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Somehow, in some over the top fashion, a situation has arisen that can only be solved by one character arm wrestling another. This will almost always result in a character who appears scrawny having to arm wrestle a man far larger than they are.

This never favors the big man, since almost as often, the character only appears scrawny, and is in fact a Not So Harmless Cute Bruiser, or otherwise ends up being more powerful than they look. Expect the Genre Savvy to take full advantage of this misconception to make money, get revenge, or just show off.

Examples of One-Sided Arm Wrestling include:

Anime & Manga

  • Kenshiro got into one of these in Fist of the North Star. It was made even more deadly by having buzzsaws near the bottom of the table that would cut off the arm of the loser. Ken spared the Mook he was armwrestling from having his arm cut off... by breaking his arm instead.
  • Gon, Killua, and Leorio actually make money doing this in Hunter X Hunter, having Gon arm wrestle passerby and win. Also, the strongest person he arm-wrestled and forced him to use Nen to win: a Meganekko.
  • Little House With an Orange Roof has Natsumi in this situation in chapter 38. On a whim, she plays an arm wrestling game and beats it even when her youngest daughter sets it to the highest level. It's later revealed the machine was broken, but Natsumi doesn't know that when she has to arm wrestle a construction worker to get her house worked on. The intervention of the kids warms the hearts of the construction workers and the event is called off.
  • Episode 7 of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor has Bridge Bunny Yuriko facing off with big Marine Lt. Andressen to decide whether or not they clean up the Soyokaze. Yuriko holds out well, but is on the verge of losing until Captain Tylor cheers for Andressen. This gets Yuriko mad and, to everyone's shock, immediately pins down Andressen's arm.
  • Done in Pretty Face where the deceptively waifish-looking main character Rando does astonishingly well in such a contest.
  • Double Subverted in Ranma ½ when Akane is arm wrestling several arm wrestling machines. She's winning, but then loses to the Sumo wrestler (the strongest machine) -- turns out Shampoo was hiding inside.
  • Double Subverted in Fullmetal Alchemist. In Rush Valley, a big guy is challenging people to an automail arm wrestling contest. He keeps winning until Ed moves to challenge him. Turns out he was cheating to win using Alchemy, but Al then cheats right back to win anyway.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has an epic arm wrestling match between Ku Fei and Negi. The "one sided" aspect is a big of a Zig-Zagging Trope, as in terms of pure physical strength they're about equal, with Ku apparently having a slight advantage due to her Ki. Then Negi pulls out the Black Magic. Ku didn't have much of a chance after that.
  • Rather hilarious example from Pandora Hearts: Gil's Nice Hat is riding on the outcome of an arm-wrestling battle between a big, burly tough guy and Alice. Alice is basically an Eldritch Abomination in the form of a teenage girl, and Gil, who controls her Power Limiter, really wants his hat back. Her power-up music even starts playing. In the manga Alice even breaks the guy's arm.
  • Eikichi Onizuka once beat 99 guys in an arm wrestling contest, including a giant, a nuclear mutant, Heihachi Mishimi and Jason Voorhees.



  • Superman II. Ursa challenges a human male to an arm wrestling contest. She appears to be totally outmatched (she weighs a hundred pounds soaking wet), but since she's from Krypton she easily beats him, injuring him in the process.
  • Probably the most disturbing example in film history is the bar scene in The Fly, in which a newly superpowered Jeff Goldblum snaps a mans wrist. With loud cracking sounds and NO Gory Discretion Shot.
  • Cool Runnings had the strong person do arm wrestling matches to raise money for the bobsled team. The strong men failed, but the last contestant, a large woman, succeeded.
  • In Time Bandits, a member of Robin Hood's merry men tears the arm off the man he's arm-wrestling and throws it into a pile of other arms.

Live Action TV

  • My Secret Identity: A macho man challenged Andrew Clemens to an arm wrestling match after he got super strength.
  • In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation a guest Klingon challenged Data to B'aht Qul (a Klingon challenge similar to arm wrestling). Data won in under a second, then calmly went back to what he was doing.
  • There's a funny series of examples in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In an episode, an old man challenged Lou Grant to an arm wrestling contest. The old man defeated the bigger Lou. Then, the old man challenged Ted. Ted defeated the old man easily. Filled with confidence, Ted challenged Lou. It turns out that Lou always let the old man wins to give him a drink. So, Lou litterally caused Ted to go onto the floor.
  • In Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, the super strong Atalanta challenges Herc to one of these. Herc was winning easily, until he spies her cleavage and is distracted enough that he loses.
  • Power Rangers SPD had Sam temporarily gain super strength, and then challenge a huge muscle builder to arm wrestling.
  • Bones: Zig Zagged. Mr. Vincent Nigel-Murray, wearing an upper body exoskeleton giving him the proportionate strength of a T-rex, is unable to beat Hodgens in an arm wrestling contest because the limitations of the T-rex's skeletal structure makes it unable to complete the presumed Curb Stomp Battle. Hodgens wins.

Web Comic

Western Animation

  • An episode of Dexter's Laboratory has Dexter's dad being made to arm wrestle a trucker. Knowing the match is one sided, Dexter fits his dad with a mechanical arm that sends the trucker flying through the wall.
  • In Disney's John Henry short, there is a montage of him arm wrestling progressively more men simultaneously and winning. When his much tinier wife challenges him, she wins, but only because she distracted him by kissing him.
  • Thundercats: Lion-O is searching for some missing equipment, but finds that a caveman has claimed it. He has to beat the caveman at arm-wrestling to get it back.
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