January 2018, Day 12, Takakeisho v Kotoshogiku

Another make-koshi earned by a high-ranked wrestler today, as Takakeisho falls to former Ozeki Kotoshogiku. It’s a great performance by ‘Giku, who hangs in at the edge of the ring before fighting back hard to retake position in the center. He grabs Takakeisho’s head in this exchange, and it looks like he gets a handle on Takakeisho’s top knot. But since it appears to be inadvertent, and he lets go quickly, and it doesn’t in fact improve his position, the judges don’t call the foul. Bumping Takakeisho back to the straw bales, Kotoshogiku reaches down and grabs the back of Takakeisho’s thigh to sweep his leg out from underneath him and win by watashikomi (thigh grabbing push down). Takakeisho gets up tugging on his hair, a less-than-subtle appeal to the judges, which is about as much complaining as you’re going to get in sumo.


September 2017, Day 14, Takanoiwa v Goeido

It’s all in Goeido’s hands, if he wins out then he wins the title. And after losing the last two days in a row, you have to wonder where his head’s at. It seems like he got it back together, surviving Takanoiwa’s repeated attempts to pull him down (which is how he lost yesterday and the day before). Excellent footwork, not leaning too far forward, rotating nicely to keep Takanoiwa in front of him, and finishing with one of my favorite techniques: watashikomi (thigh grabbing push down). Now at 11-3, Ozeki Goeido will clinch the championship if he beats Yokozuna Harumafuji tomorrow. A loss to Harumafuji will result in a one-match playoff for the title.

May 2017, Day 13, Chiyoshoma v Yoshikaze

Yoshikaze takes Chiyoshoma for a tour of the audience, introducing him to the fans in the cheap seats after a watashikomi (thigh grabbing push down) sends them both sprawling. Just kidding, those seats are really expensive.

May 2017, Day 4, Onosho v Yutakayama

The first time Onosho and Yutakayama met, in the playoffs for the Makushita division tournament, Yutakayama won the bout and the championship. He won their next three meetings in the Juryo division as well, so Onosho really wants to get one back in their first head-to-head bout in the top Makuuchi division. The match is fantastic, with Yutakayama switching between left and right arm bar throws and Onosho doing well to stay upright. When Yutakayama clamps his hands together around Onosho’s right arm and tries to twist him down, Onosho pushes hard with his right shoulder and gets a hand on the back of Yutakayama’s right leg, dropping the larger wrestler hard onto his back. Onosho improves to 3-1 for the tournament with the watashikomi (thigh-grabbing push down) victory.

March 2017, Day 2, Yoshikaze v Endo

‘Lil Hulk is back! Yoshikaze apparently didn’t like the results of his red mawashi, so he’s gone back to the green belt that gave him his nickname. Although he lost on Day 1 yesterday, today he completely dominates Endo, getting his left arm high across Endo’s chest while grabbing at the back of Endo’s thigh with his right hand. Endo soon finds himself greeting the fans in the second row. Yoshikaze picks up his first win of the tournament by watashikomi (thigh grabbing push down).

November 2016, Day 15, Kotoshogiku v Shohozan

Kotoshogiku finishes in Kyushu with a 5-10 record, but his Ozeki rank will protect him from demotion for one tournament, putting him in kadoban (probation) status for the second time in three tournaments. He wins on Day 15 in Kyushu against Shohozan after a few trips around the dohyo, finally getting a hand on the back of Shohozan’s leg and tripping him up for the watashikomi (thigh-grabbing push down) victory.