Most 2 seeds go out there and dominate some fodder en route to an easy contest win or two. Resident Evil 4 did not do that, though admittedly Paper Mario is not a normal 15 seed. Resident Evil 4 lost the board vote, then had to do a lot of recovering to get this thing close to 60%. It would be a clear warning sign of what was coming later, though a lot of people were in denial about it.
In looking at this match, I noticed a pretty neat parallel. It depends on how close you think Paper Mario and Thousand-Year Door are in strength, but it's definitely there.
In Game of the Decade, Thousand-Year Door got 44.83% on Oblivion: http://www.gamefaqs.com/poll/4164-northwest-division-round-2-paper-mario-tyd-vs-oblivion
In 2015, Super Mario RPG would end up getting 54.43% on Oblivion: http://www.gamefaqs.com/poll/6100-best-game-ever-day-13-oblivion-vs-super-mario-rpg
If you assume a constant Oblivion, that's an increase of 9.6%.
In this match, Paper Mario got 41.13% on Resident Evil 4. If you add 9.6% to that, you get... 50.73%. Hmmmmmmmmm........
Warning signs were definitely there with Resident Evil 4, though after round 1 the excuse of "we can't compare Paper Mario and TTYD this closely" was there. That excuse wouldn't stay there for long, but denying some relationship between SMRPG, Paper Mario and Thousand-Year Door would be a bit silly.
I know the stats topic is known for projecting things a little too far, but it was definitely warranted in this case! Resident Evil 4, right from the first match, looked "off".
This match feels like such a waste. Last time Paper Mario got the honor of embarrassing our casuals through World of Warcraft. This time, it gets to look at it from the wrong side of the division as Chrono Cross gets the fun. Resident Evil 4 is a league above it, it was never going to win this match and everybody knew it too. Paper Mario: TTYD was in the tougher half of the bracket and won a match, Paper Mario really got unfortunate here and it's due to seeding. Last time, Paper Mario was a #5 seed, it feel quite a bit to get a #15 seed. Just for comparison, TTYD fell from a #7 seed to a #8 seed which is honestly really great considering that last contest had a field from only a decade. But with that seeding Paper Mario wouldn't have much a chance anywhere.
It's a shame to see it fall, but I do appreciate TTYD coming through as the better looking Paper Mario here. The first Paper Mario is really darn good, really fun experience that I could play through over and over again despite a few flaws. TTYD fixed the few things, introduced a new story and created perfection. Seriously, so few games are that. It's a top 3 game for me and my favorite Nintendo game. Paper Mario advanced further than it last time, but this time they had the order I would prefer. This match lines up really well with GotD, which is nice for a match that wouldn't be interesting either way.
But the weird thing is that Resident Evil 4 ends up looking a lot worse than it did in GotD. You can explain that through how the series went afterward as well as it being somewhat recent, but then why has Paper Mario fallen accordingly? It's a N64 game, it's still well-liked and despite it not being N64 as most thought, the rest of the N64 games did good. We thought Paper Mario did too, but it ends up looking so bad. If fans now vastly prefer TTYD then perhaps that could be a reason for Paper Mario falling a little bit, but it's still not enough to explain this really. The difference shouldn't be that much, so perhaps Super Mario RPG gained a lot more momentum that we thought from reaching the division finals. It was predicted by board 8, but I guess Super Mario RPG coming out of that eight pack of casual bait, would be a shock to those casuals.