Kyushu Basho 2010: The Wrap-Up Report


Most commonly used words based off of our Kyushu reports

The votes have been cast. The results are in. Sumo & Stogies is proud to award the following rikishi our most prestigious  accolades:

Best Bout: Hakuho vs. Kisenosato
Most Improved Rikishi: Gagamaru (compare and contrast, and you will see)
Keppare Sho: Kisenosato
(Booby Prize): Juryo Rookie Akiseyama (seriously)

The first basho in a long while since we’ve had a thrilling tournament all the way into Senshuraku! What a way to wrap up a crazy year. Speaking of which, this also marks Sumo & Stogies (online addition)’ first year of reporting sumo and reviewing of the finer things in life. It’s been quite the ride. A big thank you to our readers. Your comments and e-mails have been encouraging. We’ll promise to keep at this as long as we can.

What year, eh? From the forced retirement of Assashoryu, to the yakuza gambling scandals and NHK punishing the wrong people, it has been a year of headaches for sumo fans around the world. The word turmoil comes to mind, fiasco too.  On the brighter side however this year found Baruto being promoted to Ozeki and Hakuho making a historic run–ending the year by tying his record best 86-4 for the year: adding another five yusho to the Dia-Yokozuna’s already impress resume. He was recently quoted saying his next goal was Takanohana Oyakata’s Yusho record.  He’s five off of tying it and based off of everything this writer has seen, there is nothing that will stop him from reaching that goal next year.

On a separate note, I am thrilled to see the big Brazilian, Kaisei winning the Juryo playoff to take the Yusho. Look for my “one to watch” pick to make his Makuuchi Division debut in January. His elder stablemate, Kaio looks to be continuing after his 12-3 Kyushu Basho. I am done. I refuse to talk about Kaio retiring anymore.   Everyone with eyes can see the falls people are taking for him these days. Anyways that’s all I have to say about Kyushu native. Great for the fans, but it would be nice if that was the finale and his understudy took things from here.

The bout that changed the whole atmosphere of the Kyushu Basho without a doubt happened on day two. It even caused a mad rush to sell tickets online because people literally lost interest after the Yokozuna’s win streak went sayonara. I was disappointed to see Hakuho drop the his day two match to Kisenosato but pleased to see the NSK setting them up to do battle early on in the basho. The Ibaraki native doesn’t back down too often so it’s fun to see him out there.

The Kid will continue to be the wild card and probably the one of two rikishi (Baruto being the other when he’s focused) currently capable of challenging Hakuho: one out of every 10 matches I’d say. Unfortunately Kis needs to keep his focus and quit losing to weaker rikishi if he ever wants to move to the next level. There’s probably a blinking joke some where in there too but we are moving on.

The loss really appeared to shake Hakuho’s confidence even though he managed to finish up the tournament without another loss. I saw more shifts to the side by the Yokozuna this basho then all other tournaments combined I think. Not to say the Dai-Yokozuna was henkaing his way to the Yusho (he wasn’t), but it was interesting to see the Perfect One look human for once.

Toyonoshima certainly deserved that playoff but I can’t say I was surprised to see him find success at M9. Great basho, I hope the little man can bring it again next month too when he returns to a rank closer to his ability level! Great way to end Kyushu though eh?! Props Toyo, thanks for keeping things interesting.

Were there other notable rikishi? I’d say a few.

Tamawashi the Mongolian finds comfort in that M8 role. Next month will probably be a different story for him but it was nice to see the Tama get back on track after several really poor tournaments.

Homasho took down some Ozeki and finished with a 7-8 from M3. He looked far more comfortable up against the best this time around than previous attempts. Look for him to make another potential run in 2011.

Gagamaru got owned in October and it was fun to see the young kid from the Republic of Georgia catching on to some of the tricks this time around. He’s still learning. With his ability to move, I see him continuing to improve throughout the next year.

Tokusegawa, dude has game. He’s quietly winning his eight or nine in four out of his five Makuuchi tournaments to date. He’s a bit older, at 27, but I see him continuing to find success starting this January.

Goeido was ranked too low for his 12-3 record to matter much. I’ll look forward to seeing him in March when he’s probably back up where he should be.

Concerns

Aran & Kotooshu both looked completely disengaged this basho. I hope the guys have a chance to go see family of something because that was a pretty poor effort by the Komusubi and Ozeki. To Ron’s defense, I think the guy is still learning what to do a lot of the time out there. I foresee him going back and forth, in and out of the joi for most of 2011. Big-O is a big I don’t know. Guy has looked out of it for much of this year. He’s lost a ton of bouts to guys that have no right even challenging him. Tosayutaka comes to mind in Osaka.

Hakuba the gig is up. Henkuba has some skill but I don’t think we’ll be seeing him this highly ranked again next year. There are too many new guys making there way up who are big and know his “shift to the left game” now.

Bushuyama: People’s Champ is sadly going back down to Juryo after a really poor basho. He’ll likely face booby prize challenger Akiseyama. You can’t help but root for this guy though eh? He’s a hard worker and really gives it his all out there. I hope to see him again in Makuuchi but who knows. Good luck my Aomori friend.

Well that’s all she wrote for Kyushu. Keep an eye out for more Sumo News and Reviews throughout December. Here’s to a great year of sumo, spirits, & smokes.

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