Hulk's power is reasonably feared by a lot of people in the Marvel Universe. Time and time again, Hulk has surpassed his peak, either becoming smarter, stronger or even immortal. When you have that much raw power, you make a lot of enemies. Whether it's to control Hulk, challenge Hulk or take him off the playing field, challengers always arise for Big Green. When he's not seeing off fellow behemoths like Colossus or Juggernaut, he's sending powerful messages with his immense feats of strength. Scared of his own power, Banner has tried several methods to keep the Hulk under control. This attempt to stem the green tide never lasts, as Hulk's power is greater than the will of Bruce most of the time. Although, not everyone can be on the A game all the time, Hulk included.
For all his power, he's not above moments of weakness or vulnerability. In some forms, the hulk is savage, unable to reason and easily outsmarted. There are beings with powers that run counter to Banner's brute strength, be it mind control or power absorption. Among the list of people who've actually defeated the Hulk, you might find some surprising entries, proving that even Hulk isn't the strongest at all times. Goldbug even go the drop on Hulk on one occasion and I assure you, that's not a mistake. Hulk was abducted by a minor villain with an obsession with gold who dresses like a bug, in a delightful development only comics can provide. So let's look at the events that showcased Hulk's might and occurrences that mulched his mystique!
20 STRONGEST THERE IS: LEFT WOLVERINE IN PIECES
The Hulk and Wolverine have a storied past, with Wolverine making his debut against the Green behemoth. Both heroes are extremely durable and prone to going berserk when pushed to their limit. In the Ultimate Comics Universe, Wolverine's unique talents were recruited to take down Banner when the big guy went AWOL.
The two fought tooth and nail, with Wolverine's adamantium claws proving to be more formidable than any other metal Hulk had encountered. However, not even a metal skeleton can stop the Hulk's rage, he pulled the mutant into two parts and left him to seethe in the mountains.
19 WASN'T: AMBUSHED BY JUGGERNAUT
When pitted against comparable combatants in the Marvel Universe, Hulk has a pretty good win ratio. He's toppled The Thing, Colossus, Abomination and all manner of sluggers. One of these huge obstacles he's overcome a few times, is the Unstoppable Juggernaut. He's even defeated Colossus when The Russian had the powerful blessing of the crimson deity, Cyttorak.
On one occasion, however, Juggernaut embarrassed the rage-powered pounder. While in the jungle, Hulk has ambushed by what appeared to be a regular workman. Believing this to be fact, he let his guard slip, underestimating the foe. Unfortunately for him, it was Cain Marko, the Juggernaut himself, out of costume. Marko subdued Hulk with alarming ease, keeping his ego in check.
18 STRONGEST THERE IS: DEFEATED THE X-MEN
When Hulk returned from space to kick of World War Hulk, following the events of Planet Hulk, to say he was unhappy would be an understatement. Banner had been betrayed by his friends and exiled from Earth and was looking for some payback. Unfortunately for the Westchester mutants, his path ran right through the X-Mansion.
Looking to make Xavier pay for his actions as part of the Illuminati, Hulk set about dismantling the X-Men. After putting enough hurt on the staff and students, he left Charles to confront the fact he'd made his beloved X-Men collateral damage. A grim showing of mercy from the recently crowned champion of Sakaar.
17 WASN'T: SUBJUGATED BY THANOS
The idea of Thanos achieving near absolute victory is worrying, to put it mildly. Although, in the pages of Thanos, during a story aptly named "Thanos Wins" the Mad Titan has achieved a lot. He's decimated the Earth, defeated Galactus and even recruited the Cosmic Ghost Rider to his side.
Declaring himself King Thanos, he also keeps a very interesting pet. Referred to as his guard dog, Thanos is shown to have subjugated Hulk. Held by chains, Banner serves as a bodyguard for this future version of Thanos. Seeing Hulk in a role synonymous with servitude is not the state we're used to seeing him in.
16 STRONGEST THERE IS: BROKE ADAMANTIUM ARMOR
In the Ultimate Universe, we've seen Hulk pull apart Wolverine's adamantium spine. In the main Earth-616 Universe, however, adamantium is a little more resilient. Nevertheless, Hulk's power wins out once more, as he's shown to be able to enforce his will on this legendary alloy.
In a confrontation with M.O.D.O.K. the villain reveals his brand new armor to be made of the notorious material. At the culmination of the confrontation, Hulk breaks the armor apart. He's also been shown to be able to crumble adamantium into a ball and toss it on occasion, a true display of his physical might.
15 WASN'T: ENDED BY HAWKEYE
This unfortunate event shown Hulk to be a little weaker than usual on two fronts. Giving Hawkeye the means to end his life, fearing his power, Banner sets the stage for his own demise. Unlike most attempts on Bruce's life, where the Hulk preserves him, this scientifically enchanced arrow puts him down more permanently.
Not only does the Hulk not saving Banner as usual show a weakness to this particular projectile, but tit showed Banner as weak. Believing himself to no longer have what it takes to keep the Hulk under wraps, the passing of the arrow to Hawkeye was symbolic of him no longer trusting his fate in his own hands.
14 STRONGEST THERE IS: WITHSTOOD THE POWER OF A CELESTIAL
Hulk's strength allows him to lift and carry immense weight. It also allows him to endure great amounts of power from external sources. On one occasion, he pushed himself to the limits of both. When Exitar of the Celestials turned up to judge the Earth, it found the planet wanting. It descended with designs on snuffing out the entire world.
Gathering together Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and even Doctor Doom, a machine was made to fend Exitar off. The only person capable of using the machine to hold off this god-like being was the Hulk. He held Exitar back as long as he could, which is infinitely more time than any of his allies could have.
13 WASN'T: DEFEATED BY THOR
The need to outdo one another is strong between Hulk and Thor. The Asgardian God of Thunder and the gamma-powered powerhouse have slugged it out a few times. Whether it was in friendly competition or as enemies, Hulk and Thor love fighting each another. Hulk was embarrassingly defeated by Odinson in one instance, however. During Fear Itself, Hulk's devastating power was supplemented by an Asgardian hammer.
Granted to him by the God of Fear, Cul Borson, he went on a rampage with the artifact. Thor confronted Hulk, telling him he always knew Hulk was stronger than him. Playing to Hulk's ego to distract him, when he stopped to acknowledge this confession, Thor launched him into the upper atmosphere.
12 STRONGEST THERE IS: HULK VS. GLADIATOR
Gladiator is the current Majestor of the Shi'ar Empire. Before this appointment, he was head of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. His power level is famous throughout the cosmos, and his ire is easily raised. An incredibly strong, durable and seasoned fighter, Hulk had his work cut out for him when the two threw down.
Gladiator was about to have a rude awakening, however. During the fight, Hulk had a hole blasted in his chest by the powerful Imperial Guard veteran. This didn't stop Hulk, though, it merely made him angrier. With a hole in his chest and rage in his eyes, Hulk performed his infamous Thunderclap to the sides of Gladiator's head, then dismantled the warrior.
11 WASN'T: PUT DOWN BY DOCTOR OCTOPUS
In this instance, it is a little unfortunate that Hulk got beat down. Initially minding his own business, Banner stumbled upon the Sinister Six trying to enact one of their many plots. Spider-Man was present, though things didn't look good for the webbed wonder. Hulk decided to intervene, like any good friend would.
Doctor Octopus was among the incarnation of the Sinister Six at the time and he'd recently got some upgrades. Unbeknownst to Hulk, Ock's tentacles had recently been reinforced with adamantium. The dexterity and consistency of the pummeling the good doctor gave him put him down for the count.
10 STRONGEST THERE IS: BROUGHT DOWN THE ILLUMINATI
World War Hulk was Hulk at his most potent we'd seen him in years. Fueled by rage and vengeance, not even Ghost Rider wanted a piece of Banner after a brief tussle with him. After defeating the X-Men, Hulk set his sights on the other members of the Illuminati Charles Xavier had colluded with.
Hulk broke Strange's hands, beat down Reed Richard's family and tore a chasm through the Illuminati's alumni. To add insult to injury, he had them fitted with the same control discs that he had been manipulated by on Sakaar during his exile. The only member he didn't hold a grudge for was Namor, who had protested Hulk's exile to begin with.
9 WASN'T: EJECTED BY NOVA
In order to prevent Red Skull from using the psionic power of Charles Xavier to take the planet, Scarlet Witch helped cast a spell to rearrange the alignments of several of Marvel's characters. One of the heroes influenced by the event, was Hulk. Hulk was turned into a sinister reflection of himself named Kluh, then went on a rampage.
Hoping to prove himself to the Avengers, the newest Nova put himself between Kluh and the civilians. Despite having his helmet dented and his arm broken, Sam came out on top. He wrapped an enormous chain around Kluh and swung him into space using the power of the Nova Force.
8 STRONGEST THERE IS: CRACKING ONSLAUGHT
Onslaught was one of the most devastating villains to grace the Marvel Universe. Claiming the lives of a lot of the heroes of the Earth, Onslaught was born of Xavier's psyche merging with Magneto's. The extremely powerful Psionic being even used its awesome power to bring Hulk under its thrall.
With one of their heaviest hitters turned on them, the heroes struggled against Onslaught. Using her own telepathic powers, Jean Grey of the X-Men severed Hulk's link to Banner, unleashing a savage monster, bent on revenge. What did onslaught get for interfering with Hulk's mind? A colossal beat-down that destroyed its entire physical form.
7 WASN'T: NECK SNAPPED BY MAESTRO
Being defeated by Maestro is a little sour for Hulk, as they're almost the same person. Maestro, being a banner from an alternate timeline where constant nuclear strikes turned him quite mad. However, for all his madness, he remained extremely smart and extremely powerful. Finding himself in the domain of the Maestro, Hulk proper joined the resistance in "Future Imperfect."
In a confrontation with his smarter, more dictatorial self, Hulk was well and truly defeated. Maestro snapped his neck in a grizzly display of physical prowess, able to anticipate Hulk's attacks to out-maneuver him. Hulk did survive this normally fatal attack, but was left paralyzed.
6 STRONGEST THERE IS: BATTLED SENTRY TO A STANDSTILL
The story of Hulk and Sentry's fight at the culmination of World War Hulk is a sad one. Two friends who hold immense destructive power inside, forced to unleash it against one another. Fully understanding what the other has to live with, these two powerful individuals went to battle.
Perhaps even sadder is that at one time, Bob Reynolds was able to calm Hulk in his Sentry form. Referring to his friend as "The golden man" as Hulk, Banner would be drawn to the Sentry's light. The fact that he managed to battle Bob to an standstill is incredible, given that Sentry's power is thought to be limitless.
5 WASN'T: DRAINED OF HIS POWER BY ABSORBING MAN
In the pages of The Immortal Hulk, his longtime enemy Absorbing Man was given an intriguing upgrade. Already capable of absorbing things and augmenting himself with them, hence the name, he received an edge on the Hulk. In order to level the playing field with Banner, he was given aspects from another Hulk.
Among other things, Absorbing Man was imbued with aspects of Thunderbolt Ross, aka, Red Hulk. With this empowering his abilities, he was able to take Hulk's power from him directly, something his regular absorption could not do. Hulk was left thin, frail and quite odd looking when fully diminished.
4 STRONGEST THERE IS: LAUNCHED FIN FANG FOOM INTO SPACE
Though he looks like a dragon of mythical origins, Fin Fang Foom is actually an alien being. Though he originates from an otherworldly location, scientists find him trapped in the ice near the South Pole, here on Earth. Around the same time, a wandering Hulk, exhausted, collapses nearby and is rescued by another group of scientists.
After scientists start going missing and losing their lives, what comes next, is Hulk Vs. Fin Fang Foom. The two large green battlers struggle against one another on the frozen wastes. Resisting both Foom's acidic mist and manipulative words, Hulk betters the powerful alien being, launching him into space.
3 WASN'T: HOSED DOWN BY THE CIRCUS OF CRIME
Not many things can stop the Hulk once he gets going, but some of the things that have are surprising. The Circus of Crime, usually seen harassing the likes of Spider-Man and Daredevil, managed to subdue the Hulk. The method with which they did this is probably the strangest part of the instance.
While a lot of the Circus of Crime have powers and skills, they didn't use these to stop the Hulk. What they did was turn a very high-powered hose on the green giant. The Hulk being stopped by a powerful stream of water seems a little odd, given his immense strength. It seems Hulk couldn't take the (water)pressure.
2 STRONGEST THERE IS: SURVIVED AS SEPARATE BODY PARTS THEN REFORMED
Following the events of Civil War II and Avengers No Surrender, it was revealed Hulk was now immortal. Not happy with this fact, but having to live with it, Hulk returned to the waking world. While partly possessed by his sinister father, he was confronted by the Avengers for his recent actions.
He fought his allies for a spell, eventually being captured and separated into parts. However, this was all part of Hulk's plan. In a display of his immortality, he broke forth from the jars he was stored in. He reformed around the scientist who was monitoring his parts, too, which is extra gnarly.
1 WASN'T: WRECKED BY WRECKER
Wrecker is part of the appropriately names supervillain outfit known as The Wrecking Crew. Bolstered by Asgardian magic, these guys use weaponry similar to items found on a construction site. Comics, eh? Not to be sniffed at, however, they've hung in their with Thor before in battle.
During one run in with The Hulk, Wrecker in particular had a chance to shine. Using his patented crowbar, Wrecker conked Hulk on the noggin and knocked him out. That's it, simply knocked out the Hulk with a crowbar. Even with Asgardian enchantment, that's an event that deserved a little more fanfare for the villain.