Virgil Valentine’s Summer Basho Top Ten

Wait for it…and bam!!!  Virgil Valentine’s Natsu Basho 2012 Top Ten…

 

 

1. YE Hakuho 10-5 (1)
2. OE Kisenosato 11-4 (5)
3. OW Kotoshogiku 10-5 (6)
4. OW Baruto 9-6 (4)
5. M4E Tochiozan 12-3 (unranked)
6. M2E Myogiryu 9-6 (7)
7. OW Kakuryu 8-7 (2)
8. SW Goeido 8-7 (unranked)
9. OE Kotooshu 8-7 (10)
10. OE Harumafuji 8-7 (3)

Make no mistake about it, Hakuho was the best rikishi out there.  Lying about an injury and purposefully pulling himself out of the yusho race was a disgrace.  When he won, it was classic Hakuho, and when he lost it reeked of fish.  Sorry, but even if he tries to suck, he was the best rikishi out there this basho.

Kisenosato, Kotoshogiku, and Baruto were obvious 2, 3, and 4 based on their records.  While I agree there was a plan to orchestrate a Kissy-like figure to yusho this basho, for the most part he was responsible for his own wins and losses.

Tochiozan was in that silly yusho championship bout, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t a paraplegic Tochiozan lookalike, given the way he fought.

Myogiryu kicked some ass and got a well earned 9-6.  If there’s one Japanese rikishi not afraid to fight for the championship, this is the one.  Kakuryu had a disappointing 8-7 in his Ozeki debut.  We’re supposed to forgive an Ozeki in his debut if it’s not on par with an expected performance, but dropping from an 13-2 in March to an 8-7 in May is disgraceful.  Goeido also finished with 8-7, but took three Ozeki down with him (I won’t mention his fishy win to Hakuho).  Kotooshu and Harumafuji’s 8-7s were shameful, but in rare form Haruma’s disgraceful showing was worse than Kotooshu’s, particularly on Senshuraku.  Kotooshu was out with a legit injury after getting manhandled by Kyokutenho on Day 14 and Haruma played paddy-cake with Hakuho and with a 7-7—”supplies, supplies” (as they say in Japanese), won!

Good: no one
Kyokutenho won this basho because no one did good.  Kyokutenho did what he always does for the last twenty years; took it day by day.  While everyone above him tore each other down, he slipped ahead at the last minute.  I’ve called Kyokutenho a barometer because of the consistency in his sumo, and this basho the pressure was off the charts low.  In the end, I couldn’t get enough of his awe-shucks, excessively modest attitude, and if anyone deserved a yusho for congeniality, he’s the man.

Bad: those who orchestrate a Japanese rikishi yusho
I couldn’t detect that anyone besides Hakuho was doing his darnest to orchestrate a Japanese rikishi to yusho, but even if you were just praying to Buddha for a Japanese rikishi to yusho, you got what you wished for in a very ironic way.  Check Masaru Ota’s..I mean Kyokutenho’s passport to see what I mean.

Ugly: Hakuho
Even if some pure Yamato-blooded boy raised on sticky rice and whale meat did hoist the Emperor’s Cup, you’re not going to see some popularity boom in sumo.  Japan is not what it was in the Chiyonofuji era, or the Hanada Brothers era.  Look at the youth of the country to see why.  Sure on one end you can say soccer, baseball, and basketball rein in popularity, but even that’s not true (I’ve been to soccer, baseball, and basketball games in this country).  What reins are smart phones, video games, and crappy J-pop.  The only thing that can save sumo, or any sport for that matter, is to compete with modern gadgets and cute girls in maid costumes.  The best thing they can do is have every rikishi fight his hardest for the prize.  The level of entertainment in any sport increases tremendously simply by having hard-fought competition.  Hakuho, who is one of the smoothest, coolest, sharpest men to don the horizontal rope is disgracing his country, this country, his heya, and the sport as a whole with this funny business.  Best way to win the fans is to put your heart into it, and keep it there.

If you’re expecting a grand revival in sumo popularity once that Japanese-born rikishi wins the yusho, you got another thing coming.  More of the same, friend.  Meet the new boss…same as the old boss.

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