May Technical Examination Basho: Day 2

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to day two of the Natsu Technical Examinational non-Basho basho.  I must say I’m pretty impressed with the increase in quality to the NHK stream, as well as the addition of commentary.  I agree with Valentine that some replays would be nice, but ah well.  It’s too bad, for those who don’t speak Japanese, that there is no English provided whatsoever, but as that isn’t a problem for me, you guys can read all about it here.

 For this basho, every day after Hakuho’s dohyo-iri, it seems a gyoji will come up on the dohyo (heh heh) and proceed to read off the torikumi for the next day.  Each bout is announced and displayed on a piece of thin paper, that is pretty much impossible to read from our vantage point.  Really, it looks like he’s displaying his kids work from art class to the crowd at the kokugikan.  Just in case there was anyone wondering what the hell that was, he’s not saying “check out this uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunicorn he did…. you’d never believe he’s only 4 years ooooooooooooooold!  How about this jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet plane!  It got 4 fucking miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissiles!”  Not sure why they’re doing this, as the bouts are already displayed on the website for tomorrow…  

Since we are one of only a few places one can get daily bout highlights in English, I’ll start with the NHK English commentary catch phrase: There’s an interesting situation down in juryo.  New-comer Takayasu, half-Filipino, and hailing from Naruto beya(who only on his 3rd Basho in juryo and was the one of the first two sekitori born in the heisei era along with Masunoyama), is still doing quite well from the East Juryo 1 spot.  Not much could stop him from being the first heisei born shinnyumaku come Nagoya.  Speaking of people on the verge of rising to Makuuchi lets talk about someone on the verge of retiring with today’s first makuuchi bout.

Miyabiyama v Kimurayama.  Miyabiyama opened with a harite, and some pretty pathetic and impotent looking tsuppari ensued from both parties.  The elder slipped to the side and using barely decent foot work got the win over Kimura.  This kind of reminded me of the two “special” kids from the farm down the road fighting over a sparkler.  Miyabiyama is looking pretty crappy now-a-days and is at 1-1.  Being a former ozeki if he sinks to juryo he’ll be expected to retire.

Kaisei v Tamanoshima.  This was an interesting bout.  I had heard that Kaisei was nursing a back injury, but you would never know given his performance today.  The thrilla from Brasília (actually São Paulo) got the immediate upper hand (actually under hand position) and secured his 2nd win over a makuuchi veteran with good deashi and a yorikiri.

Gagamaru v Takamisakari.  Gaga, being the heaviest makuuchi, probably only has one strategy “move forward……… and [to a lesser extent] do my kind of sumo”.  Senor Itchy Scratchy should know this and plan by now, and accordingly.  However time after time he goes chest-to-chest with a guy who has over a 50kg advantage.  Today Robocop lucked out and he managed to pull a desperation sukuinage at the tawara, and showed Gaga the dirt, just before his own knee went down.  Long monoii confirmed the gunbai in favor of Taka.  Taka, I’m not trying to advise the use of a henka, but some quicker lateral movement might behoove you.

Tochinonada v Tokitenku.  Why is it that whenever it’s my day to report Tokitenku misses wildly with his ketaguri (called a leg sweep, but actually a kick to the shin)?  I’ve seen him connect viciously with them (most memorably making Miyabiyama crumple to the ground like Briton-Meyer after a glass of Spyritus), but I never get to write about it.  Anyway, his whiffer of a ketaguri/hikiotoshi combo should have given Nonada the perfect chance to cash in on his loss of balance, but for some reason he didn’t.  Tenku managed to spin around and finish everything off with a final push.

Wakakoyu v Toyohibiki.  Waka’s tachiai looked great, lots of power, but Beeker absorbed everything, which looked better.  Beeker rotated around the younger rikishi and won by what looked like a pulldown.

Asasekiryu v Tochinowaka.  New-comer Tochinowaka managed to move Sexy back at the tachiai and keep him off the belt but a sideways jump and a hatakikomi handed Waka-texas Ranger the loss.

Tosayutaka v Kyokutenho.  There wasn’t much to this bout.  Kyokutenho had it from the get go, forcing Tosa off balance with a good grip and ending with a quick yori-kiri.

Tamawashi v Shotenro.  Not the usual spunk from Mawashi in this bout.  There was some tsuppari I’d rather forget, and Shotenro took the win on this win via…. what else? Oshidashi.

Tochinoshin v Yoshikaze.  I was assured by the commentary that this looked liked a henka from Tochinoshin, but was not.  They were sure he moved after the impact.  I actually missed it due to my smoke needing to be re-lit.  In any event, Noshin (sporting a new color mawashi) got a strong left hand grip and took out Yoshi post haste.

Wakanosato v Okinoumi.  Casanova is still a bit green to have any significant advantage over a solid cat like Wakanosato.  Wakanosato got morozashi at the tachiai and quickly turned this one into a katasukashi win.

Takekaze v Aran.  At first glance my thoughts of Aran yesterday were: “he looks fatter, and weaker than last January.”  Boy was I wrong.  Aran busted out some serious tsuppari from the tachiai, which I’m pretty sure surprised Takekaze more than anyone.  The Moriyoshi minute-man managed to separate and go tried to go back in with a new strategy, but like the battered wife that picks up the rolling pin after the initial blow, that only made the abusive hairy Russian angrier.  A few more furious slaps and it was a hatakikomi win for Aran.  I’d like to see more of this from him.

Aminishiki v Kotoshogiku.  I don’t know what the Sneak planned, but it went out the window when the Geek plowed into him.  Sir-Sneaks-a-lot looked more dazed and surprised than the spectators whose laps he landed in.  Speaking of the audience… it didn’t look bad for a Monday.  Perhaps that free ticket idea wasn’t so bad.  But seeing as how these people wouldn’t be there if it weren’t free… I don’t really think this is going to help in the long run.

Kitataiki v Kisenosato.  Right from the get-go Kise had his left hand in the armpit of Taiki.  Kise was able to keep Taiki of the belt long enough to gabburi him out of the ring, and regain some dignity from his day 1 loss. 

Kotooshu v Tochiozan.  Oshu came in leaning too far forward and over top of Sideburns, who was able to use the lower position to spin the giant around and back over the tawara.  Ozan looked good today, and not just because of his facial hair.

Homasho v Harumafuji.  Harumafuji had the better position throughout this bout, and it started with a nice hidariyotsu with a right hand uwate kicker from the tachiai.  Haruma used the lower position and solid grip to slowly position the cigar store Indian just outside the dohyo in a position that would looked good from the road and might entice customers to come in and purchase various goods, not that Homey didn’t put up a good fight.

Baruto v Kakuryu.  this was a good fight.  Bartholomew got migiyotsu, but was struggling with defending against the Kak’s low position.  Bart got pushed back a bit, but regained and worked the Kak hard, back towards the bales, and was able to get what looked to me like a kind of scoop throw, but was called yorikiri.  Both these guys looked good today, even despite their lack of facial hair. 

Toyonoshima v Kaio.  I was hoping for proof of Valentine’s speculation yesterday, but grandpa looked solid enough today.  Whether that had to do with shitakubeya shenanigans, or just loss of focus by Toyonoshima I don’t know.  Either way, Toyo went in with his signature shoulder blast into morozashi, but gramps wouldn’t let the youngster inside, with no plan B set aside Toyo was toast, and the senior citizen took the little whipper snapper for a nice little walk across the dohyo.

Hakuho v Goeido.  In this bout Hakuho made what could be seen as only three movements.

1. Tachiai into lefthand inside grip

2. Pulled Goeido close as to whisper something in his ear

3. Slapped viciously on Goeido’s shoulder to complete a delicious looking shitatenage.

I imagine the sweet nothing Hakuho whispered into the ears of his opponent just before the final blow was something along the lines of “you got knocked the fuck out” or “this is how your mom likes it.”

I would say “it’s way to early to tell” if we all didn’t know Hakuho was going to win… but in the interest of information dispersal:  currently at 2-0 are:

Hakuho, Baruto, Kotoshogiku, Tochiozan, Tochinoshin, Wakanosato, Asasekiryu, and Kaisei.

Tomorrow Bertrum will give it to you straight up, then he’ll report on some sumo.

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