November 2017, Day 5, Shodai v Arawashi

Arawashi gets a hold on Shodai’s left arm right after the tachiai, and he keeps working on that grip until it gives him the victory. A couple of kotenage (armlock throw) attempts throughout the bout must give Shodai an inkling of Arawashi’s plan, but he’s helpless to prevent the final massive throw when Arawashi uses both arms to apply crushing pressure to his upper arm. Arawashi’s doing well at 4-1.

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November 2017, Day 3, Tochinoshin v Arawashi

Arawashi cruises to his third straight victory with a determined sukuinage (beltless arm throw) against Tochinoshin. Right off the tachiai the long-armed Georgian gets a deep left-handed overarm belt grip, and Arawashi immediately reacts with a strong underarm belt throw on that same side. Arawashi also has a hold of Tochinoshin’s right arm, which helps twist the taller wrestler towards the ground. But Tochinoshin is pretty flexible and won’t go over easily, not as long as he can defend with that overarm grip. His feet are still planted and he’s leaning hard on Arawashi, who loses the underarm belt grip. But Arawashi doesn’t give up, executing a nice leg sweep to break Tochinoshin’s base while continuing the pressure with that last bit of his wrist that’s still under Tochinoshin’s arm. The effort pays off with a pretty throw and a perfect record.

September 2017, Day 14, Arawashi v Yoshikaze

This one takes a while to get going, but doesn’t disappoint once the action begins. Several false starts interrupt the pace of the initial charge, so on the third try when they both get their hands down, it seems like neither Arawashi nor Yoshikaze are really ready. But the ref lets it go, and boy do they go. Both men pivot on one foot and crash out of the ring, each trying to pull the other to the ground an instant earlier than himself. The ref calls it for Arawashi, but the ring judges want to talk it over and decide that the wrestlers touched down simultaneously, so we get a re-do. This time the bout starts without a hitch, but Arawashi’s charge is much stronger and he knocks Yoshikaze back a step. Yoshikaze charges in without looking up and falls into a headlock, failing to move his feet forward when Arawashi pulls him down to the dirt. Arawashi finishes the day at 9-5, Yoshikaze at 8-6.

September 2017, Day 12, Asanoyama v Arawashi

Arawashi (M9) is the highest-ranked wrestler Asanoyama has ever faced, and he is not ready for the amount of energy his senpai brings to the bout. Arawashi shows a mix of grappling, throws, and mobility that highlights the difference in skill level and strength between the two men. It’s the left-handed overarm grip that does most of the damage, and Asanoyama seems perplexed that a smaller wrestler is slinging him around the ring so easily. Still, Asanoyama has had a great first tournament so far, and both men finish the day at 8-4.

September 2017, Day 10, Yutakayama v Arawashi

Arawashi’s making a habit out of dramatic ring exits. Kudos to him for pushing through to the very end, making sure the opponent leaves first. I don’t envy the photographers seated ringside who end up having to catch the falling giants, but Ishiura’s there to make sure things don’t get too out of hand. Arawashi moves to 7-3, Yutakayama falls to 4-6.

September 2017, Day 7, Chiyonokuni v Arawashi

Fantastic, furious bout between these guys. Both in constant motion with a mix of thrusts, belt grips, arm reversals, throw attempts, leg maneuvers, and excellent defense. Could have gone either way at any time, but in the end Arawashi gets both arms deep around Chiyonokuni’s midsection and lifts him off the ground. Befitting a match with this much energy, the finale has both wrestlers crashing into the crowd as Arawashi takes Chiyonokuni over the edge for the yorikiri (force out) win.

September 2017, Day 3, Arawashi v Takarafuji

Arawashi beats Takarafuji for the first time in five meetings with a nice tottari (arm bar throw). When Takarafuji reaches under with his left arm, Arawashi circles around and twists hard, jumping out of the way at the last second. The pressure on his shoulder and elbow is enough to drop Takarafuji to the clay.