I’m not sure where the growing sentiment of “execution shouldn’t matter” is coming from. I could be a cranky OG, and say it’s all the new 09ers that came in with SF4 and crying that it is too hard. Or potentially with a growing user base, you are just going to have people that do not have the physical dexterity to play the game.
Using Execution as an Excuse
A lot of players complain that they are losing simply because they can’t do random combo X that requires a 1F link. The thing is, with PLINKing and BLINKing, everything is a 2F link. And I highly doubt you are losing to some random low PP player online because you missed a combo that had tight links in it. John Choi beat Daigo at EVO, and all that guy does is low forward, fireball, uppercut. Spacing, zoning and reading have a much larger impact on gameplay than combos. You can still punish with lower damage easier combos to ensure that you get damage.
In “real” sports execution matters. In basketball half the battle is getting the shot you want, and then the other half is actually making it. By removing execution from fighting games, you are essentially saying you only need to run the play to set up your shot, and actually making the shot is trivial. You are taking away a large portion of the game. Why should it matter? Because there should be risk for higher rewards in the game. It should cost me meter, and it should be hard to do, and it should leave me at a negative frame advantage if I screw up because the reward if 500 dmg or whatever it may be. By removing the execution portion of the game, you might as well make the game turned based and not real time at all.