The newly rebranded GZ Battles launched yesterday, with an event that felt like something from the early days of KOTD. The battles were short, in a pit with the crowd surrounding the battlers, and mostly judged. Most importantly, the battlers were hungry and kept the crowd entertained throughout. Not every battle was great, but they all had great moments.
It was the first event in Gully’s hometown of Mississauga and still drew around 250 people (including Gully’s dad) despite being a streetcar, a subway, and two buses away from downtown Toronto. The venue was a club located in a strip mall, divided into a bar with tables and food on one side and a dancefloor that served as the ring on the other.
The new venue, new crowd and some bigger names on the card made for a welcome return of small-scale KOTD events to the city (or at least its suburbs).
Against all odds, Saturday was a great night for battling. Despite the no-shows, the chatty crowd and dead energy on Friday, Day 2 featured some outstanding battles, bringing the much-hyped Blackout 4 to a satisfying close. You can read our Day 1 recap here.
First off, a quick note on the no-shows. Six battlers did not show up in Toronto this weekend. (Organik went into specifics in this RMBVA post.) Here is the list of them, along with their opponents in brackets: RemyD (Osa), JC (Rone), Ill Will (Real Deal), Aye Verb (Shotty Horroh), Rich Dolarz (Loe Pesci) and Big T (Bender). It sounds as if King of the Dot is trying to make Shotty/Verb and T/Bender happen soon, even if that means sending Bender and Shotty to the States. Stay tuned.
Back to Saturday’s battles. Credit must be given to the MCs on the bottom half of the card. They set a good tone for the day and did a fine job of engaging the crowd. Speaking of which, the crowd for Day 2 was not only better than the previous day’s, but was arguably the most respectful KOTD audience in Toronto in some time. It’s amazing the degree to which a receptive, engaged crowd can enhance the quality of the battle.
Now, onto the battles. And remember: there will be plenty of spoilers.
KOTD’s Ground Zero league was a lot of fun in 2013.
The Ground Zero Grand Prix (a 32-man tournament with battles in all four of KOTD’s divisions) meant there were events going down almost monthly for a while. And with a $1,500 prize on the line, the MCs were hungry since winning and losing actually meant something.
No clear superstars emerged from the league in 2013, but a lot of guys surprised us by surpassing expectations and a few will fit in on main cards in 2014.
The battles in our Top 5 are all great for different reasons, so we present them in no particular order.
This week the West Coast steps to the forefront with three entertaining matchups, URL puts out a battle of the sexes, and Bonnie Godiva almost falls off the stage.
AYEM VS MEGADEF
The last battle to go down from Round 2 of the Ground Zero Grand Prix was well worth the wait. The showdown was delayed by two weeks because of a miscommunication between Ayem and the KOTD staff. Megadef seems to have used the extra time to hone his usually loud, aggressive style into a focused beam of white hot rage. Either that or he spent the two weeks binging on Xanax.
We expect this loss will still get Ayem a bigger name for his next battle. Just look how Lex D went from losing to Cobalt 45 to battling Cadalack Ron.