Mainstage marked Super Smash. Bros Melee icon Armada’s return to competitive play. The celebrated player has taken up content creation in the downtime, streaming on Twitch and uploading guides on Youtube so fans can emulate the abilities of one of the best Smash players of all time.
However, tensions rose once the member of the Five Gods of Smash came up against Salem at the event.
The two matched up in the lower bracket at the tournament, with the winner securing themselves a spot in the top 16. While many were hopeful for a competitive matchup, Salem managed to run away with a convincing 3-0 sweep over the Melee legend.
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It wasn’t what happened in game that had people talking though - it was what was happening on stage. The former Team Liquid player got up from his chair and didn’t even acknowledge his opponent on stage, storming off without shaking his hand.
— maZa :arrow_right:️ OWL Grand Finals (@maZa_OW) September 23, 2019
The unsportsmanlike move immediately got fans fired up. Reddit user ‘SuperSceptile2821’ called Salem’s antics a “real asshole move,” and that sentiment has been echoed across all platforms.
He was also criticized for not showing the same amount of respect for Armada as he did William “Leffen” Hjelte. After losing to the TSM player, Salem accepted a fist bump in defeat, even though he has expressed his contempt towards him.
"Didn't see you turning down Leffen's fist bump, despite not liking him," said Twitter user 'areallyloudguy'.
It's common courtesy, and showing respect for a fellow competitor. Didn't see you turning down Leffen's fistbump, despite "not liking him."
But I don't expect a child line you to understand that. Hopefully you gain some perspective someday.
— Sean in Japan! :jp: (@areallyloudguy) September 22, 2019
Armada himself expressed his disappointment with Salem’s antics, describing his opponent’s behavior as “pathetic.”
However, the Snake main came out and said that he isn’t obliged to shake the hand of his opponents, and clapped back at his critics.
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“The only unsportsmanlike thing here is trying to berate someone because you think you deserve something, something that is in fact someone else’s decision to make.”
I don’t have to fist bump someone I don’t like and no one person is obligated to fist bump. Now the only unsportsmanlike thing here is trying to berate someone because you think you deserve something, something that is in fact someone else’s decision to make.
— Salem (Hero) (@9lives_Salem) September 22, 2019
Salem has been blasted in the past for comments regarding Melee’s place in the Smash community. In a series of tweets in December 2018, the Ultimate player said that “Melee isn’t part of the actual Smash community,” with the catchphrase “years of research” becoming a meme after the saga.
He also threw shade at idolized members of the Melee community, including Armada. Salem called the icon “a one trick pony” as well as discrediting the achievements of the decade-long professional, which includes multiple EVO titles.
Salem is still running his way through the Mainstage bracket after making top eight, with spots at Smash Ultimate Summit 2 on the line. A top six finish will secure him a spot at the 16-man tournament on October 24.