Picture a bunch of giant teletubbies who apparently no longer love each other very much wrestling it out one-on-one for supremacy and you more or less have the gist of the Sumo Slam, a night of raucous hilarity that rocked Raglan Town Hall last weekend.
Representatives of local clubs, businesses and schools, along with bodyboarders and surfers, donned foam chip stuffed suits to prevent them ending up in ‘Laa-Laa’ land as they pitted their strength and tactics against each other in short bouts which inevitably ended with both opponents falling helplessly roly-poly style to the floor.
The spirited audience of about 100 at the novel Raglan Area School fundraiser cheered, laughed and occasionally booed as Raglan’s sumo heavyweights sorted out who would continue on toward the finals and who had to say, er, bye-bye.
The men’s final came down to a bout between Paulie ‘The Backbone Fixer’ and Carlos ‘The Froggie’, with Paulie winning 3-0.
But then it was realised that Justin the ‘Peacemaker’ had been left out of the semis. He came in stomach swinging and dominated 3-0 to claim the title.
Meanwhile Hinemoa ‘Money Maker’ Rossi – a human jumping bean – took out the women’s title 3-1 after downing Gabriel ‘Sensei’ Williams in a spectacular tumble.
Some fancy footwork triumphed at times over sheer bulk, as was the case with young Fabian fighting for Germany.
And in an early round, Raglan Area School teacher Dave ‘Poppadom Crusher’ O’Loughlin convincingly owned Joseph ‘the Poppadom’ Rau to the delight of a fired-up crowd.
Behind the scenes, team technicians expertly stripped contestants of their sumo suits and outfitted others in five minutes flat.
On the floor, referee Glen Rangitonga ensured all was above board with opponents inside the ring maintaining the polite bowing ritual of the true Japanese sumo wrestler before each fight.
Profits from the fundraiser will go towards building a new poetry/drama deck off the recently relocated English department rooms.
More cash will be needed and there’ll be old grudges to settle so Sumo Slam 2 will be on the cards for later in the year, head of department Dave O’Loughlin assured the Chronicle.
His advice? “Watch a bit of sumo on YouTube, eat your 10,000 calories and sleep well to be in top form.”
Thanks must go to our sponsors: Raglan Barber, Raglan Butchery, 4 Square, Herbal Dispensary, Raglan Community Board, The Shack, Raglan Roast, Raglan Pharmacy, Harbour View Hotel, Raglan Bakery, Raglan Club, YOT Club and Cornerstone Roots.