Between Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball Super, (yes, we left out GT, you all know why) Goku has gotten into dozens of fights. All of them, stepping stones on his journey to become more powerful in order to protect the planet that gave him shelter after his own was destroyed: Earth. Although the Saiyan is one of the most powerful beings in the known universes as of Dragon Ball Super, he’s certainly no Saitama. Fighting takes a lot out of our hero. As even casual fans of the Dragon Ball shows or manga know, it isn’t all that uncommon to see Goku battle-scarred — sometimes, he even ends up dead!
As the protagonist, Goku has always been a fan favorite. However, that doesn’t mean that we should only focus on the times he emerged victorious. Sure, Goku has saved the Earth from the likes of Frieza and Buu, but he’s also lost a number of times as well. As Dragon Ball Super continues to deliver the most fantastic fights featuring combatants from across multiple universes, we thought we would take things in a more grounded direction. Keeping that in mind, we present you with 15 times spanning the fighter’s entire career that Goku got absolutely thrashed in battle.
Of all of the human adversaries Goku had in Dragon Ball who would go on to become little more than cannon fodder during Dragon Ball Z, Tien was the most intimidating. In Dragon Ball, the three-eyed student of Master Shen was feared for his power — and rightfully so. In his first fight with Goku, Tien showcased a slew of impressive techniques that were nothing short of unheard-of at the time in the series.
Tien grew multiple arms, and the two soon took the battle into the skies. Though Tien emerged victorious, his victory had more to do with luck than anything. Goku lost because he touched down outside of the ring. But even so, Tien put up one of the most intense fights Goku had participated in until that point.
Goku and Hit first crossed paths in a tournament representing their respective Gods of Destruction, Beerus and Champa. Hit has always proved to be a worthy adversary of Goku based on sheer power level alone. It would be interesting to see how an unfettered battle between Goku and Hit would play out, however, this was not one.
As Hit wasn’t allowed to kill Goku, his powers were a bit dampened. Seeing this, Goku took the fight as an opportunity to get experimental with his abilities. After figuring out that he was able to use Kaio-ken while in Super Saiyan Blue form, Goku ended up recusing himself from the fight. Why? He felt that it wasn’t being fair to his opponent, which is funny, because even though Hit wasn’t fighting at full force, he still had Goku on the ropes.
13. ANDROID 19
Android 19 was a curious case. The character was supposed to be one of the final enemies for what would come to be known as the ‘Cell Saga’, but creator Akira Toriyama’s editors said that 19 wasn’t intimidating enough. We think the android is plenty intimidating, though. Android 19 was the first adversary of Goku’s to be able to overcome his Super Saiyan technique, showing the other character’s that even Goku wasn’t equipped to take on every single threat in the universe.
If we’re really being honest, it was Goku’s heart virus that allowed Android 19 to stand victorious over him. Because as we quickly learned thanks to Vegeta, a Super Saiyan in good health would have absolutely no problem tearing the pudgy android apart.
Jiren the Gray brought a whole new twist to the tried and true Dragon Ball formula of showing Goku to be outclassed before letting him showcase a new transformation which eventually gives him the upper hand. Everything happened as it usually would — Goku cycled through all of his transformations from Super Saiyan 1 to Super Saiyan Blue before revealing his new transformation. This transformation would come to be known as ‘Ultra Instinct’.
However, this time, his new transformation brought Goku no advantages in battle. Though Goku would usually be able to dispatch new opponents with ease, all that Ultra Instinct did in his battle with Jiren the Gray was allow him to defend himself for a bit longer. As soon as Ultra Instinct faded, Jiren easily overpowered Goku.
11. MERCENARY TAO
At the start of Dragon Ball, most dangerous scenarios were just gags. The show was more comedic than tense. However, one of the first indicators that this would not always be the case was presented to viewers in the form of Mercenary Tao. Tao wasn’t particularly powerful according to Dragon Ball Z standards. He hadn’t enslaved and destroyed entire planets like Frieza — he was just a seasoned man with years of intense martial arts training.
Goku came across Tao tormenting villagers fairly early on in the young saiyan’s fighting career. Despite Goku’s clearly superior strength, Tao’s wealth of experience made it difficult for Goku to find a weak point, which made it impossible to get the upper hand. While, like most of Goku’s defeats, he would come up victorious in the rematch, the initial encounter between Goku and Mercenary Tao ended in total defeat for our hero.
While Goku’s brother Raditz would never pose a threat to the majority of the Z-Fighters nowadays, when he first came to Earth, he was the biggest threat that it had ever faced. Upon meeting Goku, Raditz was able to take him out with a swift knee to the stomach. This one-hit knock out prompted Goku to begin an alliance with Piccolo, in order to dispatch of the saiyan invader. However, even with the combined power of Goku and Piccolo, Raditz was still easily the superior fighter.
The only way that Goku and Piccolo could manage to defeat Raditz was by killing him with Piccolo’s signature move, the Special Beam Cannon. Unfortunately, doing so meant that Raditz needed to be restrained, and Goku sacrificed his life to ensure that his Saiyan brother’s would also come to an end.
After fusing with Goku Black, Zamasu proved so much more powerful than either Goku or Vegeta that they were forced to fuse into Vegito to have any hopes of defeating him. Though Super Saiyan Blue Vegito was more powerful than the fused-Zamasu, the fused-Saiyan’s transformation via the Potara earrings was only temporary. Before Vegito was able to secure a win, he separated back into Goku and Vegeta. On their own, the two saiyans were easily overpowered.
The fused Zamasu wiped the floor with the two saiyans — literally. Zamasu pummeled both Goku and Vegeta into the dirt. He probably would have killed them if not for the intervention of Future Trunks. This fight proved once again that Goku is not untouchable, and that death could be just around the corner.
8. KING PICCOLO
King Piccolo marked the departure from comedy for a more dramatic tone for Dragon Ball. The first true global threat that Goku encounters would soon leave two of his closest friends (Master Roshi and Krillin) dead. Even before using the Dragon Balls to wish for his youth, King Piccolo was a formidable opponent. After Goku and Yarjirobe killed King Piccolo’s sons, Tambourine and Cymbal, King Piccolo seeks out Goku in a fit of rage to destroy the young Saiyan.
The old villain easily outranks Goku in both skill and power, and beats him senseless with relative ease. The only reason that Goku lived to tell the tale was that his heart stopped, prompting King Piccolo to believe that he was dead. Luckily, it only stopped momentarily.
Early on in their fight during the Cell Games, Goku forfeits, saying that he doesn’t think he has a chance against Cell. Okay, Goku, cool. So much for being the mighty protector of Earth. However, this isn’t where Goku gets absolutely thrashed. This doesn’t come until it’s clear that Gohan is gaining the upper hand over Cell. Then, in a fit of rage, Cell begins to inflate himself with the intention of detonating and destroying the entire world.
Goku wasn’t going to sit by and just let this happen, however. Our Saiyan hero uses instant transmission to transport himself and Cell to King Kai’s planet. Ultimately, Goku sacrifices his own life once again to save the people and the planet he loves, even though Cell would reappear on Earth moments after the blast.
6. JACKIE CHUN
While Goku’s teacher, Master Roshi has always appeared to be a frail old man throughout the franchise (even though he hasn’t aged a day since Goku turned ten, apparently) that has never stopped him from holding his own in battle. During Martial Arts tournaments that Goku was participating in, Roshi would himself enter as ‘Jackie Chun’ — an alias he used so that Goku was more humble about his own budding strength.
This first battle in Dragon Ball showed us that Roshi was more than the frail old man we once thought him to be. He uses the Kamehameha Wave during the final round of the 21st Annual World Martial Arts Tournament to destroy the moon, so that Goku would revert from his Great Ape form to his regular form. This allowed Roshi, err, Jackie Chun, to just barely squeeze out a victory.
Kale is the first in-canon female saiyan revealed to be able to go Super Saiyan, which is a big deal. Not only is she the first female Super Saiyan, but the first Saiyan we’ve seen since Broly who has a ‘berserker’ form. In Dragon Ball Super, Kale uses this form to totally interrupt the battle Goku is having with another fighter, Caulifla. After butting in on the fight, Kale then showcases her immense power levels — even a Kamehameha at extremely close range did nothing to slow the berserker down.
Kale battered Goku around effortlessly, even though he was using his most powerful, stable transformation: Super Saiyan Blue. Without even breaking a sweat, Kale was able to lift up Goku with a single hand and throw him into a pile of rocks, leaving him in his base form. It took Jiren’s intervention to stop Kale from totally destroying Goku.
Although Yamcha has been seen as a joke by the Dragon Ball Z fan base for quite some time, due to being the weakest Z-Fighter, and constantly being taken out by some of the most inert threats — don’t forget that he was, at one point, the most formidable foe Goku had faced. At the very beginning of Dragon Ball, Yamcha was an antagonist. The teenaged bandit used to hide out in the desert and ambush travelers before robbing and killing them.
Goku’s first encounter with Yamcha nearly ended the former’s life when the young Saiyan got hungry. If not for Bulma scaring the crap out of Yamcha, Goku wouldn’t have even made it to Master Roshi’s island, let alone other planets. Thankfully, Goku lived to save the Earth many times over.
Vegeta is the anti-hero of Dragon Ball Z, if one can even call him that anymore. Right now, he’s a really gruff dad — but at his introduction to the series, he was the greatest threat that the Earth had ever seen. Though Vegeta’s intense sense of competition against Goku will never fade, the Prince of All Saiyans actually had the upper hand over Goku when they first met. Goku faced a (literally) crushing defeat at the (literal) hands of Vegeta after the latter turned into his Great Ape form, slapping Goku between his meaty claws as a human would a fruit fly.
This was only the beginning of Great Ape Vegeta’s savagery. After crushing Goku, Vegeta proceeds to stomp and pummel him into the ground, until Yarjirobe cuts off his tail, forcing Vegeta back into his regular form.
Beerus is without a doubt one of the most formidable opponents Goku has faced to date. As of now, they have gone toe-to-toe multiple times, with Beerus always emerging on top, even when he admits to only using a small fraction of his power. Beerus is one of the Gods of Destruction. The catlike God has the power to destroy planets with flippant motions — and he often does when feeling fickle.
However, this entry is regarding the first encounter Beerus had with Goku. Goku, always wanting to push himself, challenges Lord Beerus to a sparring match. After Beerus laughs off Goku’s Super Saiyan transformations, Goku decides to give it all he’s got. Unfortunately for Goku, Beerus doesn’t even break a sweat. In fact, with a single flick, he knocks Goku around King Kai’s whole planet, and knocks him out with a light chop to the neck.
1. PICCOLO JR.
Goku just barely defeated of King Piccolo. And when you consider the sheer amount of physical trauma Goku endured to do so, it’s pretty amazing he was able to emerge victorious. Piccolo of the Z-Fighters, (aka World’s Best Green Dad) is another old foe who joined the side of good after a defeat. Back when he was known as Piccolo Jr., Piccolo totally crippled Goku by firing energy beams through each one of the saiyan’s limbs.
Like his father before him, Piccolo Jr. went for the kill via heart, but thanks to Goku very conveniently learning to fly at that exact moment, he missed. Though Goku won this battle, and got his first tournament win from it, we still think he got totally thrashed by Piccolo Jr. What else would you call a chest wound and losing the use of of all four of your limbs?
Which of these beatdowns shocked you the most? Let us know in the comments!
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!