May 2016, Day 5, Ikioi v Kakuryu

I never tire of watching wrestlers psych themselves up for a Yokozuna bout. The determination on Ikioi’s face, the confidence in his posture as he enters the ring, contrasted with the stoic calm of Yokozuna Kakuryu. Electric. The referee doesn’t like the first try at a tachiai – maybe Ikioi didn’t get his left hand down? – so they reset after apologies all around. Second tachiai, Kakuryu doesn’t fire. Apologies all around. Third try works, if a bit sloppy, and Kakuryu ends up with a solid left-hand underhand grip. Ikioi is reaching for his own left-hand grip but can’t get it, so he sets his feet and cranks on Kakuryu’s left arm and spins him around. Kakuryu ends up in a better position, belt grips with both hands, Ikioi with none. But when Kakuryu decides to end it and pushes hard towards the edge, Ikioi pulls off one of the best throws of the tournament so far with a textbook kotenage arm bar. Great upset for Ikioi, pillows come raining down, he gets his fat wad of cash, all is well.

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