A good pop-off is like the icing on the cake of a super-tight, mega-hype reverse-sweep. There's nothing quite so infectious as the uninhibited joy of a fighting game player jumping up and down while hurling insults at the guy he just bodied.
So in honor of this noble FGC tradition, here are our picks for the 10 best pop-offs in fighting game history.
10. Axe mangles SilentWolf
While most pop-offs come after a razor tight match, some of the best ones arise when a player bodies their opponent so utterly that some atavist instinct surges forward and forces to rub it in their face as deeply as possible.
Such an instinct took hold of Pikachu master Jeffrey "Axe" Williamson at Evo 2014, where he knocked out Otto "Silent Wolf" Bisno with four stocks intact in less than a minute. That's the equivalent of a first round knockout in boxing.
But hey, he gave Silent Wolf a nice hug after basking in the glory of the crowd with a flag around his shoulders, so I guess it's all good?
9. Poonkgo takes off belt, beats Daigo (in-game)
You know that scene in Dragon Ball Z where Piccolo and Goku take their weighted training clothing off to fight Raditz? Lee "Poongko" Chung Gon had a similar idea at his Evo 2011 match against the Beast himself, Daigo Umehara.
Before the match got underway, Poongko ripped off his jacket and flung it into the crowd in in grand style before doing the same with his belt and then chugging a Red Bull to raucous cheers.
After all that, irony would dictate him getting his ass kicked. However, not only did Poongko win, he 2-0'd Daigo without dropping a round and topped it off with a Perfect.
Even better than Poongko raising a gamepad up in victory before brandishing a Korean flag are the reactions in the crowd from a young LI Joe as he watches on in disbelief at each stunning round.
8. WHAT ARE YOU STANDING UP FOR?
If you thought Poongko celebrated prematurely, he's got nothing on Ryuichi "Woshige" Shigeno who threw away his spot in the Winners' Bracket of Evo 2015's Guilty Gear: Xrd -SIGN Top 8 all because he popped off before the match was actually over.
In his defence, stealing a round off Kenichi "Ogawazato" Ogawa with a ballsy dash-up super combo was definitely worth pop-off... had it been the last round. But because it was not, Ogawazato was able to close the set with a Perfect on his AFK opponent.
Pride goeth before the fall, as they say.
7. Armada's pop-off vs. Hungrybox
In the Smash community, there are few rivalries greater than the one between gods Adam "Armada" Lindgren and Juan "Hungrybox" DeBiedma. Whenever the two clash, it's like Hector vs. Achilles or Ali vs. Fraser.
Just take a look at the Grand Final of Smash Summit 2, a match so intense that the Swedish Armada forgot his Scandinavian politeness and jumped out of his seat with a yell before descending into the arms of the crowd.
Even better is the look of empty desolation in HungryBox's eyes as he stares at the screen with all the gravity and disappointment of Napoleon after Waterloo. But hey, don't feel too bad for a him. A couple of months later he'll go on to win Evo 2016.
6. Jwong's barrel roll
Sometimes, you can't be held responsible for what your body does when the hype takes over.
Take Justin "Jwong" Wong following his victory at Evo 2014's Ultra Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Grand Final. Not only did the legendary American player clutch a round against Christopher "ChrisG" Gonzalez with his signature Marvel character Storm, but it was hailed as a return to form for the former Marvel vs. Capcom 2 god who had yet to achieve the same dominance in the franchise's new installment.
As such, who can judge him for diving down on the stage and doing a barrel roll like a delighted puppy? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
5. Viscant vs. LTG
Young'uns, shut your ears because the potty mouths are coming out. Street Fighter streamer Low Ti3r God is well-known known for his trash talk on stream and on social media. However, in 2014, he BM'd the wrong player when he choose to start a feud with Jay “Viscant” Snyder.
After several months of sniping at each other online following some tight ladder matches, the two met in Grudge Match Season 4 to settle their differences.
And by settle their differences I mean Low Ti3r God said some legitimately cruel things about Viscant's appearance and lifestyle before losing to him 10-6.
However, Viscant got him back, first with a brush off gesture before laying into LTG in the post-match interview, taking offense at his previous statements and citing his own charity work before absolutely destroying him, body and soul.
"There's going to come a point when you forget about what happened, and you're gonna want to come back at me. And you're gonna want to wash the taste of my **** out of your mouth."
4. Hungrybox nearly breaks his foot in joy
They say artists suffer for their art, and so it’s only fitting that Hungrybox’s masterpiece of both hype and pain takes number four on this list.
After defeating Armada at Smash ‘N’ Splash 3, HBox smacked his TV furiously before delivering a kick to a nearby chair — a moment of pure release that would see him earn a visit to the doctors.
It’s not often we see a popoff so intense it causes physical injury — and so it earned a spot on this list.
3. Download Complete
Less of a pop-off and more straight savagery, Lee "Infiltration" Seonwoo bodied his Evo 2016 Grand Final opponent Ai "Fuudo" Keita a second time in his post-match interview.
When asked about how he adapted to Fuudo during the match, which saw him win 3-1 after resetting the bracket, a sly smile spread across Infiltration's face as he replied, "Download complete."
A straightforward pop-off would have been much kinder.
2. Tokido's Raging Demon
Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi has never had the sort of poker game his fellow Japanese fighting game god Daigo has. As a matter of fact, he's also known as "the Murderface" because of his visibly intense emotions during battle.
Take the 2010 So Cal Regionals for example, where he celebrated a comeback victory with a clutch Wrath of the Raging Demon Ultra by jumping in front of the projector and mimicking his character Akuma's victory pose to the crowd's disbelief and joy, as the iconic kanji projected onto his back.
1. "Tell him about himself"
Some things in nature are just naturally opposed; cats vs. dogs, dogs vs. vacuum cleaners, Joshua "Wolfkrone" Philpot vs. Kenneth "KBrad" Bradley.
The extremely personal rivalry between the two has become the stuff of FGC legend. While the two have disliked each other for a long-time, the feud became a full-blown vendetta at Final Round XX.
The event had all the energy of a rap battle with excited watchers crowding around the players so close it was practically a mosh pit. However, most of the crowd were KBrad supporters, which had a visible effect on Wolfkrone as he got absolutely bodied.
To add insult to injury — literally — the crowd went absolutely wild as KBrad popped off by leaning into Wolfkrone's face and staring intimately into his eyes. Though the two shook hands, bygones were not left bygones, as the world learned at the ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational...
Honorable Mention: Steve H just loving life
You don't need to be at an Evo Grand Final or the Capcom Cup to pop off. Why, you could be at the latest installment of your local weekly tournament when the urge comes over you after a clutch a round with a crunchy punish to make you feel like an FGC god.
Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.