Hatsu 2022 Day Four
Isamiashi. Meisei absolutely had Shodai, until the Ozeki did his magic trick of keeping his feet right against the tawara. While making a big shove at the end, Meisei stepped out before he made Shodai fall over. Thus, the incidental step out loss.
Match of the Day
Sekiwake East Mitakeumi versus Komusubi East Meisei
Meisei was able to blow up Mitakeumi's bulldozer tachiai by knocking away the Sekiwake's hands. That then allowed Meisei to grab Mitakeumi's left arm. They spun around the dohyo, and then Mitakeumi was flipped like a pancake at the edge. Except he kept his foot planted long enough that Meisei needed more power and went sideways off the dohyo. It looked like Meisei dropped below the level of the dohyo before Mitakeumi was done to the gyoji. After a mono-ii, it was too close to call and the did it again.
And then Mitakeumi bulldozed Meisei for an easy win.
The Ozeki are probably done for in this basho. Takakeisho is absolutely done for, as he pulled out of the basho with a right ankle ligament injury. That is said to just need some rest, which an Ozeki can take with more leeway. Shodai, meanwhile, sure looked like he should have had a second loss on Day Four. He doesn't look to be his best, and will probably get rocked by anyone absolutely on their sumo.
That doesn't mean Terunofuji is absolutely in the clear for the yusho. First of all, Mitakeumi had a scare, but arguably legitimately won a desperation fight against a throw versus Meisei. Then he won for real in the torinaoshi. He could easily challenge Terunofuji from the Sekiwake spot. His usual second week slide is also from facing the best of the best, and there is only one rikishi unquestionably better. Maybe that elusive Ozeki run is finally here, with a shaky Ozeki corps and one Yokozuna.
And Terunofuji hasn't looked invincible so far. While everyone will give their best against the lone Yokozuna, Terunofuji has also had four matches where he really needed to pull something out. He is so big, strong, and skilled that he will be able to handle quite a lot, but there will be a breaking point somewhere. Terunofuji has had four hard matches, and Ura on Day Four might have been the hardest. Ura knew to stand up Terunofuji and then get him off balance. He never quite got him off balance enough, and the Yokozuna did finally awkwardly get a throw off.
Day Four was a day of throws and slapdowns, which really showed that many matches were on an edge. Hokutofuji beat Chiyoshoma with an uwatedashinage, which just seems odd from those two. Many rikishi are evenly matched and can use the other's advantage against each other. That makes Onosho and Abi getting their fourth wins with pure power standout. They were on their games against tricky opponents and remained undefeated. Those two may have something to say in the next 11 days.
But it is also 11 days, and the kyujo announcement by Takakeisho is the first big shock to the basho. If a kinboshi happens, that will be another shock. Don't expect the basho to be injury-free necessarily. Then the winners start to face each other, especially with a thinned out Sanyaku. Every day makes a difference in the yusho race, but there are too many days left to see anything get settled.