As far as 3rd strike stories go, I do have many. Too many to type off the top of my head. So this will have to be quick and dirty.
Pre-Tougeki Tourney at Club Sega Shinjuku 2008.
5 vs. 5. Seriously every top 3rd strike player in all of Japan was in attendance. If i remember correctly, 28 teams of 5 entered. You name a player, and he was there. Witnessing for the first time in person, Kuroda Gouki just raping teams left and right. Landed a triple tatsu in match. Being incredibly nervous since this was my first Japanese tourney.
Tougeki 2008. Differ Ariake.
The best Tougeki venue in my opinion. In a small, dirty, dark, warehouse type arena that is mainly used for pro-resu or wrestling. The big cube video screen just looks awesome. Waking up at 5 am to travel to last chance quals. Teaming up with Fubar and edma. Lost to an ibuki but was awesome for sure. The debut of 井上JAPAN. Watching Kuroda Gouki just beat everyone he faced, he really put on a show. Until he tried to get cute and Rikimaru gave it to him dirty. Watching the underdog team of Chinta, Saru, and K, beat RX army (RX, Nuki, KO) and make it all the way to grand finals only to get beat by a broken armed MOV. I heard he was in a bicycle accident just after the Club Sega Tourney. One of the best days of my life.
2009 Pre-Tougeki 5v5 at Club Sega Shinjuku, The Sequel.
My memories a little foggy at this point but we did have a solid team upon entering. Myself/bean/sebastian/Vinny/Rom. Had to play vs DED/Tsubo/Naitsu team. We did ok, but I’m sure we could have done better. No regrets. MOV vs Matsuken in the finals. MOV takes it.
2009 Game Versus.
Waking up at 7pm and eating breakfast lol, going to Game Versus and playing 3rd Strike from 9pm-7am. Getting back to our hotel and Drinking beers from 7am till passing out. We repeated this day maybe 10 times lol. Getting to play vs Kuroda a lot with most of his characters. Watching Aiku make a miracle comeback vs Pherai and having Aikus friend point and laugh in Pherais face LOL.
2009 Tougeki JCB Hall Tokyo Dome.
Tougeki makes it’s way to the big time with a huge, fancy, slick arena. There was a lot of buzz and gossip going around on who Kuroda would play in the tourney. I heard rumors of Hugo, Ibuki, Gouki, Ken, but no one knew. Signed up for last chance quals with team of myself/bean/Vinny. Winning the lottery to get picked to play only to hear our opponent was 井上JAPAN. Kuroda had picked Q. The same Q who I had watched countless times on my Cooperation Cup dvd, I had to play. Kuroda let me dash in throw maybe 4 times before he punished my dash in with cr jab sa2. Damn. Vinny and bean did better but we still lost. Watching Kuroda beat every single team he beat that day. He really put on another show again. Although Kuroda and MOV lost, seeing Boss and Rikimaru take it was good. They deserve it.
2010 I was lucky enough to be living in Tokyo. Getting to go to Game Versus on a regular basis. Going to Danisen on Fridays became my favorite part of the week. Getting to 10th dan was huge personal accomplishment. Getting to play very long sets vs MOV, Boss, Rikimaru really helped me level up. At this time I was living only a 4 min train ride to Takadanobaba Mikado, so I was playing there very regularly.
2010 Cooperation Cup Game Versus.
Man this event was awesome. Held on a 3 day weekend in Summer time, it was basically an entire weekend devoted to 3rd strike.
Friday was National Danisen with everyone outside Tokyo coming to play. Many awesome matches all around.
Saturday was the same character 5v5. Another awesome tourney. Had a more fun atmosphere than serious. Unfortunately I didn’t get to play due to showing up late. Had previous obligations that day.
Sunday was the Cooperation Cup 5v5. Great tournament. All the big boys in attendance, and seeing a lot of people clutch out victories for their team. Every match was great and I hope they release a DVD of this someday.
2010 Pre Tougeki Tournament 3v3 Takadanobaba Mikado.
Teamed with Ebara Hugo and Kuniko Dudley. Although our team was pretty ragtag and there were much stronger teams on the bracket, I had the mvp performance of my life. Personally beating MOV, Chinta, K, and ocv’ing another team as achor, we made it to grand finals. Losing to Matsuken, I was a little bummed I couldnt bring my team to victory but its ok. 2nd place isnt bad.
2010 Tougeki Makurhi Messe Chiba.
Definitely the least favorite of all the Tougeki’s Ive been to. Not picked for last chance quals was a bummer. Getting tricked by a Sf4 player from Kuwait or something into buying a expensive tougeki ticket when I didnt have to. 3rd Strike was given a side stage demotion. Tourney lasted like 40 mins. Matches were good, but nothing to compare to the past years Tougeki experience.
2011 Golden Week Tournaments.
Golden week is a National holiday in Japan. Basically no one has work for a week, and the 3rd Strike players really take advantage of this. In 4 days there was a National Danisen at Game Versus, a 3v3 at Mikado, a 5v5 at Mikado, and another 3v3 at Game Versus. Unfortunately I was only able to attend the events at Game Versus due to work/life. But they were awesome. Started in Mosa Rank and won 3 matches I believe vs Mester, AFM and Koushun. I was +3 in Mosa and was really confident. Then I lost in a mirror match vs Techi. For some reason my world turned upside down and I couldn’t win a match. Went on slump and fell back to Tsuwamono, then to 10th, then to 9th dan! At this point I decided to throw in the towel for the day, go pound a couple tallboys and spectate the rest of the dope matches going on.
The 3v3 the following day was really fun. Started early like noon and was super exciting. Teamed with Nakamura Dudley and BLUE Ibuki. 2 buddies of mine. The tourney started out with separate blocks playing in a Round Robin Tourney to determine who would win the block. The winners of the block were then put into a bracket which would be the tourney finals. Even though I was under pressure (our team name was, “we depend on Ryan” lol) we managed to win our block and advance to the tourney finals bracket. Didn’t do too well after that but its ok. Was still a great tournament. Crazy performances by Mimora, TM, YSB, and Kazuya.
2011 included many personal accomplishments. Getting 2nd place at Mikado 1 man 2v2 Team tournaments twice. Winning my first tourney in Japan in a random 2v2 at Mikado. Placing 2nd at a Game Bingo Singles. Advancing to Tsuwamono rank, and finally to Mosa. And I hope to be able to share more great stories from this years Tougeki in the winter.
I have seen so many great, awesome, amazing, 3rd strike matches that were never recorded. It’s really sad to say, but its true. Any dedicated 3rd Strike fan should travel to Tokyo asap to experience the awesomeness that Japan 3rd Strike is.