Daigo and Tokido take their rivalry online
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Rivalries are the bread and butter of fighting games, and few are quite like the one between Daigo "The Beast" Umehara and Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi.
Both considered among the utmost best Street Fighter players in history, they've achieved several accolades in both the Japanese and international scenes. However, following Tokido's well deserved 7-0 win against Daigo after years on the losing side, fans discovered the pair had moved the fight online.
A CFN replay of a best-of-10 series revealed another hype match between the two, and this time Daigo got his revenge. Both pros used their mains, Guile and Akuma, and while Tokido did put up a good fight, he lost every single game to Daigo.
Back to the beginning
Almost a decade ago, Tokido began to outperform Daigo at major events, so you'd think it meant he was better than The Beast. But during a training session with Daigo right before his exhibition match against Seonwoo "Infiltration" Lee at Mad Katz Unveiled, Tokido found himself thoroughly beaten. In that moment, Tokido realized that he had never defeated the legend in a 1v1 event.
Fueled by the memory of his defeat, Tokido trained hard to face the man he now considered his ultimate rival. His chance would come at Kemonomichi II, Daigo's exhibition event in which top tier players compete in long match formats. Tokido was invited to compete against The Beast himself in Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, while Kana "Tanukana" Tani and YUYU would faceoff in Tekken 7. Kotaka Shoten also took on Ito in Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo.
Believing himself ready, Tokido met Daigo on the big stage, only to lose the match, 5-10. The loss devastated him, spurring their rivalry even further. It wasn't until the Topanga Championship 2020 Grand Final that Tokido would get to prove his dominance. Facing Daigo on the third day of the tournament, Tokido finally defeated The Beast in dominating fashion.
Tokido had finally achieved what had seemed impossible, seizing victory after about seven years. Many assumed this meant that Tokido had figured out Daigo and the rivalry ended, but it turns out that isn't the case.
As the world is in a weird place right now, netplay has been the saving grace for the FGC, but it isn't the perfect experience it could be. With the nature of online play, many things could have impacted their match, making it not a real test of their ability. However, Daigo's performance was still an impressive feat.
It's clear that the rivalry didn't end with Tokido's victory a few months ago, and it's exhilarating that the competition is still as fierce as we remember. While we have no idea when the next big show match will be, we can rest assured that their next live faceoff will be filled with hype.