Victor “PG Punk” Woodley took first place in Street Fighter V last Sunday night at the NorCal Regionals. Between that and his first place finish at West Coast Warzone the week prior, he’s all but guaranteed himself a top slot in the 2017 Capcom Cup. But the main reason why Punk’s become the talk of the town is that he keeps teabagging his opponents.
Teabagging is nothing new in competitive gaming. Fans of shooters like Counter-Strike have been taunting one another this way since the early 2000s. If you don’t know, teabagging involves positioning your character’s crotch over the knocked-out body of your opponent to simulate an act of sexual aggression. It may well be the grossest taunt anyone can perform, and it’s a trend that just won’t die. If a game has a crouch button, players can use it to teabag.
Teabagging is a relatively new trend in fighting games, thanks in part to high-profile players like Punk using the move at several tournaments this year. This past weekend at NCR, Punk faced off against another notorious teabagger, Du “NuckleDu” Dang, who was happy to go toe-to-toe and teabag Punk during their NCR face-off, only to receive more teabags (and a beatdown) from Punk in response:
Other opponents, like Long “Circa LPN” Nguyen, aren’t known for teabagging at all, but LPN let himself get baited into squatting on Punk in retaliation after enduring several minutes of humiliation at Punk’s hand.
The teabagging trend is contentious in fighting game circles. Earlier this year, it got banned in a Killer Instinct tournament, sparking debate among fans. To make matters more complicated, fighting game players have to move between crouching and standing in order to block medium and low attacks. Because of this, it can be hard to classify what should and shouldn’t count as a teabag. If pressed, a teabagger could always claim they were in the midst of blocking or preparing to block. Much like the old adage about pornography, though, you know a teabag when you see it. If a player is standing over a knocked-out opponent and rapidly crouching, there’s little doubt about their intent.
According to Punk, his teabagging is intended to do more than just taunt—it’s also a methodology for undermining and distracting his opponents. Punk told Compete that he’s noticed that teabagging “gets in certain people’s heads and messes them up, so I like to do it on them.” The strategy appears to work, if his recent NCR match against LPN is any indication:
Punk doesn’t believe the teabag should be banned from any fighting game tournaments because there’s “nothing wrong with it,” and that “if people take it to heart, then they’re taking it too seriously.” According to Punk, no one he’s ever fought has gotten angry at him for teabagging, “unless they were mad and didn’t show it.” Compete reached out to Punk’s teabag reciprocants, NuckleDu and LPN, but did not receive comment by press time.
Punk also pointed out that the teabag is for the benefit of the crowd in attendance, saying, “Reactions are normally just laughs, never really boos.” But the “boos” do appear online, with comments on Punk’s matches showing mixed opinions about his use of the teabag in pro SFV play:
Fighting game veteran and commentator IFC YipeS also expressed his distaste for the practice recently:
Punk doesn’t seem to care about being liked, though. When people scream “I hate you, Punk” at him, he just gives them a smug smile. He’s earned and embraced the nickname “Alpha” because of an interview he did after Winter Brawl II this year, in which he had this to say about his opponents: “I had to teabag ‘em. I gotta show ‘em who’s the alpha.” The teabag is all part of his persona, and as long as he keeps winning, the teabag will keep on trending.