See, I told you this would be hype central ;)
So far, we have six people in for the HYOOGE tournament. Unlike in March Madness, where the first to clinch are your West Bumfuck States and Snooty White Guy Techs, the first six in are some HEAVY hitters. Let's run down the list, shall we?
Hoyt Williams - God's Champion has been MIA since he lost the PTC Extreme Championship to one Archibald MacGregor (my, that seems like an enternity ago, yet it was just a couple of months). One can question how much ring rust he's got on his giant beard and hulking frame, but you can't deny that he brings quality to the table. That quality last year only took him into the second round, where he dropped the match to Digital Mortality. The year before, he dropped in the first round, losing to Dani Fuhrer, aka, the artist who would become Vangelus Olsig. Does this mean Hoyt has a chip on his shoulder this year? Will he be able to exercise the demons? The holy man in me says yes, because if anyone has the talent, it's Al. However, he's been out of active RP competition for awhile, and with the people already in, it'll be tough for him to prove me wrong. I say he maxes out at the quarterfinals if that.
Garbage Bag Johnny - Talk about someone who's been on fire lately. GBJ has come in and destroyed everyone in his path in AWC. He brings length, complexity and depth to the table, and those are all three things that seem to get you far. My worry about him is his relative newness to interfed competition. The ones we peg to dominate don't always come off right away, and I can definitely see someone coming in and upsetting GBJ or for GBJ to get a really tough first round draw and be an unfortunate early exit. However, despite his shortcomings, I'm going to say that GBJ has the potential to win the whole thing. Yes, believe it. He's my sleeper special.
Nova - He's definitely one of my favorite characters in PRIME and NFW as well. I have a feeling the Rising Star has a better shot of going deep in the NFW playoffs than he does in GTT. It seems to be that comedic characters, or characters who incorporate comedic elements into their game, tend to be overlooked for serious stories and characters. I think Nova can pull off a string of upsets, and he's one guy who I really, really, REALLY don't wanna face in this thing. However, I think he tops out after three matches.
Vivica J. Valentine - I have to cop to being a little unfamiliar with this character outside of what I've read of her in GCW (not RPs, but in the cards). From what I've read, she seems like a solid character. I can't gauge where she's going to go although I have a feeling she could make a run. GCW characters always seem to do really well in interfed doings. I guess I could peg her a sleeper based on rep.
Seymour Almasy - Much has been made of this being Almasy's last event in PTC. Sean's retiring the character soon. The Final Fantasy has had a good run of success in the history of the i-fed. He's won PIT (which, from what I'm told, was proxy to winning the unfinished GTT2) and he made a run to the semis last year. Does he have it in him for one more run? He could end up like John Elway, riding off into the sunset, or Brett Favre, hanging it up in a debacle like he is this year. I tend to think the former because Almasy's been coming with the content and not throwing up clunkers. Do I think he's going to win? Well... I lean towards no, because no one's ever won GTT twice and with the names in and some of the names who are rumored to be entering, Almasy might not have such an easy road to the finals. Still though, you cannot argue against him being one of the odds-on favorites to win this thing.
Rich Rollins - When Rollins announced he was entering this year, I got goosebumps, literally. He DOMINATED GTT5, not losing a single vote. It could turn out to be the most dominant performance of all-time. However, there are a few things to consider. One, I don't think he's RPed since that final match. If he has, it was in his home fed of GCW. If you think that rust is a factor in Hoyt's chances of winning, you have to believe it factors for The Renegade. Also, there's that thing of guys not repeating as winner of this tournament. Teh Deville didn't do it, Dr. Curiosity didn't (but then again, Andy entered as a different character... and still made it to the finals). If anyone has a good chance of doing it, it's Rollins... but I'm leery to pick him outright.
So your first six are in. I can't wait to see who else will end up in this thing. I know that Jayce Bradley's character has an automatic bid with any character he wants due to winning Pete's challenge, but as of now, I don't think he's specified. If he enters with Jayce, I think he could make some noise, but I don't think he has the upward potential of the top tier guys that I listed above.