PogChamp History – Where It Came From, Where It Went
PogChamp is one of the most popular emotes ever on Twitch – at its height, it was the third most-used emote. It has a different look now, but its origins come from a “Cross Counter TV” promo video, and an outtake from one of the videos made by Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez and Mike “Mike Ross” Ross. However, the emote has changed since then, due to the comments made by Gootecks during the Civil Insurrection of 2021. How did this emote get started, what does it mean, and what does it look like now? We’ve come a long way from the “Pog Championship” video to the community calling for the PogChamp emote to be removed from the platform for good.
Pog Championships, Hype Moments:
On November 26th, 2010, a video was released on the Cross Counter TV Youtube channel. It was an outtake, where the cameraman tripped over the tripod. The result is a ridiculous face made by Gootecks, which ultimately became the “PogChamp” face. Though this happened back in 2010, it was several years before the emote made its way to Twitch. It was just a really over-the-top face made by Gootecks. It is still available on Youtube here, where you can see the original hype moment.
However, the name for PogChamp came from a separate video entirely. In October 2011, Cross Counter TV hosted a promo video for Madcatz’s Street Fighter IV fightstick. At the time, they had a 10% off coupon for the Mad Catz TE fightsticks and fightpads. This was the “Pogs Championship: gootecks vs Mike Ross” promo, seen here. The end result is Gootecks dropping the Madcatz stick on the stack of pogs, thus, winning the game.
It’s also worth noting that Gootecks didn’t even know what PogChamp was on Twitch. He didn’t find out until later that there was an emote using his face, and the name PogChamp. He claims it was someone that hated him, that wanted to harass him in a clip on Reddit. It’s also been said a number of times that Gootecks hates the fact that his streaming legacy is the PogChamp emote.
It’s worth noting that Gootecks has said he was never asked about the PogChamp emote, to use his likeness during a podcast:
“There was a very long legal… it never escalated to a lawsuit, but I’m no stranger to them. I knew them. So, they used my face for years. Literally years, until our lawyers worked out a deal.”
It was used for surprising, general excitement, and hype-filled moments. Whenever something awesome is going down, you can see PogChamp, or even just people spamming the shortened “POG”, or “POGGERS”. It’s also one of the oldest emotes on all of Twitch. It spent years on Twitch as one of the most important, most used emotes. In 2021 though, the emote was removed from Twitch, at least temporarily. It has since been replaced. What happened to delete PogChamp?
Civil Insurrection Leads to PogChamp Removal:
In January 2021, Civil Unrest occurred in Washington, D.C., and many people stormed the Capitol Building. These two things should not be related, but Gootecks posted his support for the attack on the American capitol, posting, “Will there be civil unrest for the woman who was executed inside the Capitol today or will the #MAGAMartyr die in vain?” This refers to a woman who was involved in the attack and was killed in the defense of the capitol building.
He has also spent a lot of time saying that the vaccination against COVID-19 was a plot by Bill Gates as a “population-control scheme”. He later claimed to not be endorsing it, but he’s just “relaying the information”. However, the removal of PogChamp was likely just due to Gootecks’ posts supporting openly the attack on the Capitol in January. He also posted a link on Twitter showing the woman who was killed attacking the Capitol Building on Twitter, calling her the #MAGAMartyr. This led to an immediate outcry only hours later across Twitter, people calling for the removal of his famous tweet, and likely a ban for Gootecks as well.
A few days later, Twitch made the announcement. It came from a suggestion made by Sean Plott, in a way. Twitch said that instead of deleting the PogChamp emote (which was already gone), they’re going to host a new PogChamp emote every 24 hours – at least for a time. Right now, the PogChamp emote is a raptor making the PogChamp face. So many streamers have made their own PogChamp emotes, so Sean suggested creating a database of these, and randomize the PogChamp emote. So when someone uses it, it randomly uses someone’s PogChamp emote.
Gootecks has made a statement or two about the situation, calling Twitch’s decision a “knee-jerk reaction” to remove his emote:
“To me, what they did was such a knee-jerk reaction. Literally, like three hours, right? And clearly, whoever was making that decision, I don’t even think that they were aware of the deal that we have in place. Cause if they did know, it would have gone up the ladder.”
This in response to Twitter not taking his posts down, despite Twitch finding a problem with it. He still wound up getting paid for the licensing deal. The legacy of PogChamp is ultimately tied to Gootecks’ statements made on Twitter. There is also the alternate PogChamp now, POGGERS, available on BTTV. You can still use PogChamp on Twitch, but it no longer shows the PogChamp man himself, Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierez.
It was an emote that went from something used for hype or even a troll emote, to an incredibly problematic emote that was removed from the platform.