I hate to take away from Oonoki’s heroics since he and Gaara did stop a meteor (the first one anyway), but part of me wondered why the Earth elemental users didn’t simply scramble to get everyone underground instead. If there’s nowhere left to run above ground, going below the Earth’s crust and letting it absorb the impact seems like a pretty good out. They probably didn’t need to rely on the Earth elemental users either, as every ninja could’ve dug their own hole with their technique of choice to take refuge. It worked well in Toriko anyway, to save everyone from getting squished by a gigantic beast.
The end result with a bruised and batted Oonoki amidst a handful of survivors made it look like they were waving the death flag for the old Tsuchikage. Even if he doesn’t get killed, it looks like he’s ready to overexert himself to the point where he’ll die from using up all his chakra. The unknown variable at the moment is Tsunade, who may arrive just in the nick of time for a Kage substitution. There’s Naruto as well, but unless the Nine-Tails is going to keep feeding him chakra just to repel Madara’s attacks, I’d say it’s more likely for someone else to step in and take the spotlight next chapter. (B maybe…?) Either way, it’s getting to the point that a retreat seems to be in order, as I can’t really see Madara getting defeated here. He’s shocked the world with his revival and raised a lot of questions on who the other Madara is, which is a pretty good staging point for the next arc of the story where we learn more about his plan that the fake Madara is likely in on.
As for Madara checking his body for something and revealing that he obtained Hashirama’s powers, it kind of reaffirms my suspicion that the mixing of the Senju and Uchiha bloodlines is key to unlocking the powers of Rikudou Sennin. At the very least, it supports the idea that Harashima’s DNA led to the awakening of his Rinnegan. According to Kabuto, Madara didn’t die in that fight, so that could mean he survived long enough for his Sharingan to evolve. Madara also mentioned that he died not too long after awakening his “new” ability, which I assume is in reference to his Rinnegan that’s been only revealed after his death. So far, everything seems to fit this theory so I’m sticking to it for now.