January 2017, Day 15, Shohozan v Ishiura

I wish I had the time, bandwith, and resources to put up more of the pre-bout ritual stuff. To me, it adds so much to the match itself when you can watch the two wrestlers go back and forth, facing off, staring each other down, going back for more salt and a rubdown, getting themselves either calmed down or pumped up depending on their personality. The tension builds over three or four minutes, culminating in one of the great moments in sports – the tachiai, or initial charge. The referee gives a loud “Matta nashi!” (No false starts!), and he tells them to put their hands down, “Te wo tsuite!” And now they have to launch together, no starting gun or signal to set them off. Either Shohozan jumps early or Ishiura waits too long, one or the other, but the ref calls them back to do it right. And this time their timing is aligned. Ishiura ducks low and to his left, going for a leg and causing Shohozan to miss with his head slap. But Shohozan turns quickly and uses an arm bar to stand up Ishiura before shoving him hard at the edge of the ring, sending him literally flying into the air and down to the ground below. Ishiura is slow to get up, with ring judge and former Ozeki Chiyotaikai showing concern, but it looks like he’s ok. Both men finish with losing records.

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