|Match Date||Sunday, August 10th, 2003|
|Mario - 70.68%|
50 for - 0 against
|Mario - 85.85%|
I'll let Ngamer64 handle the intro for this one:
"This contest is officially stupid in the extreme. Ok, so..... Let me see here. Sonic HIMSELF came within a hair of being beaten yesterday. By a 2nd rate character from another series, who doesn't have great name recognition, and didn't look cool in his picture. WTH? This officially makes Sonic the weakest of the #2s in the whole contest, who may not even make it to Cloud. Which means, the Sonic series is DEAD. D-E-A-D. No one respects it anymore, it's been way too long since it's put out a good game, Sega is over. RIGHT?
So then we take a glance at today's matchup. Let's see here... oh, it's FREAKING Mario. You know, the #2 character last year, the legend, the man who represents all things Nintendo, the most famous icon in gaming history. Playing who? SHADOW, a completely second rate character from the Sonic series (which was flat out EMBARRASSED last night, if you recall one paragraph ago), of which he has only appeared in a single game. Yeah, he has no name recognition, no character development, and he looks like crap in his picture. Blowout city!
Holding the biggest gaming icon of our generation to below 60% is nothing less than a crime against sanity. Not to mention my predictions. That's it, I need to go lie down."
And it gets much worse for Mario. He had over 60% of the vote at the beginning of this poll, and Shadow managed to get him all the way down to 55% by the end of it. And this wasn't some random character that Shadow pulled this off against, either; this was Mario. You can imagine how many topics were made during this match from people wishing they had picked Crono to make the divisional finals, and for good reason. Characters hoping to win contests don't only get 55% in matches like this, and it brings up another fairly good point.
A year or two ago, I would have said that it were possible. But we've since seen a massive Nintendo boost. As for the match at hand, rSFF is the only thing I can think of that would have allowed Shadow to do such a thing, especially given what we know now. Shadow isn't nearly as strong as the hard stats for 2003 show, and something fairly mythical happened in this match that allowed him to impress so much. Him performing so well due to being the black Sonic and perhaps getting a lot of rSFF may sound strange, but it's not like most other ascertains sound any more sane than that one.
This wasn't 2004 or even 2005 Mario. In 2003, Mario was perceived as invincible against anyone not named Link, which caused massive amounts of hate for him in seemingly every match he was involved in. Mario was the favorite to win this division by a wide margin, and most of the upset talk came from hope more than anything else. There was some validity, but nothing major to fall back on.
But in one match in the summer of 2003, Shadow changed all of that. Granted he hasn't seen nearly the same amounts of success since -- he's only appeared in one match over the past two years, which was a loss to Tidus -- but it changed Mario's image for quite some time.