Just like the franchise it celebrates, the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary tournament series has been an exciting ride since the moment it began. Each qualifier, from well-known hearts of competition like Los Angeles and Japan to more remote locales like Brazil, has provided hours upon hours of intense tournament action as well as an interesting look at the stories being written by some of the strongest players in the world today. With the grand finals taking place in Burlingame, California this weekend, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the tournaments that preceded it and recap some of the best moments from each one. We’ll be highlighting qualifiers every day leading up to the weekend, so be sure to keep checking back for a refresher on how everything panned out.
Choice highlights will be included for each stop, but be sure to follow the links to their respective playlists for even more footage.
Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012 - EG|Ricky Ortiz (Rufus), Happy Medicine (M. Bison)
Street Fighter x Tekken - EG|Ricky Ortiz (Rufus/Chun-Li), EG|Justin Wong (Rufus/Chun-Li)
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike - EG|Justin Wong (Chun-Li)
Super Street Fighter II Turbo - Afro Legends (Balrog)
Though he ended up dropping to Ricky Ortiz of Evil Geniuses in the AE 2012 grand finals, Louisiana’s Jakob “Happy Medicine” Davis left a trail of defeated opponents in his wake on the way to a second place qualifying spot. His intimidating M. Bison play brought down talent the likes of Joshua “Wolfkrone” Philpot and Evil Geniuses’ Ari “fl0e” Weintraub over the course of the weekend, proving that his name deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as some of the best in the country.
In addition to qualifying for AE 2012, Ortiz took first in Street Fighter x Tekken over Evil Geniuses teammate Justin Wong, who in turn qualified in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. The Austin qualifier was also the first tournament in the series to see Wolfkrone eliminate Wong from competition in AE 2012, further fueling their rivalry and barring the latter from securing a spot in Burlingame’s bracket…for now.
Finally, Super Street Fighter II Turbo’s grand finals was the battle of the afros as Hung “Afro Legends” Nguyen swept Jason “Afro Cole” Cole in an old-school Balrog vs. Dhalsim match.
Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012 - BT|Dieminion (Guile), Wolfkrone (C. Viper)
Street Fighter x Tekken - ER.MCZ|Tatsu (Vega/Xiaoyu), UYG|NuckleDu (Guile/Zangief)
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike - Nica KO (Yang)
Super Street Fighter II Turbo - Damdai (O. Ryu, Dhalsim)
After being narrowly edged out by Wong in the Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike grand finals at the Austin qualifiers, Ortiz set his sights on the very next stop on the circuit for another chance at claiming his spot in Burlingame. He faced very few difficulties on the way to the grand finals, but would ultimately be upset by east coast native Lloyd “Nica KO” Peralta, who he had previously sent to the losers bracket in the winners finals. Nica retained his composure throughout the entire rematch, and reset the bracket before his eventual 3-2 victory.
The Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012 brackets were completely demolished by Brokentier’s own Kevin “Dieminion” Landon, whose stifling Guile beat out a variety of strong competitors on the way to his first place finish, including Empire Arcadia’s Sanford “Santhrax” Kelly, Aquasilk, and Wolfkrone. Wong once again met his match in Wolfkrone’s C. Viper, who would eventually go on to place second and qualify for San Francisco before his rival.
Eternal Rival’s Danny “Tatsu” Le would spend the weekend teaching everyone how Street Fighter x Tekken is supposed to be played, using a unique team of Vega and Xiaoyu to sweep everyone who was placed against him. Though Du “NuckleDu” Dang of UYG and Empire Arcadia from Florida fell to Tatsu twice, he earned his spot in the west coast grand finals by winning a close game against Afterglow Elite’s Christopher “NYChrisG” Gonzalez in the losers finals.
Those are some of the biggest stories from the first two qualifiers, and you better believe it only gets crazier from here. Feel free to follow the links above to check out the rest of the footage, and let us know in the comments what your favorite moments from these two tournaments were. Special thanks to Capcom and Haunts for the contributions they made to this article and the hard work they’ve put into making these tournaments a success.