Ozekis dropping like they’re hot; the big sandstorm is more like a gentle sand-breeze; and End’oh! just can’t wrestle around a fractured ankle. The rest of the pack look like they’re being slowly mummified in stages. And at the top of the heap stand our two undefeated (?) yokozuna.
I bid ye welcome to day five of the Kyushu tournament and my reporting debut on S&S. But let’s not dwell on introductions; I’ma get right to it.
Oosunaarashi M15W (1-3) v. Gagamaru M13W (1-3)
The first meeting between Jabba the Hutt and the Egyptian newcomer begins with a matta with contact, and that won’t be the last violent “oopsie” for today. Our Lady of Gaga has gone with a change of mawashi (kinda silvery baby blue now) and with it a change of fortune. Oosunaarashi began as he has every match so far this tournament—too high. He went for the ol’ slapperoo and surrendered his belt to the larger man, who drove him back and out for an easy win by oshidashi. The Big Sneeze tried in vain to sneak his hands back towards the belt, but Gagamaru held himself close and tight. Injuries notwithstanding, Oosunaarashi’s greenness is showing. Tactically and in terms of reacting on the spur of the moment, he’s got a lot of development ahead of him.
Yoshikaze M13E (1-3) v. Fujiazuma M12W (3-1)
When these two meet, you expect a slapfest, and they did not disappoint. Yoshikaze was the first to retreat and paid for it with an oshidashi loss on the west side.
Shoutenrou M15E (4-0) v. Tamawashi M11W (2-2)
This quick bout gives me very little to say about it. The two lock horns from the get-go and show little interest in that weird colored thing wrapped around their waists. Wishy-washy is the first to retreat, and Shou10rou walks away undefeated. Oshidashi. I’m detecting a pattern today.
Masunoyama M11E (4-0) v. Tamaasuka M16W (2-2)
Tamaasuka tried to appease his opponent’s wrath by giving him a big hug. Masunoyama was having none of it. He shoved Tamaasuka back and out for a win by—wait for it—oshidashi. Puff the Magic Rikishi is having a wonderful tournament so far. Hope he can keep it up.
Joukouryuu M12E (1-3) v. Tenkaihou M8W (1-3)
This bout was all Joker, all the time. He greeted Tenkaihou with a chest slap, which slid into a left-handed mae-mawashi. Tenkaihou just held on with a right-handed grip as Joker dropped back and found a stronger position with his right hand on Ten’s backside. Moving to the center of the ring, Joker juked right and twisted left, throwing Tenkaihou like a 300lb ragdoll. Shitatenage.
Takarafuji M8E (2-2) v. Kotoyuki M10W (3-1)
What a hoot, this guy, Kotoyuki. He’s been showing some quality of late. He came out of the tachiai high up and did not relent in the slightest in his attack on poor Takarafuji’s head and neck area. Takara fell into retreat with Kotoyuki hot on his trail. One big heave thrust Takara out of the ring backwards. Kotoyuki improves to 4-1 by oh she dashi.
Kitataiki M9W (2-2) v. Endou M7W (1-3)
Endou jutted his hands out right away, grabbing for Taiki’s mawashi like a 5 year old lunging at toys at his first visit to Toys R Us. Taiki saw through it right away and swept Endou’s arms to his right and pushed him back. In the ensuing chase, Endou tumbled over the straw bales backwards, pulling his opponent down with him. He forgot he’s not Takanoyama, so the ol’ last-minute-switcharoo didn’t work. Not a close call. Oshitaoshi.
Toyohibiki M7E (2-2) v. Tokitenkuu M10E (1-3)
Tokitenkuu stands up at the tachiai, fails a sort of half-hearted henka, and steps out like a bitch. Beeker got a freebie without breaking a sweat. Shameful sumo. Oh yeah, oshidashi, too.
Aoiyama M5E (3-1) v. Chiyotairyuu M6E (4-0)
Both men tachiai’d high and exchanged blows. Aoiyama kept his cool and stepped back with a little pull, and the aggressive Chiyo had an early dinner of clay and dust. He falls to his first loss by hatakikomi.
Ikioi M6W (2-2) v. Tochinowaka M4W (1-3)
If you came to this match for belt-action, I hope you have a bit of patience. As with most of Ikioi’s fights when he decides to put his all into it, this match went long. Ikioi flew back from the powerful tachiai, stepping around Waka, who kept his mark. They locked arms, each attempting a right-hand-inside grip under the armpit, and one could hear their loud grunts of strain and frustration. Both men jostled for position in the center of the ring, with Ikioi finally managing to get his left hand under Waka. Waka started a gaburi push to the straw bales, but Ikioi managed at the last second to get his first grasp of Waka’s belt and turn that into a spinning throw over his hips and over the bales. Uwatenage, one of my favorite kimarite to say.
Houmashou M4E (2-2) v. Kaisei M5W (1-3)
Home a show never got his hands down to the clay (grumble, grumble), but it hardly matters. There were no brakes on the hairy Brazillian train. Houmashou went back, back, back, and out by oshidashi. Short match.
Takekaze M3W v. Okinoumi Komusubi-W (2-2)
Okinoumi looked strong right away with a right-handed arm bar across Take’s face, but after a quick retreat, Take turns the tables by pushing Okinoumi’s right elbow across his body and back. Okinoumi turns sideways and narrowly escapes becoming yet another oshidashi victim, but his scamper across the ring gives Takekaze the momentum he needed for a beltless sukuinage arm throw.
Shouhouzan Komusubi-E (1-3) v. Tochiouzan Sekiwake-W (1-3)
Not much to say here. A quick swim move by Ozark redirects Shouhouzan’s lunge right into the ground. Hatatatatakikomi.
Goueido Sekiwake-E (4-0) v. Aminishiki M1W (2-2)
I like to call this the patty-cake tachiai. They come together, push each other apart, come back together, repeat. Aminishiki gets his hands around Go-A-D’oh’s head and pulls him forward to his first loss by hatakikomi.
Kakuryuu Ozeki-E (2-2) v. Myougiryuu M1E (1-3)
Kakuryuu gets pushed back initially in what turns out to be a slapfight in the making. A quick dodge by Myougi sends Kakuryuu lunging forward in the follow-through to a missed slap. Kakuryuu kept his cool and responded with a swift dodge of his own. Smelling blood, Myougi stayed aggressive, turning to face Kakuryuu. His lunges hit only air, however, and he found himself suddenly standing at the straw bales, where he stepped out almost intentionally. It’s ruled a hatatikomi.
Kisenosato Ozeki-E (3-1) v. Kyokutenhou M2E (0-4)
Kyokutenhou fell back at the tachiai, and both wrestlers got a left-hand inside grip underneath each other’s armpits. Kyokutenhou got my hopes up for a second as an attempted uwatenage turns Kisenosato into a monopod. Kise recovered, however, and moves Kyoku across the ring for his favored yorikiri, the first yorikiri of the day.
Takayasu M3E (1-3) v. Harumafuji Yokozuna-W (4-0)
Haruma almost immediately got a left-hand inside grip and spun the helpless Takayasu around for a quick shitatenage. He flopped on top of the poor maegashira for what I can only assume is the sumo equivalent of a tea-bagging. Harumafuji’s looking strong, but for how long can this last?
Hakuhou Yokozuna-E (4-0) v. Toyonoshima M2W (2-2)
After a powerful impact, Hakuhou gave Toy the ol’ stiff-arm treatment like he was working the world’s heaviest bobblehead. Toy pushed straight ahead, and Hakuhou just pulled him back in for a quick hatakikomi victory to remain undefeated. Toyonoshima remained on the dohyo for a while after he fell, but we can chalk that one up to embarrassment rather than injury.
Your leaders after 5: Yokozuna Hakuhou, Yokozuna Harumafuji, Maegashira Masunoyama, and Maegashira Shoutenrou
One third of the tournament is past us. Will Harumafuji not go kinboushi-wholesale this tournament? Will Kisenosato pull a Yokozuna run out of his ass? Will Goeido pick up the pieces? Will Endou escape further injury? Tune in next time—same sumo time, same sumo channel!