|Match Date||Friday, August 30th, 2002|
|Mario - 30.96%|
Considering the fact that Mario had just defeated Cloud, there was no way in the world Crono should have been able to stand toe to toe with the icon of video games; Final Fantasy 7 > Chrono Trigger on GameFAQs, after all. In fact, most people were writing in Mario's ticket to the finals at this point, considering that it was nearly impossible for Crono to win this match.
Not that this stopped people from rooting against Mario, of course. Cloud was absolutely beloved by this board back in 2002, and the board did not take his loss well. As futile an effort as it may have seemed, Crono got a hefty chunk of support from the Cloud faithful during this match. Unfortunately, it didn't help nearly as much as expected. When the poll first opened, despite any and all effort for Crono to put up a fight, Mario simply proved to be too much. He survived the early struggle from Crono, and eventually weathered the storm before stretching out a lead of a few hundred votes. Crono fans tried all they could to keep him in the match, but as the morning and afternoon voting blocks rolled in, Mario was easily able to keep Crono down en route to building a lead of just over 1000 votes. Crono kept trying to fight back, but Mario constantly proved to be too much for him and kept any and all would-be comeback attempts at bay.
Still, it was a true shock to even see Crono this close. Mario was expected to roll over him by most people, and seeing Crono even this close was a moral victory in and of itself. Not that moral victories matter or anything.
But then, out of nowhere, the absolute unthinkable began to happen. Mario took on a complete role reversal from the Mario that was able to come back against Cloud. Crono not only put a few pauses into Mario's lead push, but he actually began to make a comeback effort of his own. It didn't take long for everyone to take notice of what was going on, and before long, an absolute Crono mania took over the boards. It was warranted, as well. People viewed Mario was a huge villain after his defeat of Cloud, and with each 100 vote cut into Mario's lead by Crono, the board grew ever the more insane.
Unlike what Mario was able to do against Cloud, he was completely unable to hold Crono down. As the poll began drawing to a close, Crono was coming back with more and more momentum, to the point where it was almost certain that he would be able to take a lead. Finally, the update everyone was waiting for took place. Crono took the lead against the seemingly infallible Mario, and all he had to do was hang on for a short while longer to pull of inarguably the biggest upset of the contest.
Enter CJayC. He created a topic telling us that Crono's magical comeback effort was a sham perpetrated by someone with knowledge of Script, and took 400 votes away from Crono. This was just enough to give Mario the win, because despite the fact that Crono kept his momentum going, there simply wasn't enough time left for him to complete a comeback effort. This allowed Mario to take home a close win, but don't tell anyone on the board that Mario's win was legit. People were still seething over his win against Cloud, and given the recent events, a massive board explosion ensued; most topics were calling for CJayC's head.
Two years later, in the Spring 2004 Contest, we were given a bit more insight into what truly happened with Crono that day. During one of Starcraft's matches (slips my mind which; I believe it was WW/SC), CJayC mentioned that the only time he ever removed votes was when someone found a glitch in the system that allowed him to vote 3000 times. There was only one match when CJayC ever removed votes, and that was Mario/Crono. CJayC essentially admitted that the Crono vote-stuffer cheated Crono 3000 votes, not a mere 400. Why CJayC decided to remove a mere 400, who knows. But after reading the post, it's difficult to think that Crono was kept in this match by the power of his will alone. Even after Crono's 400 votes were removed, the 2002 Xsts have him being stronger than Cloud, which simply makes no sense.
Regardless, the legend that was Mario vs Crono was born, and we've had a taste of it in every contest since. As for 2002, Mario was, as expected, in the finals. Whether or not he would win remained to be seen.
The semifinals of the first contest had seen arguably the finest Cinderella run in contest history until L-Block came around: Crono. Practically no one expected Crono to make it out of Round Two against Dante, let alone beat gaming icons Lara Croft and Solid Snake (and to a lesser extent, Simon Belmont). And here was this match, where Crono almost did the unthinkable and beat the gaming icon himself and the undisputed favorite to win the whole shebang, Mario.
Sadly, this was not meant to be. This was one of the only times CJayC actually intervened and took votes away from a particular entrant, in this case removing about 300 votes from Crono for blatant vote-stuffery. Still, the excitement and thrill of the best contest rivalry (besides Gordon Freeman and winning) had begun.