Natsu Basho 2012 Senshuraku

Unless you have been dwelling under a rock for the last day or so, you probably know the results of the 2012 Natsu Basho. However, seeing as a large percent of our readership consists of rock-dwellers, I shall dutifully resist any urge to spoil the dramatic and unexpected (by all but me) conclusion to this basho.

Seeing as how I am already a day late with this report and Creswell is chomping at the bit to get his post-basho wrap up report posted, I will try my best to abstain from any commentary besides the content of the sumo for the day.

Starting where I always do in Juryo, S&S favorite (Read: Chiyomatagi favorite) Takanoyama uses an arm bar (officially tottari) to drive out kyokushuho to get the second place spot in Juryo after Tamaasuka who picked up the Yusho. We will be seeing both of these boys in Makuuchi next basho. Speaking of people who are likely to head up come Nagoya, Tahanohana-beya’s Takanoiwa kachikoshied at Makushita 1 meaning that he is in all likelihood going to become the first sekitori that the former Yokozuna has produced since he started his new stable. Even though it was already mentioned the other day, Egyptian newcomer Oosunaarashi managed to pick up the jonokuchi division title with a perfect 7-0 record. Just looking at his bouts compared to last month’s mae-zumo matches, it’s clear that he has greatly improved his technique, especially keeping his center of gravity lower, and although it may be a year or two until we see him in the highest ranks, he will surely be around for a long time.

Onto Makuuchi bouts of note:

Shotenro vs Asasekiryu
The Mongolian went straight for a cheap slap down at the tachi-ai, but shawty recovers magnificently and manages to use his muscles to push the red dragon from the ring. I think I am finally seeing why so many people have a half-chub for this guy.

Wakakoyu vs Tenkaiho
I really don’t feel sorry tenkaiho. Honestly. Not one bit. Directly after the match even Mainoumi said straight away, “It’s amazing how rikishi after rikishi can keep falling for the same dumb push-pull move from the same dumb rikishi basho after basho” (translation may be imperfect, although unlikely)

Sadanofuji vs Tochinowaka
This was more of Sadanofuji vs a lump pillow matchup than anything. I guess I should say I respect Tochinowaka for staying in the basho instead of going kyujo after his injury, but considering he has won a whopping two bouts the entire basho, it’s hard to say that he wouldn’t have been better served getting some R&R during natsu. I finally understand how Briton-meyer feels when he is cheering on Homasho; you know that the guy is capable of so much, which makes it all the more frustrating when you see him just stand up a foot from the edge of the ring and admit he has already lost.

Gagamaru vs Miyabiyama
I gotta say I am falling for Gagamaru, Mainly because he has been doing less embarrassing falling. You can tell that he has improved much of his balanace issues during this basho and today was no exception as he won the battle of the fattest with an oshidashi shove out.

Myogiryu vs Tochonoshin
Over more than a few glasses of whisky the other day, the S&S crew were reminiscing upon the days where some of us once thought that noshin was bound to be the next Ozeki. Seems hard to believe now. Myogiryu won his 9th match of the basho over a surpisingly spirited noshin, but it was clear who was the more skilled. After getting a headlock on the myogi, noshin decided to back up, whilst the dragon decided to keep going with his particular brand of forward moving ass kicking. A fantastic end to the basho for Myogiryu.

Aran vs Takekaze
You could seriously show this match to a beginner of sumo as an example of what not to do. First Aran jumps to the left in an ineffective henka attempt, then goes repeatedly (and obviously) after the pull down whilst backing up all over the ring until he steps out just as much due to his own careless footwork as it was due to takekaze’s pushing. Aran’s Oyakata needs to start whipping alan’s ass a bit more if you ask me.

Aoiyama vs Aminishiki
Straight away from the tachi-ai the much heavier aoiyama gtes a few go0d tsuppari into sneaky’s chest, and that was all it took. With today’s loss the snake goes 7-8 and is denied his outstanding performance prize that he would have picked up for his day 1 victory over the yokozuna.

Kyokutenho vs Goeido
With all the marbles at stake on this match Kyokutenho charges straight into the Osaka native before quickly getting wrapped up into a belt fight. Goeido drives the mogolian extremely close to the edge of the ring before Kyoku recovers and swings Goeido to his right to give him some of his own medicine. AT the edge here Goeido’s foot obviously slips out and brushes the sand but neither of the rikishi notice it and Goeido swings the 37 year old down to the ground. Kyokutenho gets up thinking that he lost the match, but in reality he was on his way to the championship.

Honestly after this match the pressure was gone until the final match. Never have I cared less about how the Ozeki and Yokozuna matches were going to turn out.

Kotooshu vs Tochiozan
Kotooshu pulls out of the tournament on the morning of due to injury, allowing Tochiozan a free pass to the championship match. For real. I can think of only 3 reasons why the ozeki would do this. 1. He was under orders from the JSA to withdraw to ensure that a Japanese rikishi would have a chance at the yusho for the first time in 6 years (unlikely as he is doing so bad lately that he wouldn’t have to do that much acting to lose to tochiozan.) 2. He is prepping for a future bad-guy role in professional wrestling by doing exactly the things that he knows all of the fans will hate him for. 3. He is an absolute dickhole. I can not reiterate how disrespectful it was of the Bulgarian to pull out of a match the morning of. If it had been the night before, the banzuke could have been adjusted, but as it is, the fans were robbed of a legitmate match, and if tochizan wins, then the crowd will hate him for it as he had one less actual “win” than the other guy, at no fault of his own.

Kisenosato vs Baruto
Barutp pulls out the win over Kisenosato meaning that the playoff wil be decided between Kyokutenho and Tochiozan. It also means that the conspiracy theorists who said the ENTIRE basho that the JSA was scripting it so Kise could take home the yusho are fucking idiots and shouldn’t be listened to.

Other Ozekis fight, some win some lose.

Hakuho vs Harumafuji
Although I firmly don’t believe that there was any prior collusion between these two about the outcome of the match, you would have to be lookin at the wall to not see how obviously Hakuho gave this match away. It is seriously not even worth describing how little effort the yokozuna put into this match to spare his Mongolian counterpart from going 7-8. Blegh. Onto the real last match of the day.

Kyokutenho vs Tochiozan
Boy, you could not ask for a better ending to this basho. Either way the JSA and the fans get exactly what they want. The JSA either way gets a Japanese winning storyline, or an anybody can win it storyline. The fans get legitimate passionate sumo with a compelling story behind it. The last time a makuuchi Maegashira wrestler won the yusho was when kotomitsuki won it back in 2001. This is the first time that a playoff match has been between two makuuchi Maegashira wrestlers by the way.

Both of the rikishi prepped for the match in silence, not watching the result of the kise match. When the two meet in the dohyo, it is a relatively short affair. After a brief initial charge, Kyokutenho takes a few steps back and drops ozan to the dirt. In all honesty it was more of tochi’s loss than Kyoku’s win, but who gives a shit A 37 YEAR OLD JUST WON!

Yes plenty of tears were shed by both the fans and the 37 year old kyokutenho after his win, and for good reason. As you may have read on our site before this basho began, his stable master has recently hit the retirement age and was forced to retire. Faced with taking over his master’s table or letting it collapse and continue wrestling, kyokutenho made the tough decision to stay in the ring against all odds. Although I know the former oshima-oyakata is happy for his protégé of 20 years, you know he has to be thinking to himself, “really, you couldn’t have done this one fucking basho ago?”

I really don’t see how anyone can say that this ending was scripted and that’s why I think it appealed to so many sumo fans this time around. Stay tuned for Creswell’s in depth natsu basho wrap up.

5 responses to “Natsu Basho 2012 Senshuraku

  1. great basho for the upsets and the performance of some of the maegashiras, but with the bitter aftertaste of the Kotooshu pullout & Harumafuji-Hakuho match on the last day. It’ll only make the call for Ozeki’s to post a minimum of 9 wins louder.

  2. Great basho. Appreciate your write ups. Proofread though, dude. “The last time a makuuchi wrestler won the yusho was…” every time.

  3. You never could resist correcting me, could you, mom? Hrmph.

    But for real, thanks for the catch.

  4. Your overall report is very good, Chiyomatagi, and although it’s a bit of a laugh that Kyokutenho won the yusho, it is difficult not to be touched too by a most improbably victory by someone who loves sumo enough to come to Japan as one of the first wrestlers from Mongolia (i.e., before it was easy), take Japanese citizenship (a clear indication he is going to stay with sumo for his life and eventually become an oyakata) and even turn down retirement (in what will forever be one of the best non-retirement decisions of all time).

    Regarding Kotooshu, though, I feel your remarks are unjustly harsh. I know Kotooshu is the weakest ozeki now and seems to be the one with the least heart, but I can think of two other reasons he didn’t show up on day 15. The first relates to your reason one — if he really was under pressure to throw the final match anyway, this could have been his response: you want it, take it — just don’t make me go through the motions. The second is he was actually injured enough in his day fourteen bout that he couldn’t wrestle. In any case, since his withdrawal on day 15 was related to what happened in his bout on day 14 it would have made no difference whether he withdrew that night or the following morning, as the day 15 bouts are set and announced before the day 14 matches take place and can NOT be changed after that.

    I’m sure Kotooshu is aware that this isn’t going to make him more popular with either the JSA or fans, but I doubt that matters. In any case, based on the way his bout with Toyohibiki was handled, he’s not going to be getting any breaks from the JSA regardless, but maybe we can cut him a little slack though.

  5. Regarding Kotooshu, senshuraku’s Japanese commentary led me to believe that the banzuke could have been changed had Kotooshu reported his injury on the night of the 14th. That being said, I probably should have known better than to take anything kitanofuji says with anything less than a shovelfull of salt.

    But even if he was actually injured on the second to last day and had no choice but to pull out of the tournament on the final day, I still don’t see much reason to cut the guys some slack. Unless he is physically unable to participate in the next basho, I am still of the opinion that his ass should have been out there broken bones, sprained ankles and all. Now if he would have shown up with his arm in a sling on day 15 and promptly gotten the worst loss of his life, I would have been on my feet clapping for the guy because he would have been out there putting his ass on the line not for himself, but for the sport and the fans.The reason I give oshu especially such a hard time is because he make fans think that he believes the only duties to being an ozeki are to not go kadoban.

    Yeah, the other Ozeki’s, especially the Japanese ones, probably get a little better treatment by the JSA, but so what? I am supposed to root for a guy who whines and decides not to even participate in a match because he feel its just not fair enough? He is the senior Ozeki and has the worst record of all six. He is supposed to be setting an example, not following the example of kaio and kotomitsuki before him of going 8-7/9-6 all year long with the exception of maybe one tournament. Am I being unfair to the guy? Probably a little. But, hey it’s the internet.

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