Either a newcomer is looking to join a gang or the good guys are Dressing as the Enemy
to infiltrate it. Everything seems to be going fine until the gang leader tells them that if they want in, they have to beat someone from the gang in a fight. Naturally, the guy who has to be beaten is the biggest
guy in the gang.
Leads to some Fridge Logic
, since there are obviously plenty of guys who are much less badass
than this that are already in the gang, but that never tends to get brought up.
There's a variation in which a character who enters prison has to pick a fight with and beat up the nastiest looking guy on their first day in order to be treated decently by other prisoners. Sometimes, this implicitly or explicitly involves avoiding Prison Rape
A subtrope of Initiation Ceremony
and Rite of Passage
, while the guy being fought is a subtrope of Threshold Guardian
. Compare and contrast If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten
- In Desperado, The Dragon mentions to the Big Bad that the dragon's nephew wants to get into the cartel. The Big Bad sees the nephew doing some sparring and announces that he's only interested in letting the nephew in if he can beat Cristos. Cristos turns out to be a tattoo covered badass who believes in Fighting Dirty and has martial arts training. He proceeds to unleash a nasty beatdown on the nephew, including kneecapping the kid. How did anyone else make it into that cartel?
- In The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond washes up on an island and encounters smugglers. They tell him that one of their members has been condemned to death and so if he wants to live, he'll have to kill the guy in a fight (and conversely, if the condemned kills him, his crime will be forgiven). Edmond takes a third option and defeats the guy and then pleads for his life, winning the guy's Undying Loyalty.
Live Action Television
- In Consider Phlebas, Horza, one of the protagonists, is picked up by Space Pirates, and is told that there have limited beds and food, and so if he wants a spot on board, he'll have to fight to the death. He's put against a young and cocky crewmember, and while Horza is a skilled mercenary, at this point, he's shapeshifted into an elderly body. He defeats but does not kill his opponent, but the captain kills the opponent- basically, he wanted an excuse to get rid of the guy, and since Horza was the better fighter, he found one.
- In a BBC series titled Diamond Geezer, one of the protagonists is a young con who has just entered prison, and the other protagonist does a Batman-Gambit to help him be treated well there- he sets it up so the young guy has to engage in a boxing match with a bulky prisoner who is an enforcer of a London Gangster who pretty much runs the place from a Luxury Prison Suite. The young guy doesn't win, but he shows enough spunk that the London Gangster looks at him with respect. Immediately prior to the fight, he's told that if he hadn't participated, he'd be subject to harassment from other prisoners, including Prison Rape.
- In one episode of Burn Notice, Michael and co. capture a member of The Mafiya, and in order to get inforation out of him, Michael pretends to be a fellow captive. In order to earn the man's trust, Michael picks a fight with him, accusing him of being a snitch. Michael has to use a fighting style that someone with that background would know, and has to fight carefully- well enough to win, but not quite so violently that it's so clearly a fight to the death that the other guy is more likely to successfully kill him. Michael wins, and the gangster takes a Defeat Means Friendship attitude after that.
- In the western Street Fighter cartoon, Ryu and Ken go undercover in infiltrate the Mad Gear gang from Final Fight. They're told they can only get in if they can beat Sodom, who was the katana wielding boss from the second stage of Final Fight. Naturally, they're up to the challenge, but it makes you wonder how all the street punks that you can practically one shot made it into the gang.