Natsu 2022 Day Five
Public League Leaderboard
Maegashira #11 East Aoiyama
Maegashira #15 West Ichiyamamoto
Yokozuna East Terunofuji
Komusubi West Daieisho
Maegashira #3 West Tamawashi
Maegashira #5 West Tobizaru
Maegashira #6 West Wakamotoharu
Maegashira #12 West Sadanoumi
Okuridashi. It felt like nearly every match was ending with the rear push out. A remarkable four matches officially had that kimarite, and plenty of Day Five's matches had someone getting sideways or backwards and shoved hard.
Match of the Day
Maegashira #6 East Ura versus Maegashira #6 West Wakamotoharu
The two Maegashira #6's collided at the tachiai and immediately locked up in a way that didn't seem to advantage either man. Wakamotoharu had the better grip, but Ura had the leverage by going low as usual. This sent the match around the dohyo, with Ura needing to fight from the edge a few times. Eventually, he had to try the utchari and throw Wakamotoharu over sideways. The gunbai was pointed to Ura, but a mono-ii was called and replay made it look like their limbs went down outside the dohyo in coordination. Torinaoshi.
On the redo, it was all Wakamotoharu, as Ura got too cute. Wakamotoharu knew Ura would go low, blocked that effort, and took control. Ura tried an up and under, but it only resulted in him being pushed hard enough in the back to fly into the crowd.
After five days of sumo, just two rikishi are undefeated. And they sit at Maegashira #11 East and Maegashira #15 West. That is certainly surprising. What's more is that one of Aoiyama or Ichiyamamoto will notch their first loss on Day Six. They face each other. So after tomorrow's sumo there will be a sole leader who is the only rikishi to win six straight, and he is guaranteed to be a lower Maegashira.
The crop of rikishi sitting one loss back is nearly as surprising. Terunofuji has bounced back from an opening day loss to win four straight and look more like a Yokozuna. His loss was to Daieisho, who is the only other Sanyaku wrestler in the group. That is surprising for a Komusubi West, who usually gets hammered by a tough early schedule. Otherwise, Tamawashi, Tobizaru, Wakamotoharu, and Sadanoumi were not exactly pre-tournament favorites. They are all solid rikishi, but didn't seem likely to be on any Yusho Arasoi pre-Natsu.
Day Five was another one of surprises. Kotonowaka went from being the strongest looking riksihi to being easily overwhelmed by a previously out-of-form Takanosho. Hoshoryu slipped to the side of Wakatakakage for a simple, if ugly, okuridashi win. Tamawashi beat Mitakeumi by doing what Mitakeumi so often does to win. He got inside, pushed back, and used a grip to enforce a victory. Being Tamawashi, he actually finished with a hard shove that sent Mitakeumi flying. Things just went inside out from expectations.
Shodai's loss may actually have been expected, although he also grabbed his knee after being backed out by Endo. Similarly, although Takakeisho won, seeing him struggle to put away Onosho was disappointingly predictable. Neither man is on his best form, and Mitakeumi's uneven basho means that expectations for the Ozeki have changed. No one is theoretically out of the yusho at this point, but Shodai and Mitakeumi need a turnaround and some key losses. Takakeisho isn't fighting like he would threaten taking the Emperor's Cup this time. The Sekiwake are also not competing at the highest level through five days.
That would make it a matchup between the Yokozuna and whoever steps up from elsewhere. That can still take shape, especially as the 9 rikishi on 2 losses now are in shouting distance. Tamawashi could also upset Terunofuji for a third straight basho on Day Six. Whatever happens, the guarantee is still there that only one rikishi will be leading the Natsu tournament after six matches. Congrats to whoever wins the Aoiyama-Ichiyamamoto matchup.