Hardcore Gaming 101, known for its thorough articles dissecting hundreds of video games (many obscure or never released in the States), has posted "A Brief History of 2D Fighting Games", presenting a huge list of fighters from Capcom, SNK, and many other companies.

The timeline covers 2D fighting games from Karate Champ and Yie Ar Kung Fu in 1984/1985 (which "aren't the first fighting games, but they may be the first ones that are worth playing") to BlazBlue Continuum Shift II in 2010, though it skips over Mortal Kombat's sequels, games predating Street Fighter II, and a few others.

The list's author seeks to provide "another layer of perspective that is lost when you read about one series at a time", and does so with insightful and cheeky comments for many of the titles:

1996: Art of Fighting 3 uses rotoscoping to make some of the nicest animation you'll see of Robert putting his hands in his pockets and kicking his opponent while she's down.

1997: Capcom, long lambasted for its inability to count to three, releases Street Fighter III a mere six years after Street Fighter II. It is Capcom’s last internally-developed 2D fighting game to feature completely new animation.

You can spend your entire morning reading the 2D Fighting Game timeline here.