It is a little over halfway through the Nagoya Basho 2019, and it seems that the ozeki are cursed! Takakeisho (0-0-8), Tochinoshin (0-6-2), and Goeido (3-5) are firmly too injured to compete, and it seems that Takayasu (7-1) may need to also withdraw. On the other hand, the yokozuna are flying high. Both Kakuryu (8-0) and Hakuho (8-0) are undefeated. The only one within a stone’s throw is Mitakeumi (aside from Takayasu), who has a 6-2 record.
As for juryo, I have been keeping my eye on Ryuko (4-4), Ichiyamamoto (5-3), Kizakiumi (4-4), and Kotonowaka (3-5). These are the four first-timers to the division, and I see a bright future for all four of them. While Ichiyamamoto has the best record, I think Ryuko and Kizakiumi have shown a lot of skill. Once they develop even further, they should fit right into the makushita division. Kotonowaka may surprise everyone, too.
Musashikuni (1-3) and Wakaichirō (2-3) both have disappointing records in the basho so far, but for very different reasons. Musashikuni’s record is disappointing due to lackluster performances and subsequently withdrawing from the basho. Wakaichirō’s record is disappointing because he has come so close to winning in his losses, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. I could easily see him with a 4-1 record if things turned out his way.
Below I include write-ups or gifs of their matches, depending on whether I could find the video. As always, contact me at NorthAmericanSumo@Gmail.com if you have any questions or comments!
Musashikuni Match 1 – Opponent: Asakishin Katsutada
The tachiai between Musashikuni and Asakishin was a stalemate, and then Asakishin just kept thrusting for the victory. Musashikuni didn’t get much offense in at all. Not much else to say about this match, which put Musashikuni’s record at 0-1.
Musashikuni Match 2 – Opponent: Kaizen Takumi
Musashikuni looked like he was playing with a kid out there. I think he had three different chances to win. Instead, he played it safe and won on the fourth chance. This match put his record at 1-1.
Musashikuni Match 3 – Opponent: Oginosho Kenta
I try not to say anything negative about any rikishi, but Musashikuni did not seem to have his mind in the match. . .at all. He had a very slow start, and he allowed himself to be pushed out very easily. After a performance like that, you have to question whether he was too injured to compete whatsoever. His record was then 1-2.
Musashikuni Match 4 – Opponent: Mitozakura Shigetaka
Musashikuni lost this match by forfeit, as it seems that he has withdrawn from the basho. He must have been more injured than it seemed. His record is now 1-3, and he will likely end the basho with a 1-6 record. Ouch!
Musashikuni will drop quite a few ranks for the next basho. Nevertheless, this will put him in the perfect spot to get the yusho and return to makushita.
Wakaichirō Match 1 – Opponent: Kotootomo Shunpei
Wakaichirō Match 2 – Opponent: Kamitani Genki
Wakaichirō Match 3 – Opponent: Hamadayama Takashi
Wakaichirō Match 4 – Opponent: Narumi Satoshi
Wakaichirō Match 5 – Opponent: Azumasho Go
Wakaichirō’s fifth match just happened, so I do not have a video of it yet. In the match, Wakaichirō was unable to move Azumasho with his thrusting attack, so he tried to get close. Unfortunately, this allowed the larger rikishi to get a firm grip and carry Wakaichirō off the dohyo for the loss.
Wakaichirō’s overall record is currently 2-3. As mentioned, I could really see several of these matches going either way. So, let’s hope that Wakaichirō’s luck turns around and he gets the kachi-koshi!