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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ishiura borrows a tactic from Yokozuna Harumafuji, meeting Arawashi head-on while skootching his hips around to the side. This lets him get a hand on the back of Arawashi’s belt, ushering his opponent easily out the other side of the ring.