|Match Date||Tuesday, July 8th, 2003|
|Samus - 93.80%|
Ah, Samus. She's one of the biggest oddballs to ever grace these contests, and believe it or not her matches used to be far weirder than they are now. Her 2002 feats are well-documented, but 2003 was just a strange year for her.
Before the contest began, and again this was perhaps all out of "Can anyone beat Link?" desperation, Samus was right there with Magus in the discussion of possible upset candidates. Samus over Link was a hot topic in 2002, but Sephiroth put an end to all of that by beating Samus in the West Finals and we never saw the match.
Enter 2003. Samus is literally given a free ride through her first two matches, and all she would need to do from there to take on Link would be to get past Luigi and hope that Link survives Magus. It sounds odd as hell for people to actually be thinking along these lines, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, something happened in Samus's very first match that threw a giant monkey wrench into all of the Samus > Link hype. Isaac, this little-known character from Golden Sun, made Samus look fallable. It's not that he did anything more than get completely blown out, but for Samus to be involved in any form of "> Link" hype, doing anything other than giving Isaac the SFF beatdown of his life would not be good enough. At least, that's how it went according to us. We had some fairly ridiculous expectations for Samus back in the day, though she has somewhat caught up since.
In the beginning of the match, Samus only had just under 80% of the vote. This was disappointing, but most figured that she would go crazy later on, stave off Isaac's little cult following run and deliver the massive beating that most were expecting.
It never happened.
Not only did Isaac avoid allowing Samus to score in the 90s on him, but he turned the match into one of the most consistent of all time. In fact, Isaac spent the rest of the match taking Samus down from being near 80% to the 75% that she finished with. This little hiccup from Samus remains as one of the oddest matches to ever take place, because we have yet to figure out how Isaac avoided taking a good old SFF beatdown from his fellow Nintendo brethren. We could use a match between Samus and a weaker Nintendo character to see if she has issues SFFing him. Samus/Yoshi would be nice.
Samus > Link didn't slow down however, because people pretty much passed off Samus's disappointing performance as Golden Sun's fanbase being larger than expected and/or a few other things. People also began to realize that Samus > Link could still happen. After all, both are Nintendo characters (and one had TJF)... what if the fanbase randomly supports Samus instead? Who will the leftover fans vote for?
Sounds like the beginning of rSFF postulation to me, though the general idea is that Isaac was stronger than expected and that Samus was still ready to kick some ass.