One of Smash’s most well-known organizations has renewed its contracts with its entire lineup.
Panda Global has re-signed contracts with two of Super Smash Bros. Melee’s best players—Justin “Plup” McGrath and Robert “Wobbles” Wright—as well as three top Super Smash Bros. for Wii U players—Eric “ESAM” Lew, Jestise “MVD” Negron, and Shane “SS” Bruce. The contracts will last throughout Evo, the biggest fighting games tournament on the planet.
The team will also continue to work with Smash for Wii U tournament organizer and team manager Bassem “Bear” Dahdouh, the lead organizer for Genesis 3’s Smash for Wii U tournament, which was one of the biggest in the game’s history.
“Smash is our first esports title and one close to our hearts,” Panda Global CEO Alan “SamuraiPanda” Bunney MD told the Daily Dot. “We’ve created a group of people that’s less like a team, and more like a family. We couldn’t imagine what Panda Global would be like without them.”
For Melee, Panda Global houses one of the best up-and-comers over the last few years: McGrath. His phenomenal results throughout 2015, including top eight finishes at Evo, Community Effort Orlando (CEO), and DreamHack Winter, landed him at seventh in popular Smash content site Melee It on Me’s 2015 ranking.
His teammate, Wright, ended up at 32 on the same ranking since returning to the competitive scene after signing with Panda Global last summer. Wright became a legend for his play on Ice Climbers, discovering a technical, infinite chain grab which fans have since named “wobbling” in his honor.
As for Panda Global’s Smash for Wii U crew, the star is Lew. He’s been a top player, placing top ten at Evo, CEO, Big House 5, and PAX Arena. Alongside Counter Logic Gaming’s Tyrell “Nakat” Coleman, Lew is one of the best Pikachu players in the world in that game.
Negron is also a top player in that game, taking fifth at CEO last summer. But he hasn’t placed consistently in the top 13 like Lew at major events. Regardless, he’s always among the top 40 players at every tournament he attends.
The organization’s final Smash for Wii U player Bruce took ninth at EVO last year, but has been absent from competing consistently in tournaments. However, he placed 33 at Big House 5 and 65 at Genesis 3, remaining a top 100 player within the game.
The team will now look to a large pool of major events over the summer for both Melee and Wii U. That circuit ramps up significantly in May, beginning with the Melee event at DreamHack Austin. Meanwhile, June’s CEO will start a string of major events for Wii U.