Nagoya 2022 Day Three
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Uwatenage. There were three matches, Midorifuji vs Chiyoshoma, Meisei vs Kotoeko, and Terunofuji vs Takanosho, that ended with the overarm throw. And all were appropriately dramatic.
Match of the Day
Maegashira #13 West Chiyoshoma versus Maegashira #11 West Midorifuji
These two usually avoid the lengthy matches, because they are both at their best by moving around the dohyo and unleashing some surprising maneuver. Here, they got in a very tight grip very early. Midorifuji had a deep right hand grip, but Chiyoshoma neutered that with a better position for leverage. Then they began moving. And moving. And moving. They sort of stalemated, except they didn't stay still. Midorifuji went for his katasukashi a few times. Chiyoshoma went for some throws. Midorifuji even began some desperate trips. Finally, Midorifuji found the opening to launch an uwatenage.
The meat grinder at the top of the Banzuke keeps going, and it's wrecking the leaderboard after just three days. The first undefeated rikishi is Ichinojo at Maegashira #2 West. Immediately following him, Tamawashi is also at 3-0. Terunofuji and Takakeisho have both won two straight after opening day losses, but they are not fighting like they'll steamroll all comers. And the Yokozuna and top Ozeki could be considered favorites at this point.
Terunofuji did not dominate Takanosho, but did win. He was pushed to the edge, and the Yokozuna needed a very powerful throw to topple the Maegashira. Of course, that's part of what makes Terunofuji so good. He can turn a match with a throw. Takakeisho, meanwhile, looked a little more like his old self in beating Kotonowaka. He didn't have a mighty shove, but he used clever tsuppari to nullify his opponents' best sumo. Once Kotonowaka had his left hand blocked, Takakeisho was in control.
Meanwhile, Shodai and Mitakeumi look shaky enough that a lone Ozeki looks extremely possible for Aki. Shodai keeps getting overwhelmed, finally holding his ground against Kiribayama but then getting turned around. Mitakeumi has no ability to keep his feet steady this basho, and he got chased by Abi for a wild loss. Wakatakakage did get his first win, but he'll now need to win out if he wants to become an Ozeki. The shakeup at the top of the banzuke may be coming sooner rather than later.
For Nagoya, the fact that upper Maegashira have been handing Sanyaku some losses early likely just means the upper Maegashira will beat upper Maegashira when they collide. Sanyaku wrestlers are going to have tough contests while that happens. If that is the case, then watch out for streaks as soon as the middle weekend. A solid three or four wins in a row could be what separates rikishi in the yusho race. Don't expect anyone to run away with this one.
Ichinojo will get Takakeisho on Day Four, and he'll need to face the Yokozuna sooner rather than later. Tamawashi is still avoiding Sanyaku men with a clash against overmatched Sadanoumi. Tamawashi will start seeing some Sanyaku matches in a few days. They likely won't stay undefeated. If they are hitting Day Eight with an unblemished record, they'll turn into the true favorites. That makes the rest of week one more important than usual.