Yusuke Momochi stopped the streaking Bruce “Gamerbee” Hsiang as Evo wrapped another memorable year. Even with its controversial finish, Evo’s Street Fighter grand final was merely the cherry atop a final bracket with no shortage of intrigue.
In the grand final, crowd favorite and Street Fighter veteran Hsiang reset the championship bracket, winning the first set three-games-to-one with his hyper aggressive Adon. Momochi, bedeviled by Hsiang’s assault, switched to Evil Ryu in the second set in order to counter Adon’s diving kicks. But Hsiang adapted, leaving the pair deadlocked until the deciding match.
Much to the audience’s dismay, it was in this climactic moment that Momochi’s fightstick failed. The game paused abruptly, handing the Capcom Cup champion a default round loss as the crowd frantically searched for a replacement.
Unfortunately for Hsiang, the debacle did little to stall Momochi’s momentum.
Still, the loss took nothing away from Hsiang’s run in the game’s second most prestigious tournament. The Taiwanese player toppled Du “NuckleDu” Dang, Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi, Naoki “Nemo” Nemoto, and Seonwoo “Infiltration” Lee en route to a grand final berth.
Hsiang’s clash with Lee provided some of the tournament’s most captivating action. Despite his reputation playing Akuma and Decapre, Lee opted for the less popular Chun-Li in the loser’s bracket final matchup with Hsiang. Despite the pick, Lee struggled against Hsiang’s Elena before a highly unconventional switch to Juri nearly swung the match in Lee’s favor. Remarkably, the pair of fighters represents only a fraction of the characters brandished by Lee on his way to a third-place finish.
Still, few assembled could deny the significance of Momochi’s win. After months of disappointing displays since his Capcom Cup victory, the Japanese stalwart once again holds the title of world champion at a critical point in the Street Fighter season.
Image by Efren Salinas