Has the wind returned to Punk's sails? The former best in the Street Fighter 5 business takes out Fujimura, Justin Wong, Haitani and Dogura at SCR

How often do you see the stream chat light up with 'FREEEEEEEE' against someone like Dogura?

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • September 15, 2018 at 8:09 p.m. PDT

Back in the earlier portion of 2017 Victor "FOX|Punk" Woodley was an untouchable god of Street Fighter. Though he's seen some rougher times since then, he began to look like his former self for a little while today.

Woodley began his journey in the competitive Street Fighter world back in the Street Fighter 4 days, and though he showed some promise he was prominently known as an online player with an attitude that reflected his name (which he took from his favorite WWE performer, CM Punk). His Ken was known for rage quitting and... less than friendly messages online.

The young player found his stride in Street Fighter 5 with Karin though, busting out a footsies-based whiff punish style that saw him run over not only the local competition, but also players from all over the globe. He would take multiple Premier events in a row as well as ELEAGUE and a second place EVO finish.

Street Fighter 5 has undergone some changes since then, however, and Punk's main character, Karin, dropped a bit on the tier lists. Woodley immediately saw a negative change in his results and would move on to other characters with the hopes to regain his status as contender for best in the world.

Despite switching to Cammy, one of SF5's absolute top characters at the moment, he still routinely finished outside the top eight at many events. Today at SoCal Regionals however, Punk brought out his Karin and onlookers saw something of a revival of his glorious 2017 run.

He routed top contenders FD|Haitani, FOX|Justin Wong and FD|Fujimura with 2-0 victories as though they were nothing. Here you see him taking out Fujimura, arguably the best in the business right now, with seemingly little effort:


Click image for animated version

Here are two clips from his bout with Haitani wherein Punk showed oppressive control of the horizontal space:

Punk's work for the day was not done and he'd actually have to wait a good few hours before playing his final bout against CO|Dogura for top eight berth. Like the others before Dogura, Punk would make his last opponent look rather helpless... despite all of our knowing better:

With that win Woodley qualified for top eight losers, which will play out tomorrow evening. His first opponent? His Street Fighter idol and the man that put him into the losers bracket to begin with, RB|Bonchan.

Is it safe to say "Punk is back"? No, not even close. It'll take much more than one strong event to start that conversation. The significance here is that today we saw the first glimpse of top-of-his-game Punk that we've seen in some time, not with the top tier Cammy, but instead with his old main.

Punk currently sits at 32nd on the Capcom Pro Tour leaderboards with 353 points. A first place finish at SCR will bump him up to over 1,000 and secure a spot in this year's rapidly approaching Capcom Cup. A seventh place finish will score him 100 points, and the grind to get beyond the bubble will continue.

Photo credit: Stephanie Lindgren.

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