I skimmed an article dedicated to the troubles of the top line of the banzuke. If Shodai can't get his shit together and gets relegated a situation can occur which has no previous example in the history of sumo. It is mandatory to have at least two ozekis, to preserve the balance of the banzuke (if I understood right), when there is only one, the yokozuna can serve as a step-in ozeki. - Now Teru is out with his injury, surgery, and recovery, so no yokozuna. - Takakeisho seems to be solid, and have little danger him losing the title, so he is one ozeki - Shodai performance is questionable, he gets kadoban so many times, has the risk of losing his ozeki rank, that it seems its just a matter of time he won't be able to course correct - Mitakeumi lost the title, relatively quick after he gained it, and while he held it he wasn't that good. It is unlikely he will get better. To become ozeki, one needs to rack up some serious winning balance, 30+ points, but at least 33 is preferred. That's 11-4 balances in three consecutive tournaments. Minimum. The following rikishis do not have this shiny performance, although they aren't bad. - Wakatakakage pulled a 12-3 in March, and 11-4 in September, but the two other tournament in between was just 9-6 and 8-7. - Hoshoryu just breaking the balance: 8-7, 8-7, 9-6, 8-7 are the his most recent results. One rank below there is: - Tamawashi, who is getting old, he won the yusho last time with 13-2, which is very good. But before 5-8-2 (had to sit out 2 matches), 9-6, and 7-8 (going backwards in time) - Kiribayama has some potential: 10-5 and 10-5 in March and May, but 8-7 in July, and 9-6 in September. Seems like Hoshoryu to me. And below these blokes, just no. Ryuden has impressive numbers: 13-2, 9-6, 12-3, 11-4... but with the exception of very last basho, he gained the rest of the victories in juryo. If he could maintain this form then sure, but that 9-6 isn't promising, and as he climbs in the ranks he has to face the top wrestlers. And I don't think he is that good.