Victor “Punk” Woodley is quickly becoming one of the most talked-about fighting game players in the world. For those that wonder why, look no further than his performance last weekend.
Punk capped off his massive weekend with his first-ever Capcom Pro Tour victory at West Coast Warzone on Sunday night. The Philadelphia native earned the Street Fighter V tournament title the hard way, winning 13 do-or-die sets in the losers’ bracket after suffering an early upset.
Punk’s victory came on the heels of his strong performance at the ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational, where he won his group on Friday and became the first player to earn a shot at the event’s $150,000 grand prize. Shortly after ELEAGUE play ended, he traveled over 2,000 miles to from Atlanta to Orange, California to take part in West Coast Warzone.
Things in California did not go nearly as smoothly as they did in Atlanta.
The man who calls himself “The Alpha” was on the wrong end of one of the tournament’s biggest upsets when he fell to local hero Ted “No Respect” Sarmiento early during pool play on Saturday. Punk, perhaps reading too much into his opponent’s name, opted to use his secondary character, Nash, instead of his typical Karin pick. The choice backfired, and No Respect sent both himself and the California crowd into a frenzy after his victory.
Punk, however, had the last laugh. He cruised through the losers’ side of the bracket in his pool and defeated No Respect in a rematch to make the last 32 of the tournament. Once there, he won eight do-or-die sets to reach the finals. He then scored a pair of 3-1 wins over Chris “ChrisG” Gonzalez in the grand final to take the title.
ChrisG finished in second place, falling just short of his first Capcom Pro Tour victory in nearly three years. Miky “Samurai” Chei finished in third, while Darryl “Snake Eyez” Lewis finished in fourth place.
Unfortunately for ChrisG, the second-place result was an all-too-familiar feeling. Shortly before the Street Fighter V finals, he finished second in the event’s Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 tournament to consensus Evo favorite Ryan “RyanLV” Romero.
Although he celebrated his victory, Punk has his sights set on even bigger things.
“I want to win a Premier event and I want to qualify for [the] Capcom Cup,” said Punk in an interview after the event. “Of course I want to win ELEAGUE.”
Punk will try to earn the ELEAGUE title on May 26, but he won’t have to wait nearly as long for his next chance at a Premier event victory. He is scheduled to compete at the NorCal Regionals, which will begin on Friday. If his pair of wins this weekend placed a target squarely on his back, his poking fun at West Coast players after the tournament made that target as large as possible.
“I’m the only East Coast [player] out here and I won this event,” joked Punk. “Maybe the West Coast is free.”