Though Goku might be the primary star of the Dragon Ball franchise, he’s not the show’s only favorite character. Vegeta, the Prince of the Saiyans, is in fact just as, if not more, popular. Coming from a life very different from Goku’s, Vegeta was born to royalty and grew up with an unhealthy sense of entitlement. This belief in himself, that he was better than everyone, or at least should be the best, would inform the rest of Vegeta’s life. When Vegeta first made his presence known to Goku and the rest, it wasn’t as an ally. He was as evil as anyone Goku would ever face, but Vegeta would eventually find himself changing, inadvertently becoming a hero and doing away with his murderous tendencies. Yet his warrior spirit would never be discarded and remains an important aspect of Vegeta to this day.
The Saiyan prince prides himself in his power, using his rivalry with Goku to push his body to their limits. Taking on any and all comers, Vegeta never backs down; though brave, it’s not a particular intelligent strategy. Vegeta’s arrogance has proven his undoing time and again, leading him to losing all many fights. Today at CBR we’re looking at 15 characters that absolutely destroyed Vegeta.
15 GOKU, KRILLIN AND GOHAN
Before Vegeta was a good guy, he was as evil as they come. Attacking Earth with Nappa, the two Saiyans wanted the Dragon Balls. The Z-Fighters tried stopping them, but one by one, Nappa killed them until only Krillin and Gohan were left. Goku shows up at the last minute, defeats Nappa, and then fights Vegeta. Their fight would pave the way for much of what followed in Dragon Ball Z, informing the infamous rivalry between Goku and Vegeta.
Goku hits Vegeta with everything from his Kaioken x 4 Kamehameha to the Spirit Bomb, and though he’s beaten and bloody Vegeta refuses to go down. Yajirobe deals a critical strike on the weakened Saiyan with his katana, but Gohan lands the finishing blow when he transforms into an Ozzaru. Though Vegeta cuts his tail off, before Gohan transforms back, he lands on the Saiyan warrior, nearly killing him.
After Goku, Gohan, and Krillin beat Vegeta senseless, he made his way to the planet Namek in order to retrieve their Dragon Balls. After his near brush with death, Vegeta was stronger than ever before. Confident in his power, the Saiyan Prince was more than okay with taking on anyone who crossed his path. When Vegeta arrived on Namek, he discovered that the legendary Frieza had also popped down on the planet, accompanied by his infamous henchmen Zarbon and Dodoria.
Vegeta runs into conflict with both of them. While he easily kills Dodoria, thanks to his recent power up, his first encounter with Zarbon is another matter altogether. Vegeta puts up an excellent fight, but once Zarbon transforms, the fight becomes one-sided. With minimal effort Zarbon practically kills Vegeta, giving him a ruthless beating in seconds.
Once Vegeta killed Zarbon, Dodoria, and most of Frieza’s henchmen while on Namek, Frieza sent for reinforcements. He summoned the Ginyu Force, a group of intergalactic mercenaries to retrieve the Dragon Balls that Krillin, Gohan, and Vegeta had stolen from Frieza. Vegeta, sensing the Ginyu Force’s power, tries to escape and warn Krillin and Gohan, but it’s too late. In short order the powerful mercenaries corner them.
Gohan and Krillin and Vegeta defeat Guildo, but then it’s time to fight Recoome. A hulking ginger meathead, Recoome takes everything the trio throws at him and keeps coming. In spite of the recent power-ups the three Z-Fighters have received, they are no match for Recoome. Vegeta receives a tremendous beating, as he’s pummeled mercilessly and body slammed into the ground, leaving him a mangled mess.
Thanks to Goku intervening, Vegeta, Krillin, and Gohan are spared certain death at the hands of the Ginyu Force. Following a battle that leaves Goku healing in a recovery pod, the other heroes are left to themselves. Gathering the Dragon Balls, they summon Piccolo to Namek just as Frieza attacks them. Over numerous episodes, the four warriors hold off Frieza’s continually stronger attacks until the evil space tyrant completes his final transformation. At this point, Vegeta believes he’s a Super Saiyan (he’s not) and that he can beat Frieza. The evil alien quickly demonstrates otherwise. Vegeta can’t land a single blow on Frieza, eventually reduced to crying out of shame.
Tired of playing around, Frieza attacks Vegeta, crushing him completely, before throwing him into a lake and effectively torturing him. Shortly thereafter, Frieza kills Vegeta with a Death Beam through the heart.
Often referred to as the Legendary Super Saiyan, or just The Legend, Broly’s power was staggering even when he was only a baby. Vegeta had always heard the myth of the Legendary Super Saiyan and thought it was nothing more than a yarn.
Upon encountering the fearsome villain, Vegeta changes his mind altogether. Sinking to his knees in fear, he realizes that despite he, Goku, Gohan, and Trunks all capable of turning Super Saiyan, they’re nothing before Broly. With Broly getting stronger with each passing second Vegeta seeks deeper into despair. Finally, after a great internal turmoil and watching his family and friends gets pummeled, Vegeta overcomes his fear of the Legendary Super Saiyan and attacks Broly. Vegeta’s comeback is short-lived as Broly shrugs off his attacks and then nearly caves in Vegeta’s skull in the side of a mountain.
10 ANDROID 18
When Trunks came back from the future, it was to warn the Z-Fighters about the impending threat of two killer androids. Goku and company began training like their lives depended on it, because they did.
What everyone does not know is that Trunks inadvertently messed up the timeline when he time travelled. Though Android 19 and 20 are the first set of androids to appear, they aren’t the real threat. In fact, it’s Androids 17 and 18; once they’re activated, they kill Android 20, or Doctor Gero, their creator. Undeterred, Vegeta, impressed with his own Super Saiyan power, challenges the androids. Android 18 accepts his challenge and makes quick work of the Saiyan Prince, breaking his arm in the process. From there, she and Android thrash Super Saiyan Trunks, Piccolo, and the rest of the Z-Fighters. Though Vegeta gets a second wind, he’s quickly knocked out again.
When the liquid metal exterior of the Big Gete Star began to mold itself around New Namek, in turn absorbing it’s energy, Dende, Earth’s guardian, calls Goku to ask for help. Of course Goku agrees to help and, along with Krillin, Piccolo, Gohan and a couple others, arrive on New Namek. Almost immediately, Goku finds himself confronted by a metal Cooler, the evil brother of Frieza who Goku had blasted into the Sun in the previous movie. Stronger than he was when last they met, the new Meta-Cooler attacks Goku, forcing the warrior to go Super Saiyan.
Goku puts up a valiant fight, but Meta-Cooler gets the upper hand and is about to kill Goku when Vegeta shows up to save his rival. Goku and Vegeta team up, and destroy Meta Cooler, leaving them exhausted. However, a whole army of Meta-Coolers suddenly appears and beats them both unconscious.
One of Vegeta’s greatest character traits is his arrogance. Whenever the prince engages in a fight, rarely does he believe he’ll lose. In fact, he’s constantly hungry for strong opponents, as is the way with Saiyans, and relishes the idea of letting foes reach full power so he crush them, along with their spirits. Vegeta never learns. It didn’t work with Frieza and it certainly didn’t work with Cell.
Cell was created by Dr. Gero and possessed the DNA of Goku, Vegeta, Frieza, and other great warriors. After reaching his second form by absorbing Android 17, he goaded Vegeta into letting him absorb Android 18 and reach his Perfect Form. Vegeta was unfazed at the sight of Cell reaching full power and still thought it would be an easy win. Cell hastily dissuaded the Saiyan of the notion by taking Vegeta’s Final Flash and then nearly breaking him in two.
In the ninth Dragon Ball Z movie Bojack Unbound, the villainous space pirate Bojack, assembles his evil crew and attacks Earth. Wanting to rule the universe, he knows he must first kill Earth’s protectors. Accidentally set free by Goku, Bojack and his crew challenge the Z-Fighters. With Goku dead and gone, the task of protecting the planet is now Gohan’s responsibility. Gohan, along with Trunks, Piccolo, Tien, and Yamcha all do their best to stave off Bojack’s assault. In one instant, Vegeta miraculously appears and saves Trunks from certain death.
Choosing to take on the powerful space pirate by himself, Vegeta hold his own for a couple minutes. That is until Bojack breaks his rips, hits him through a clock tower, and then unleashes a massive energy blast on the Saiyan warrior.
6 MAJIN BUU
Created by the evil wizard Bibidi, Majin Buu was a malevolent djinn and the most powerful villain in the entirety of Dragon Ball Z. Upon getting resurrected by Bibidi’s son Babidi, Buu goes on a rampage. After nearly killing Gohan and the Supreme Kai, Vegeta is next on the chopping block. Though boasting Super Saiyan 2 power thanks to effectively selling his soul to Babidi, Vegeta still struggles against Buu.
Vegeta hits the pink glob of destruction with everything he’s got, but it’s not enough. At one point, Buu entangles Vegeta with some magic fat and rains heavy blows on Vegeta’s face. Vegeta would have died if not for getting saved by his young son Trunks. Realizing Buu is an opponent unlike any other, Vegeta decides to blow himself up, hoping to take Buu with him. As the blast subsides, Vegeta is found dead and Buu is alive and well.
In the Dragon Ball Z movie titled Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn, the barriers between the afterlife and the living world have been broken down. Both realms are in complete disarray as evildoers from Hell break out of their holdings and attack Earth. Meanwhile, Goku encounters the monster Janemba, a demonic creature with reality-warping powers.
Goku goes Super Saiyan 3 and defeats Janemba first form, but the monster’s second form proves too much for the Saiyan warrior. Just as Janemba is about to kill Goku, Vegeta saves his comrade. With little regard to Janemba’s power, Vegeta charges the monster, doing his best, but to ultimately futile results. Despite Goku teaming up with Vegeta shortly thereafter, they’re both nearly slaughtered and must later forced to resort to fusion to win.
4 KID BUU
Following fight after fight against the evil Majin Buu, Goku and Vegeta accidentally cause a transformation in Buu, making him revert to his original and most vicious form: Kid Buu. On the Planet of the Kais, with the Earth destroyed, Goku and Vegeta make their final stand. Goku takes the first crack at Kid Buu, going Super Saiyan 3 and engaging in a world-destroying fight.
The battle doesn’t go as planned however and Goku runs out of power. Figuring the only way to destroy Buu is with a Spirit Bomb, he asks Vegeta to buy him the time he needs to collect the necessary energy. Vegeta agrees, but his efforts are practically for naught. While he’s able to get a couple shots in, Kid Buu is toying with him the entire time. Once Buu gets serious, he leaves Vegeta a pulpy mess.
In the movie Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon, the Z-Fighters find themselves fighting a Godzilla-sized opponent. At one point in its history, Hirudegarn was sealed inside the bodies of brother Tapion and Minotia, two beings from the planet Konats. This being DBZ, everything goes awry and Hirudegarn attacks Earth. The Z-Fighters rush to the scene, including Gohan, Goku, Videl, Goten and Trunks. At one point, Vegeta enters the fray and tries his hand at fighting the beast.
Despite appearing slow, Hirudegarn was incredibly fast and could transform into mist, making him virtually untouchable. In his fight with Vegeta, he easily smacks the prince aside through some buildings before launching a fire blast. Vegeta, noticing he landed in an office building and is surrounded by innocents, put up a protective barrier just in time; the effort causes him to pass out.
One of the toughest opponents either Goku or Vegeta have faced, Hit comes from Universe 6 and is a professional assassin. Hit comes across Vegeta in a tournament, representing their respective Gods of Destruction, Beerus and Champa. After first defeating the young Saiyan Cabba, Vegeta next meets Hit.
Sensing Hit’s incredible power, Vegeta automatically turns Super Saiyan Blue. The calm and collected Hit waits patiently until Vegeta’s temper explodes and he charges Hit head-on. Big mistake. Hit has the unique ability to skip ahead in time 0.1 seconds. While it might not seem a lot to the casual observer, for people moving at close to light speed, such a measurement can make all the difference in a fight…and it does. Vegeta can’t land a single blow on Hit and is knocked out violently by the assassin.
1 GOKU BLACK/ZAMASU
Goku Black and Zamasu are technically the same person, but have different identities. Appearing in Dragon Ball Super, Goku Black was Zamasu from the unaltered main timeline. He stole the body of the original present Goku, before teaming up with his future self, Future Zamasu, and then trying to kill every human.
While Goku Black couldn’t turn into a traditional Super Saiyan, he possessed his own variation of the technique, transforming into Super Saiyan Rose. This single transformation was easily capable of taking on Goku or Vegeta in Super Saiyan Blue, their strongest form. When Trunks enlisted Goku and Vegeta to help him in his timeline, the two warriors agree, confident in their strength. Yet despite their Super Saiyan Blue power, Zamasu and Goku Black defeat them handedly repeatedly, forcing them to retreat each time.