The word “reset” can be used for all sorts of things.
1. Usually, it means when an attacker deliberately halts a combo early (ie. does not complete all of the possible hits, thus sacrificing additional guaranteed damage) in order to set up the opponent for follow-up attack that is very tricky to block, granting himself a golden opportunity to start a new combo (a chance to start dealing big damage again, which can be especially important in a game where longer combos have their damage severely scaled down).
Note that it’s really futile to try and define THE RESET as one particular thing, even if the “air flip out” type of thing is prevalent in many of the still-popular Capcom fighting games. The nature of resets, and in particular why it is so hard for the opponent to avoid the intended follow-up attack, can be completely different from game to game and from character to character and even from type to type. The goal is generally either to take your opponent completely off-guard with a very unorthodox situation, or to force them into a mix-up that is extremely difficult to read, with some of the more common methods being: switching sides with an opponent very quickly (MVC2 Magneto airdash madness), making them have to guess with very vague positioning whether you are switching sides or not (SF4 Sakura EX tatsu launches), or suddenly doing something unblockable in their face when they’ll probably want to block (3S Akuma kara demon setups).
(Even things as simple as Ryu doing a jump attack then his overhead punch, or Blanka doing anything xx towards hop, or anyone doing a cr.lk into a throw, could technically be considered very primitive resets, but we usually already have better terms for those kinds of basic things anyway.)
I know that narrow definitions are easier to explain, but the sheer variety of things that we consider to be resets necessitates a wide definition.
2. Sometimes when we use the word “reset” we mean that the video game console was literally reset. This could be a spectator accident or a technical failure, but on some systems and titles (anything on the Dreamcast, or SFAC on the PS2 for example) you can hold down the right buttons on your controller to restart the game. In competitive play, depending on the rules of an event and/or the graciousness of your opponent, this could cost you the round or the game or even the whole match. Resetting the console during a match on purpose is considered very poor sportsmanship; it’s basically the in-person/offline/real-life equivalent of ragequitting.
3. The most uncommon use of the word “reset” is in the context of tournament bracket stuff. In a double elimination bracket, the format most popular in North American tournaments, nearly all matches are only one set long. However, the grand finals match has the potential of being TWO. In the first set of the grand finals match (the very last two players, to determine 1st and 2nd place), if the winners’ bracket player wins, then the losers’ bracket player has now lost twice and is eliminated which puts him in 2nd place, ending the match and leaving the winners’ bracket player as the 1st place winner of the tournament: he is said to be “undefeated.”
However, if the losers’ bracket player wins that first set, (in essence he has now sent the winners’ bracket player to the losers’ bracket as well), we say that the match has been “RESET.” They then must play a second set to determine who is 1st and who is 2nd. If the player originally from losers’ bracket also wins the second set, he takes 1st place and the victory is said to be an “upset.” If the player originally from winners’ bracket does win the second set, he does take 1st place and his victory is said to be… uhmm… something, I can’t remember the proper term. “Comeback” maybe.
Just some tournament format terminology, since this should be touched upon anyway:
Best X out of 2X-1 rounds is one game.
Best X out of 2X-1 games is one set.
Usually one set is one match so people often say that best X out of 2X-1 games is one match.
In our tournaments, the only exception to “one set is one match” is that above exception, where the grand finals match can be either one or two sets, depending on who wins the first set.
I’ve actually been slowly but surely building a massive guide to tournament formats and whenever I finally finish I’ll make a new thread for it. It is staggeringly complete in its detail and will probably be one of those long and intimidating things that contains everything but nobody will actually want to read, hahaha.