Starting with over 100 registered players, the second edition of the Red Bull Kumite came to an outstanding close on the 3rd of February, 2023, at the Old Rail Way, Yaba, with qualifiers in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
The old-railway station took on a different look with the eye-catching red and blue LED light displays, the packed old trains, the aesthetic paintings on the walls and the abandoned trains, all representing the Red Bull brand colour.
From the registration table, a huge disco ball could be seen hanging right from the centre of the room, and a gaming ring was set up on the stage, containing the gaming setup the players would battle with. Rolls of comfortable and aesthetically pleasing chairs were set up opposite the stage, where the audience was expected to sit.
As the crowd began to arrive well before the start time, they were amazed to see the transformation that had happened to the once-abandoned railway station in Yaba.
Once the doors were open, the audience dashed into the old train station, searching for the perfect seat for their viewing experience.
Everyone was in awe of the creativity of the gaming ring setup, the stunning graphics, the commentary train room, innovative features, and the large LED screen that gave the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) feel of watching the stream happen live.
Once the audience was seated, the hosts came up on stage to announce the commencement of the 2023 Red Bull Kumite and Street Fighter tournaments. The eight finalists, who emerged out of 100 registered players from Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt, namely, Sheikster, Thahyr, Rtu Apprentice, Lord Mo, ChuX, K.I.D., Foley X, and Andy Knigth, were comfortably seated at the player’s lounge, ready to be introduced on stage.
Upon introduction on stage, the players stepped onto the stage, ready to battle for the prize as the audience applauded and screamed; they couldn’t get over the players’ powerful and enigmatic entrance.
The match began, and it was a single elimination tournament where the players had to play first to four wins. Round after round, through the eliminations, only two players emerged as the top finalists, ChuX, the past Red Bull Kumite Champion, and Shiekster, a first-time Red Bull Kumite qualifier.
Observing how both players made it to the finals, the audience was at a crossroads as to who would take up the championship title, and thus debates erupted amongst the audience as to who the eventual winner would be.
When the final match began, the host announced the rules for the game and informed the players that they would be playing first to five wins. ChuX, represented by the avatar Akira, and Shiekster, represented by the avatar Ken, prepared themselves to battle it out. “Shiekster knows how to leverage Ken’s skills, and ChuX knows how to utilize Akira’s strength well”
As the game kicked off, the audience was on the edge of their seats. The match could go in any direction, and they all knew it. It was intense, and fans of both players were full of different expressions. With every hit and blow each player took, the crowd responded with gasps and exclamations.
After the first two rounds, ChuX emerged as the winner of both rounds by a narrow margin, but just as quickly, Shiekster equalized, winning the next two rounds. With the nail-biting tension in the room, the day was becoming like the 2022 World Cup match between France and Argentina, where both teams were at a draw and the audience was overwhelmed with anticipation.
But just as quickly as the Shiekster equalized, ChuX swooped in and won the next two rounds, taking the crowd by surprise. ChuX fans were ecstatic, and Sheikster supporters still had hope that, by some miracle, he would come in from behind and take the title from ChuX.
In the last round, ChuX and Shiekster went head-to-head, giving it their all. Both players were down to their last lives, and it was anyone’s match at this point, but ChuX out of nowhere cornered Shiekster and pulled out Akira’s power move, finishing Ken and claiming the Red Bull Kumite Championship title for the second time. In the heat of the excitement, ChuX slammed down his pad in celebration of his win.
The crowd was untamable as they celebrated their reigning champion, ChuX. Both players shook hands and hugged as a show of sportsmanship. As the host came to announce the winner, the audience, still full of joy and happiness for the success of the tournament, came together to watch the host present ChuX with his award.
It was exciting to see that Red Bull Kumite and Gamr Africa accomplished their goal of showcasing talents and giving players and the audience a taste of what is to come in future tournaments.