Last year at the Fukuoka Basho, there was only one Sumotori stepping out from behind the curtain for the first time. The same is true this November, with one Sekitori debut and the others returning to the paid ranks after relative short absences.
Bushuuyama (Ms2 4-3 Musashigawa-beya) from Daito Bunka University is the sole debut this tournament. It appears joining Musashigawa-beya out of university was a natural occurrence for him, while doing sumo at Daito Bunka, his team worked out at Musashigawa. Bushuuyama made his debut in sumo from Makushita Tsukedashi (Ms15) at the Hatsu Basho in 1999. He was eligible for this by placing in the top 16 in the 1998 All Japan Sumo Championships.
Bushuuyama got injuried in 2000. His injuries helped pull him down to the Jonidan rank. The story goes that after last year's tourney in Fukuoka, at that point his third consecutive make-koshi, he called his mother to tell her he could not reach Juryo. She asked to stay in sumo for one more year. This year he has had five kachi-koshi in a row. Mom does know best!
Having started from Makushita Tsekedashi and falling to Jonidan, gives Bushuuyama the dubious honor of fifth slowest wrestler to reach Juryo from his sumo debut, taking 29 tourneys to get to the paid ranks. Musashigawa Oyakata is blessed with his 8th Sekitori. It seems perhaps a new stable powerhouse is emerging, maybe striving to reach infamous Futagoyama-beya proportions.
Takanotsuru (Ms1 6-1 Naruto-beya) will be disappointing his stable mates when he returns to Juryo. He is well known in his stable for the best chako, which as a Sekitori, he will no longer be required to make. Takanotsuru is the other Sumo 'Elvis', sporting those big sideburns, just like his buddy Maegashira Toki. His visit behind the curtain was only for the Nagyo Basho, a one Basho visit.
Nakao (Ms1 5-2 Matsugane-beya) also made a one Basho visit to Makushita, returning to the paid ranks as fast as possible.
Stepping back behind the curtain there are two wrestlers that had made their Sekitori debut at this year's Aki Basho but could only manage 5 wins each, one veteran foreigner "elevator" wrestler, and one wrestler who is in way, changing places with his stablemate.
Wakakosho (J11 1-14 Matsugane-beya) crashes back into the Makushita division, trading places with Nakao. After well over a year in Juryo, Wakakosho can be expected back in front of the curtain in the first half of 2004. Sentoryu (J11 4-11 Tomozuna-beya) drops down to the 3rd division for Kyushu. He may face a tougher struggle to return, seeing that he turns 35-years-old next year, he may not heal as fast as he used to. Asofuji (J12 5-10 Ajigawa-beya) and Tochifudo (J13 5-10 Kasugano-beya) made a one Basho visits to the paid ranks. Asofuji took nine years to reach the Sekitori and now leaves his brother, Aminishiki, in the paid ranks. With all the effort and patience he has demonstrated, surely he make a quick return to Juryo.