Yarrr to all you pirates out there！What? You’re not a pirate? Then just what are you doing around all this sumo booty? Well, regardless of whether or not you are donning an eyepatch, join me for the final day of a tournament that might leave someone in Davy Jone’s Locker.
The only real match that any cares about today is the final match between the two undefeated Mongolians, Yokozuna Hakuho and Ozeki Harumafuji, so I will not waste too much time getting down to business and keep the bottom rank reporting short.
Stream of consciousness time!!!!!
Chiynokuni picks up the Juryo yusho with a 11-4 record and Jokoryu, the artist formerly known as Sakumayama ends with a 10-4. If Jokoryu can manage another record like that, he will likely be the fastest rikishi in history to reach the top division. Takanoyama lost to a Kaisei that was remarkably improved from the first time we saw him in the top division and we will likely see the czech in Juryo again in Aki. Chiyotairyu beats Miyabiyama and both of them go 8-7. Ikoi loses his last chance at kachikoshi to a guy from juryo, and will find himself in that division in 2 months.
M13 Masunoyama (11-4) vs M6 Shotenro (7-8)
With this hikiotoshi win, Masunoyama picks up the coveted kantosho, or fighting spirit prize. Comgrats to a guy that truly deserved it.
M14 Tochinowaka (5-9) vs M2 Okinoumi (3-11)
Wow, at ths point even the announcers have started agreeing with what we have been saying all along: “Both of these wrestelers are performing like they should be in the juryo division. I really wish Tochinowaka would do some sumo that would light a fire in him.” Sadly, there was no fire in Wakawaka today as he was yorikiried out by Mr. Handsome.
M2 Aoiyama (7-7) vs M9 Tokitenku (9-5)
After 2 false starts by Tenku, Aoiyama lumbered off the line and received a swift christening into the church of kicks-to-the-shin by the monoglian. The Bulgarian simply had more on the line and managed to oshidashi toki out with nary a problem.
M11 Tamawashi (4-10) vs M1 Aminishiki (5-9)
Tamawashi looked like he was trying give sneakshky a face massage the way his gentle tsuppari were pampering the M1’s face. Aminishiki moves to the side for a slap down win.
M1 Kyokutenho (1-13) vs M15 Hochiyama (1-13)
Kyokutenho probably wasn’t happy about getting the most applause of his entire career yesterday simply for winning one match in the entire tournament. Today he finally had an opponent of the level he has been used to and easily managed to yorikiri him opponent out of the ring. Kyoku improves(?) to 2-10 and Hochiyama buys a one way ticket to mid-lower juryo with his 1-14 record.
M10 Tamaasuka (2-12) vs K Toyonoshima (4-10)
Toyo gives his patented shoulder tackle to Tamaasuka and manages to drive him around the ring before finally spinning the M10 gracefully across the straw to a 2-13 record. Hopefully toyo-papa can do better next basho at the lower rank he is going to get demoted to with his 5-10 record.
K Myogiryu (7-7) vs M4 Takekaze (7-7)
These two are coming into the match today with their promotions on the line, and my money is on the butterball from Akita giving Mr. Ryu a swift ineffective henka before getting shoved out.
Well, almost right… After a straight forward charge from both wrestlers, Takekaze immediately backpedals for a quick hatakikomi win. Myogiryu is wise to the Akitan’s antics and manages to push out his smaller opponent before giving the dohyo a big ol’ hug. Myorigyu gets his technique prize and promotion to sekiwake, while takekaze leaves with a 7-8 Makekoshi.
M5 Takayasu (6-8) vs S Tochiozan (3-11)
Both of these wrestlers are over ranked (in this author’s not so humble opinion), but have a similar amount of skill so today’s bout shouldn’t be total trash. Takayasu interestingly this basho lost 8 in a row only to turn around and put up 6 wins.
Tochi starts out a little farther back at the start than most wrestlers do and after the charge tries a few slap attempts before eventually yorikiri-ing the half-filipino out of the ring. Yawn.
O Baruto (8-6) vs M5 Aran (9-5)
Baruto was HUNGRY. (and Alan just sucks.) Bart jumps off the line to smother Aran in tsuparri before eventually giving him a right shoulder-elbow attack off the dohyo. Both Bart and Aran go 9-6.
O Kakuryu (8-6) vs O Kotoshogiku (10-4)
Sadly the puppy-faced Ozeki got a freebie win yesterday after Goeido pulled out with an injury leaving us unable to see if he could kachikoshi this basho legitimately. We really haven’t seen Kakuryu on form this basho and I don’t see why today would be any different. A quick gabburi win from the geek is my prediction.
Well, you can’t win em all. The Kak was on form today as he repeatedly denied kotoshogiku from getting any kind of grip. After a second or two, Kakuryo managed to use his opponents constant grip attempts to get him off balance for a shitatenage win.
(Anticipating the yaocho hollerers I will say that yes, the geeku could have gotten a left hand grip from the beginning and never went for it, but if you look at his overall posture it just would have left him vulnerable to an underarm throw even sooner. Now take off your tin-foil hats and focus on bouts that are actually thrown. )
O Kisenosato (10-4) vs O Kotooshu (8-6)
So I officially apologize for reporting before the tournament about Kotooshu’s “injury” because his legs are clearly fine. The match turns into a belt fight straight from the tachi-ai, and for some reason Kise continues to try Kotoshogiku like belly bumping like he has earlier in the tournament. Once the Bulgarian Ozeki gets morizashi though, there was not much squinty-mc-squinterson could do and was easily walked out. Kise ends 10-5 and Kotooshu ends 9-6 defying all expectations.
Y Hakuho (14-0) vs O Harumafuji (14-0)
The main event. Both of these long time friends go into the match today undefeated, and after the Yokozuna’s unexpected slippery win yesterday it’s anyone guess as to what is going to happen today. Viewers of NHK today were treated to the last 5 matches between undefeated wrestlers on Senshuraku, with all of the said matches save 1 being in black and white. (Damn, wrestlers were skinnier back then. But that probably had to do with war-time food rationing though, eh?)
Much has been made of how Hakuho shouln’t have henka-ed on twitter yesterday, but to that I say haters going to hate. I am just worried about Harumafuji pulling a jump of his own today like he did a few basho back. As a side note, Harumafuji’s wife looks like a transexual from Thailand. The head-to-head between these two bad boys in 22-11 obviously in favor of the Yokozuna, however they have each won 3 matches a piece over the last 6 tournaments.
No funny business from our customers today. A fast powerful tachi-ai with an obligatory face slap by Haruma results in Hakuho with a right hand inner grip looking to get an outside left while Harumafuji got a clean migi-yotsu grip. After a few seconds break, the smaller Harumafuji managed to swing Hakuhjo around to the bales and promptly force him out for a yorikiri win. AND THE SKY RAINS PURPLE!!! This is the first time since achieving Yokozuna-hood that Hakuho has failed to take the championship two tournaments in a row. Let’s see if Haruma will make that 3 tournaments in a row and achieve Yokozuna hood come Aki.
Although I am nothing but happy for the guy I do wish he could have won the tournament without resorting to so many obviously illegal moves such as slaps that are wound up way too far, dame-oshi, pulling of hair, and grabbing the wrong parts of the mawashi. Right before his reporting ended, ex-komusubi Mainoumi made an interesting comment about how if Haruma continues his excessive use of harite (slapping) his hinkaku might get called into question for promotion to Yokozuna. There’s that word again…
Well that’s all for me folks, it was a basho worth talking about with day 14 clearly being the most interesting of the bunch. Check back in soon for our professional (sounding) Nagoya Basho Wrap-Up.