Defeat Means Respect
A villain gets defeated but the defeat causes them to view the winner as a worthy opponent.
"Shepard. You are becoming an annoyance."The Dragon spends his whole first appearance insulting or belittling the hero. After being defeated he considers the hero a Worthy Opponent. This is different from Defeat Means Friendship because the opponent is still an enemy to the victor but it can eventually evolve into friendship. Compare Graceful Loser and Touché. Anime and Manga
-- Harbinger, Mass Effect 2: Arrival
- In Gurren Lagann, Viral, who starts off as utterly contemptuous of our heroes, respects his opponents more and more with each consecutive defeat.
- Kagato in Tenchi Muyo! expresses admiration and respect for both the hero, Tenchi, and the goddess Tsunami who granted him his power. See the page quote for Graceful Loser.
- You're Under Arrest!: Strike Man comes to regard Natsumi as his arch nemesis, whom he dubs as "the infamous Homerun Girl", after she repeatedly knocks each of his pitches out of the park. Their alleged rivalry is one-sided, as Natsumi thinks he's a nutjob, and would rather not have to put up with him.
- In Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Girard is seeking out someone good enough to defeat him. He embraces Ricky Bobby at the end
- In Mass Effect the Reapers treat each cycle's resistance to being culled as futile (a speed bump at most), but by the end of Mass Effect 2 their leader Harbinger begins to acknowledge just how unexpectedly difficult humanity and Commander Shepard in particular is making this cycle.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, your characters' role in the Battle of Kvatch earns them respect from the Dremora who were besieging the town.
- This is a fairly regular trope in Grand Theft Auto games, particularly Vice City, where you set up a crew by proving you're better than each of your specialists in their specialty.
Hello, Unknown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here.