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  • Fantasy Basho

Haru 2023 Day One




Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Notable Maneuver

Hatakikomi. Presumably, they gave Ura the slap-down win over Ichiyamamoto, because "dramatic-matador-style-ole" is not an official kimarite. Later, a more traditional and impactful hatakikomi gave Tobizaru the upset win over Takakeisho.


Match of the Day

03 Sekiwake #1 East Wakatakakage versus 10 Maegashira #1 East Tamawashi

Tamawashi began by making this his kind of match, heavy shove to Wakatakakage's throat and all. Then Wakatakakage did what he does best and absorbed the blow to turn the match around. Tamawashi never let up and returned to his signature nodowa after a short break. But Wakatakakage managed to push the aged veteran back enough to look like he had an easy victory. Somehow, someway, Tamawashi deflected Wakatakakage's final shove at the end for a tsukiotoshi win.


Recap

The Sanyaku matches for Day One unfolded in a shocking, yet weirdly linear, manner. Komusubi Daieisho, Kotonowaka, and Wakamotoharu all won against Maegashira as they should. Daieisho shoved out Nishikigi. Kotonowaka bottled up and muscled up Mitakeumi. Wakamotoharu kept his focus on Ryuden for a simple yorikiri. The first Sekiwake to fight was Kiribayama, and he kept up the pattern by manhandling Abi. Then the top three rikishi on the Banzuke were upset by lower ranked wrestlers.

Takakeisho's loss is the headliner here, as he should be going for another yusho and a Yokozuna run. Losing to Tobizaru by getting hit slightly sideways does not bode well for those hopes. He should be dominating Tobizaru and indeed pretty much everyone else if he wants to be elevated to Yokozuna. He could easily rebound over the next two weeks, because Takakeisho did look like himself by hitting a series of hard shoves. The problem is that Takakeisho's sumo looks the same even when he's at 75%.

Hoshoryu's loss did not see him look at full strength. Hoshoryu injured his ankle in January, and although he only missed one day, he was clearly injured through the end of the basho. Thankfully, he wasn't limping, but the way Hoshoryu got rocked backwards after the tachiai by Shodai might indicate the strength isn't fully back in his legs. Wakatakakage looked good against Tamawashi in his loss at the very least. A loss is still a loss and a Day One loss will always feel bigger.

The trio of losses by top-ranked rikishi might give an early opening to the highest-ranked man who did win. Kiribayama is coming off a jun-yusho, plus he is entering his prime. He also fought Abi in his style of a match and won convincingly by shoving Abi backwards. His grab of Abi's arms to prevent his competitor from falling off the dohyo shows how locked in Kiribayama is. Most importantly, he's already got a one win advantage on Takakeisho, Wakatakakage, and Hoshoryu. That matters.

Of course, Day One overreactions are dangerous in every basho. Kiribayama isn't destined for a zensho yusho, and Takakeisho could recover for a yusho. There were also other momentous moments on Day One, including the first Maegashira victories for Hokuseiho and Kinbozan. We also saw former Ozeki Asanoyama make his Makuuchi return after suspension and demotion, although he was only here as a Juryo visitor. Those are fun notes compared to the significant upsets that ended Day One.
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