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Hatsu 2019 Day One Recap

Juryo 1 East Terutsuyoshi (1-0) beats Maegashira 16 West Daishomaru (0-1) by yorikiri

With Takanoiwa missing due to retiring for beating up a subordinate, each day will have a Juryo wrestler fighting a lower ranked Maegashira. On Day One, Terustuyoshi pulled the upset by easily shoving Daishomaru out. Maybe their ranks should have been reversed to start Hatsu.

Maegashira 15 East Chiyonokuni (1-0) beats Maegashira 16 East Daiamami (0-1) by oshidashi

Chiyonokuni has reached much higher ranks within the past year, but now he is fighting for his Makuuchi life. He brought the right intensity against Daiamami on Day One, although both appeared to be mostly flailing.

Maegashira 15 West Kotoeko (1-0) beats Maegashira 14 West Chiyoshoma (0-1) by yorikiri

Kotoeko just brought solid fundamentals to his first match, and it was more than Chiyoshoma could handle. Good news for Kotoeko, and possible signs of concern for Chiyoshoma.

Maegashira 14 East Yutakayama (1-0) beats Maegashira 13 West Kotoyuki (0-1) by oshidashi

There was some back and forth initially, but Yutakayama got the better of Kotoyuki. Both rikishi have strong technique and both looked up for Day One, so Kotoeko might be a Day One loser who can make noise from here on out.

Maegashira 13 East Yago (1-0) beats Maegashira 12 West Meisei (0-1) by yoritaoshi

Yago won his very first match as a Maegashira by dispatching Meisei. Meisei seemed to establish himself as a Makuuchi mainstay last basho, so Yago’s ability to force him to the outside and crush him out was a nice opening statement.

Maegashira 11 West Ikioi (1-0) beats Maegashira 12 East Kagayaki (0-1) by oshidashi

At the Tachiai, Kagayaki’s shoulder slammed into Ikioi’s nose, causing a serious nosebleed (and possible a broken nose, but we’ll see.) That was the highpoint of the match for Kagayaki. Ikioi pretty quickly shoved him out of the ring through the blood streaming down his face.

Maegashira 11 East Sadanoumi (1-0) beats Maegashira 10 West Abi (0-1) by oshidashi

This sure looked like it needed a mono-ii, as both men launched themselves into the air after Abi successfully danced around the edge. Gyoji said Abi was out first and it was never reconsidered. On the other hand, Abi got shoved back pretty easily and was never really in a position of strength.

Maegashira 9 West Endo (1-0) beats Maegashira 10 East Takarafuji (0-1) by tsukiotoshi

Although he was on the losing end of the tachiai, Endo recovered very well. He maneuvered Takarafuji around so that he could eventually thrust him out with one solid push to the midsection. This might also be a sign Endo is fully healthy and back to his better form.

Maegashira 8 East Kaisei (1-0) beats Maegashira 8 West Asanoyama by yorikiri

Sometimes Asanoyama looks like a future sanyaku wrestler, but this was not one of those times. Kaisei just immediately showed him to the edge of the Dohyo with no trouble. This could also be a sign Kaisei will be a handful at this spot of the banzuke.

Maegashira 7 West Daieisho (1-0) beats Maegashira 7 East Ryuden (0-1) by tsukidashi

The pusher beat the grappler in the battle of Maegashira 7s. Ryuden’s very up-and-down 2018 was mostly up when he could get a solid grip on his opponent’s mawashi. Daieisho just plain didn’t allow that to happen and pushed him out.

Maegashira 6 West Onosho (1-0) beats Maegashira 6 East Chiyotairyu (0-1) by oshidashi

Chiyotairyu won the tachiai and knocked Onosho back on his heels. Then Onosho just returned fire and completely overwhelmed Chiyotairyu, who seemed to have absolutely no plan if Onosho didn’t immediately fall down.

Maegashira 5 East Aoiyama (1-0) beats Maegashira 5 West Yoshikaze (0-1) by oshidashi

Yoshikaze never really was unable to leash his full fury on Aoiyama, who seemed fully prepared for Yoshikaze’s crazy sumo style. Aoiyama appeared on-balanced, focused, and fully healthy which bodes well for his Hatsu basho.

Maegashira 4 East Kotoshogiku (1-0) beats Maegashira 4 Okinoumi (0-1) by yorikiri

Kotoshogiku did his usual trick: hands under the armpits, body lower than his opponent, and hug ‘n’ chug to a yorikiri victory. This hasn’t worked as consistently for him of late, but if he can be on form he can be trouble.

Sekiwake 1 West Tamawashi (1-0) beats Maegashira 3 West Shohozan (0-1) by tsukiotoshi

This match saw the first false start of 2019 in Makuuchi, when Shohozan didn’t quite get both hands down. On the restart, it was all Tamawashi, who is just bigger, stronger, and meaner than even Shohozan.

Sekiwake 1 East Takakeisho (1-0) beats Maegashira 3 East Shodai (0-1) by tsukidashi

Takakeisho and Shodai seemed even after the tachiai, which is usually to Shodai’s favor. Not today. Takakeisho just unleashed his furious, rapid thrusts to knock Shodai off his game and out of the ring. Takakeisho is still a force to be reckoned with in January.

Maegashira 2 West Hokutofuji (1-0) beats Ozeki 2 West Tochinoshin (0-1) by oshidashi

This is the first real shocker of the day (but not the last) as Hokutofuji beat the Ozeki. If Tochinoshin gets a grip on anyone’s mawashi, he will be in control. Hokutofuji did an amazing job of preventing Tochinoshin from getting a grip and sent him to the edge.

Maegashira 2 East Nishikigi (1-0) beats Ozeki 1 West Goeido (0-1) by uwatenage

The second Ozeki went down in the very next match. Nishikigi didn’t exactly manhandle Goeido, but Goeido was also never in a favorable position. After battling to the edge, Nishikigi was able to rather easily throw Goeido down.

Maegashira 1 West Ichinojo (1-0) beats Ozeki 1 East Takayasu (0-1) by tsukidashi

It was an Ozeki loss trifecta on Day One. Takayasu had been battling a flu in the week before the basho and maybe that was affecting him. On the other hand, this was fully engaged and fighting Ichinojo, which is a very welcome sight.

Yokozuna 2 East Kakuryu (1-0) beats Maegashira 1 East Tochiozan (0-1) by tsukidashi

Tochiozan tried to be a wily veteran and use a stick and move sort of tachiai, but he shouldn’t have done it against the wiliest of veterans in Kakuryu. Kakuryu took no time to spin around and send him out with a push to his side.

Yokozuna 1 West Hakuho (1-0) beats Komusubi 1 East Myogiryu (0-1) by hatakikomi

Myogiryu avoided getting his mawashi grabbed by Hakuho, but all that meant was Hakuho was able to turn him around and slap him down. It was a short match, but it sure looked like Hakuho is in top shape and feeling no pain in his knees.

Komusubi 1 West Mitakeumi (0-1) beats Yokozuna 1 East Kisenosato (0-1) by oshidashi

And the musubi no ichiban produced the most notable result. There are two reasons to see this as a sign Kisenosato cannot compete at the Yokozuna level: 1) He lost. 2) Mitakeumi just shoved his hands right at Kisenosato’s damaged left pectoral muscle. It’s an obvious weakness and should be exploited repeatedly. Unless, of course, Kisenosato decides to retire.

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