“Are you sure it’s already May? Mid-May? We don’t have, like, another six weeks to go before the tournament starts?”Andy
Not only is it already May but we’ve just closed the books on the first Act of Natsu 2021. Fans are back in the building and Kaiju is tearing through the top of the banzuke. Will Wakatakakage be able to put some dirt on Terunofuji? Will “the other” Ozeki be able to stay on pace?
Enho defeated Akua (1-4): Frankly, I was hoping this would be a scratch but Enho showed up with that wrapped up right elbow. Enho actually picked up his first win with a solid game plan…keep Akua off the belt and look for a quick pull. He struck Akua with a solid tachiai and immediately grabbed Akua’s arm and nearly pulled it off right there. Akua never adjusted his sumo so Enho kept up the strategy. Akua kept seeking a belt grip and Enho kept him at arm’s length and pulled on whatever he could. He got the win but may have tweaked his right ankle. Eventually, Akua reached too far seeking that belt with his right hand so Enho dipped to the side and shoved with his right arm. Tsukiotoshi.
Ishiura (3-2) defeated Chiyotairyu (3-2): Ishiura jumped early. On the second attempt, Ishiura shifted to his left but Chiyotairyu got him head on where they settled into a grapple. What? Chiyotairyu in a grapple? Something’s wrong. Ishiura realized this was not With a quick shift, Ishiura got in behind Chiyotairyu and bulldozed Chiyotairyu out from behind. Okuridashi
Daiamami (3-2) defeated Chiyomaru (3-2): Daiamami pursued Chiyomaru, shoving strongly while maru danced around the tawara. Chiyomaru slipped to the side and Daiamami fell on his belly to end the bout…shikashi!! A mono-ii determined that Chiyomaru’s foot had gone out earlier. Oshidashi.
Kaisei (3-2) defeated Akiseyama (1-4): Big Boi Belt Battle. Akiseyama secured a morozashi and tried to drive forward but Kaisei had a solid left-hand belt grip and with his right he twisted and thrust Akiseyama down. Tsukiotoshi.
Kotoeko (3-2) defeated Okinoumi (3-2): Okinoumi and Kotoeko tussled to start the match, neither going for a belt grip, opting for an oshi bout. A few slaps in but Okinoumi did not get much of an attack going here. Kotoeko thrust with the right arm and sent Okinoumi over the edge. Oshidashi.
Tamawashi (4-1) defeated Chiyoshoma (2-3): Chiyoshoma wanted a belt grip with his left but Tamawashi clamped down with the arm-breaker; Chiyoshoma relented and backed away. Tamawashi pursued with aggressive tsuppari and Chiyoshoma stepped out before he was able to launch any counter attack. Oshidashi.
Kotonowaka (3-2) defeated Shimanoumi (2-3): Kotonowaka was looking to reach over Shimanoumi for the left-hand grip but an opportunity presented itself as Shimanoumi was pitched very far forward. Kotonowaka pushed down with the right while shifting to his left. Hikiotoshi.
Endo (4-1) defeated Terutsuyoshi (1-4): Terutsuyoshi’s shifty HNH tachiai was well snuffed out by Endo. He then chased Terutsuyoshi around the dohyo while Terutsuyoshi tried to come up with a Plan B. However, Endo caught up and pushed Terutsuyoshi out. Oshidashi.
Kagayaki (2-3) defeated Tsurugisho (1-4): Straight-forward sumo from Kagayaki. He drove forward into Tsurugisho and while Tsurugisho was comfortably sliding to the edge, Kagayaki put on the brakes and pushed him to the ground. Hikiotoshi
Hidenoumi (4-1) defeated Takarafuji (2-3): In the first great grapple of the day, Hidenoumi dragged Uncle Takara all the way across the ring for the win…falling out and over Hoshoryu. Hikiotoshi
Onosho (4-1) defeated Tochinoshin (1-4): Onosho made quick work of Tochinoshin. As Tochinoshin drove forward, Onosho stepped to the side and watched Tochinoshin roll by. Hikiotoshi (Is this thing stuck?).
Hoshoryu (2-3) defeated Ichinojo (3-2): Hoshoryu with some big man sumo here. On paper, when I see Hoshoryu in a belt battle with Ichinojo, I’m thinking Ichinojo’s got the edge. But Hoshoryu withstood Ichinojo’s solid throw attempt. He maintained his balance despite the pressure on his head, pushed forward and guided Ichinojo out. Yorikiri.
Myogiryu (1-4) defeated Hokutofuji (0-5): What a mess. First, both guys thought it was a matta so their tachiai was more of a cuddle. Seriously. The two Nitaidai graduates got up and hugged like they were fraternity brothers at a reunion. “Oh, shoot, we’re supposed to fight?” All that was missing were a couple of beers. When reality hit that it was a legit tachiai, Hokutofuji pressed forward into Myogiryu and Hokutofuji fell forward while apparently driving Myogiryu out. But on review you can see Myogiryu’s throw, forcing Hokutofuji down while his foot was still on the playing surface. Kotenage.
Mitakeumi (4-1) defeated Takanosho (3-2): Great power sumo from Mitakeumi. After a solid tachiai, he drove forward into Takanosho, forcing him back to the edge. Takanosho was too high to mount any kind of defense on the tawara and was pushed out. Oshidashi.
Takayasu (4-1) defeated Daieisho (2-2): Takayasu is looking strong. He drove forward, powering through Daieisho’s tsuppari and forcing him back. At the tawara he then threw Daieisho off to the side. Tsukiotoshi.
Terunofuji (5-0) defeated Wakatakakage (3-2): Wakatakakage’s power could barely budge Kaiju. He hit once at the tachiai, Terunofuji felt nothing. He backed up and engaged again. Terunofuji rocked over onto one leg but maintained his balance. By now, Kaiju has woken. Terunofuji went on the offensive and reached out for Wakatakakage’s belt and forced him out into the crowd. Yorikiri.
Shodai (4-1) defeated Meisei (2-3): Shodai resisted Meisei’s attack with good, power sumo. He forced Meisei to the edge and over. Yoritaoshi.
Takakeisho (4-1) defeated Kiribayama (1-4): There was not much of Takakeisho’s patented wave action here. As Kiribayama launched inside to get a grip, Takakeisho slapped him down. Hatakikomi.
Asanoyama (3-2) defeated Tobizaru (1-4): Uwatenage? Oh, this one might live on in replay land. Asanoyama clearly throws Tobizaru. But while falling, Tobizaru grabs Asanoyama’s legs and Asanoyama falls backward. The question is, does Tobizaru land first? Or was he already dead? Can a dead body (zombie rikishi) launch an attack? I’m eager to see closer replays and possibly more angles because during the live-action, it seemed like Tobizaru landed, planking on Asanoyama and not on dirt.