Tekken and SC are NOT taken serious when it comes to fighting tournaments, they are bottom of the barrel and mostly ignored.
This is incorrect. SC is bottom of the barrel (but still more played than DOA) but aside from SF, Tekken usually has the biggest regional, national, and worldwide turnouts as well as prize pot. I've been to EVO as well as many regional tournaments and I've seen it with my own eyes. Also, Tekken has plenty of depth and strategy, more so than most 2d fighters. Tekken is a game that is built off of fundamentals (like wakeup game and pokes) where as most 2d fighters are built on execution and the ability to continue/start combos from any position (especially MvC2 and GG/BB).
I tend to disagree, I've played high lvl tekken, and all tekken is really about is the 'safe' move. The combo system and gameplay in general (especially compared to VF5) is just so basic. It's such a disgrace that VF5 is so low on the fighter list when it does so many things right. I'm personally a heavey SF2T/MVC2/SNK player myself, that's why BlazBlue is so hard for me to adjust to, and why i have a completely different button layout. I tried the DABC and the ABCD and just didn't like it AT ALL. Very uncomfortable. Do you use a stick also? I wasn't even including DOA as a real fighter lol.
Every game compared to VF would be considered basic, there's no game that holds an emphasis to timing like VF but that doesn't mean there's no depth or strategy. Anyways, the reason VF is low on the list (in terms of popularity) is because the feel of the game is wacky. Hit animations and character physics are the same in VF5 as it was in VF1. Also, the game is not accessible to casual players as execution is key.
Also, I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean by 'safe' mode. If you're referring to attacking and countering based on knowing the recovery frames or whether or not you'd be punished after a move is blocked, then every fighting game would be all about the 'safe' mode.
And yes, I use a stick also, but I've only very recently upgraded to a good reliable stick. I use:
BTW: It seems that we can't connect with each other for some bizarre reason. Perhaps we can only play if we join someone else's room.