The 9 most iconic moments in fighting game championships
fighting games are directly linked to the foundation of e-sports as we know it today, and hardly a great event passes without incredible happenings. After all, we are talking about hundreds or even thousands of matches that take place until the best eight in each modality are defined.
Conventions like EVO and CEO have already served as the stage for incredible twists, exciting endings and rivalries that continue to fuel the thirst for competition among enthusiasts of the genre to this day. In that sense, the voxel brings, in the following lines, nine of the most iconic moments of fighting games for you to know. Check out:
EVO Moment #37
The biggest event in the history of competitive fighting games, and also one of the best known in the world of eSports, could not be missing from this list. Daigo Umehara (Ken) and Justin Wong (Chun-Li) starred in one of the moments that, for many, was responsible for rekindle interest in fighting games still at the time of Street Fighter 3rd Strike, at EVO 2004.
In the video, Daigo, one touch away from losing the set even if he defended, manages to completely parry Justin Wong’s Chun-Li special in an absurdly risky move, but that was his only alternative. The Japanese had to press forward at just the right moment on each of the fifteen kicks, leaving his guard completely exposed. Not only did he manage to avoid defeat, he applied a punishment that marked in the history of competitive games.
Why are you getting up?
Not only are triumphs made of the most iconic moments in fighting games. During the 2015 EVO, in the Guilty Gear XRD SIGN championship semifinals, Woshige stole attention by getting up early in a set against Ogawa, thinking that he had already won the fight. When he realized he had one more round, it was already too late: Ogawa had no mercy on his Zato and sent his distracted opponent to the losers’ bracket.
The icing on the cake is that Ogawa gets up to celebrate in a similar way, but with the certainty that he had won the best-of-three series. The lesson is: make sure the fight is really over before celebrating.
In the first year of the Dragon Ball FighterZ competitive scene, during the CEO 2018, GO1 and Leffen, known as one of the best players in Super Smash Bros. Melee from Europe, starred in one of the most memorable series in the history of the game.
The Japanese player, with only his Bardock left, managed to withstand the pressure of his opponent for an exhausting two minutes and one touch from being sent to the losers’ bracket. It is as if he has literally awakened the Ultra Instinct, as he has demonstrated a impeccable defense and even evasions that drove the narrators and audience wild. For being a fast game and full of possibilities, It is very difficult to defend in Dragon Ball FighterZ — which makes the sequel even more impressive.
the unstoppable beast
In the final year of the Ultra Street Fighter IV competitive cycle, Momochi and Daigo Umehara (look at him again) made a memorable Grand Final at Stunfest 2015 in France. At the time, Daigo played with Evil Ryu and came in the losers bracket, so he had to win two “best of five” series to become champion.
To take down his opponent for the losers bracket, Daigo only needed one entry to leave Momochi in a guessing situation. After getting a stun, Daigo applied a high performance combo, with multiple single-frame windows (i.e. 1/60th of a second) between blows. Were 25 hits that sounded like music and put the players on equal footing in the table.
American hero and his Titan
For a long time, Alex Valle was arguably the best Street Fighter player in the United States since the 1990s, and one of his 2015 EVO matches reinforces that the past doesn’t let you lie. The American faced the Japanese bonchanwho was the best Sagat player in the world in Street Fighter IV, but with one caveat: he chose Hugo, that had serious disadvantages against the character.
Subverting all expectations and matchup tables, Alex Valle was a real wall on the screen. He didn’t give Bonchan any space thanks to his accurate readings—and he didn’t even need to use command grabs, which are Hugo’s specialty.
Tekken is a series known for its comic characters that appear among the most iconic fighters such as Jin, Kazuya, Heihachi, among others. One of these unusual characters is Panda, which was considered the weakest of Tekken 7. However, Korean Rangchu literally beat the biggest competitors in Tekken history playing Panda, for the losers bracket, and won the world title in Tekken World Tour of 2018.
In the end, at the time of the awards, not even director Katsuhiro Harada believed in the result and was very surprised. “Panda?! Seriously… [Risos]? Congratulations, you showed us very good matches.”
The return of the champion
the american Justin Wong dominated the competitive landscape of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 for over a decade, but history hadn’t repeated itself with the release of Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 in 2011, which brought names like Flocker, Filipino Champ and ChrisG at the top.
The 2014 EVO, however, was quite symbolic for his career: it was when Justin Wong not only defeated all these names in a row, but was the undefeated champion of the tournament. The emotion was so great that the American’s legs simply fell asleep and he threw himself on the ground, according to the live broadcast. To cover it up, he started rolling around as part of the celebration.
the japanese GO1 and the american SonicFox marked the Dragon Ball FighterZ scene with one of the biggest rivalries in competitive gaming in the first year of Bandai Namco’s title. It all started with small exchanges of teasing and banter in weekly tournaments, each on one side of the world, and ended with them meeting in virtually every final of major world events.
For a long time, SonicFox was the dominant force and even won the 2018 EVO, the first of Dragon Ball FighterZ, on top of GO1. However, in 2019, the Japanese managed to seek his revenge and went undefeated in the most prestigious championship. He didn’t hold back his emotions and broke down in tears, and SonicFox was very happy for his rival’s conquest. The result was one of the most beautiful moments in the history of fighting games.
“Fighting games are… something so amazing”
punk is arguably one of the biggest names in Street Fighter V since he was 18 years old, and is considered a new generation prodigy. Although he is considered a controversial figure for his attitudes and comments, the American took down several of the biggest names in Street Fighter in his career, including Momochi, Haitani, Daigo Umehara, Luffy, Justin Wong, among others.
However, in 2017, Punk’s track record failed to tokido, who had always been among the biggest players, but had never secured a Street Fighter EVO world title until that point. It was practically a second place curse. The Japanese came from the losers’ bracket with a thirst for victory, and not only managed to reset the table but also scored a 3-0 in the last series of the Grand Final. Tokido’s words during the awards were marked in the hearts of all fans: “Fighting games are… Something so incredible”, exclaimed the player.
It’s practically impossible to mention all the amazing moments that fighting games provide, but the ones above sure are. are some of those that arouse the interest of new players in the genre and keep the community excited every day.
With new games like Street Fighter 6, Project L (Riot Games), Fatal Fury and Tekken 8 on the way, there’s no doubt that incredible new developments are on the horizon. And for you, what are your favorites?