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).
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.
If you want “bars over names,” forget URL. GZ is where it’s at. No gimmicks, no drama, no BS, just four entertaining battles. Even with three battles cancelled, the night managed to be laid-back, relaxed and fun.
The crowd was a good size, especially for an event so soon after WD4, and there were a lot of new faces. The obscure references to the GZ scene were mostly lost on them, so if you’re bringing someone new, tell them to read this post and our recaps of Rounds 1, 2 and 3 before coming to the finals on Nov. 23.
Oh, and the “ladies-free-before-10:00 p.m.” plan worked like a dream.
STEP EASY VS WIZE GUY (Battle of the night)
Step took this on a 3-2 decision and moves on to the GZGP finals in November. We heard a few people loudly calling it a robbery outside the venue, though they were mostly Wize Guy’s boys and the judges who voted for him. There was so much going on in this battle it’s easy to see why opinions were so divided.