|Division||East Division Semi Final|
|Match Date||Friday, August 22nd, 2003|
|Cloud - 64.81%|
52 for - 1 against
|Cloud - 73.13%|
As soon as Bowser took Yoshi down, a pre-poll was made for Cloud/Bowser. The results were almost unanimous in favor of Bowser, and it was clear that the board had begun hating Cloud for reasons unknown to myself. Even Sephiroth didn't have it that bad until Spring 2005.
This makes what Cloud did to Bowser in the actual poll all the more alarming. Even with the board almost fully behind Bowser, Bowser never came close to Cloud even in the opening seconds. Cloud would go on to a massive 70-30 beating of Bowser that opened quite a few eyes when it came to the strongest characters of this contest. Given how Sonic had performed against Zero, Cloud's path to the division title and a showdown with Link almost seemed inevitable. But could Cloud actually give Link a run?
Of course, many will say that Bowser only did this badly because Bowser was stuck with his Mario 1 sprite in the match pic, while Cloud was blessed with an in-battle sprite from FF7. It was quite the mismatch in terms of appeal, but could it really have made enough of a difference so as to prevent Bowser from getting his face kicked in? Bowser spent two matches kicking the hell out of his fourpack, yet Cloud shot it all down in seconds. It would be the final time that Cloud ever won the board vote in a contest poll, because hate for him only magnified after this match -- and given that there were still many who wanted Sonic to take Cloud down after the Summer 2002 Sonic/Samus collapse, revenge voters were ready to go.