots. He’ll get his 8.
Tochinoshin: Tochinoshin is better than his performance in Nagoya. I’m gonna call it as 10 wins for the Georgian, maybe throw a kantosho in the mix. He just has to avoid getting psyched out the first few days.
Tokusegawa: Had a bit of a spotty kachikoshi back in Nagoya, but has been quietly building up experience, and has looked pretty good doing it. I’m interested to see how well he’ll do ranked up a bit higher. He’ll definitely pick up somwhere between 7-9 wins.
Sokokurai: This cat has 10 straight kachikoshi, but I’m still not sure how well he’ll do in makuuchi. Out of all 3 bouts he’s had up in makuuchi he’s won 2 out of 3. However those were against Shotenro (who is comfortable only in the lowest 5th of the Makuuchi banzuke) and Tamaasuka (who has never managed a Makuuchi kachikoshi in 3 attempts). At 125.4kg he might have a bit of a weight disadvantage, but that just leaves more room for technique and speed. After all when Harumafuji broke into Makuuchi he was only 112kg, and he certainly had a bit more of a spotty record.
I’m looking forward to seeing sumo back in its normal time slot, with the normal comments from the english commentary peanut gallery. (Never thought I’d hear myself say that)