Modern boxing has its origins in the mid-18th century, and has remained one of the world’s premier sports today. Made famous with all-time greats like Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson, many pugilists have since tried to become legends on their own, whether they be guided by a competitive desire to push themselves to the limits of human potential or fueled by the riches and glory that awaits the winners.
That said, it’s fight night with the next episode of Death Battle, as the stakes are high and tons of bone-breaking punches will be thrown around between two of gaming’s heavy-hitting boxing champs in this deadly grudge match. Balrog, Street Fighter’s Raging Buffalo, and TJ Combo, Killer Instinct’s glory-seeking brawler. Both are going to do anything and everything to walk out with their hands in the air, but only one of them will celebrate with a massive paycheck and the glory of being the undisputed champion, while one will be down for the count… permanently.
As the criminal overlord of Shadaloo, the devious dictator M. Bison surrounded himself with fighters who willingly served him in his quest for world domination, ranging from the vain Spanish assassin Vega to the literally poisonous F.A.N.G. and the fallen King of Muay Thai, Sagat. However, none of them proved to be as brutal, or greedy, than the disgraced boxing world champion known as Balrog.
Like many boxers before him, Balrog began to fight as a way of escaping a childhood full of poverty. While he was most certainly skilled, his desire to win at all costs and get his payday led to his dangerous reputation for permanently maiming, and at one point even killing, his opponents. This led to the sport banning him from participating, and after searching for various odd jobs for more money, he was recruited by Shadaloo and became Bison’s chief enforcer.
While he isn’t particularly loyal to Bison’s cause nor does he actually care, Balrog is willing to dirty his hands and do anything he is asked to provided that he’s paid in the end, although he has tried to betray Shadaloo multiple times if he feels that the opposition pays more. Despite this, he has remained a consistent member of Bison’s group, riding on its coattails until he finally amassed the fortune he so desperately seeks. His exploits saw him take in an apprentice and pseudo-surrogate son in the Psycho Powered supersoldier, Ed.
The future TJ Combo was born Tyler-Johnson Garett in Galveston, Texas to a poor but hardworking family. To survive, he was taught by his father, a dock worker and former army sergeant, to box and defend himself. He soon used this talent to participate in local boxing leagues, and began cheating to continue racking up victories. However, after being caught and expelled, TJ attempted to reform himself and moved to Chicago in order to start fresh.
Earning the nickname “Combo” through his hard work, TJ became world champion and lived the life of luxury and vanity it entailed, but eventually fell from grace after losing his title and falling into a deep depression. To regain his prestige, he forged a deal with the company Ultratech; in exchange for essentially becoming a lab rat, they would enhance his body with bionic implants, allowing him to return as a dominant contender. Their relationship continued until TJ refused to throw an exhibition fight against their Mk. 1 Fulgore unit. Ultratech exposed his bionics to the public as revenge and he was banned from boxing forever.
Ashamed of what he had done, TJ removed his implants and found out that Ultratech had modified his DNA, allowing him to heal from his wounds faster. After opening his own gym, he joined a resistance group called the Disavowed to destroy Ultratech, after they revealed how the mega corporation had manipulated the past few years of his life to play into their hands. Allying himself with Black Orchid and her comrades, TJ has now dedicated himself to halting Ultratech’s schemes and get revenge for what they did to him.
A brutally straightforward fighter, Balrog may lack finesse, but he’s still a well-trained fighter all the same. He specializes in closing the distance between himself and his opponents through a variety of dashing punches, ranging from straight haymakers to uppercuts and sweeps, and can chain most of them in a single combo. It is extremely likely that Balrog’s fighting style was inspired by Mike Tyson, who is referenced in his moveset. Both Mike Tyson and Balrog’s preferred method of boxing is the Peek-a-Boo style as well as the Slugger fighting style.
The Peek-a-Boo style focuses on both defense (it offers protection to the face) and offense (focuses on bobbing, weaving, and blind-siding the foe which fits Balrog to a tee). This allows him to easily dodge an enemy’s punch with a bobb or weave and then counterattack making for an very effective fighting style. If timed right, it can you make untouchable. Mike Tyson is the best example of someone who used the Peek-a-Boo fighting style. He also uses some street fighting techniques that would be illegal in the boxing ring such as headbutts, foot stomps and distracted sucker punches to beat opponents down before they can retaliate.
Balrog also utilizes the Slugger style of fighting (not Goro Majima’s style from Yakuza Zero, sadly). Slugger is mostly focused mainly in one thing: power. Most sluggers lack mobility in the ring compared to other types of boxing and may have trouble with faster fighters. They usually fire off punches which are harder and yet slower and rely less on combos and chaining punches together. While they are extremely powerful they can also be predictable which can leave counterpunching.
Usually in a fight, Balrog will combine these two fighting style for a powerful offensive yet also defensive fighting style which relies on brute strength as well as cheap tactics. This is because Balrog has no qualms about fighting underhanded to win, though he’ll still mostly stick to punches and rarely employs kicks. While his size and weight does indicate some form of bulkiness and may make him seem slow, his dashes cover a large range and can be used to avoid incoming projectiles.
Trained to do battle since his childhood, TJ has earned a reputation for being an analytical fighter, having studied the tapes of boxing legends to learn more from them as he pushed his body beyond the limits of any normal man. His strength increased further thanks to the bionic implants he got from Ultratech, but still boasts its power even after taking it out, likely due to the serum which allows his body to adapt to the bionics still lingering in his body.
In terms of fighting style, he uses a mix of martial arts techniques. Of course, TJ utilizes boxing as a method of fighting, and the style that he likes to stick to is an Outboxing style: the way of the late and great Muhammad Ali, TJ Combo’s idol. Outboxing, A.K.A Hit and Away, utilizes solid footwork and quick and precise jabs to create space between yourself and your foe after quickly striking them. In a fight, Outboxers like TJ will confuse/outmaneuver their opponents and gradually wear them down. This will cause the stronger boxers to wear down and become weaker the longer the fight continues. Outboxers have a reputation of being extremely quick on their feet and thus their rely on quicker but weaker jabs instead of uppercuts and hooks. TJ uses this fighting style to compliment himself, as while he is not the strongest boxer, he is extremely quick on his feet and will always be trying to create space between him and his foe, meaning that it is very difficult to get in close and wreck him due to his movement/dodging speed and quick attacks.
Aside from his standard boxing style, TJ also uses mixed martial arts. He utilizes some Muay Thai techniques and attacks, which focuses on knee, kick, and elbow moves. While he doesn’t use kicks that often, he relies extensively on his knee attacks in order to quickly get in and finish off adversaries with a quick punch combo. TJ has also incorporated Judo in terms of his throws. All of this together makes for an extremely versatile fighting style that focuses on quirk movements and variety to deliver a beatdown on his foes with his Killer Instinct.
He also sometimes uses a machine gun.
- Turn Punch: Balrog turns around and charges with a dashing punch.
- Dash Straight: A quick dash and punch combination; the EX version gives him Super Armor, allowing him to take weak attack without flinching.
- Dash Upper: Similar to the Dash Straight, but Balrog instead performs an uppercut.
- Dash Low Straight: A dashing low strike which knocks enemies down.
- Dash Low Smash: A dashing sucker punch where Balrog dashes low but aims for the opponent’s face.
- Buffalo Headbutt: An anti-air headbutt attack.
- Gigaton Punch: Based on the punch he used to kill Dhalsim’s pet elephant, Balrog performs what is essentially a souped-up Dash Straight to knock opponents into the air.
- Superman Punch: TJ jumps up and throws a leaping hook as an overhead attack.
- Rollercoaster: TJ rolls forward across the ground, ending with a punch before getting back up.
- Turn-Around Punch: A backwards cross-up punch.
- Spin Fist: Combo spins around before throwing a wild hook punch.
- Powerline: A dash forwards while performing a straight jab. He can also jump backwards halfway through the attack with Backstep, roll forward to avoid high attacks with Tumble, and hop into the air while kneeing the enemy with Flying Knee. Along with that, he can use Shadow Powerline to punch five times in a row instead of just once. Flying Knee also gets an upgrade in the form of Shadow Flying Knee, which hits the opponent five times with one Flying Knee.
- Shoot Toss: TJ grabs his opponent before slamming them onto the ground, which can be used as a set up for combos.
- Tremor: Combo jumps into the air before punching the ground with full force, creating a devastating shockwave. He can also use Shadow Tremor to consecutively do this five times.
- Vortex: TJ spins his fist a bit before uppercutting the opponent. This generates a small tornado as well. He can also follow up the attack with Cyclone, a second strong uppercut, and then there’s Shadow Cyclone, which makes the first uppercut hit four times in a row before doing the second uppercut.
- Crazy Rush: Balrog’s V-Trigger; under its effects, he can chain any of his dashing specials with more punches, and can mix up the strikes’ locations to confuse the enemy.
- Crazy Buffalo: A series of five chain punches ending with either a straight or uppercut.
- Violent Buffalo: A more powerful version of the Crazy Buffalo.
- Gigaton Blow: An upgraded version of the Gigaton Punch. Balrog increases the muscle mass of one of his arms before charging forward with a devastating punch.
- KKB: Balrog’s V-Skill, which allows him to dodge enemy attacks by turning and dashing.
- Dirty Bull: Balrog performs a series of illegal boxing moves in quick succession. First, he grabs an enemy by the head, then headbutts them, stomps them on their foot, and finally, sucker punches them.
- Glory Days: TJ’s Instinct Mode. His movement and attack speed is boosted beyond his maximum for a limited amount of time. If he suffers a fatal blow with a full Instinct Meter, it activates Last Breath, where he comes back with a portion of health left in addition to entering Glory Days.
- Ultimate Combo: TJ pounds his fists together before comboing his opponent with four devastating punches. The last punch knocks the opponent backwards a lot.
- Chiropractor: A No Mercy used to finish off a weakened opponent. TJ punches the opponent in the gut, making them fall to their knees. He then snaps their neck, ending their life.
- Screen Punch: A No Mercy used to finish off a weakened opponent. TJ spins and hits the opponent with his fist doing a backwards punch. He then punches the opponent in the face with his other fist, launching them towards the screen, cracking it and breaking the fourth wall.
- Humiliation: TJ forces the opponent to breakdance before him.
- Killed Dhalsim’s pet elephant with one Gigaton Punch
- Inherited Shadaloo following the first death of M. Bison
- Defeated Birdie in Balrog’s SFA3 arcade mode
- In the Street Fighter II movie, Balrog held his own against E. Honda
- Killed the genetically enhanced-dinosaur, Riptor. In the original timeline, he wins but at the cost of his eye and is sent to the hospital. In the reboot, he successfully dispatches one with a single punch.
- Barely defeated Spinal (KI Comics)
- Fought off an army of Fulgore and Riptor units alongside Orchid, Maya, and Jago. However, the battle was called off when ARIA recalls her army around the same time TJ and his allies had been fatigued. (KI Novella)
- Defeated many Stalker A.K.A Riptor Units including one time where he managed to easily crush it’s face with one hand (KI Novella)
- Survived getting sliced by Fulgore’s blades which are made of plasma (KI Comics)
- Helped Orchid defeat Glacius (KI Comics)
- Defeated Riptor (KI Comics)
- Able to outrun Riptor (KI Novella)
- Can rip off a Fulgore’s head (KI Novella)
Balrog tends to be very unintelligent at times, such as when he squandered Shadaloo’s fortune after inheriting it, forcing him to work multiple small-time jobs. He rushes into fights going all out, which can make him easily predictable (also shown above). He’s also lost to skilled boxers before, such as Dudley. Other fighters have been known to abuse his simplistic fighting style as well. For example, Ryu defeated him by evading all his punches and going for his underdeveloped legs.
While TJ can keep up with most of his nearly supernatural competition, he is still by and far just human. He doesn’t have any specific flaws that cripple his relatively balanced fighting style, but those who boast superior strength, durability and speed comparable to him will most certainly take him to his limits, if not surpass him altogether.
- Most likely to fight dirty, although TJ (a former dirty fighter himself) may be ready to counter it.
- Nearly twice as fast
- Has beaten more disciplined fighters before
- Technically has more experience in fighting from working for Shadaloo for years
- Moveset is limited; his over-reliance on different dash punch variations can make him predictable.
- Somewhat less strong and durable
- Lacking in intelligence; compounded further by TJ being more analytical and disciplined.
- Has no dignity.
- Has lost to more skilled boxers before, such as Dudley. Dudley, like TJ Combo, has kept track of other boxing careers before.
- Theme is not as boss as TJ’s.
- Moveset is a lot more varied than Balrog’s.
- Is stronger and more durable
- Glory Days can bring him back for one last stretch if Balrog lands a potentially finishing blow.
- The varied opponents he’s faced edges him over Balrog in experience with major opponents.
- Smarter and more analytical. With this, he’ll be ready to poke holes in Balrog’s relatively simple fighting style.
- Is very similar to Dudley, in that they both are much more skilled than Balrog, have studied other boxers’ careers, and have more varied movesets than Balrog. Dudley has also defeated Balrog before.
- Modifications done to his DNA thanks to Ultratech gives him some form of a limited healing factor.
- Has the better theme.
- Is slower
- May be a bit more willing to fight fairly, which may leave him open to Balrog’s cheap shots, although as a former dirty fighter he may quickly adapt.
So umm…. I guess boxing does the “Tale of the Tape” thing. Balrog’s at 6'4" and 298 lbs. while TJ’s at 6'1" and 220 lbs. if that’s supposed to mean much. Also since boxing, guess I’m also obligated to do this.
To be honest, I wasn’t that hype about this fight considering how boring and limited it would be, but now that Torrian’s animating, this is going to look like one hell of a slugfest, and as much as I may not be familiar with Killer Instinct as most other fighting games, my money’s on TJ bashing Balrog’s face in until it’s unrecognizable as revenge for being an asshole to fight against. That said, I want it to happen, but will it?
The first thing about this fight is that neither Balrog or TJ are well-known as guys with a lot of focus in their home canons. For the most part, they’re just really good boxers without much of the crazy flair and power their castmates in Street Fighter or Killer Instinct boast, but breaking it down shows that TJ has the skill advantage here. Lore and his very fighting style show that he’s an analytical fighter with training in boxing and (as of the reboot) mixed martial arts, and has learned to use that strength to combat more otherworldly foes. To be fair however, Balrog has to contend with crazy martial artists too, and to his credit the fact that he’s fought a fair amount of big-name Street Fighter characters like Necalli, F.A.N.G., Ryu and Zangief, which is a tad bit more impressive than TJ repeatedly beating random Fulgores and Riptors.
Even if you factor that out, TJ’s wider range of moves should be able to overwhelm Balrog’s relatively simple fighting style; one that other Street Fighter characters have successfully bypassed before to beat him, even if you factor in how Balrog has found ways to compensate in his lacking areas in later fights. For skill and experience, I’d roughly give this to TJ.
Much of this assumes that statistically, Balrog and TJ are equals; if the former is statistically superior then by all means it wouldn’t be much of an issue for him. Unfortunately for the Shadaloo Deva, they aren’t although it’s by no means a large gap. While Balrog’s punches can routinely handle training with cinder blocks and can kill elephants in one hit, TJ has enough strength to rip out the titanium implants in his body without breaking his bones, one-shot Riptors and can deal with Fulgore units regularly, whether it may be through punching them into submission or ripping their heads off.
With the skill and power advantage in TJ’s favor, does Balrog have anything left? There’s speed, as Balrog scales to bullet-timers like Cammy and would put him in the hypersonic range, while TJ doesn’t have much to match that. Even then, it’s one small saving grace when put up against every other area TJ is his superior in. Besides, Balrog’s supposed feat of tanking M. Bison’s explosion in his Street Fighter Alpha 3 ending doesn’t make that much sense when the scene is framed in such a way that: A. said explosion was established as a threat to Guile and Charlie Nash (characters who outclass him) to the point where the former had to escape and it killed the latter, and B. a cut could have allowed him to escape within a certain period of time. If that was all valid, a win for him would have become a LOT more feasible, but as it stands I just can’t give it to him.
Tl;dr is that I think TJ might win, but this is by far one of the less confident verdicts I’ve given for a fight. (Note: tbh ifgaf about who wins just give me a good fight b4 school starts but I’ll be slightly cross with TJ losing if only because he’d break my win streak)
This is a DEATH BATTLE that I originally wasn’t very excited for but i became a lot more excited when it was revealed that this would be a 3D Boxing Matchup as Torrian is at his best when he is doing close quarters fights. Honestly i am more excited about the animation then the matchup but i must admit this is a pretty decent matchup mainly because these two are extremely close in terms of power, durability speed.
But i have to choose a winner and honestly i am going with TJ Combo on this fight for a couple of reasons. Considering how close this matchup is in terms of stats - i would say that one of the main points to consider is fighting styles - which fighting style will overpower the other. Balrog is an export in the Out Boxing fighting style in Boxing as well as the sub style - the Peek a Boo style. This allows him extremely great offense constantly battering the enemy with extremely fast and extremely powerful strikes. In terms of fighting style Balrog is all about getting into a foe’s face and doing damage possible. TJ’s fighting style while also on the aggressive style is also very different from Balrog. Unlike Balrog who purely focuses on a boxing fighting style. TJ Combo focuses on a mix of martial arts from Muay Thai which focuses on kicks and knee based attacks as well as incorporating elements of Judo into his fighting style. While Balrog’s fighting style is much more aggressive i would argue that TJ’s is far more versatile and effective being able to easily counter hard hitting boxers like Balrog and finish them off with a quick attack.
There’s also the experience to consider - while Balrog has faced off against plenty of difficult foes such as Birdie and Necalli. TJ Combo has faced off against the likes of Fulgore, Riptor, Glacius, Spinal and has faced an entire army of Fulgores and Riptors and yet has still lived. TJ Combo has faced off against far more powerful opponents then Balrog
Even in terms of stats i would say that TJ still takes it as while Balrog is faster then TJ being at Hypersonic level speed while TJ’s speed is slower - the difference in speed doesn’t really matter in the long run as TJ has shown off that he has faced off against better foes, is much stronger, and is much more durable. Plus Balrog’s over-reliance on sheer brute strength is his greatest strength at times but also his greatest downfall as a skilled boxer/fighter can easily counter him as shown through Dudley in the Udon comic.
Overall i just think that TJ Combo is overall superior in every way besides speed. This fight is very close and it could go either way but i am placing my gambling chips on TJ Combo for this fight.
I feel like I’m more excited for this fight than anyone else XD. Balrog VS TJ Combo is the single greatest boxing match in all of fighting games, but even more exciting, DEATH BATTLE IS FINALLY NOT TREATING A FIGHTING GAME FIGHT AS FILLER! You have no idea how happy that makes me.
Now for the actual prediction. This fight is actually incredibly close, let's start with TJ Combo cause most people start with Rog. TJ is causally a large building buster, he has defeated numerous foes such as Fulgore and Riptor who have building level feats, ripped titanium apart and like all KI characters he can create earthquakes that violently shake the entire stages with the mere shock wave of his hits, as for his speed he is able to keep up with his allies such as Orchid and Jago, these two scale above Cinder and Glacius’ Mach 3-5 speed feats. So over all TJ Combo is a large building level supersonic, and he doesn’t have any hax or other notable abilities.
Balrog is tricky to understand with his scaling but let me explain. Balrog’s only notable victories are against F.A.N.G. and Necalli. F.A.N.G. once defeated Rashid, a character who defeated Chun-Li who is town level, but F.A.N.G.’s whole thing is he uses poison to bring down superior foes and therefore doesn’t actually scale to this, made clear when a more experienced Rashid bodies him later. Necalli was said via prophecy to be able to beat Ryu, Dhalsim and M. Bison, but this clearly didn’t come true, in the game Necalli defeated Ryu, scared off Guile and Nash, and held his own against Bison. But ALL OF THESE WERE IN HIS SUPER FORM CALLED V-TRIGGER, something he is shown to Not have used against Balrog, since Necalli’s base form has only showed Building level feats, this is all that can scale to Balrog, which actually lines up well with his feats like 1 hit killing an elephant, and fighting film E. Honda.
Balrog also has this one misconception feat where it is assumed he and Birdie tanked an enormous explosion caused by Bison’s death in Street Fighter Alpha. However this is actually not true when context is considered and there is far more evidence that they escaped the blast instead. One, this explosion could kill Charlie Nash, a character clearly above both of them, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to tank it as it would be wildly inconsistent for the verse at the time. Two there is clearly a cut before M. Bison begins self destructing after the cut nothing establishes Rog and Birdie are still there. Three Guile, another character above both of them was also there, and he has to successfully escape the blast in order to survive, which he did so it stands to reason they could and did as well. For speed Balrog at least managed to escape that explosion and can keep pace with foes like Ibuki and F.A.N.G. who can dodge bullets, therefore Balrog must be at least Mach 10. So over all Balrog is a building level Hypersonic, and he doesn’t have any hax or other notable abilities.
So TJ Combo has the edge in Strength and Durability, Balrog has the edge in Speed, but neither has the edge to a very large degree making it an extremely close fight where the details become very important. Balrog is a bull headed slugger, he has shown numerous times he is not very intelligent, his fighting style is bold but also extremely predictable and doesn’t at all take advantage of his greatest edge in the fight, speed. TJ is much more wise and disciplined in his fighting, he has a lot more experience than Balrog especially against boxers and even cheaters, and his fighting style is focused more on mixed martial arts, making him less predictable and more effective. Not to mention his limited healing factor and slightly higher durability will let him shrug off hits somewhat more easily.
When stats are equal victory always goes to the more skilled, intelligent, and experienced fighter, and with the stats as close as they are, TJ is Coming Back to RISE!
SEEING TROUBLE FROM A DISTANCE, YEAAAAAH, GO ROCK, BUT IT’S NOT THAT EASY, OH NO, TAKE IT TO THE STREETS, GIRL-
Not sorry for reusing jokes. Two correct guesses in a row, yaaaay.
Hi I’m back again for some reason. Ever since Sub-Zero VS Glacius I’ve been watching a lot of competitive Killer Instinct so needless to say, I’m more hyped for this match than I should be.
Basically my reasoning is similar to the ones above, so this will probably be a short one. TJ is stronger and tougher via shaking the giant stages blah blah blah. Balrog is two times faster than TJ blah blah Balrog explosions are a mystery if they’re legit plus other stronger characters either escaped to not die or did die from it blah TJ is more experienced with him studying from legendary boxers and his style of boxing counters Balrog’s due to the latter going in guns blazing while TJ can just punish him every time he misses.
I honestly feel bad for making my verdict this short because everyone else pretty much summed it up and I have to agree with them that TJ Combo wins this. So uh, how about I try to fill the rest of my verdict with puns to make it look better in length because I’m petty like that.
Street Fighter’s boxer doesn’t have the bals to compete with TJ. He’s gonna get beat to the punch.
You better bellieve it when I’m sayring that I’m gonna glove this fight animation.
Two badass boxers are going to fight to the death in what seems to be a legal boxing match. Gee that sounds familia- Gets Rocky IV PTSD. (Seriously tho, fuck that movie)
So first thing’s first I guess. The basic stat trio. TJ has strength and durability while Balrog has speed. What are the differences between these stats? Well, Combo can be considered large building (?) for the damage that can be caused to some arenas as collateral damage during a fight. Balrog isn't far off from this though. He fought F.A.N.G. who very clearly intended to kill Balrog, so he likely must have been able to survive some amount of F.A.N.G.’s poison, which can in a short timeframe turn a human into dust. Assuming this means the poison has a burning or acidic quality, instant evaporation of humans usually yields large building level as well. And through chain scaling means, you can also somehow apply this to his strength.
As for speed, Balrog edges out by being at least twice as fast since F.A.N.G. could keep up with Rashid who has kept up with some Street Fighter mid tiers.And to be quite honest, saying Combo scales to Cinder and Glacius in speed makes no sense. He's never fought either, and the mach 3-5 feat for Cinder that Glacius scales to only comes from the original series and not the reboot, where Combo is more impressive in context.Also, when it comes to strategy and intelligence, Balrog is dumb, but not that dumb. He's beaten more disciplined fighters before and was smart enough to know to betray Shadaloo when it would benefit him most.
Sure, Combo is a way more technical and analytical fighter, but it doesn't help when his opponent is faster and has dealt with people like him before.The only issue left to present itself to Balrog is that Combo is going to have an easier time taking blows and healing thanks to his (limited) healing factor. But with enough powering through and quick dodging, I think Balrog can pull it off. Also, this fight feels a lot more clear when you put their track records into perspective. Balrog has fought a more diverse amount of supernatural and just blatantly superhuman enemies before, such as Zangief, F.A.N.G., and Necalli. Most of Combo’s wins are against common Fulgore and Riptor units, which while impressive in context for us, isn't much for his verse.
So the way I see it, Balrog is gonna Gigaton Blow Combo out of the water.