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"Well, that was unexpected..."

A regular scourge in the ring: a character so powerful, so unstoppable, that not even the greatest of fighters can overcome his wrath. Be it a Gentle Giant, an Arrogant Kung Fu Guy, or the The Big Guy with a mean streak, this character is an unbeatable scourge that other fighters either dread facing or anticipate fighting in order to gain fame for being the first to beat him. However, they all fail. But nothing lasts forever...

Basically, this is a character who is introduced as and/or is famous for being brutally unstoppable, and, for a long time, they continue to be so, until that one hero (or villain) can finally show the world what he's made of by defeating him. These characters appear in varied roles: they can be a Big Bad, The Dragon, or, sometimes, just some seemingly unobtainable goal. Often, such a character will also be either a Jerkass or somewhat intimidating to give the hero even more support for beating him, but not always. This character may also play a role of the Goliath if the one who beats him looks to be totally outmatched at first glance.

Said undefeatable may come in the form of an Implacable Man or Hero-Killer.

Depending on the character, the fighter can still stay as powerful as they were after being beaten, but, occasionally, once beaten, they lose their power and become a regular fighter just like the rest. See Too Powerful to Live, and Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?. Compare The Worf Effect.

Examples of Defeating the Undefeatable include:


Anime and Manga

  • The East is burning red! Master Asia's first appearance on screen in G Gundam involves destroying 3 giant robots with his bare hands by catching and returning artillery shells, picking up the ground one was standing on, and tearing one to pieces with a headband. He is in fact explicitly titled "The Undefeated of the East"
  • One Piece fans theorize that this is the reason Captain Whitebeard is rarely characterized as anything but 'the world's strongest man'. Obviously someone's going to rise to his level and beat him in battle, most likely the main character or a future Big Bad.
    • Unfortunately, he's been K.I.A, but he did not disappoint.
    • Shown example includes when Luffy defeated Eneru, due to being a Rubber Man which Eneru's lightning powers couldn't directly harm. Up until then, the Skypeians, and some of the Shandians and possibly even Nami believed from seeing what he could do, he was as he said literally an invincible god.
    • Another example is when the Straw Hat Pirates raided Enies Lobby and defeated CP9, who have never failed a mission, exist only in rumor, and as far as Marines were concerned, were the reason Enies Lobby had never fallen to anyone. In fact, this generation of CP9 were the strongest in its history. More specifically, Monkey D. Luffy defeating Rob Lucci, the strongest individual in CP9's history, had such a reputation that the Marines leading the Buster Call were more than willing to bet that he would win for sure. Only for him to be put in a coma by Luffy. Even Bartholomew Kuma did not see coming that Lucci would be defeated at all, let alone by Luffy.
    • Crocodile definitely counts. He's introduced to us as the first Big Bad of the Grand Line, belonging to the same group as Mihawk (who had curbstomped Zoro a while earlier). Luffy challenges him... and gets almost killed. Crocodile proceedes with his plan, but Luffy turns up again, knowing Crocodiles weakness... and gets almost killed again. In the end the rubber man manages to defeat the sandman - who had fought with a poisoned hook. If it weren't for his extreme luck, Luffy would be deader than dead.
    • Which makes the one guy of this type that remains all the more awesome: Mihawk. He is always referred to as "the World's Greatest Swordsman", has never been defeated and used to spar with Shanks until Shanks lost his left arm, after which he didn't see enough of a challenge in him. Just a reminder, Shanks is one of the four guys the entire Marines are supposed to counteract.
  • In Hajime no Ippo, we have WBA Featherweight Champion Ricardo Martinez, the "living legend", who is just made of this trope. Point. by. point. Eiji Date, the former Japanese champion, local Retired Badass and the only person to defeat Ippo was defeated twice by him.
    • Takamura, one of the protagonists, is this trope to all of his opponents. He has the reputation of being unbeatable and his opponents do fear and respect his strength.
  • Three villains in the Dragon Ball series (King Piccolo, Frieza, and Buu) were known to be nearly unstoppable and had been terrorizing the world/galaxy/universe for ages, eventually all three of these were defeated and killed by Goku.
    • Frieza in particular was referred to by every character who knew him as the undisputed strongest being in the universe, such that he has (at least by his claim) never had to use anything close to his maximum power to defeat an opponent before he faces the Z-fighters, and that even the arrogant Vegeta didn't want to fight him without the power of immortality on his side.
    • Don't forget Broly.
    • Cell is a unique case of a villain who goes from being a simple minded man-eating monster to the closest thing to a god at that point at the time and he was also stronger than Goku at the time. In face he is this until Gohan kills him.
  • In Naruto, Gaara had never been injured before his fight with Lee, and Naruto defeated him for the first time. Pain also never lost a battle, even against the leader of the Rain Village, one of the strongest ninja in the world who defeated the three Sannin, until he loses to Naruto.
    • Granted though, Naruto, left and right, had a TON of help and luck handed out to him directly and indirectly, as well in the end Nagato willingly making a more happy ending as well as taking his own life.
    • Sort of. When you look at the fight as a whole, you realize that it was more a battle of philosophies. Pain put Naruto through the ultimate test...and Naruto still decided that he believed his way would work. The significance of that from Pain's point of view is HUGE, leading to the Heel Face Turn.
  • In the .hack// franchise, just about anything created by Morganna might count: the Dawn Wanderers (aka "Guardians") went undefeated throughout .hack//Sign, except at the end, where one was taken down by a large team of players (that included one of the most powerful players in the game, bar none). The eight Phases (Skeith in particular) also wreaked havoc throughout The World, being completely unstoppable by way of having infinite Hit Points.
  • From To Aru Majutsu no Index, Accelerator. The most powerful esper in Academy City, no one has ever managed to land so much as a single blow on him.
    • Then Touma Kamijou comes along, manages to negate Accelerator's power, and defeat him in combat by punching his lights out. He has a tendency to do this to other people as well, all thanks to his power to nullify anything.
    • Shizuri Mugino was ranked the fourth most powerful esper in Academy City, then Shiage Hamazura, a guy with no powers at all, tricks her into blowing herself up.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid has Sieglinde Jeremiah, a tournament veteran who had never been defeated in battle, and whose single loss was due to her not appearing for her match.
    • The FORCE played this straight by having Signum, who was never defeated on screen by that point, being utterly crushed by newcomer Cypha of Huckebein in a fight so one-sided it's only inches of being a full on Curb Stomp Battle.
  • In Special A Hikari's goal is to beat her rival/LoveInterest, Kei at something. Anything. Unfortunately, Kei's The Ace and is undefeatable at everything. The only person to ever beat him is Big Bad Yahiro, who cheated.

Comic Books

  • Champion of the Universe: a Marvel Comics character who goes around the universe challenging people to boxing matches, who was undefeated until The Thing stood up to him. Not that Thing beat him physically; Thing was just too stubborn to stay down after getting knocked out, so the Champion conceded. More recently She-Hulk beat him too.
    • Champion of the Universe is considered by many fans to be a subversion (or very bad example) of this as he has pretty much never defeated anyone with a name.
      • He has defeated Adam Warlock, Beta Ray Bill, Drax the Destroyer, the Silver Surfer and Gladiator. He handily beat She-Hulk as well; however, she then spent a month working her ass off (in human form) and bulked up impressively...and realized the Infinity Gem he was using could be counted as a "weapon" - and was therefore against the rules - and beat the tar out of him. With the Gem, he is undefeatable. Without it, he's tough, but not impossibly so. Gladiator is quick to note that any of them could have beaten him at that point, to which She-Hulk responds by... saying something outrageously sexist.
      • Note this was a case of Plot Induced Stupidity, as The Champion isn't just superstrong, he has the knowledge of combat methods learned over billions of years. Unless he somehow forgot all of it, he *still* should have won.
      • Though even with the Gem he can be tricked into defeating himself- notably by Thanos, who gets the Champion to destroy the very planet they are fighting on.
      • He is apparently defeated for good when Titania, armed with the Gem, picked up a mountain and squashed him under it. He's immortal, but without the Gem, he's not strong enough to free himself.
  • Manute from Sin City was The Juggernaut of the series. At the end of A Dame To Kill For, Dwight had to resort to shooting Manute several times, kicking him off a roof, and then having Miho pin him to the pavement by shoving swords into his arms. This did not kill him, nor did it even knock him out. It got him out of the way nonetheless.

Literature

  • As mentioned in the page quote, Varan the Undefeatable from the Ciaphas Cain novel Cain's Last Stand, whose reputation largely stemmed from his use of a Warp-derived Compelling Voice to force his opponents to defect to his cause. This being a Ciaphas Cain novel, you get no points for guessing who wins the inevitable confrontation between the two.
    • Admittedly, this is one of the few times that the day was not in fact saved by a "Jurgen ex machina" swinging the odds in Cain's favor.
    • Though Jurgen he did even the odds by allowing the fight to happen in the first place.
  • Robb Stark never lost a battle in the War of the Five Kings. He still ended up losing the war (and his life) because treacherous allies turn on him and join his enemies. Together, they hatch a plan that becomes the backbreaking and traumatic Red Wedding.
  • In Time Scout, Wagers of Sin, Skeeter Jackson steals a small fortune from an undefeated champion of the Roman arena. Guess who Skeeter ends up facing there? Guess who wins?
  • In The Excalibur Alternative, there is surprise all around when a hitherto untouchable Federation battle squadron gets utterly Curb Stomped by Avalon Empire forces.

Live Action TV

  • General Staal of the 10th Sontaran Battle Fleet, known as "Staal the Undefeated", from the Doctor Who two-parter "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky". The Doctor addresses the lack of foresight such a name shows.

  The Doctor: That's not a very good nickname. What if you do get defeated? "Staal the Not Quite So Undefeated Any More But Never Mind"?

Professional Wrestling and MMA

  • This is a common storyline in Professional Wrestling, where a fighter is famous for being unbeatable, and is known as the most powerful wrestler of them all until that one Face can eventually defeat them.
    • An old and famous example of this type of character is Andre the Giant (whose final "beaten" storyline closed out his long career), and a few newer characters who got their start this way are The Undertaker, The Boogeyman, and The Great Khali (who is still relatively unstoppable even after being defeated).
      • Goldberg was also given one of the biggest streaks in WCW history, starting from his introductory match as a Jobber against Hugh Morris, going all the way to defeating Hollywood Hogan for the title. His 173 match winning streak was finally ended by Kevin Nash, with the aid of a taser by Scott Hall.
      • Nothing could beat Umaga. Not Viscera, not John Cena, not Jeff Hardy, not Kane, not even D Generation X. It got to the point his manager, Armando Alejandro Estrada, began to refer to Umaga as "The Undefeated".
      • Vader was also an example of this in early '90s WCW, with faces lining up to take him down -- and all failing, until Sting came along.
      • This trope was particularly noticeable in 80s WWF, where every new big bad heel destroyed everyone in his path until they finally got a shot at Hulk Hogan who took them down with his Five Moves Of Doom. Hercules Hernandez, King Kong Bundy, and Zeus come to mind, but I'm sure there were others.
    • The Undertaker has a perfect 19-0 winning streak at Wrestlemania, therefore his upcoming Wrestlemania opponents (most recently, Triple H) will often talk about how they will become legends by ruining said streak; with JBL once mentioning (prior to losing the opportunity to even face Taker) that ending the streak would be a bigger accomplishment than winning a world title.
    • Nearly every Japanese promotion has one such "undefeatable" wrestler, referred to as the "ace." Aces range in Kayfabe ability from the relatively beatable Hiroshi Tanahashi of NJPW to the staggering, unbeatable might of NOAH's Kenta Kobashi. Mitsuharu Misawa was probably Japan's most consistently unbeatable wrestler - during any given year, Misawa's pinfall losses could be counted on one hand.
  • Not at all an unheard story in MMA, although all-around badass Fedor Emelianenko has had the most success at remaining undefeated, with a record of 31-1-1, the loss coming from a controversial stoppage due to a cut on his head and the no-contest from an accidental headbutt.
    • Unfortunately, the other side is that in a rematch the former "undefeatable" may show that the loss or draw was actually a fluke, leading to an unfortunate Curb Stomp Battle. Cases in point: Matt Serra against Georges St-Pierre, Tsuyoshi Kousaka against Fedor (the cut loss), and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (the accidental headbutt no contest).
    • Pretty much Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's claim to fame in the modern UFC: after two poor first performances in the company he showed renewed form in knocking down Chuck Liddell and slugging him out in the fist round, then gave the performance of a lifetime against legend-in-the-making UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, only to lose the highly controversial decision that almost everyone except the judges thought was Shogun's. He then goes on to knock out Machida in the first round in their rematch, winning the Light-Heavyweight title.
    • Frankie "The Answer" Edgar recently took the UFC lightweight belt from the previously considered "unbeatable" B.J. Penn at UFC 112. Penn hadn't lost in the lightweight division in eight years, but Edgar managed to upset the champ with a set gameplan; mixing up his offense, and pushing the pace with his speed.
    • It finally happened to aforementioned Fedor Emelianenko, who just recieved his first legitimate loss to Fabricio Werdum. Werdum was suitably exicted.
      • It happened again the fight after that, with Antonio "bigfoot" Silva dominating him and beating him by TKO.

Video Games

  • In Street Fighter, this role is filled by Sagat in the first game, The King/God of Muay Thai, who, at the end of the game, is eventually defeated by Ryu, and, afterwards, loses his entire reputation, joins the Big Bad's organization, and, after a little soul searching, does a Heel Face Turn and focuses on becoming stronger. Storyline wise, he's still one of the most powerful characters in the game, and he's only lost three times, and each time he technically didn't lose giving his all (the first time, Ryu went into an Unstoppable Rage and sucker punched him, and the other two times he either was too distraught to give his all, or let the opponent win).
    • Gameplay wise, he has consistently been top tier in every appearance, to the point that many fans have labeled it either a "tradition" or a "running gag" for Capcom.
    • Akuma has also only been "defeated" once, by Gouken in his youth. He would later turn up for a rematch in which he killed Gouken, and hasn't outright lost a match since (he has, however, forfeited against people who have potential to get stronger if he leaves them alive, since his honour code won't let him fight people who aren't at their strongest).
  • This is a large part of the main plot of the first Mortal Kombat game. Goro had dominated the competition for centuries prior, and was a seemingly unstoppable force, and defeating him was a vital step in paving the way for Shao Kahn's defeat.
  • The Elite Four fill this role in every Pokémon game (as well as the anime), while Red, the protagonist from the first game, fills this role somewhat in the game in which he appeared as a boss.
    • Giovanni from the Special Manga fits this trope extremely well, as it is said that no one has ever defeated him in his time as a gym leader. The Elite Four in the Kanto Arc also fit this trope as they are constantly called undefeated more so than in the games. The Legendary Pokemon in the anime and games are constantly implied to be undefeated as well. And then we have Pikachu.
    • Volkner has this reputation as a gym leader. It doesn't translate very well to the anime, though, considering the regional conference typically requires its entrants to defeat the gym leaders to make it in. And that's before he got bored of crushing everyone's dreams and started giving away his badges for free.
  • In the original Knights of the Old Republic, you can rise all the way up in the gladiatorial ladder on Taris, eventually, defeating and killing the undefeated champion who killed every challenger in the last decades, so that nobody dares to challenge him any more.
  • The Ravager is the undisputed champion of the arena in Jade Empire... he gets a lot of hype, and it's all freaking justified. The bastard is the second/third hardest fight in the game.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, in a similar subplot, you can defeat the Gray Prince, the undefeated Grand Champion of Cyrodiil Arena. However, there is also a subquest that allows you to kill him without any fight and claim the title...
    • In Skyrim, Alduin is supposed to be unbeatable. The best the old heroes of Skyrim could do is cast him forward in time, and even when the Dragonborn kills him, Alduin's is the one dragonsoul the Dragonborn doesn't absorb upon death.
  • The Gear fighting champion Rico in Xenogears.
  • Not a fighting series, but the Ace Attorney series has this with prosecutors with perfect conviction records, at least in the Phoenix Wright era. Combined with the fact some of them were a bit obsessed with getting the defendant guilty, it made winning the client's freedom that much sweeter.
    • Subverted when Godot announces that he's never lost a case...and then reveals that that's because he's never prosecuted a case before.
  • Exalted is all about doing this to the extremely powerful people you don't like. You can even do this to The Unconquered Sun. Unconquered does not mean Unconquerable.
  • Parodied in Discworld, where an up-and-coming Barbarian Hero decides to call himself Voltan the Invulnerable, goes into the Mended Drum to announce this, and lasts about twenty seconds.
    • In Guards, Guards, it's mentioned that terminal stupidity of this type is quasi-officially designated as "suicide" by the Watch, suggesting that this happens a lot.
  • From Iji, Annihilator Iosa, who is known as "Iosa the Invincible" for surviving a Class 5 Apocalypse How.
  • In Armored Core games, Nineball is known for having held the position of #1 pilot the longest, thus those who can beat him are famed as "Ninebreakers".
    • The arena champion from Armored Core 3, Ace, reached his position without suffering a single loss.
  • Crawmerax the Invincible from Borderlands. The mission for beating him is called "You. Will. Die." and the achievement earned for putting him down is called "Vincible".
  • Mass Effect presents the Reapers as undefeatable. They've spent countless millions of years wiping out all advanced organic life in the galaxy every 50,000 years. Finally, at the end of Mass Effect 3, Commander Shepard ends their reign at great cost. ...we think.
  • In Asura's Wrath, the Seven Deities are repeatedly described as undefeatable gods. Well, Asura puts them to the test on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge....and finds them wanting. Shortly afterward, he goes up against Ghoma Vlitra, which is described as a force so powerful it cannot be killed, only subdued temporarily. No prizes for guessing what Asura does to it. Finally, the game's last, DLC-specific chapters, culminate in Asura fighting Chakravatin, who is effectively God, and is so powerful that his supreme fortress is literally larger than entire galaxies and he uses stars and planets as projectiles. Three guesses what happens to that theoretically indestructable asshole.

Web Original

  • Bun-Bun is like this throughout Sluggy Freelance. The main characters seem confident he can beat just about anyone or anything, including immortal assassins and world-destroying demons. To date, only two people have beaten him in one-on-one combat: Aylee's evil clone, and his own future self.

Real Life

  • Tiger Woods was 14-0 in golf's four major championships when he held the lead (by himself or with others) after 54 of 72 regulation holes...but that came to a stunning end when he lost the 2009 PGA Championship with a two stroke 54 hole lead to unheralded Y.E. Yang. And then three months later he crashed into a fire hydrant outside his home in Florida, and the rest has been history.
  • Mike Tyson was the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion who was mowing down everyone who came into his path, including previously unbeaten champions like Michael Spinks...in 91 seconds. James "Buster" Douglas was supposed to be just another speed bump to the champ (in fact, the February 1990 fight was held in Tokyo because no American venue would have it). No one told Douglas, though, who proceeded to knock out Tyson in the 10th round and become one of the unlikeliest heavyweight champions in boxing history.
    • Note that during this time Tyson had LOTS of problem in his personal life. More on Wikipedia.
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