Virgil Valentine’s Nagoya Basho Top 10

The banzuke has constraints to it in terms of accurately ranking best-to-worst performing rikishi.  Makekoshi is automatic demotion; kachikoshi is automatic promotion.  Ozeki don’t easily fall out of their rank, and sub-ozeki don’t easily join the rank.  Being a fan of college football as well as sumo, I’ve decided to start ranking rikishi based upon their performances and strength-of-schedule after each basho.  Below is the Virgil Valentine Nagoya Basho Top 10 Plus.


1. OW Harumafuji (14-1)

2. YE Hakuho (12-3)

3. OE Baruto (11-4)

4. SE Kotoshogiku (11-4)

5. SW Kisenosato (10-5)

6. SW Kakuryu (10-5)

7. OW Kotooshu (9-6)

8. M2W Toyonoshima (9-6)

9. M4E Okinoumi (8-7)

10. M1W Yoshikaze (7-8)


Harumafuji proved he is the top rikishi of July 2011.  Easy.  Ranks 2 through 6 should make sense to anyone.  Kotooshu did not perform better than any of the top six.  Toyonoshima and Okinoumi were the only rikishi to give some trouble to guys in the sanyaku.  Yoshikaze might have makekoshi-ed, but look at his schedule and who he lost to (seven of his eight losses are to men ranked higher than him on my list).  Notably absent is Homasho, who we all (except Briton-Meyer) know would double-digit makekoshi if he was in joi.  Also no room for Takekaze, Wakanosato, or Aran who kk-ed, but with poor sumo and slightly out of reach from the joi meat grinder.


The Good:


OW Harumafuji (14-1) I don’t have to assign anyone to the “Good” in every basho, but Haruma earned it.  I saw Ama; I saw Asa; I even saw flickers of the old Chiyonofuji.  He brought back the spirit, and that’s why he won.  He’s an exciting rikishi, who is old school when it comes to hard work and training…and it’s paying off.  I look forward to September.  Hard to say now he’s yokozuna-material, but if he performs in September like he did from Day 1 to Day 14 in July, there’s no denying he’s got what it takes.


The Bad:


KE Goeido (5-10) Another basho where this “next Japanese hopeful” proved he can’t handle joi.  Bring something to the table, buddy.  Anything.


The Ugly:


OE Kaio (3-8-4) Bow out gracefully, my harry ass!  More like bow out with an ego.  Rob the great Chiyonofuji of the great wins record, and leave sumo right after because truthfully, without the buddy-system you’d kill yourself out there.  Like Michael Jackson, you left us well too late to save your legacy.  I will remember Kaio for this.

3 responses to “Virgil Valentine’s Nagoya Basho Top 10

  1. I like the Top 10 ranking idea! And I think this might have been the first basho in a while where all the Ozeki are actually there. However, I would still lobby for Takekaze over Yoshikaze – not on the strength of opponents faced, but on strength of opponents beaten.

    And regarding Kaio – I really, really wish he would have retired once he had TIED the record. That would have been the last chance for him to earn respect from me. I mean, then he could be “Noble Kaio who was content to share a record with a great,” instead of “Greedy Kaio who stayed to too long to steal a better man’s thunder.”

  2. Valentine – just to set the record straight, I agree with you that Homasho can’t handle joi now. I think he will be able to handle joi in the future. By this time next year, we will see a stronger, better, and possibly bionic Homasho. I predict (hope) that by this time next year Homasho will have kked with a schedule that pits him against the big guys. There I said it. And I will be happy to make it interesting if you would care to (except the bionic part – Takamisakari… hell, I would bet on bionics with him anyday, but with Homasho… well there is no telling). I win, the next stogies we smoke together are on you. You win, the next stogies we smoke together are on me. You game?

    Nice post, by the way.

  3. Pingback: Kotoshogiku Watch: The Crux and The Pocket | Sumo & Stogies

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