Hatsu 2021 Day One
Match of the Day
Ozeki 1 East Takakeisho vs Komusubi 1 West Mitakeumi
It was a Takakeisho style match, as Mitakeumi joined the Yokozuna hopeful in unleashing Tsuppari. That just meant a slap fest, but also a prolonged match. The first would seem to favor Takakeisho. The second actually did help Mitakeumi get the win.
Onosho over Takayasu
Daieisho over Asanoyama
Mitakeumi over Takakeisho
No odd kimarite stand out, although Okinoumi's uwatedashinage over Endo was more of a "grab the belt to direct a guy out" rather than a true "pulling underarm throw." Also, while Onosho blasted Takayasu, the matched ended because Takayasu slipped.
The Hatsu 2021 basho was always going to be a bit odd, as it's best case scenario was a full changing of the guard from two regularly absent Yokozuna to new Yokozuna Takakeisho. Or at least Shodai, Asanoyama, and Terunofuji would keep Takakeisho very honest, with some young guns providing similar dynamics lower down the Banzuke. Then the COVID spike hit Tokyo and sumo stables in particular, and we have a very limited basho in many ways.
Yet even just taking into account the on-dohyo activities, this was a weird day one. Two Ozeki lost in a non-Yokozuna tournament, including the guy who could be promoted to Yokozuna. Asanoyama and especially Takakeisho are not done for after one loss. It's still better to be Shodai or Terunofuji, who won easily against strong competitors.
Elsewhere, the usual Day One ring rust was evident. Something more notable was that the evident disparity in training will keep affecting wrestlers. Some rikishi are just jumping off better at the tachiai. There were also a few who seemed to be forcing their favorite maneuvers on a match in an uncomfortable way.
The threat of more positive tests will continue to hang over Hatsu. Sumo is still taking place, though, and after one day it's clearly going to be odd on the dohyo.