16-year-old Ed main EndingWalker was participating in only his second in-person Street Fighter tournament on record, but you wouldn't think it with how he acquitted himself.
The young gamer tore through the winners bracket at Ultimate Fighting Arena this past weekend, overcoming highly-regarded, full-time professional players. After going 3-0 against Valmaster's Chun Li in grand finals (opens in new tab), EndingWalker simply walked off into the crowd (opens in new tab), unperturbed.
Okay, with a lot of prodding from the enthusiastic audience, EndingWalker sheepishly cracked a smile and returned to the stage to enjoy some well-deserved applause for his standout tournament run, as well as accept his medal and grand prize reward of around $3,000. EndingWalker later tweeted (opens in new tab) that he was "overwhelmed" with the result, and that "reality hadn't kicked in."
A perfectly reasonable response to doing something really cool in front of an enthusiastic crowd, and it's really just the cherry on top that it was more of a "well, now what do I do" response instead of an ice cold esports flex.
EndingWalker has been cultivating a bit of a wunderkind reputation in the Street Fighter 5 community, taking home first place at a score of online tourneys in the past year. At his first in-person appearance at VSFighting X in August, EndingWalker placed third.
Me walking off the stage after grand finals because reality hadn't kicked in XDI had an amazing time at the venue. The staff were super friendly & helpful as was everyone! I just got a bit overwhelmed in the end which is why I left kinda quickly after winningI had a great time!November 13, 2022
Aside from his grand finals sweep against Valmaster, EndingWalker's winners finals matchup (opens in new tab) against Punk is definitely worth a watch. Punk is a prolific pro Street Fighter player, one of the highest-ranked in North America, and EndingWalker's successful showing against him speaks to the young champ being the real deal. EndingWalker also mentioned that his set against Angrybird's Zeku was a new favorite. You can catch it here (opens in new tab) at the beginning of this full top sixteen to top 8 run.
UK-based FGC commentator Tyrant (opens in new tab) goes so far as to call EndingWalker the "future of UK Street Fighter," so, you know, no pressure. If you're interested in tracking the up-and-comer's progress, you can follow EndingWalker on Twitch (opens in new tab) and Twitter (opens in new tab).