|Match Date||Thursday, July 31st, 2003|
|Zelda - 61.72%|
This was a very debated match before the contest began, for several reasons. Lara Croft's 1 seed in 2002 was a big one, but the biggest was that Tomb Raider 2 was scheduled to hit theatres the weekend before this match. And correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't this match take place on either a Sunday or a Monday? That would mean that Tomb Raider 2 came out mere hours before this match. Maybe that has something to do with the ridiculous vote total for a meaningless first round matchup, though your guess is as good as mine on that one.
Unfortunately, Lara was stuck facing Zelda in a year when Link-mania was at an all-time high. His massive support carried over into Ganondorf and Zelda on the boards, as anyone who remembers any of the pre-polls or the Prophet Challenge remembers. And then, in the biggest blow of them all for Croft hopefuls, movie-goers came home and wrote multiple reviews to say that Tomb Raider 2 sucked. Whoops.
Enter match time, specifically the part where Zelda has 70% of the votes at the beginning. Lara made somewhat of a recovery later on, but it wasn't nearly enough for her to retain any ounce of public favor after this match. I'm actually surprised that she didn't lose worse than she did, and if this match were ever held again, Croft would lose by a much bigger margin. This match took place when people still bothered supporting Lara in her matches, and this match also signified the last time this ever happened, both in these contests and in gaming itself. Lara's fall from being the most mainstream gaming character out there to being universally hated came very swiftly, as did her fall from being a 1 seed to being out of these contests.
PS - Sir Chris's guess in this match's Prophet Challenge was 28000. Only a perfect guess will ever break this record.