Haru 2022 Day Three
Oshidashi. Eight of the 21 matches in Makuuchi on Day Three ended with the simple frontal push out, while two other matches ended with oshitaoshi, the frontal push down. It was a shoving kind of day.
Match of the Day
Yokozuna East Terunofuji versus Maegashira #1 West Ura
Terunofuji absolutely dominated this match. Ura tried to do something creative, but Terunofuji didn't let him do much. Terunofuji fairly simply walked Ura out over the tawara. Then the gyoji pointed to Ura. After a Mono-ii, it was shown that Ura did manage to hang on for awhile as Terunofuji stepped past him, but his heel just hit outside before Terunofuji's foot went down outside. Not the most thrilling sumo, and Ura didn't get the kinboshi, but if the decision was upheld the consequences would have been massive.
MItakeumi beating Daieisho on Day Three may end up being a weirdly important match overall for this basho. Mitakeumi easily won and looked to be on his best form. What made it matter is that it was his third straight win, while the other Ozeki lost again. He also beat the man who toppled the Yokozuna on Day Two, getting a key victory. That was a nice win to keep him tied atop the leaderboard, which usually doesn't happen this early.
There are six undefeated rikishi, and that's all. Wakatakakage is the only other Sanyaku man on three wins, which is supposed to be par for the course. Kotonowaka and Takayasu are both looking good, but one of them will lose on Day Four since they face each other. Yutakayama and Nishikigi don't get the gauntlet against each other on Day Four, but are very much surprisingly 3-0. Even the list of leaders isn't that solid.
The status of the Ozeki is worth considering. Mitakeumi cannot drop his rank after being newly promoted, and he is winning. Shodai and Takakeisho are both kadoban, and they need 8 wins to be Ozeki in May. Neither looks like they can do it. Shodai is completely powerless to stop an opponent's offense, usually his best ability on the dohyo. He is still suffering from long-term COVID effects, and it's worth asking if he can win any match. Takakeisho looks slightly better (everyone does), but he got dominated by Ichinojo on Day Two and flipped around by Hoshoryu on Day Three. Those are both good rikishi, but it's worth pointing out that Takakeisho needs to win these matches to get near 8 wins.
There's another question about the state of the Ozeki corps in May if Mitakeumi keeps winning. A yusho would mean back-to-back yusho, which is the basic criteria for a Yokozuna. Of course, it's usually done as an Ozeki both times. The Yokozuna Deliberation Council is free to do what they want, and that usually means caution. But Mitakeumi winning another Emperor's Cup puts him on notice for a rope run. There's also the question of what happens with Abi if he gets another 10 win or more performance. That's Ozeki standard, even if he only made it to Sekiwake in this tournament.
Those are usually topics of conversation for Days 12 or 13. Every rikishi has 12 more matches, and lots of different outcomes are still in play. The topsy-turvy element of the first three days means big picture conversations are floating up early. Those questions won't go away, but they will probably be joined by other questions soon enough.