Haru 2022 Day Two
Yoritaoshi. It's important to remember that the "frontal crush out" is very different than a simple yorikiri. Specifically, it involves grabbing an opponent and sending them out by falling on them. And that's what Kotoeko did to Terutsuyoshi.
Match of the Day
Yokozuna East Terunofuji versus Maegashira #1 East Daieisho
Get a kinboshi, earn Match of the Day accolades. But Daieisho absolutely got the best of the Yokozuna as well. It wasn't so much that Terunofuji couldn't handle a pushing battle, as Daieisho disrupted Terunofuji's attempts to land a grip. More impressively, Daieisho exploited the openings that he could find, and ended up sideways to Terunofuji. Then he shoved harder to win with an okuridashi, or "rear push out."
After just two matches, only 10 rikishi sit at 2-0 and only 10 rikishi sat at 0-2. Most of the competitors are even, and even individual matches feel like they have an element of chaos. Nishikigi awkwardly bottled up Tochinoshin. Chiyonokuni made Kotoshoho run around the whole dohyo before landing face first. Kotoeko sent Terutsuyoshi onto the shimpan. Ishiura outmuscled Hokutofuji. Those aren't necessarily obvious predictions beforehand.
The real chaos has been in the Sanyaku ranks. The two men in the named ranks who are undefeated right now, shin-Ozeki Mitakeumi and shin-Sekiwake Wakatakakage. The other top ranked men have looked very different. Terunofuji may just have a bad matchup with Daieisho, as this was Daieisho's second kinboshi against him. Shodai is clearly getting overwhelmed because he has no power to absorb his opponent's best shot, his best ability on the dohyo. The effects of COVID will make keeping his Ozeki rank near impossible this basho. Takakeisho looks like he isn't 100%, but his goal should be staying healthy and eking out 8 wins.
Abi and Takanosho fought like men who had a Day One blip with their second matches. Abi quickly and simply imposed his offense on Tamawashi, looking like he has the last two tournaments. Takanosho brought back his efficient and effective sumo against Shodai, although Shodai might not be a good barometer for anyone right now. Don't be surprised if either starts racking up wins over the next few days.
But maybe also don't read two much into two days. Take Hoshoryu. He got manhandled by the manhandler-in-chief on Day One in losing to Terunofuji. On Day Two, he was out of sorts and still had a fighting chance against Kiribayama. If he focuses from Day Three on and keeps his feet better, he could still make noise. Or he could be like many shin-Komusubi and have a disastrous basho thanks to a rough start. Taking the opposite end, Nishikigi might not be able to keep winning by doing his specific loop-both-arms-around-the-other-guy's-arms brand of sumo. Someone might just deflect him from doing that, and it might be everyone else he faces.
The rikishi who have looked the best so far are Mitakeumi, Wakatakakage, and Kotonowaka. MItakeumi not only won both matches, but fought his style of close pushing to win both matches. Wakatakakage seems animated and engaged as a Sekiwake to make him more dangerous than ever. Kotonowaka is continuing his fundamentally sound and defensively impressive sumo from January. Of course, that could all change on Day Three, because it is just two matches after all.