|Match Date||Thursday, August 26th, 2004|
|Ryu - 60.08%|
62 for - 3 against
|Ryu - 70.09%|
This match was never in question, for the simple fact that both of these characters have a common opponent. Ryu faced Samus in 2002, while KOS-MOS faced Samus in 2003. KOS-MOS gave Ryu a tiny scare in the opening minutes of the poll, but Ryu withstood it and managed to blow the poll wide open in his favor.
But we all knew that would happen already. The underlying meaning in this match is that Samus was virtually guaranteed in a spot in the Final Four, assuming you actually believed Sonic could challenge her in the first place. 2003 KOS-MOS would be projected to score 32.09% on 2002 Ryu. As you can see, KOS-MOS beat that projection by almost 6% despite having no new exposure between 2003 and 2004. Something changed over the past year, and it doesn't take much to figure out what.
2002 Ryu faced a Samus that only had Metroid, Metroid 2, and Super Metroid on her side. 2003 KOS-MOS had to deal with a Samus fresh off of the duel release of Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime. Because of this, KOS-MOS overshooting her projected output helps show that KOS-MOS faced a much stronger Samus than Ryu had to deal with. When you factor in that the 2003 Xsts don't take SFF into effect, Samus was underestimated by the 2003 stats due to her unaccounted SFF against Link. This left the door open for Samus to drastically increase between 2003 and 2004, and the KOS-MOS/Ryu match was a warning sign that this is exactly what would happen. For some proof, go compare Samus's 2003 expected percentages against Cloud and Squall to her expected 2004 percentages against them. For whatever reason, be it SFF, Metroid Prime/Fusion/Zero Mission taking some time to set in, or Metroid Prime 2 hype, you could tell after one match that Samus went up. It must suck to be Sonic when your entire hope of springing an upset is shot down completely one match after you first take the field.
It sucks for KOS-MOS and Ryu that their match helped show Samus's strength more than anything else, but we have reached an age in these contests in which unpredictability is rare, and an age in which we can compare stats across multiple contests to not only predict who can win matches, but by how much. Along those lines, it's difficult to do much else but extend the stats in order to make future predictions. It isn't like we didn't know for a fact that Ryu was going to win this match before it even started or anything.
One final note about this match. Sonic was coming off of Sonic Heroes, while Street Fighter Anniversary Collection was to be released just days before Sonic/Ryu. Upset special? Considering how desperate we all were for anything major to happen by this point, it was nice to hope for.
Fun Fact: This was the only match balrog0 missed in this entire contest.