- Fantasy Basho
Aki 2021 Day Fourteen
Kakenage. Terutsuyoshi had the most splendid leg grab on a day full of leg-based maneuvers with his hooking inner thigh throw. That hook is performed with the leg, and it was wildly impressive.
Match of the Day
Ozeki 1 West Takakeisho versus Yokozuna West Terunofuji
Takakeisho has at times looked like he was less than 100% this basho, while Terunofuji has been marching toward the yusho. Yet the Ozeki put up a significant challenge to the Yokozuna, fighting off the repeated belt grabs. Eventually, after being spun around the dohyo, Terunofuji won with a mighty uwatenage that threw Takakeisho down.
For the yusho race, Day FIfteen is simple. If Terunofuji beats Shodai, the Yokozuna gets the Emperor's Cup. Similarly, if Myogiryu loses to Meisei, Terunofuji wins the yusho before mounting the dohyo. If they both win, we get a playoff. There are no other possibilities for the championship.
Elsewhere, plenty can happen on Day Fifteen. Nine wrestlers sit on 7 wins, with a winning record in the balance depending on Day Fifteen's out come. There are three 7-7 versus 7-7 matches on the final day, Tochinoshin vs Takarafuji, Aoiyama versus Kotoeko, and Shimanoumi versus Takanosho. Mark those for your viewing, and also the matchup between 7-7 Meisei and yusho contender Myogiryu.
That last match has serious implications for the shape of Sanyaku in November. Takayasu will fall out after withdrawing, leaving at least one spot. (Asanoyama's Sekiwake spot is a technicality, and his suspension means he will tumble out without anyone needing to replace him.) The two Yokozuna and two Ozeki are staying where they are, and Mitakeumi's 8 wins guarantee he is staying at Sekiwake. Meisei will also stay if he gets a win on senshuraku, while a loss places him in a Komusubi slot. Ichinojo has 8 wins at Komusubi West, and he might need to beat Daieisho to jump to Sekiwake even if Meisei falls.
So who will join them? Takanosho is at 7-7 at Maegashira 1, so a win slides him up. Daieisho will get 10 wins by beating Ichinojo, making him a candidate. Meanwhile, Kiribayama and Wakatakakage could get 9 wins at Maegashira 2 and 3 respectively. At the bottom of the Banzuke, three demotions to Juryo seem clear. Tokushoryu, Chiyonoo, and Ichiyamamoto are all at 4-10 in very low positions. Kaisei and Tsurugisho are at 5-10, with matchups with Juryo wrestlers in what could possibly be exchange matches.
A playoff is the best chance at excitement on Senshuraku, but something seems to matter in most matches. Few rikishi will have an easy ride for their fifteenth match, while most everyone will want to take their chance. If Myogiryu, with help from Shodai, forces the extra match, then it will all be capped off beautifully.