I think the big news today is that former Ozeki Tochinoshin has withdrawn on day 1 of the tournament, and is not expected back. The kyujo notice sites pain or injury to his lower back. His body has been giving up on him a piece at a time for the last couple of years, and this kyujo will cost him his position in the top division. Ranked at Maegashira 13, a full 15 day absence will see him relegated to Juryo in the new year. Yutakayama picks up a default win on day one.
It’s great to have sumo back, and the action was fairly fierce on day 1. There was also good quantities of “ring rust” on display.
Kaisei defeats Shohozan – The only thing better than seeing Shohozan back in the top division would have been to see him win his opening match in his home town. But that was not be, as Kaisei kept his shoulders square, and did not let “Big Guns” disrupt his balance. It’s fun to see days where being enormous works as a fight strategy.
Sadanoumi defeats Akua – Akua opened strong, moving Sadanoumi, but then decided it was a good time to pull. Sadanoumi had this one ready, and to be fair, Akua broadcast his intent quite early, and Sadanoumi was able to push strongly into the pull and clear Akua from the ring.
Abi defeats Chiyomaru – Abi is indeed back, and he brought Abi-zumo with him, there can be no doubt. He put Chiyomaru off balance on the second step, and Chiyomaru was never really do to much more than a few volleys in return. Welcome back, Abi.
Chiyonokuni defeats Kagayaki – Firstly, Kagayaki is back in gold. This is the right call. The “Goth Mode” mawashi was not helping. But even his magic gold mawashi can’t keep you in the match when you open up your chest to Chiyonokuni. The Grumpy Bader wasted no time in plastering attacks against Kagayaki, and then to my surprise, was able to get him off cadence enough that his pull down attack worked. Ugh.
Hokutofuji defeats Ishiura – Hokutofuji got an early start, and seems to have caught Ishiura not quite ready. Points to Ishiura on giving ground and re-engaging with a left hand inside hold. But even with as much forward pressure has he could muster, Hokutofuji was not going anywhere, and he incrementally pushed forward to send Ishiura out over the west side.
Kotonowaka defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi tried a half hearted shift to the left at the tachiai, but it was not useful or effective. Kotonowaka showed similar zeal in tentatively grabbing a loose hold of Terutsuyoshi, and the two chose to immediately take a pause. As they were working to decide what to do with this match, Terutsuyoshi looks to have slipped on his massive salt toss, and hit the clay. Well, guess that is fair enough. Biggest dud match of the day.
Chiyotairyu defeats Hidenoumi – Traditional Chiyotairyu sumo, stand them up, slap them down. He used a big right hand nodowa to stand Hidenoumi up today, and it did look painful….
Aoiyama defeats Tobizaru – Aoiyama got contact first at the tachiai, and gave us a tiny bit of “V Twin” action, as he kept Tobizaru from generating any offense at all. Tobizaru was driving inside with everything he could when Aoiyama agreed, and let him move forward into a waiting okuridashi. Big Day picks up a day 1 win.
Chiyoshoma defeats Kotoeko – I have seen bouncers / security men perform this move as well. It’s the “get your ass out of my joint” throw, and Chiyoshoma executes it with great flair. Sure it was started with a henka, but it was always planned to give him side / rear holds and out set up the powerful toss that followed. Sadly a waiting Konosuke (how could you!) got a brutal teabagging and 130 kg of Kotoeko right to the head.
Ura defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi is having none of Ura’s tachiai trickery, and simply stands up as the man in pick lines up well east of the shikiri-sen. What looked like a try at a leg pick paired with a deep left hand inside grip, and then as Ura pivots, Tamawashi’s knee seems to collapse. I do hope Tamawashi is ok after that match, he got up well enough, but that was a lot of lateral pressure on that left knee.
Hoshoryu defeats Shimanoumi – Big tachiai from Hoshoryu, but his attempt at a grip ran into s Shimanoumi defense. Hoshoryu to move him back, and a deep right hand a hand hold. It was enough for him to load up a shitatenage, and send Shimanoumi tumbling to the clay for a day 1 win.
Takayasu defeats Endo – Endo’s opening frontal grab attempt goes nowhere, and he’s got to fight Takayasu power-to-power. Takayasu seems to be in good form for a change, and I liked how quiet and heavy his feet were today. This gave Endo really no chance to create much in the way of offensive power, and it was clear Takayasu was satisfied to use his inhuman endurance to wear Endo down. Endo realizes this is not a winning position, and tries pulling and tugging on an arm, and elbow, anything. After knocking down the gyoji, the two exit the ring together, and a monoii rules a rematch. There are fans who can rule it either way, and I think the shimpan made a solid call, have them fight again. The second match saw Endo a lot less engaged, seemingly stepping out rather than continue after the 3rd exchange.
Myogiryu defeats Takarafuji – Myogiryu was ahead at the tachiai, coming off the shikiri-sen first, and getting Takayasu in a position without his working hand placement. The two went strong on defense together, and spent most of the match trying to get their favored hold. It was Myogiryu who find his left hand inside first, and was able to follow with the right shortly after. With a solid hold on Takarafuji, he walked the Isegahama man out for a day 1 win.
Ichinojo defeats Okinoumi – What happened to the soft Ichinojo that gave up as soon as he got in even a little trouble? This guy is persistent, focused and relentless. Okinoumi gets captured early, and my have chosen to go chest to chest with the boulder. Well, that did not work out because now you have 200kg of pony tosser looking to toss you. Okinoumi tried a couple of sharp moves to try to turn the tide of the fight back to him, but none of them could connect. Boulder +1 today.
Takanosho defeats Meisei – Meisei attacked hard at the tachiai, and dominated Takanosho for the opening moments. Takanosho manages to break contact at the moment his hells touch the tawara. This break away left Meisei off balance, and Takanosho re-engages and quickly puts him down.
Mitakeumi defeats Onosho – Onosho hit hard, and hit first. He went chest to chest against Mitakeumi, and that was quite the bold choice. It payed off for exactly half of a heartbeat, as the original tadpole is too massive, too round, and too well balanced to allow this kind of attack to work. Mitakeumi responds with overwhelming forward pressure, and Onosho finds himself out.
Takakeisho defeats Wakatakakage – Wakatakakage seemed to have put a lot of stock into his opening combo. This was dashed when Takakeisho got both hands in at the tachiai, and went to work before Wakatakakage could set up either offense of defense. Moments after Wakatakakage’s heels touched the bales, Takakeisho reverses from push to pull, and brings Wakatakakage down.
Daieisho defeats Shodai – Daieisho’s frantic and potent thrusting attack disrupts every attempt Shodai tried to do another other than stand there and take the punishment. Even the “Wall of Daikon” can’t help him, and Shodai stumbles around the ring, and is dumped out while trying a rescue move.
Terunofuji defeats Kiribayama – Some fans are going to watch this match and think “Kiribayama really took it to the Yokozuna”. Yes, Kiribayama put up a good fight. But at no time was Terunofuji not running his match plan. The Yokozuna controls the center of the ring, and works a patient, draining defense. Once Terunofuji had that left hand inside grip, the only question was what form of doom would take Kiribayama down. Points to the challenger for keeping his feet and staying in the match, that was some solid defensive sumo. Winning move was listed as komatasukui, I list it as a “kintamadashi”.