On any competitive stage a passionate celebration can take an already amazing play and launch it into unforgettable, iconic status. For the FGC, the popoff is a sacred tradition and over time it has come to mean many different things. They can be expressions of pure hype or joy. Bold statements of disrespect or rivalry. And they can even be acts of community or friendship.
While there are many classic popoffs that have immortalized glory there are also a few that have come to symbolize catastrophic failure. None more so than a particularly stunning incident at EVO 2015 that not only sent the FGC into a frenzy but launched one of esports most iconic quotes into the mainstream. Our story begins in 2012, and a Top 4 matchup between Ricki Ortiz and Wolfkrone in Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition at Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament 8.
With their series already tied at one game a piece and the deciding third game going down to the wire, Wolfkrone seemed to have secured the win with a heavy punch into Ultra 1. But the fight wasn’t over yet. (Casting) While premature popoffs weren’t anythign new this one was made special by Ricki’s furious comeback and counter-popoff, capped perfectly by Ultradavid’s commentary. “What are you standing up for” instantly became a classic tag-line for the FGC.
Although Wolfkrone’s failed celebration is the origin of the meme, it’s still far from its most famous instance. That came three years later, during the Guilty Gear XRD Top 8 at EVO 2015 – where there was a premature popoff so monumental it single-handedly took the phrase to a whole other level. It’s the winner’s bracket semifinal, and Woshige is taking on Ogawa for a spot in the winner’s final. The best of three series was a grueling affair that had come down to a deciding third game with Ogawa one-round up. It was do-or-die for Woshige. (Casting) But, despite having his back against the wall, he managed to execute a clutch combo to narrowly take the round.
Caught up in the hype of his perceived victory, Woshige popped to his feet and faced the crowd with both hands raised. It’s too bad there was still a round left to go. (Casting) The FGC and internet exploded. Although it originated from a niche esport, the spectacular fail entered the mainstream spotlight, making headlines around the world and appearing even on SportsCenter Woshige took the loss with good humor, smiling even in his self-made embarrassment, and in time would go on to provide his neteller casinos game expertise in the design of Street Fighter 5’s mechanics.
While he wasn’t the first person to suffer humiliation for celebrating too early, and he’s certainly far from the last, it’s safe to say that few FGC moments are likely to ever top the infamy of this one. The legacy of these failed popoffs and the now-legendary quote may have started with UltraDavid, Wolfkrone and Ricki and may yet continue with some other poor, unfortunate soul somewhere down the line. (Casting) But Woshige’s costly lapse of concentration – his iconic moment of failure – will forever immortalize him as the man at whom we all yelled “WHAT ARE YOU STANDING UP FOR.”