|Match Date||Saturday, August 3rd, 2002|
|Donkey Kong - 69.58%|
As obvious as this match seemed at first, it would wind up being our first true match of this contest. It had everything you could ever ask for in a match, with the sole exception of the match actually meaning something. It was fun while it lasted, but everyone soon realized that this was a "Who wants to get killed by Mario?" affair. Still, unexpected close matches are usually among the best.
Before the match ever began, this was supposed to be an easy win for Donkey Kong en route to becoming fodder for Mario; however, Aya Brea's shocking blowout against Terry Bogard coupled with Donkey Kong's struggle against Bub was a warning sign of things to come. A character can be as big as legend as he wants, but if people won't vote for you as such, bad things can happen.
The end result of all of this is that Aya Brea took a 1000 vote lead on Donkey Kong in an absolute flash in the beginning of this poll. This not only proved that Brea's victory over Terry Bogard was no fluke, but that Donkey Kong, despite his icon status, simply does not have the support that the elites of Nintendo's crew gets during matches. Donkey Kong has proven this time and time again over the years, and it all started with his struggle against Aya Brea. Aya may be a Square character from a fairly well-known Parasite Eve series, but Jill Valentine was Aya Brea before Aya Brea was ever Aya Brea. And there is simply no way that an icon like Donkey Kong should ever have problems with a Jill Valentine clone.
But he did. Before anyone knew what was even going on, Donkey Kong found himself down by 1000 votes and staring at the first big-name choke to ever grace a contest. But after his early struggles, Donkey Kong managed to gather himself. Fueled by the early morning vote and the hordes of "T3H KIDDA3Z AERE W4K1N6 UP!!!!11!1" topics, Donkey Kong began what would go down as the first real comeback in contest history. He began slowly at first, but he soon picked up a head of steam that would begin the legend of the Nintendo morning vote. By 10 in the morning (EST) the match was deadlocked, which gave rise to the tradition of massively refreshing the poll results page.
Aya Brea tried her best to stop Donkey Kong's momentum once he pulled the match to a standstill, but he was simply too much for her. After some jockeying for poll position, Donkey Kong was eventually able to build a small lead that he would manage to slowly build all the way until the end of the poll.
The very first thing to be drawn from a match like this is the fact that Donkey Kong isn't an unreliable character for no good reason. This match was the beginning of Donkey Kong's curse; for whatever reason, DK simply cannot get nearly the support of other Nintendo icons such as Link, Mario, or Samus. On the other side, Aya Brea proved that she was no joke in 2002. Not only did she take down the king of fighters himself, but she came damned close to beating one of gaming's most recognizable characters. It's a damned shame that Brea has not had the chance to show off her skills in a contest setting since 2002.
This match may have set up Mario vs Donkey Kong, but everyone and their mother knew that that match was a simple bye for Mario en route to the divisional finals.