^^^ Yeah, I read your entire post bro.
People who're winning tournies aren't relying on the top tiers, lol. They're relying on skill. As I said, anyone who just picks up characters because they're a good character, and not because they're good with the character, is doomed to fail time and again, never getting past a noobish skill level.
Not to mention there are plenty of people who don't go Snake/Meta at tournies, they just don't get the spotlight because they rarely get to the finals. Anyone you see break out of the pools and into the brackets is winning because of skill.
For example, I have no gripes admitting that these often-tourny winning pros would own my Meta with Falcon, for ****'s sake. I'm skilled, but they're on an entire other level. Even if I have the best match-up in the game to aid me, (Meta v. Falcon is debated to be 90-10, obviously in Meta's favor) they'd still win, probably with relative ease.
Not that I'm disagreeing with pros picking rare characters and mixing things up, of course. I've been sick of seeing Melee Fox all over the place (especially Fox-Fox in doubles, ugh... ~_~) since '06 or maybe sooner, and Meta/Snake in Brawl are even more ubiquitous that it makes me sick, and I don't even watch the big Brawl tournies anymore. When someone skilled enough to break match ups out of their favor shows up and literally changes the metagame, I can assure you I'm cheerin' 'em on as well.
Oh, Gimpyfish... How we miss ya.