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[[quoteright:234:[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/plushspike.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:234:"You're a bloody puppet!"]]
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->''"I was once a badass vampire. But love, and a pesky curse, defanged me. Now I'm just a big fluffy puppy with bad teeth."''
-->-- '''[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Spike]]''', ''Series/{{Angel}}'' [[note]]speaking of Angel [[HilariousInHindsight in an inadvertent prophecy of what was to become of him]] later on down the road[[/note]]

The process by which a {{badass}} becomes less of a badass.

A belief persists among many writers that if the audience takes a liking to a real {{badass}} who fears nothing, has infinite confidence and even carries off defeat with panache, it must mean that what they most want to see is that character reveal a vulnerable side and all manner of inner demons.

It is either that belief or the natural result of CharacterDevelopment, where extra dimensions are added to an existing character to flesh them out and keep them fresh. Either way, the character starts out badass, and becomes less so over time.

Most often this happens through EnsembleDarkHorse tendencies, they appear so often and are so popular that any attempt to give them greater depths results in them losing what made them so effective in the first place.

Contrast with TookALevelInBadass. Compare with MenaceDecay, MotiveDecay, VillainDecay, and TheWorfEffect. Compare and contrast BaitTheDog and MoralEventHorizon, where a Badass character loses their cool as a result of [[KickTheDog dog kicking]].

{{Chickification}} is a gender-specific variant. {{Wimpification}} is a YaoiGenre and {{Slash|Fic}} specific variant. Someone who undergoes ''physical'' Badass Decay may become a PerilousOldFool.

Also note that this trope applies when a badass decays within a single continuity. If an absolute badass in your favorite book is portrayed as somewhat less awesome in TheFilmOfTheBook, that's not this trope, it's AdaptationalWimp.

A reminder from your friendly neighborhood watch: [[TropesAreTools Tropes Are Not Bad]]. In fact many of the characters on this page TookALevelInBadass ''as a result of'' their Badass Decay.

----
!!Examples:
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* Both Vegeta from ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' and Hiei from ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' start out as evil and downright sadistic {{badass}}es but as time went on and their number of friends increased, so did their overall morality (more so with Vegeta than Hiei, even though it is arguable with both characters). Even Vegeta seemed to realize he'd been defanged and had made a much better villain than a hero, and purposefully had one of the later villains try to turn him evil again. It didn't seem to quite take; after killing a nameless crowd and brawling a little with Goku, he was back to fighting baddies and [[spoiler: topped it off with a HeroicSacrifice.]] He got better. This is ''Dragon Ball Z'', almost nobody of [[DisneyDeath importance dies - permanently.]]
** This is actually evident with most reformed villains in Shonen shows. Sticking with ''Manga/DragonBall'', Yamcha was once a feared bandit who rivaled Goku in martial arts prowess. He then spends the rest of the series doing absolutely nothing of importance.
** In Piccolo's introduction to the series, he easily wipes the floor with Goku while in the weakest state he is ever in. He also nearly manages to take over/destroy the world. By the end of DBZ, he is relegated to teaching small children a magical dance, and later plays the straight man in a comic duo (him and Gotenks).
** Tenshinhan. He was once one of the most powerful characters in the early part of ''Dragon Ball'' and was one of the few humans who could match Goku in combat. After he lost to Nappa, however, he was sidelined like several other characters.
** Even ''Gohan'' suffers this, although not in as direct a path as Vegeta. At the beginning of ''Dragon Ball Z'', he's implied to have great 'hidden power' and this is shown repeatedly throughout the Saiyan and Namek sagas, with him injuring or even fighting evenly with much more powerful opponents for short times. He fades from prominence in the Android and Cell sagas, but all the buildup eventually culminates in him becoming the most powerful character in the series in the Cell Games. By the time the Buu saga rolls around, however, he's a glorified punching bag, and though he eventually makes an attempted return to glory, it lasts about three episodes before he goes back to getting thoroughly destroyed. Kid just could not fill the old man's shoes. Possibly justified in Gohan's case in that he doesn't really ''want'' to be [[IAmNotMyFather like Goku]] and [[IJustWantToBeNormal really just wants to study and be a Salaryman]] like [[EducationMama Chi-Chi]] [[MommasBoy wanted.]]
** The character who suffers from this the most is without a doubt Uub. ''Dragon Ball Z'' ends with him being built up to being the one to take Goku's place as protector of Earth. He even merges with Buu to regain the full power of Majin Buu, the strongest villain in the previous series, and yet after all that still gets used as a punching bag. In the end his greatest achievement was killing a few undead Saibaiman and a revived General Rildo.
** Master Roshi suffers from this in the original ''Dragon Ball'' anime. At the start of the series he is one of the strongest people on the planet, even stronger than the protagonist Goku. By the Piccolo Jr. arc he is little more than comic relief.
* [[ActionGirl Sakura Haruno]] starts off the timeskip of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' as the first member of Team Seven to go up against a Akatsuki, Sasori, and ''win'' with help from the equally [[NeverMessWithGranny Badass Grandma]] Chiyo. She was hailed as the second coming of Tsunade, who'd she'd eventually surpass with her talent. Come next arc...she's knocked out at the starting bell after Naruto roars Kabuto into her. Come next arc...she does nothing, she doesn't even get to fight. [[RuleOfThree Come next arc]] she still isn't able to land a blow on Tobi. {{Subverted|Trope}} in the Invasion of Pain where she knocks out one of Pain's summons with [[OneHitKill one blow]] and organizes the survivors while Naruto fights Pain one on one. THEN in the next arc she hits her lowest low: [[spoiler: First she's treated as a ragdoll by Karui and Omoi, getting knocked out. Then she 'confesses' her love for Naruto to get him off Sasuke's trail. Then she decides to kill Sasuke on her own...and can't bring herself to do it. Then she gets strangled by a weakened Sasuke ''despite having SuperStrength'' and needs Naruto to save her from the stab of her own kunai.]] The War Arc's recovered her somewhat...but she's no longer the ActionGirl she was at the start of Part II.
** [[SpotlightStealingSquad Uchiha]] [[BaseBreaker Sasuke]] is also strangely another contender for Badass Decay. [[spoiler: At the start of Part II, he was on another level than Naruto, Sakura, and Sai together, and he took over Orochimaru's consciousness when [[GrandTheftMe he tried to transfer his mind into his]], battles the powerful Akatsuki member Deidara one on one and wins (AssPull escape notwithstanding) and then fights Itachi and manages to impress him and ''force'' him to use his trump card, [[PoweredArmor Susano'o]] to survive his [[ShockAndAwe Kirin]]. Then he faces the awesome [[CrazyAwesome Killer Bee]] and...gets pwned even with his full team AND is humiliated when he takes a tentacle of Killer Bee back to Akatsuki. Then he faces the Kages, and puts up an impressive but futile fight against [[FourStarBadass the Raikage, A]] before Gaara needed to [[SaveTheVillain save him]]. He fights Gaara who blocks all of his Amaterasu strikes without even moving while simultaneously protecting his siblings and Darui. He is then nearly killed by [[LadyOfWar Mei Terumi]] despite having a higher level of Susano'o available, needing White Zetsu to save him. And then [[BigBad Obito while playing Madara]] had to save him from being atomized by [[BadassGrandpa Onoki]]. He managed to get some badass credentials back when he fought and beat [[WellIntentionedExtremist Danzo Shimura]] despite Danzo holding back, the very fact he could hold out against [[RealityWarping Izanagi spam]] even Itachi complimented on. Then come Kakashi...he loses his sight fighting him when he gets Susano'o's final armor. And is nearly stabbed by Sakura in the back. Then in the War Arc he takes down all Zetsus alone but is limited from fighting Kabuto with all power by Itachi.]]
* Nearly the entire cast of ''Anime/YuGiOh'' suffered from this in the anime. In the original seven volumes of the manga, Joey/Jonouchi and Tristan/Honda being former gang members was a lot more obvious and only slightly less so later on, as they delivered quite a few beatings to kids their age and full-grown adults. For example, n the original manga, Jonouchi was an adept fighter, even though he wasn't a great gamer, due to living his early teen years as a gang member that had to fight to survive. He beats Bandit Keith up during Duelist Kingdom for trying to steal his cards. In the anime, Bandit Keith beats HIM up and he usually ends up looking like a wannabe thug. Also, the anime likes to put him in dog suits. Notably in the anime's version of Dungeon Dice Monsters, where Otogi has the chance to humiliate him in this way. Naturally, the manga's version of Yugi didn't let it get to that point. Dark Yugi himself was not someone to mess with, as he previously had a tendency to play Shadow Games with anyone who pissed him off, which usually ended with the loser insane, grievously hurt, or dead that lasted until the end of Duelist Kingdom. Even Tea/Anzu could throw an ArmorPiercingSlap once in a while, and not just for dramatic effect, either. Then the anime and real life card game rolled around, and suddenly Yugi and Jonouchi are settling all their problems with Duel Monsters, while Honda and Anzu are reduced to cheerleaders.
** Kaiba was also greatly reduced in badassery during his transition from manga to anime, where he spends more time standing around being TheStoic than he does doing actual badass feats. He did have a few [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome good moments]] in the first season and in the occasional anime fillers that focus on him, but even those were a step down from trapping Yugi and his friends in a theme park designed specifically to make them die horrific deaths.
** Mokuba. Again, the franchise from before and after the universe revolved around Duel Monsters can be considered two different series with [[InNameOnly curious name similarities]]. The ''old'' Mokuba was an EnfantTerrible and wanted to kill Yugi. He was actually one of the ''better villains in the series.'' Most villains do something heinous in a "muggle criminal" sorta way, run afoul of someone the Pharaoh likes, get challenged to a Shadow Game (which is ''anything'' a Millennium Item holder challenges you to. Pegasus just suggested that the challenge be his own card game; if you're really the "King of Games," you can win, can't you?) and lose, suffering the Penalty Game the Pharaoh chose to inflict (a curse, sometimes fatal, sometimes [[FateWorseThanDeath worse,]] though if he was feeling merciful you may get away with being horribly {{Mind Rape}}d with illusions.) That was the formula: "I'm such a badass criminal -> you and your stupid pyramid thingy can't beat me -> OhCrap." And then there were the ''serious'' villains. Yes, you're reading this correctly: ''[[TagalongKid Mokuba]]'' was a frickin' '''KnightOfCerebus''' in the manga. He bears no resemblance whatsoever to the later Mokuba from the ''Duel Monsters anime'', who exists to (a) [[MoralityPet be the one Kaiba is nice to so we don't hate him]] and (b) [[DamselInDistress get kidnapped]] - ''[[TheLoad a lot]].''
** Weevil Underwood and Rex Raptor were once lauded as regional champions, and to be feared. However, after their not one, but two defeats at the hands of the protagonists, they became nothing more than comic relief. That is, until they got the superpowered Seal...
** Jun Manjoume in ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'' suffers from this in Season 3, but gets better in Season 4.
** [[Anime/YuGiOh5Ds Aki Izayoi]] has unambiguously become much less threatening, dangerous, impressive, or actually interesting as a character as the series has progressed.
** Jack Atlas, who started out the series as the serious [[TheRival Rival]] but deteriorated to the point in which he contributed little more to the series than to provide PluckyComicRelief with his incessant bickering with Crow and with his suddenly acquired love for cup ramen that he [[OutOfCharacterMoment cried over.]]
* This possibly happened to [[Manga/FlameOfRecca Tokiya Mikagami]], who was at first a completely ruthless man driven for revenge, and in the Ura Butou Satsujin, he manages to give out many great performances. Come to the latter arcs of the manga, however, although time by time, he did ''awesomely'', he also often became the recipient of DistressBall, turning into him into the DistressedDude TWICE.
** Mikagami never really decayed, he evolved into a more interesting and complete person. His whole character arc never robbed him of his power or cool head but granted him a truly memorable opponent who actually not only defeated him but changed him. The perception of badass decay comes from the flanderization of his stoicism in the anime. In the manga he was one of the funniest characters as he was the ultimate straight man, whereas the anime showed him as a personality challenged bishonen.
** However, despite evolving into a more interesting, the fact that after the tournament, his record of fighting consist of either getting an off-screen beat up and being a DistressedDude still counts as a Badass Decay. It was his Badassery that decayed, not his character overall.
* Quite a few members of the ''Manga/IkkiTousen'' cast display this over the period of the third Great Guardians season. Most notably Kan'u Unchou suffers from {{Flanderization}} so badly that it cripples her BadAss status and she becomes mostly unrecognizable for the first few episodes. See also [[spoiler: Ryofu Housen]]'s display of this through LossOfIdentity. Thankfully they "get better" later in the season.
* A rare "objective" take on this in ''Manga/AngelDensetsu'': Ogisu ''thinks'' he's suffering from this (his {{genre savvy}}ness, unfortunately, is [[WrongGenreSavvy off mark]], and ends there too). Essentially he doubts if he is {{Badass}} because he keeps being defeated in battle once he transfers into a new school despite being undefeated previously. He ''is'' Badass but Ogisu is simply being OvershadowedByAwesome.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'':
** Manga Gendo makes for a debatable case, as he's much more emo and pathetic compared to his anime version but also much more cynical, cruel and insane. The same charge has been laid over his confession that he's a pile of self-hate with a social phobia in the end.
** Some view Asuka's descent into madness as Badass Decay too, as she was established as an incredibly assertive and combative character, but then again, it also helped make her one of the show's biggest [[TheWoobie Woobies]].
* Nanael from ''Anime/QueensBlade'' seems to have gotten this treatment. Ever TheDitz, she one time surprisingly decides to take on three major demons all by herself, easily defeating them. Later she loses all too easily against ''one'' of them in battle.
** When entering the tournament she was given a bottle of milk by the head angel that would drain her of power if spilled. [[TheDitz She quickly ends up spilling most of it.]]
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''
** Ash suffers from this himself up to BW. At the end of each region or so, the guy's at the top of his game, taking down fully evolved Pokémon with ease, and in the case of DP, singlehandedly taking on a legendary. Then Ash dumps his entire team (and apparently Pikachu's levels) with Oak. Pikachu then goes on to having a hard time dealing with baby Pokémon. Averted with the BW-XY transition, however: Ash lost a great deal of his badassery in BW, only to gain them back again in the first two episodes of XY. By the second episode of XY he took on (and successfully tamed) a rampaging Garchomp with just himself, his Pikachu, and his Froakie.
** Ash's Buizel started out being able to take out Dawn's Piplup, Zoey's Glameow, and Ash's Pikachu one after the other, and showing a sort of joy in beating them. Now, it's a run-of-the-mill LightningBruiser that, while still enjoying a good scrap, doesn't seem anywhere near as strong as it did in its debut episode.
** Brock went through this. When introduced, he was a Gym Leader and a genuine threat. After joining Ash and Misty, his character became more and more softened and his battling became less and less frequent. Just by looking at his previous most used Pokémon (Onix) and one of his last teams (Happiny and Bonsly), one can start to notice the difference.
** Team Rocket also qualifies. In the second episode, they were a viable threat, and were even wanted by the police. But as the series progressed, they became less and less of a threat… As of ''Black and White'', however, [[TakingALevelInBadass they've taken a level in badass]], and have again become a viable threat. But then in ''X and Y'', their badassery has decreased again.
** Jessie's Lickitung. It was one of the most powerful Pokémon they ever owned; it easily defeated Ash's Bulbasaur, Brock's Vulpix, and Pikachu, before it was eventually defeated by Misty's Psyduck. In later appearances it was defeated easily by Ash's Pokémon, especially Pikachu, who previously couldn't even harm it. The only time it came close to the power of it's original appearance was when it took down a Nidoking (Though it needed Team Rocket's other Pokémon to slow it down first).
** Even Gary Oak is an offender. In the first season, Gary was always three steps ahead of Ash, rolling around the region in a Corvette with teenage cheerleaders, acting like a total jerk to Ash whenever they met, flaunting his superiority. Then one day, he loses a match, big time, and it's assumed to be a BreakTheHaughty moment, and after that, Gary is far more modest and humble out of nowhere, and only lightly teases Ash. Also, his cheerleaders disappeared. Many fans were outraged. [[StatusQuoIsGod He later regained both his ego and his cheerleaders in time for the Johto League tournament.]]
* In the first season of ''{{Anime/Digimon|Adventure}}'', Angemon was easily the most powerful fighter on the hero's side, able to take out enemies who were at higher stages than himself. His next stage had a one hit kill, healing moves and he never reached his highest stage for the sake of conflict. In most later Digimon media, Angemon suffers TheWorfEffect. New mons aren't stronger, Angemon just sucked all the sudden. He gets all sorts of new stages that all get beaten anticlimactically. The only exception is the card game.
** Also, at the end of the first season Angemon fought the strongest mon by himself while taking care of all the other protagonists, also during a scene in the second season he makes a brief appearance (which also doubles as genre savviness for both him and Takeru for coming up with the idea) to one-hit several mooks and at the same time showing off his then rival how far behind his league he was.
** In the first ''Digimon'' movie, Omnimon wipes out an army of Diaboromon. In the second ''Digimon'' movie, Omnimon can't handle a swarm of Kuramon. Not only is Kuramon Diaboromon's weaker, [[EvolutionPowerup unevolved form]], there were fewer Kuramon than there were Diaboromon, the entire scene makes no sense unless you look at it as the writers fumbling to bring out [[MerchandiseDriven a brand new form.]]
* ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'': Lina's three allies seem to get progressively weaker in later seasons, whereas she maintains her relatively powerful SquishyWizard status. Zelgadis is the worst offender, having [[MagicKnight balanced magic and swordplay]] combined with [[StoneWall stone skin]]; he's usually the one [[TheWorfEffect who gets taken down or brushed off first]] later on; earlier he was genuinely threatening. Gourry the swordsman could provide in a pinch before; later on he becomes more or less [[MacGuffin a plot coupon]] because he happens to be wielding a very powerful ForgottenSuperWeapon. The novels avert Gourry's decay by giving him a new sword and maintaining his BadassNormal status, however.
** Amelia was always weaker than her companions, but she went [[TookALevelInBadass the other way]], surprisingly; so did [[TheMedic healer]] Sylphiel.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Kon was introduced as a genuine problem and was actually considered a threat to the main characters. After the end of that storyline, he was quickly reduced to a JokeCharacter ever after.
** Even Ichigo went through this, he ends the Soul Society arc being able to beat Captains, he blocks Yami's punch by holding up his sword then slices clean through his arm. Mere episodes later he can't even defeat a mook. Then he gets better and then ends up being able to destroy the strongest espada. Then manages to scratch another with his strongest attack. However, Ichigo's case is rather justified because his power fluctuates greatly (It goes to Hero to Zero and back), and its based on how focused he is and how serious he's taking the situation.
* Tuxedo Mask from ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' also had this problem but mostly in the anime. In the first season he starts out as Sailor Moon's personal DeusExMachina, but as the Sailor Team gathers and begins to grow stronger, he starts to fall under this trope, being the only one not to receive power-ups on a regular basis. His [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]] self, on the other hand, performs the inverse, as in that continuity he starts out with no real powers, but manages to get a normal semi-powerful attack spell during the second series.
** Kunzite is a particularly menacing and dangerous presence in the Dark Kingdom arc of the anime, forming shrewd plans to deal with his enemies and providing a more seasoned and experienced source of aid to his younger partner, Zoisite. After Zoisite dies, he attacks the Sailor Senshi and they just barely survive his onslaught. Then ''directly'' after this happens, Kunzite suddenly becomes the "main villain" for an arc and all this goes out the window. He comes up with particularly brainless plans to root out Sailor Moon's identity, all of which target seemingly random traits of women that naturally just cause him to zero in on the ''wrong girl''. He also frequently gets outshone by the evil Endymion/Tuxedo Mask (''and that is saying something''). Though he ''does'' return to being competent for a few episodes once Endymion is put out of commission.
* Lampshaded in ''Anime/JubeiChan'' season 2, with [[spoiler: shiro]] pointing out that in the first season that he could hold his own again jiyu's enemies to some new ones, who promptly mop the floor with him
* ''Manga/MagicalRecordLyricalNanohaForce'' does this rather early on to LadyOfWar Signum, regarded as one of the more {{Badass}} characters in the series. [[SmugSnake Cypha]] [[HeroKiller of]] [[AntiMagic Huckebein]] became the first to decisively defeat her, and gave a rather brutal finishing to boot. It's a bit early to say whether this trope is really in effect currently as Signum has not really been seen since and the incident could be a sort of DarkerAndEdgier version of Nanoha and Fate being defeated (and having their Linker Cores stolen) in A's.
** Signum has finally shown up again waking up at the hospital with Hayate, Rein, and Agito worried about her and generally [[{{Moe}} having a sweet reunion with Hayate telling Signum that it's too early to join Reinforce Eins in heaven]]. While it's not the badass reappearance that many fans probably wanted, Signum still retains her credentials as she completely thrashed Cypha before she [[StoryBreakerPower "Reacted"]] and the rest of the cast was defeated far worse (Nanoha and Fate were largely unscathed but poor Hayate was impaled completely out of nowhere by Huckebein's leader, who hadn't been seen until then, before she one-shotted Erio and Vita). It seems like a case of this for the main cast combined with absurdly broken villains and faulty new weapons...though there are now hints of a conspiracy involving the company that made those weapons so things are likely more than they seem for now.
* Tokiko Tsumura in ''Manga/BusouRenkin'' started out as a badass LadyOfWar, capable of holding her own even with a homunculus embryo slowly turning her into a homunculus herself and causing her severe pain whenever she uses her kakugane. And then she defeats Jinnai, and that's her last major victory for a long, long time, and after that she's seemingly delegated to emotional support for Kazuki and chopping up minor mooks. Granted, this wouldn't be as bad, but it definitely reaches its lowest point during the Re-Extermination Arc when she's caught in a massive explosion that splits the group up and is injured and has to be defended from another enemy, while ''not even trying to defend herself'' when said enemy suddenly turns around and attacks her. Fortunately, the next fight she's in she finally manages to reverse this trope and pull out another major victory.
* In-Universe example: The center theme of one episode of GundamEvolve is [[Anime/MobileSuitGundam Char Aznable]], after having used his "Quattro Bajeena" alias for a while, beginning to realize he's lost his edge. He has this realization during a training mission where his top-of-the-line, fully loaded Rick Dias is defeated handily by combat data of his old self in a Zaku II armed with ''just a Heat Hawk''. This episode addresses the fact that Quattro in ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'' isn't pulling off insane tricks and inducing pants-wetting at the mere mention of his name like he did in the original series. Probably has something to do with RedemptionDemotion.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'' has an in-universe example in Gecko Moria. When we first meet him, he's a member of the [[PsychoForHire Seven Warlords]], seven of the most BadAss pirates the World Government could convince to work for them, whose job is to keep other pirates in check. Unfortunately, due to a FreudianExcuse involving [[NoodleIncident a rather unpleasant defeat several years before the story started,]] Moria had become a FlunkyBoss, making him considerably rusty at one-on-one combat, which results in him getting flattened by rookie pirate Luffy, and later makes a fairly poor showing at the War at Marineford. Since, as mentioned above, BadAss is required to be on a Warlord's resume, the World Government decides to [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness kick him out]]. [[spoiler: However, Moria manages to escape, hinting that he's going to [[TookALevelInBadass Take A Level In Badass]] over the TimeSkip.]]
** Monster Chopper also gets a downgrade in badassery, but this is mainly because Chopper learned how to control this form. This means that instead of a rampaging murderous beast, you still have the adorable Chopper (in terms of personality, not appearance). Usopp even mentions how awkward this is.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Superman during his transition from [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks the Golden Age]] to [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks the Silver Age]] may be the most outstanding example of this trope. From a noble vigilante who wasn't afraid of roughing it up with (non-superpowered) villains, to the nicest guy in the universe, who wouldn't kill a fly and only destroyed machines if no other choice was available. Unlike many of his Golden Age colleagues (e.g. Batman), many of his Silver Age trappings have stuck to this day, but please notice that TropesAreNotBad.
* During the earliest stories of his series, Superman's Pal JimmyOlsen was a competent detective and PintsizedPowerhouse who might get a head start on beating up the bad guys before Superman got there and who, if captured, often found some way to alert Superman with or without his signal watch. As the stories progressed, he became more and more TheLoad.
* ComicBook/{{Bane}} went through a lot of this. After ''Comicbook/{{Knightfall}}'', he went from defeating Franchise/{{Batman}} to losing to everyone from Azrael to Judomaster's SON. Creator/GailSimone has been reversing most of this in ''ComicBook/SecretSix''.
* Something similar happened to Doomsday. After all, they were both an "accomplishment villain": [[GenericDoomsdayVillain a villain created with the sole purpose of defeating the hero]] to raise sales. The problem with this kind of villain is that the fans will want to get more stories with him, and writers have to depower him so that the stories are not prone to FridgeLogic (if he could kill Superman once, why can't he do it again?)
* Thorn started off as a pretty badass (if gimmicky) feminist vigilante who went around kicking ass and teaming up with the likes of Comicbook/LoisLane and Comicbook/GreenArrow. By the time the year 2000 rolled in, she had become an ineffectual joke who appeared as a recurring thorn in the side (pun intended) to [[Comicbook/GothamCitySirens Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy]]. It became something of a running joke where the duo would be attacked by Thorn while committing a crime, only to easily defeat her and leave her bound and gagged. A couple years later Creator/GailSimone revived the character and made her into a cunning antiheroine who fought the ComicBook/BirdsOfPrey.
* Ragamuffin from ''Comicbook/LenoreTheCuteLittleDeadGirl'' is shown [[HorrorHunger to eat a woman ''alive'']] in the first issue. Due [[SealedEvilInATeddyBear to his transformation in a rag doll]], he dropped from a {{Magnificent|Bastard}} [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Vampire]] to a cuddly toy, used to entertain Lenore. After he reverts back to his vampire form in issue 12, he is devoted to [[TheNotLoveInterest her]] and [[KnightTemplarParent his sole purpose is her protection]].
* A rather insignificant example of this is when it turns out Abe Sapien from ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' gets seasick in ''Drums of the Dead''. Abe remarks, "Being in the water is different from being on the water" or somesuch.
* Nicky Cavella's first introduction in ''ComicBook/ThePunisherMAX'' paints him as a suave, AffablyEvil badass who smooth talks his partners and generally acts like a pretty decent guy (until he gets down to business), yet the mobsters of New York are [[BewareTheNiceOnes terrified of him]] and he's done ''something'' to put him in charge of the two most [[AxCrazy dangerously]] {{psycho|ForHire}}tic killers in the mob. When his plans come crashing down around him, he isn't so cocky and smooth anymore and runs away while using the man he conned into helping him as a meat shield. Even so, he still seems like a pretty dangerous and effective villain (not least because he subverted BondVillainStupidity). But in his next (and last) appearance, he is the complete opposite of everything that he was in the first comic. He's whiny, stupid, {{smug snake}}ish and just [[DepravedBisexual creepy]] and [[EnfantTerrible weird]]. Readers do get to see his origin story, and one part of it is [[IAteWhat horrifyingly]] [[EvilIsCool cool]], but overall his badass credentials seem to have been left in his other pair of pants.
* The X-Men's [[Characters/XMenVillains The Juggernaut]]. For the first three decades of publication history, he was a physically unstoppable villain empowered by the deity Cyttorak. Some of the notable feats include withstanding [[Comicbook/TheMightyThor Thor's]] "godforce" unharmed, an attack that was earlier shown capable of severely injuring Comicbook/{{Galactus}}. Then during {{Onslaught}} the Juggernaut gets a taste of TheWorfEffect, as he is knocked clean across two states and ends up comatose for several days just to show how badass Onslaught is. [[RedemptionDemotion Things went further downhill as Chuck Austen wrote him as part of the]] Comicbook/XMen. Juggernaut, who before had been capable of going for weeks if not years without air, food, or water, can suddenly drown in Austen's first story featuring him. There was absolutely no explanation for why the Juggernaut was suddenly very stoppable, and later authors have scrambled for a {{Retcon}} to explain that. The latest line comes from ''Comicbook/FearItself: The Worthy'', which says that Juggernaut's power goes "up and down on Cyttorak's whim". That is something that has never happened before, even when the Juggernaut went dimension-hopping with Comicbook/DoctorStrange and tried to kill Cyttorak when coming face to face with him. Or when the Juggernaut screwed up a bet between Cyttorak and other deities in The Eight Day, he was confirmed to still possess unstoppable strength from Cyttorak's enchantments in the follow-up story The Ninth Day.
* In his original appearance, [[Franchise/{{Tintin}} Roberto Rastapopoulos]] was portrayed as an actually threatening villain, being a MagnificentBastard who led a whole drug traffic in the first story arc in the whole series, almost succeeded in killing Tintin at several points and display some degree of {{Genre Savvy}}ness. In ''Fly 714 for Sydney'', he is turned into a comical villain who ends up accidentally revealing his whole plan under the effect of a truth serum and get heavily ridiculized, even failing to crush a ''spider''. Might be intentional, however, as Hergé's purpose when writing this book was to {{deconstruct|ion}} the adventure genre.
* ''ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'' had this happen with Metal Sonic. The "Version 3.0" had started out as something of a big threat. However, in the span of about 75 issues, that threat level disappeared quickly, becoming something of a joke. The fans, Sega and ultimately writer Ian Flynn got tired of that, though.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* According to Creator/RogerEbert, all famous movie villains run the lifespan of going from scary to camp to self-parody. You name the classic to modern villain, it runs this course, from ''Film/{{Dracula|1931}}'' and ''Film/{{Frankenstein|1931}}'' [[Film/AbbottAndCostelloMeetFrankenstein meeting]] Creator/AbbottAndCostello, to Hannibal Lecter and [[Film/FreddyVsJason Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees]].
* Alison Drake's (Ruth Chatterton) character towards the end of ''Film/{{Female}}'' (1933). Sadly, this is a common set-up for pre-Code films, mostly those featuring strong or amoral female characters. Another example would be Lily Powers in ''Film/BabyFace'' (1933).
* ''Franchise/StarWars''
** The prequel trilogy did this to Darth Vader...sort of. He only shows up properly at the very end, once "Anakin Skywalker" is done and over with, but the one time he's there features [[BigNo one of the most infamous]] {{Narm}} [[BigNo moments ever]] that really makes him seem less impressive.
** General Grievous gets this in an odd way. In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsCloneWars'' he was a badass unstoppable Jedi killer. However, at the end of the series, his few remaining internal organs were severely mangled by Mace Windu, resulting in him gaining a chronic cough and seeming much weaker in episode three, as he was intended to become a FallenHero and a precursor of sorts to Vader.
** [[TheDogShotFirst Han]] [[MemeticMutation shot first!]] Han Solo suffers from a rare case of ''retroactive'' Badass Decay, as [[{{Bowdlerise}} the controversial bowdlerisation]] occurred in the 1997 re-release of the original trilogy.
* Film/JamesBond tends to attract this accusation depending on actor and audience interpretation. Let's just leave it at that.
* Franchise/{{Godzilla}} went from an unstoppable force of sheer destruction to a lovable kids' hero during the 1960s-1970s.
** Most modern interpretations try to split the difference, making Godzilla a JerkWithAHeartOfGold. Mostly keeps to the sea or Monster Island if left alone. [[AwakeningTheSleepingGiant If humans piss him off, he will fuck up a few cities.]] If any other monsters step up, though, he'll gladly stomp their face into a few mountains. He's just like the ComicBook/IncredibleHulk, but bigger and charcoal gray instead of green (Though, Godzilla is ''sometimes'' green in a few depictions).
** King Ghidorah may be one of the fastest examples of Badass Decay in film history. He went from being the ultimate evil in his film debut (''Film/GhidorahTheThreeHeadedMonster'') to being TheDragon in the very [[Film/InvasionOfAstroMonster next film]]. Also, he went from being a genuine threat that took three monsters to defeat and over six to kill in the Showa era to being ''easily'' dispatched by Godzilla alone with a single blast.
* Pintel and Ragetti from ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean''. While they were always comic relief, they had no problem with murder in the first film. In the two sequels they are just mischievous at worst. This was even given an in-story justification: After losing their immortality at the end of the first film, they were deliberately trying to avoid provoking people into doing things like shooting them. Also, Ragetti had become religious and was worried about his eventual fate.
* Kevin Flynn in ''Film/TronLegacy'' is noticeably less proactive when compared with his incarnation in the first ''Film/{{Tron}}'' movie. This is mostly the result of having spent a prolonged period waging a HopelessWar against his own creation Clu, which has left him jaded, burnt-out, and despairing. Later in the movie, however, Kevin steps back up and exhibits some of the old badassery that characterized him in the first film.
* [[Film/{{Transformers}} Megatron]] started to suffer from this in ''Revenge of the Fallen'', where he became less of a threat than in the first movie and was shown to be slavishly following orders from [[BiggerBad The Fallen]][[note]]the comics and video game explain this quite well, and have Megatron turn against his master at the end.[[/note]] Also {{invoked|Trope}} in the sequel, ''Dark of the Moon''. Megatron sustains his brutal injuries from the previous film's final battle, resulting in him being in a weakened state (both physically and psychologically). He hardly fights at all (instead commanding his {{Mooks}} and trying to find peace), and when he ''does'' fight, [[spoiler:it's because ''a human girl'' manages to [[BreakThemByTalking strike a blow to his ego]], and while he ''does'' play a part in defeating [[BiggerBad Sentinel]], [[CurbStompBattle Optimus rips Megs' head out in a matter of seconds]]]]. This is averted in the [[AdaptationDistillation novelizations for both sequels]], where he remains a legitimate threat with his own motives and (in ''DOTM'') [[spoiler:[[HeelFaceTurn a worthwhile ally for Optimus in the final battle]]]].
* In ''Film/IpMan'' the title character was nearly untouchable; only the FourStarBadass BigBad landed any real blows. Not so much in the sequel. That the OldMaster could fight him to a draw, fans could accept. A boxer punk managing to knock him down multiple times didn't get accepted as readily. It's {{justified|Trope}}, though, for people who do their homework; boxing doesn't look as flashy for the cameras, but it ''is'' still a disciplined martial art, and even if The Twister was merely a "punk" rather than the toughest, fastest boxer to come over from Britain, it's explicitly shown that the people in charge of the match [[MovingTheGoalposts kept changing the rules to put Ip at a disadvantage]], and that Ip was forced to improvise when he couldn't rely on his prior training.
* This happens to the hitman Vincent in ''Film/{{Collateral}}''. He goes through most of the movie as a cold blooded killer who shoots down enemies in seconds. When it comes time for the climax, [[spoiler: he is gunned down by the cabbie hero who had never picked up a gun in his life.]] {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d after a fashion and probably justified: [[spoiler: His last words are [[TemptingFate to taunt the hero with how much better at this stuff he is.]] Doesn't matter how experienced you are if you let hubris get the better of you, genius.]]
* The T-Rex in ''Film/JurassicParkIII''. He is easily defeated by the Spinosaurus and gets no screen time other than their fight, essentially being replaced by the Spinosaurus. This is supposedly a case of RealityEnsues as the film's consulting paleontologist pointed out that the T-Rex was a scavenger and the Spinosaurus was really the predatory animal.
* The Scarecrow from ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga.'' He starts off as the BigBad of [[Film/BatmanBegins the first movie]], only to be quickly [[DemotedToDragon demoted]] to TheDragon once the real villain shows up. That's not all that bad except [[spoiler: the climax of the first movie sees him getting tasered by the main character's love interest within seconds of showing up. [[Film/TheDarkKnight The next movie]] begins with him as a lowly drug dealer where he is taken down in the BatmanColdOpen.]] It makes some sense, though; he's a scrawny little psychologist with no physical prowess or weapon skills. In the beginning of the first movie, all he really has are connections, fear gas (which he only obtained in part through those connections), and a lack of morality ([[CrapsackWorld which isn't exactly rare in the Batman universe]]). When the League of Shadows and the mob went down and he lost his position at the Asylum, he lost most of what made him a threat in the first place.
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'', Bruce's deteriorating health and a prolonged retirement from super heroics really hurt his efficiency when he shoulders the mantle again. The fact that Batman isn't as effective a fighter as he was is constantly discussed in-universe.
* The basic premise of the film ''Film/{{Hook}}'', where Peter Pan has left Neverland for so long that he's no longer the badass he was and has to relearn everything to save his children.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/TheAntithesis'' Qaira Eltruan begins Arc II as a genuine 'badass', who is cold and ruthless and devoid of all mercy and feelings. As the story goes on it is shown that he does have a heart, and his disguise as a ruthless unmerciful bastard is the result of terrible past experiences involving the death of his mother and other traumatic things he was forced to do as a militant leader. With Leid's help, Qaira slowly begins to feel compassion again, hence the decay of his badassness.
* Happened to Hannibal Lecter in ''[[Literature/TheSilenceOfTheLambs Hannibal]]'' and ''[[Literature/TheSilenceOfTheLambs Hannibal Rising]]''. It has been observed that he "wins" in ''[=Hannibal=]'', and [[BrainFood eats that one guy's brain]], but he also falls in love and {{wangst}}s over his newly added FreudianExcuse in the form of a dead little sister.
* Count {{Dracula}} has been steadily humanized since his appearance in Creator/BramStoker's 1897 [[Literature/{{Dracula}} novel]]. In the book, he is a cold, ruthless monster with no redeeming qualities. Since then, he's been softened in each new appearance, going from a vile, diabolical arch-fiend to a LargeHam in a cape and tux, tragically searching the oceans of time for his lost love by biting the necks of fainting, gasping, and all-too-willing females. Counting down...
** ''Film/{{Nosferatu}}'', depicted chillingly as the monstrous 'Orlok' by Max Shreck.
** ''Film/{{Dracula|1931}}'' with Creator/BelaLugosi, light on the horror but still magnificently evil.
** ''Film/HorrorOfDracula'' with Creator/ChristopherLee, perfectly vicious but now with the sexual element -- his victims ''[[UnfortunateImplications want]]'' him.
** The 1973 TV production of ''Dracula'' has Jack Palance as a fierce-looking vampire, but prefers to play up the "tragic figure searching for his lost love" angle.
** ''Film/{{Dracula 1979}}'' with Frank Langella, continuing his transformation from monster to lover, a tragic figure with poofy 70's hair and a partly-open poet's shirt.
** ''Film/BramStokersDracula'' with Creator/GaryOldman starts with Dracula's tragic history to create sympathy. Though he spends most of the film as a monstrous villain, all of his scenes with Mina heavily characterize him as a tragic romantic.
** Comedies such as ''Film/DraculaDeadAndLovingIt'' with Creator/LeslieNielsen and ''Film/LoveAtFirstBite'' play Dracula purely for comedy, and sometimes even as the hero.
** ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'' takes an interesting route in making Dracula an anti-hero who is thoroughly evil and yet fighting for the good guys. Alucard is characterized as a fairly honorable BloodKnight who is more interested in finding challenging opponents to fight than doing harm to regular people.
** A Creator/FredSaberhagen novel, ''Literature/TheDraculaTape'', comically subverts the Dracula story by having the Count show up and insist that he was the good guy all along and everyone else in the classic tale was a nut or actually in love with him.
** In the holiday special ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Halloween_That_Almost_Wasn%27t The Halloween That Almost Wasn't]]'' aka ''The Night Dracula Saved The World'', Dracula ends up saving Halloween (what else?). To ''really'' drive the stake in further, he was played by none other than ''[[WTHCastingAgency Judd Hirsch]]''.
** ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheReluctantWerewolf'', where he is no more menacing that Gomez Addams; ''WesternAnimation/DrakPack'', where he is the creator of a group of superheroes; and ''Los Vampiros las Prefieren Gorditas'', where he has to put up with Olmedo and Porcel's antics.
** ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' plays it both ways by lampooning Dracula's cliche mannerisms, but still making him far more powerful than the typical vampire. In the comics, Dracula becomes pathetic and kept Xander brainwashed for a while because he was lonely. Then he reminds the audience with a terrifying BadassBoast of what he is capable of.
** ''Film/BladeTrinity'' plays Dracula as a straight villain as well as the first and more powerful vampire. However, he's much less evil than the other modern vampires. Rather than a sadistic monster, he's an honorable warrior who prizes strength and is driven to create a powerful bloodline. Ultimately [[spoiler:before he dies he sees Blade as a worthy descendant and helps him escape capture]].
** In ''Comicbook/{{Planetary}}'', [[AnIcePerson Elijah Snow]] freezes Dracula completely in a matter of seconds and proceeds to ''[[GroinAttack kick out his entire crotch]]''.
** The trope is often averted and Dracula is played as a powerful, menacing villain with no redeeming characteristics. [[MonsterMash When teamed up with other classic monsters]], Dracula is often the most dangerous one of the bunch.
* The title character of ''Literature/ArtemisFowl''. Although thankfully this one has not yet fallen into {{wangst}}. Fowl has, however, kept what badassery he did have, and has yet to be as {{anvilicious}} as any of our heroes. The elves were parodies of other rather more anvilicious interpretations of the fairy folk.
** Possibly spoofed in the most recent book, in which he travels back in time to match wits with... well.... himself. One exchange later and he's left stranded on a telephone pole with nothing more than the line "I hate me."
* [[Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents Count Olaf]], although not [[TheWoobie woobie]]-fied, is less and less scary as the books go on, and more and more ludicrous. How much of this was deliberate is unknown.
* [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Vampires as a whole are a victim of this.]] What were once seen as undead creatures who fed on the blood of the living have completely turned into {{wangst}}y, emasculated, [[DracoInLeatherPants leather pants wearing]] pretty-boys as the object of desire for [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys rebellious teenage girls]]. Most recent examples are ''Literature/TheVampireChronicles'' and ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'', both of which were pure MrFanservice.
** Vampires have been portrayed as conflicted and used to explore themes of sexuality ''[[OlderThanTheyThink since before]] Creator/BramStoker''. The gothic horror tradition is rife with these themes: Literature/VarneyTheVampire was angsting over his vampiric nature 200 years before Edward Cullen was thought of, and Carmilla's entire hat was EvilIsSexy. Even in Anne Rice's works, they're still thoroughly portrayed as monstrous, even the sympathetic ones (which is where their angst comes from). If anything, vampires suffer more from {{Flanderization}} than this trope.
** There are [[Literature/TheStrain exceptions]] to every rule.
* Kisten from the ''Literature/TheHollows'' novels suffers from a classic example of this. First presented as the scion of the most powerful vampire in Cincinnati bent on dangerously seducing the main character he decays Spike-style over the series to becoming simply her romantic interest [[spoiler:and then he suffers RedemptionEqualsDeath]]
* Some fans insist that this is what happened to [[LoveableRogue Han Solo]] in the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse. Although that may be a failure to realize that he still does as much stuff (if not more) than what he does in the movies, but he's occasionally useless compared to his wife, children, and brother-in-law, all of who are extremely gifted in the Force. It would probably be more accurate to say that they all TookALevelInBadass while he did not.
* Kannwar, the immortal GodEmperor of a continent and the BigBad of the RightHandOfGod trilogy, gets this big time in the sequel trilogy. At the conclusion of the first trilogy he is only stopped in his war of conquest when [[spoiler: the creator of the Universe personally intervenes, shooting off his remaining hand with an arrow]]. By the end of the second trilogy he's spent a lot of time {{wangst}}ing with [[spoiler:the girl he turned immortal in the first trilogy]] and been blown up and revived several times, more or less for laughs.
* The ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' books have this happen to the Kingsguard. Once looked up to as shining examples of knighthood and the best fighters in the kingdom, they're now a joke, with all of them put in for political reasons rather than for fighting skill.
** The Night Watch has a similar problem, it used to be a largely volunteer force with criminals conscripted for sheer numbers. Now there are almost no volunteers, even fewer knights, and numbers are so small they've abandoned most of their fortresses.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* Spike from ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' began the series as a straight villain who was set up to be killed off. Prior to this, he did things like kill the Annointed One, lead three powerful demon bounty hunters, and (once it was decided not to kill him off) betray Angelus behind his back and help save the world for his own selfish benefit. [[EnsembleDarkhorse/LiveActionTV As the character became popular and got strung along throughout the rest of the show's run]], he gradually became more and more sympathetic and cuddly. The change was so infamous that this trope [[Administrivia/RenamedTropes was once called]] Spikeification. Despite his decay, the character would occasionally receive a few awesome moments to keep him interesting, and he wound up becoming somewhat badass again on ''Series/{{Angel}}''. The decay probably began around the season three episode when he stumbles back to town a heartbroken drunk after Drusilla broke up with him for not being evil enough. Thankfully, by the end of the episode, he realizes that all he needs to do to win her back is go back to being the person he was, i.e. a complete badass with a healthy dose of sociopathy.
** The decay hit the ground running in season 4 when he is captured by the Initiative (a government paramilitary group studying demons) and has [[RestrainingBolt a chip installed in his head that prevents him from hurting humans]]. With the ability to cause harm removed, he was forced to become Angel-like: drinking blood obtained from butchers or blood banks, helping the Scoobies because he was so raring for a fight that he chose to attack other demons, and generally becoming angsty about his inabilities. However, it was when he fell in love with Buffy that he dove face-first into the realm of decayed.
** This decay is sort of {{justified|Trope}} out-of-universe, because to keep Spike on the show past his time as a villain, he would have to be rendered a non-threat, so the audience wouldn't be wondering why [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim Buffy didn't just stake him]].
** Also, the Turok-Han. When it was first introduced, the "ubervamp" was so powerful that it just couldn't be stopped by ''any'' member of the Scooby gang and it almost killed Buffy. ''Twice''. On the third try, Buffy kills while giving a speech to all the Potentials and the Scoobies [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and Andrew]] in a CrowningMomentOfAwesome, but just barely. In the season finale, after Willow [[spoiler: turns all Potentials into Slayers,]] you can see a whole army of ubervamps go down by flies, as Buffy's army kill them as if they weren't stronger than regular vampires. And it's not only the power of a slayer; Robin and Giles and even Anya are seen killing a few of them!
* To an extent, Irina Derevko from ''Series/{{Alias}}''. Even Sark showed hints of humanity, but Derevko was given the VillainBall in season 5. Sark at least stayed believably unredeemed.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** {{Invoked}} about the Night's Watch, which has fallen on hard times. Of the veritable army that once existed to safeguard the realm, only a token militia of less than a thousand men remains. They are also severely under-equipped and can only afford to keep ''three'' of their nineteen castles along the Wall manned and maintained.
** Evoked and {{discussed}} in-universe with Robert Baratheon, who was a mighty warrior. When the series begins he's living on past glories, is too fat for his armor, and spends his days partying and trying not to piss himself.
* Lionel Luthor from ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', who was once the MagnificentBastard.
* Arthur Fonzarelli, "[[BreakoutCharacter The Fonzie]]" from ''Series/HappyDays'', is first {{flanderiz|ation}}ed and then decayed through the course of the series, but especially after it [[JumpingTheShark Jumps The Shark]]. He ends up being more like a Boys' Club leader than the aloof, antisocial cool guy he started the show as.
* ''{{Series/Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'': Cylons in general have avoided badass decay, but Caprica-Six seems to have suffered rather badly. She went from baby mercy-killing in the miniseries to pining for Baltar and [[HeelFaceTurn desiring co-existence with humans]] in ''Downloaded'', though it was clear she cared about Baltar in the miniseries and she wasn't seen again until ''Downloaded'' anyway, so its not as if we had much evidence of badassery on her part anyway. That at least led to the scary occupation of New Caprica. After that, unfortunately, she was eventually reduced to surrendering along with Baltar, and sitting in Galactica's brig getting hardly any screen time. It's well-written legitimate character development, up until late season 3 where the writers almost forgot she existed for a time.
** Starbuck goes through is a little bit in the later seasons, especially when [[spoiler:she dies and comes back]]. She goes from being the badass Viper pilot to captain of a reconnaissance mission. The biggest sign of this is when she slaps Baltar for revealing a secret about her. In previous seasons she sucker-punched both Tigh and Apollo when provoked, but here she fights like TheChick.
* Although never exactly a ''badass'', Norman Clegg from ''Series/LastOfTheSummerWine'' began the long-running series as an acerbic philosopher with a dry and pointed sense of humour (as well as functioning as the Ego of the series' PowerTrio). As time has gone on, however, he has become a total wimp: scared stiff of driving cars, terrified of the various female characters (especially Auntie Wainright) and increasingly resigned to whatever madcap scheme his current "leader" has in mind. One of many ways in which the series has [[JumpingTheShark jumped the shark]].
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers''
** Lord Zedd in ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' began life as the "Emperor Of Evil": a [[KnightOfCerebus genuinely terrifying villain]] who [[MakeWayForTheNewVillains quickly banished the comical Rita Repulsa]] and proved his magnificence by almost destroying the Rangers' zords, finally stripping Tommy of his Green Ranger powers, and creating his own highly kick-ass zord Serpentera, which ''towered'' above the Rangers' own Megazord. Then near the end of the 2nd season he got married to ''Rita'', becoming a more comical villain as the show went on and by the third season the transformation had become complete and he was a JadedWashout type character. By next season in ''[[Series/PowerRangersZeo Zeo]]'' he along with the rest of the Morphin baddies are run off by the Machine Empire (His voice actor confirms [[ExecutiveMeddling "Zedd scared small children, so they invoked this trope"]].) Ironically, he seems to do better in season three, as he pulls off more evil schemes which may convince the audience that he might even win. How? One of his plans climaxed in entering the Command Center, ''throne and all''.
** In the first season, Goldar was TheDragon and more than a match for the entire team of 5. Jason was capable of trading blows with Goldar, but that was it. But with season two [[SpotlightStealingSquad more about Tommy than any other cast member]], Goldar's character suffered dreadfully. Tommy began to defeat Goldar singlehandedly, but it wasn't just that Tommy's skills were growing. In one episode, ''[[TheSmartGuy Billy]]'' was able to kick Goldar around, ''unmorphed'', and that's when it got depressing. One might expect he'd be furious and try to regain his honor, but instead he just turned into a bungling nincompoop.
** {{Sixth Ranger}}s tend to decay in time to being [[TheWorfEffect jobbers for the villains]].
* Toyed with and retconned several times in ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' with Sylar. Several storylines make it look like he's becoming a more sympathetic character until the arc is {{aborted|Arc}} and he snaps back to being a psychopath.
* When the Time Lords first show up in ''Series/DoctorWho'' at the end of the Second Doctor's run, they were mysterious, [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien powerful]], and threatening to the Doctor. They forced him to regenerate and banished his regenerated self to Earth. Over time, the portrayal of Time Lords changed into that of a stagnant society in decline, who had largely forgotten much of their former power and morality. The downgrading of the Time Lords happened first accidentally and then deliberately. In "The Three Doctors" they appeared as more {{Human Alien|s}} than god-like. Then when they re-appeared in "The Deadly Assassin" they fell prey to deliberate TakeThat {{Retcon}} by writer/script editor Robert Holmes, ArmedWithCanon. Fandom at the time complained about Holmes' story, but it established the trend which later writers took and ran with.
** Similarly, the Brigadier, when he first appeared in the late 1960s (real time) took no guff from anyone and the stories portrayed UNIT, the force he led, as an elite team of defenders against AlienInvasion. He got gradually more comedic and less impressive, though he would regain his reputation later. As did UNIT itself.
** The Daleks, especially over the course of the new series. In the first episode, a single Dalek on near future Earth was presented as likely to START by killing everyone in the nearest city, should it escape. A Dalek army required the intervention of a being with powers little short of God-like. One of the cult of Skaro confidently predicted that five million Cybermen could be destroyed by a single Dalek. Later, they emasculate themselves by merging with humans. By 2010, Daleks serve tea when undercover, and when not undercover their ship's weaponry is successfully disabled by three human-piloted ''Spitfires'', albeit ones with Dalek guns.
** The ship was nearly drained of power at the time. In their first ever appearance, First Doctor serial ''The Daleks'' (1963-64), they serve meals to the Doctor and his companions when they're not undercover, but ''in control'' - the good guys are their prisoners. True, there's an evil plot afoot - but it's a remarkably subtle plot by Dalek standards, and taking prisoners at all is out of character. They only go undercover in ''Victory of the Daleks'' because there's no other way to ensure the survival of their race.
** Ontop of that however, Asylum of the Daleks has them [[spoiler: borrowing a page from the Cyberman's playbook (namely, converting a Human into a full Dalek as well as the Dalek Human Zombies).]], but the more prominent sign of Badass Decay would be [[spoiler: "The Daleks subtract love and add anger".]]
** On the subject of ''Series/DoctorWho'', The Cybermen in the classic era were infamously subject to this. By the time 80's Who rolled around, the Cybermen were routinely being killed with Solvents, concentrated fire from Human weapons and most infamously, anything made of Gold, from Gold Dust to Gold Coins. This appeared to have been rectified in the New Who era. However, Later on, they are defeated by [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E12NightmareInSilver a golden ticket]] and [[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E12ClosingTime a father's love for his son]].
* In the fourth season of ''Series/TwentyFour'' Curtis Manning was a pure badass, so much that he was called [[FanNickname Black Bauer]]. In the fifth season he was mostly a doormat compared to Bauer, in the sixth season [[spoiler: he was ineffectual until he got killed by Bauer.]]
* Tyr Anasazi of ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'' went from being one of the show's best {{Magnificent Bastard}}s and the only mortal being in the universe that Dylan Hunt couldn't take in a fight to a driveling short-sighted idiot that ended up losing fights to all and sundry, and was ignominiously shot in the back and dropped off a cliff. Some viewers believe that Kevin Sorbo (who played Dylan Hunt) becoming executive producer ''might'' have had something to do with this.
* Series/{{Dexter}} almost succumbed to this in season two, even going so far as planning to turn himself in as the Bay Harbor Butcher, but thankfully changed his mind. As the series has gone on, Dexter has suffered from Badass Decay anyway. After all, each season charts a new step of emotional development for Dexter, as he discovers that he's not quite as inhuman as his adoptive father led him to believe. As a result, the Dexter at the end of Season 5 is not nearly as dark as his Season 1 counterpart. The series veered in a new direction in Season 7, with Dexter willfully rejecting the Code of Harry and becoming more of a Badass.
** Hannah suffered from this between season 7 and 8. Initially, she was a DarkActionGirl whose MO was to [[FemmeFatale seduce victims into lowering their guard]] before poisoning them with rare poisonous plants she breeds in her garden. One of season 7's best moments has to be her murder of [[spoiler: Sal Price]] in this fashion. She then gets PutOnABus until mid-season 8; upon her return, the audience was disappointed as she was reduced to a weak woman who apparently couldn't take care of herself anymore (which she had been doing since she was 14) and needed Dexter for ''everything'', resulting in her being too dependant of him and eventually leading to a RomanticPlotTumor. And the showrunners just [[CreatorsPet couldn't get enough of her]].
* The Borg from ''Franchise/StarTrek''. In their first appearance they started carving the Enterprise like a turkey and Borg drones had a personal energy shield that would adapt to enemy weapons fire after other drones would fall. A single Borg ship (with Picard assimilated) was powerful enough to destroy 39 Federation spaceships in the battle at Wolf 359, break through the Solar System's defense grid and reach Earth orbit. Early on, writers realized that because the original Borg concept was so single-minded they needed to modify some concepts to make for more story potential. The Borg turned to assimilating both people and technology, instead of being their own unique race. ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact'' introduced the concept of Borg "queens," which while effective for that movie the Queen inherently humanized them, making it capable of deceiving them. By the end of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', the Borg's bad-assness had decayed so badly that Janeway routinely blew up whole Borg cubes with just a mean stare. However, the Borg did roar back to badass level in the post-''Nemesis'' novel continuity and ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline''. How badass? Well, let's just say [[spoiler:[[PlutoIsExpendable eating fucking Pluto]]]] was just the beginning.
* In the 60s spy series ''Series/TheManFromUNCLE'', heroes Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin are sometimes subject to plot dependent Badass Decay. E.g., in the third act of the third season episode, "The Five Daughters Affair, Part II", Solo and Kuryakin fight THRUSH's "karate killers" ([[spoiler: who despite that name (as given in the credits) do very little actual killing in the episode]]) for about the sixth time in the two-part adventure. Despite holding their own in several earlier fights with the karate killers, Solo and Kuryakin lose whatever fighting skills they've demonstrated, and are straightway handed their asses by the THRUSH "killers". This is necessary to set up the fourth act's climax and resolution (therefore "plot dependent").
* Michael Caffee of ''Series/{{Brotherhood}}'' goes from Badass Punisher-like Ear-cutting Irish Mob vigilante to [[spoiler:brain damaged bagman then paranoid drugged mob-boss]]
* The titular Series/{{House}} suffered from this in Season 6. Where once there was a badass, sarcastic, biting floating brain, there now stands a love-sick puppy that spouts "emotionally healthy" psychobabble. Most notable in his relationship with Cuddy, which went from mutual messing to confessions of love. Confessions. Of love. From ''House''.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' had some serious decay with the Others. What started as a mysterious group of rogue jungle ninjas was soon revealed to be little more than a bunch of [[spoiler:commune dwelling nobodies that played football and had a flare for the dramatic.]] Although shining the spotlight on anything scary will quickly reveal that it's just a branch scratching against a window. See NothingIsScarier.
* Morgause from ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' was simply too intelligent for her own good. In her first appearance she storms into Camelot, takes down several guards, challenges Prince Arthur to a duel, ''beats him'', drops a bombshell about his mother, makes him chase her across the countryside for answers, shows him what may or may not be a real apparition of his mother who tells him that his father was responsible for her death, and then watches from a crystal as he goes storming back to Camelot to kill King Uther in a fit of rage. However, in a show that seems almost pathologically dependent on StatusQuoIsGod and pressing the ResetButton, Morgause is reduced in season three to a completely ineffectual and one-dimensional villain who plots to overthrow the kingdom with a range of increasingly convoluted plans. If she had been allowed to retain the intelligence and subtlety she had displayed in the second season, she would have been running the place in two seconds flat.
* Barnabas Collins of the original ''Series/DarkShadows'' was intended to be the latest villain when he first appeared. His first victim was Willie Loomis (who was looking for jewels supposedly buried in the family crypt), turned into his slave. Jason [=McGuire=], who had come to Collinwood to blackmail Elizabeth Stoddard, was one of his first on-screen kills (Jason had brought Loomis with him, and become interested in the jewels Willie sold for Barnabas). He kidnapped and tormented Maggie Evans in an effort to make her into a version of his first love, Josette; killed anyone who got in his way; manipulated Dr. Hoffmann's affection for him, and generally caused mayhem. Then audiences fell in love with him, leading to his transformation into a heroic character.
* Eric of ''Series/TrueBlood'' started as a fetishy ruthless powerful vampire with a certain human streak. Badass Decay was predetermined. He stayed Badass three seasons. At season 4 he's been cursed by a group of hobby esoterics, lost his memory along with his personality and has taken to making angsty confessions to Sookie.
** It's hardly surprising that Viking Spike got Spikeified.
** He seems to have gotten back his badassery by the end of the season, when he decapitates three heavily-armed guards in the space of a second, while Bill [[spoiler:stakes the vamp who put him in power]].
* ''Series/YoungBlades'': Pointed out in-universe when D'Artagnan discovers that his [[Literature/TheThreeMusketeers famous Musketeer father]] has been reduced to performing for money and selling action figures of himself.
* ''Series/{{Entourage}}'' had Ari Gold go from a hyper-ambitious, foul-mouthed, ruthless agent for Hollywood's A-list to a guy whose main accomplishment was securing a Hallmark movie-of-the-week role for a washed up TV actor.
* ''{{Series/Supernatural}}'':
** Castiel made his debut as a {{badass}} Angel of the Lord who dragged Dean out of Hell, slaughtered an entire group of demons single-handedly, [[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm burned out Pamela's eyes when she saw his true form]], caused a lightning storm just by appearing, and [[NoSell No Sell'd]] [[OneHitKill Ruby's Knife]]. Fast forward a couple seasons, and he's been flanderized into a socially awkward, klutzy virgin.
* Dr. Zachary Smith from ''Series/LostInSpace'', started as a cold, cruel, traitorous villain, to became the main comic relief as a cowardly, incompetent even effeminate burden.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/RogerWaters was one of the major components of one of the greatest/scariest/craziest [[Music/PinkFloyd bands]] of all time. In the recent 12/12/12 concert, he spent the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI2zEN7gbbA entire first song]] [[LargeHam clapping]] his hands over his head and playing for the audience. He also had a bunch of [[SnarkBait preppy]], ''[[TastesLikeDiabetes smiling]]'' girls singing the second verse of "Another Brick in the Wall: Part II," and they weren't even supposed to be ironic. The only thing more pathetic than how clearly he had sold out was how much his decrepit audience was loving it.
* Music/RiseAgainst, one of the most hard-edged, rage filled bands[[spoiler: made entirely of vegan socialists]] working today, {{cover|Version}}ing "Making Christmas" from ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas''. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCET4j8W_fU Oh so hilarious.]]
* Music/{{Metallica}} was generally accused of this starting with ''The Black Album'', although it wasn't very common until ''St. Anger'' - it was even complete with a documentary showing the previously badass kings of heavy metal going into therapy, and trying to bury the hatchet with their BigBad. (But many - not all, considering the [[UnpleasableFanbase fanbase]] [[BrokenBase is]] - considered ''Death Magnetic'' a return to form)
* Similarly, Music/{{Megadeth}} began as a brutal {{Thrash|Metal}} band, spending the '80s making fast, heavy songs based on anger, [[ForHappiness hedonism]], violence and horror. At the beginning of the following decade, Dave Mustaine purged himself of the drug habits the influenced the band's earlier music, and took their thrash sound in a more progressive and accessible direction with ''Rust in Peace'' and ''Countdown to Extinction'', which brought the band commercial success and shifted lyrically to weighty political and personal issues. A different, more mature sort of Badass. \\
\\
It was after the more somber and introspective ''Youthanasia'' that the Decay began to set in; ''Cryptic Writings'', unlike the albums before it, distilled everything about the band into a LighterAndSofter, dumbed-down product. The lyrics went from cerebral to childish, the music stripped of its intensity and reduced to simplistic radio fodder. The [[TheScrappy nadir]] was the disastrous ''Risk'', a clumsy attempt at dated pop music that went in all kinds of failed directions. 2001's ''The World Needs A Hero'' showed the band attempting to steer themselves back on track but ultimately flopped with both fans and critics. And while the post-TenMinuteRetirement album ''The System Has Failed'' did manage to [[WinBackTheCrowd Win Back some of The Crowd]], their best days are still far behind them, as each following release [[ItsTheSameNowItSucks merely repeated]] the same "autopilot" sound of the band banking on their glory days with less creativity and energy.
* Similarly to Rise Against above, Twisted Sister of 80s hair metal fame went from being the bane of concerned parents everywhere [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome and their lead singer delivering an eloquent and effective speech to the United States Congress while still in the clothes he wore after that previous night's concert, reading it from a piece of paper he folded up and put in his pocket]], to making [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV-SpT69IZ8&fmt=22 a Christmas album.]]
* Any hip-hop artist who started as a BadAss gangsta rapper and transitioned into mainstream film & TV work gets accused of this, whether accurate or not.
-->'''GANGSTALICIOUS:''' You know who my favorite rapper was when I was your age? Ice Cube.
-->'''RILEY''': The dude that makes family movies? He was a gangsta rapper?
-->'''GANGSTALICIOUS''': He was so gangsta. I used to have dreams that Ice Cube came to my house and killed my whole family.
-->''ComicStrip/TheBoondocks''
* Music/TheMisfits went from singing songs called "Die, Die My Darling" and "Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?" to covering songs by 50s teen idol Paul Anka and 60s soul band The Drifters.
* In 1967, this person was part of a [[Music/BlackSabbath certain band]] that, according to many, was one of the pioneers of HeavyMetal. In the eighties, he started out a solo career and was called "The Prince Of Darkness". But, somehow, he ended up in the ScaryMusicianHarmlessMusic page, starring as a HenpeckedHusband in his own RealityTV show. That man is Music/OzzyOsbourne.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* Lucy van Pelt of ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'', who went from an ebullient ball of aggressive energy to a rather neutered figure in the later years. The biography ''Schulz and Peanuts'' claims that Lucy was largely based on the author's first wife Joyce; after they divorced, Lucy lost her powers.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]
* ProfessionalWrestling itself is an example. Back in the mid-1800s professional wrestling was a real competitive sport, and by the 1900s the highest ranked wrestlers had about the same amount of prestige that boxing and MMA champions have today. Real professional wrestling matches tended to be very slow-paced, however, and the sport slowly worked its way towards being more of a performance art when promoters started making rules to ban long static displays from matches. Promoters then discovered that the best wrestlers weren't necessarily the most marketable, and began fixing matches. By the 1950s, wrestling was more or less entirely scripted and predetermined. By the 1990s, wrestlers couldn't even claim prestige, or get endorsements, save a few in national promotions, (WWF Wrestling/{{Stone Cold| Steve Austin}}, Wrestling/{{WCW}} Wrestling/{{Goldberg}}) and by the 2000s most champions of national promotions are largely ignored by the general populace, except maybe in their home countries.
* ProfessionalWrestling has a most bizarre example in Wrestling/JohnCena. In 2004, he was a street-wise thug (who happened to be a white rapper) who never backed down from a challenge, and fought rich bastard Wrestling/JohnBradshawLayfield while espousing "battle raps" which mocked anyone in a 15-mile radius. In 2005 and 2006, his overwhelming popularity led the writers to turn him into a Hoganesque superhuman with an inferiority complex who openly admitted he was inferior as a technical wrestler, therefore taking away [[DarkerAndEdgier everything that made him popular in the first place]]. It eventually got to the point where fans would [[XPacHeat cheer his opponent out of spite, no matter how evil that person was]]. Fortunately, the release of his movie ''Film/TheMarine'' allowed him to get back his never-say-die attitude, and he appears to be recovering from the setback. Slowly. The fact that Wrestling/{{WWE}} seems to be implying that he really is a marine based on his role in the movie doesn't help matters. In fact, most heels who became anti-heroic faces in the Wrestling/AttitudeEra generally fall under this trope. More so when you consider said anti-heroes tended to have their most popular traits exaggerated when they become faces (Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin wasn't a full-blown redneck until his turn, and [[Wrestling/DwayneJohnson The Rock]] didn't rely as much on his "sing-along" catchphrases). Cena's SelfDeprecation was largely a very mishandled attempt to appeal to the fans who had turned on him; additionally, it was mostly during his feud with Wrestling/TripleH, who [[ExecutiveMeddling is the head writer's husband]] and has had many feuds in which his opponent has [[CreatorsPet sung his praises]]. Thankfully, this aspect of his character was dropped after Cena was given a clean victory over Trips.
* Wrestling/{{WCW}} mid-2000. Wrestling/HulkHogan was put in a feud with midcard wrestler Wrestling/BillyKidman. Their matches usually consisted of Hogan whaling on Kidman to the point that it resembled child abuse, then something happening to enable Kidman to pick up a fluke win. This was badass decay for BOTH men. Kidman previously was a very popular midcard wrestler, and Hogan was Hogan. Now Kidman resembled a whipping boy, and the Boring Invincible Hero Hogan became a boring almost invincible hero.
* Without a doubt, Wrestling/{{Kane}} from the WWE. From the very beginning, Kane made his debut in the then-WWF as an unstoppable monster who destroyed everyone in his path. His badass decay began in the early 2000s when the writers tried to lighten his character up a bit by having him do comical imitations of other wrestlers like Wrestling/HulkHogan and Wrestling/BookerT. His character became considerably lightened up when he tag-teamed with the likes of the Hurricane and Wrestling/RobVanDam. Lightening up a wrestler in itself should not destroy their career but Kane's decline was more of a gradual process than something that happened overnight. He soon began jobbing to newly debuting monster heels like Wrestling/{{Batista}} and losing some of the menace that once made him a force to be reckoned with. Despite that, Kane still carried on as a high-ranking mid-card wrestler at worst, a powerful entity very few wrestlers could defeat without some sort of cheating tactic. Then the shit hit the fan when Triple H accused Kane of being a murderer and a necrophiliac, leading to an awkward and disgusting storyline involving Triple H in a Kane mask having sex with a mannequin corpse in a funeral home. Eventually, Kane was made to finally unmask on live-television in a second feud with Triple H and Wrestling/{{Evolution}}. It was downhill from there. Nowadays, Kane can be seen jobbing to various wrestlers that he would've demolished back in his masked Big Red Machine days (Wrestling/{{Edge}}, Wrestling/RandyOrton, Wrestling/MarkHenry, Wrestling/{{Rey Mysterio|Jr}}, etc.)\\
\\
Kane started to get better. In a 2010 angle where someone put Wrestling/TheUndertaker in a vegetative state and Kane going out for revenge, he demolished main eventers on a weekly basis; beating Jack Swagger (heavyweight champ at the time), Wrestling/TheBigShow, Mysterio, and Wrestling/CMPunk. This included taking on Punk's entire stable, the Straight Edge Society, three on one, and dominating them, and sending Punk running from the arena. All of this without Kane being directly involved in the title picture. Then he won the World Heavyweight Championship from Rey Mysterio out of nowhere. ''Then'' it was revealed that ''he'' was the one who put Wrestling/TheUndertaker in a vegetative state out of bitterness at being in his brother's shadow all his career. '''''Then''''' he would respond to his brother's return by Tombstone Piledriving him and getting the best of him at every opportunity. '''''Then''''' he would pin Wrestling/TheUndertaker easily at Night of Champions. '''''Then''''' he would do it ''again'' in a Hell In A Cell match, setting up Wrestling/PaulBearer to backstab him in the process. '''''Then''''', he buried him a month later at Bragging Rights!\\
\\
After his [[AndTheFandomRejoiced/ProfessionalWrestling remasking]] in late 2011, he completely got better. For a few months. He gave a NoHoldsBarredBeatdown to Wrestling/ZackRyder on several occasions and got in brutal feuds with Cena and Orton, even defeating Orton cleanly at Wrestlemania. Then decay quickly set in again. A plot involving a crush on Wrestling/AJLee ensured that he lost any credibility that he had got back by remasking. He lost at No Way Out, failed to win at Money in the Bank, and was defeated by [[Wrestling/BryanDanielson Daniel Bryan]] at Summerslam. He was next used for comedy purposes, attending anger management.
* Wrestling/TheUndertaker lost a lot of his aura when after his feuds with Wrestling/UltimateWarrior, Wrestling/HulkHogan, Wrestling/RandySavage, and Wrestling/JakeRoberts, he feuded with nothing but sloppy big men such as Wrestling/{{Kamala}}, Giant Gonzales, Kama the Supreme Fighting Machine, and King Mabel. It took both [[Wrestling/KevinNash Diesel]] and [[Wrestling/MickFoley Mankind]] beating some badass back into 'Taker to finally get that back.
* Speaking of Kamala, he's a great example of this. Before his WWF run he was one of the few men to ever bodyslam Wrestling/AndreTheGiant, and when he first debuted in WWF he was a genuinely frightening monster. In the long run he never won any of his feuds (allegedly because Wrestling/VinceMcMahon disliked him) and his threat level diminished. Then he got turned face and teamed up with Slick, and that was the end of Kamala being scary.
* Wrestling/{{Tazz}} (or Taz). Initially one of the toughest, most brutal wrestlers in ECW, Tazz made his debut in the then-WWF by giving Wrestling/KurtAngle his first ever loss. Very soon, however, Tazz's badass decay began when he began feuding with the announcers, Wrestling/JimRoss and Wrestling/JerryLawler. After that was over, he became a glorified jobber. Though he did make a small comeback later on by winning the tag team titles with Spike Dudley, it was a little too late by then. After losing the tag team titles, Tazz stopped wrestling and joined the announce team with Wrestling/MichaelCole. Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin mentioned in interviews that his talking down to Tazz wasn't right, but Tazz's decline was otherwise justified in that he ''did'' have a jacked-up neck that was getting worse over the years; after all he was part of the original Wrestling/{{ECW}}.
* Wrestling/{{Goldust}} came into the WWF in 1995 as a bizarre, effeminate, gold-painted man who would psych people out and trick them to win his matches. When management decided in early 1997 to turn him face, they did so by showing that Goldust was just a character and the man behind him, Dustin Runnels was actually a caring family man. This breaking of the fourth wall turned fans off, and it didn't help that he stopped doing all the weird stuff that made people like him in the first place. Eventually, he reverted back to his old self (after some [[http://i.imgur.com/YWJF5T9.jpg speed]] [[http://i.imgur.com/Au7AfEf.jpg bumps]]) but never had the original success he had as Goldust.
* Wrestling/ChrisJericho has undergone a lot of badass decay over the years. One may not notice nowadays with Jericho being pinned left and right by a number of younger generation superstars, but there used to be a time when Jericho was one of the most dominant wrestlers in the WWE who could take down any wrestler who stood in his path, only coming up short against the really big superstars such as The Rock, Wrestling/TheUndertaker, Kane, and Wrestling/TripleH. During the Attitude Era, he was known for his incredible mic skills and memorable feuds against Wrestling/TripleH, Wrestling/StephanieMcMahon, The Rock, Wrestling/ChrisBenoit, and Wrestling/KurtAngle. His badass decay most likely began after Wrestling/TripleH defeated him and took the Undisputed Championship away from him. These days Jericho has been toned down incredibly by both the PG Era and restrictive ringwork by the injury-conscious WWE. Even wrestlers he could defeat with no problem in the past such as Wrestling/{{Edge}} or Wrestling/{{Christian}} are now pinning him cleanly and making him look like a chump. True he's won the world title a few more times in recent years but it just doesn't feel like it's as big of a deal now as opposed to if he had won them during the height of his career from 1999 to 2001.
* As a general trend, the WWE's decision to rebrand their TV shows from TV-14 to PG [[LighterAndSofter in order to add family appeal]] has unfortunately resulted in some of this. In order to reach a PG rating, the WWE had to cut back on mature content: scanty clothing, innuendo, weapon use, blood, and especially swearing. Since there are fewer options available for faces and heels to emphasize {{Badass}} characteristics during a feud, decay is more likely to happen across the board.
* In Wrestling/{{TNA}}, this is very common:
** Abyss has gone from [[CaptainErsatz Kane clone]], to a hybrid of Kane and Mankind, to a geek who asks if having Jacqueline on his lap makes him not a virgin anymore, back to indestructible badass, and now he's a 6'8" 300+ version of Dave Sullivan.
** Wrestling/SamoaJoe, twice. The first was after losing to Wrestling/KurtAngle at Hard Justice 2007 when Karen Angle predictably turned on Joe. The fans saw that turn two miles away, so they cheered for Kurt and Karen and booed Joe. The real damage didn't come until Joe cut a promo on Wrestling/ScottHall at Turning Point, leading to his rebellion against TNA management. Unfortunately, he came off as whiny, leading the fans to boo him even more. He was losing left and right. Eventually, at Lockdown 2008, he got his badass cred back after beating Angle for the TNA Title.
** Alas, that didn't last long, did it? After losing the title to Wrestling/{{Sting}} (when Nash turned on him), Joe formed the TNA Front Line along with Wrestling/AJStyles to counter Sting's new group: the Main Event Mafia. During that feud, the Front Line lost nearly EVERY SINGLE MATCH against the Mafia, with the exception of Lethal Lockdown. It was also during this feud where Joe became a member of the "Nation of Violence," which saw him torture Sheik Abdul Bashir for no reason whatsoever and threaten to kill Wrestling/ScottSteiner. Again, the fans looked at Joe as a complete psychopath, and not the badass he once was. Then, he turned on the Front Line and became just another lackey for Wrestling/KurtAngle.
** Jay Lethal had a stretch where he pinned TNA Champion Wrestling/KurtAngle clean, won the X-Division Title, and saved the aforementioned X-Division from Team 3D. The latter, he did ALL BY HIMSELF. During all of this, he was getting the attention of [[HeroesWantRedheads So Cal Val]]. Immediately after he got the girl, saved the X-Division, and got his title back, Sonjay Dutt wooed Val away from him. That was the beginning. Val remained undecided on who to shack up with, until she turned on Lethal, killing him for good.
** For that matter the X-Division, whose championship ranged from almost as to just as important as the Wrestling/{{N|ational Wrestling Alliance}}WA World Championship (which also deserves its own entry) as a division with no limits that anyone could compete in if they could go hard enough to flippy wrestlers with a weight limit. Basically glorified cruiserweights banished from the main even and Impact altogether to the {{B show}} Xplosion. Wrestling/AustinAries brought back some prestige, as he turned it from "not even worth mentioning in the same angle regarding the world title" to "glorified contract for a world title match", then Seiya Sanada's run the Japanese [=Wrestle1=] Promotion, Samoa Joe getting the belt back and being treated as an equal to the World Champion and title defenses occurring in the main event greatly improved the X Division's image.
** Just like Abyss and Kane, Wrestling/AJStyles goes up and down the badass roller coaster frequently. With him playing second fiddle to the retired Wrestling/RicFlair, AS THE WORLD CHAMPION, NO LESS, it's safe to say he's on the down slope.
** While it's rare to see this happen to so many people at once, the Knockouts Division had this happen to them. While they started out as huge ratings draws, being a bunch of badass {{Action Girl}}s who could actually wrestle, which was a rarity on the wrestling scene, [[ExecutiveMeddling the corporate changes at TNA focused less on their abilities,]] and used them as {{Fanservice}} more and more often. [[RealLifeWritesThePlot Several incidents happened, ultimately leading up to many Knockouts leaving the company,]] leading to fewer actual wrestlers in the Division, which became the poor man's WWE Divas. The returns of Wrestling/MickieJames and Wrestling/GailKim and new acquisitions such as Havok got the Knockouts their own pay per view event "[[CrowdChant Better than the divas!]]" chants in New York and back into Impact's main event on occasion.
** Nigel [=McGuinness=] was a force to be reckoned with in Wrestling/RingOfHonor, the biggest complaint against him being his first baby face champion run relying ''too much'' on [[{{Determinator}} fighting spirit]]. Then his stint as Desmond Wolfe in TNA - after a very promising start in which he brutalized Angle - led to one humiliation after the other. This case was particularly harsh, as TNA started burying him after [[TakeThatAudience the fans voted him as the person they most wanted to see as their World Champion.]]
* Wrestling/RingOfHonor had a rather abominable case of this with BJ Whitmer. He spent 2006 on the cusp of stardom, proving himself as a {{Badass}} {{Determinator}} who bled for ROH and stood victorious after a barbed wire match with the infamous Necro Butcher. But then, after losing to his longtime archenemy Wrestling/JimmyJacobs, Whitmer went on a losing streak that completely nullified the entire year of Badass cred that he had acquired. It didn't help that he came out of the losing streak by aligning with SmugSnake Adam Pearce, who nobody bought as a major threat; thus, Whitmer went from an independent and awesome hero to the thug of a weak and cowardly villain.
** For that matter, Jimmy Jacobs and his Age of the Fall stable had this kick in very quickly. They debuted by [[MoralEventHorizon hanging Jay Briscoe upside down and letting his blood rain on the ring]], but were quickly reduced to {{Dirty Coward}}s in subsequent confrontations with the Brisco Brothers. They constantly ping-ponged between pathetic cowards and evil {{Determinator}}s, but they completely lost their credibility in many fans' eyes when they began making ContemplateOurNavels {{Wangst}} video segments.
** Of all people, there was a case with Davey Richards. As soon as Rocky Romero joined the No Remorse Corps, Richards became the ass of many jokes between Romero and Roderick Strong. He'd have to leave and get training from Dan The Beast Severn to regain his credibility.
* Wrestling/{{Batista}}'s badass decay ultimately turned him into the poster child for [[Memes/ProfessionalWrestling memes]] in professional wrestling. There's too many to mention here, so you can see the respective pages.
* Wrestling/MickieJames' badass decay started when she lost ''her'' WWE Women's Championship to Wrestling/{{Lita}} in late August 2006, who would then lose it to a retiring Wrestling/TrishStratus. Once Trish retired, Mickie was eventually given Trish's character, thus losing her LoonyFan[=/=]PsychoLesbian[=/=]{{Ascended Fan|boy}}girl character in the process.
* Wrestling/MickFoley lampshaded in his autobiography how his Mankind gimmick went from insane pain-lover to doofy goofball in near-record time. He didn't mind as both interpretations were wildly popular, but he had to admit it ended up a lot different that he envisioned.
* Almost everyone from The Wrestling/MinistryOfDarkness bar Wrestling/TheUndertaker and Wrestling/JohnBradshawLayfield. Dennis Knight went from the deranged Mideon to the comedic Naked Mideon and "Bogus Mankind"; Nelson Frazier Jr. went from Mabel, King of the Ring, to Viscera, servant of Wrestling/TheUndertaker, to Viscera, "The World's Largest Love Machine;" Wrestling/RonSimmons went from tough world heavyweight champion (in WCW) to leader of the Nation of Domination to tag-team champion with JBL in the Acolytes, to beer-drinking redneck in APA, to some guy that walks around saying "Damn!"
** Viscera did come back with the terrifying new image of Big Daddy V. He now let most of his tattoos show and was unstoppable for a little. You also had his much clearer JigglePhysics in this persona.
** The Acolytes/APA were actually pretty over as Stone Cold-like tough guy {{face}}s and were usually on the fringes of the top feuds at any given time in 1999 and 2000. Mideon might not really count since he was a joke from the start.
* The Hell in a Cell match was once ''the'' {{Gimmick Match|es}} where the most vicious of feuds went to end in a bang. However, around 2006, the Cell was built to be bigger, ensuring nobody was to try the spots on the top of the Cell such as the ones in [[Wrestling/ShawnMichaels HBK]] vs Undertaker, Mankind vs Undertaker, or Cactus Jack vs Wrestling/TripleH. The matches nonetheless remained intense and bloody until the ''Hell in a Cell'' PPV was created in 2009. This not only meant that the feuds in a Hell in a Cell match usually now lacked the history of intensity of past matches but that the new PG rating meant that all the viciousness of past matches would be gone, essentially just making the match a standard no-DQ match with a big cage obstructing the audience's view. While Hell in a Cell used to be a truly special match used maybe once or twice a year to cap off a really big feud, it's since become just another gimmick match with no real specialness to it.
* Wrestling/{{Sheamus}} went through this after awhile. After starting off strong, and winning the WWE championship in his first PPV match, he went down the card a little, but was still {{Badass}} and netted another (albeit short), championship reign. Then came the 2010 ''King of the Ring'' tournament; despite winning said tourney, after becoming "King Sheamus" he started losing frequently (although to guys like Wrestling/RandyOrton & Wrestling/JohnMorrison, but still). Fortunately, he dumped the king regalia [[note]] at a house show where he was scheduled to face Yoshi Tatsu, he attacked him from behind, dropped him with a High Cross, and said "King Sheamus is dead. Long live the Celtic Warrior!" OrSoIHeard[[/note]] and has gotten much better. Since [[HeelFaceTurn turning face]] in the summer of 2011, though, he's becoming even more bad-ass, going on a roll from that point on[[note]]He's looked strong, keeps winning cleanly on a regular basis, and has even won the 2012 Royal Rumble and the championship at Wrestling/{{WrestleMania}} ''in 18 seconds''[[/note]].
* In a slightly tragic real life example, Wrestling/KenShamrock went through this. The first UFC Superfight (now Heavyweight) champion, Shamrock was once known as "The Worlds Most Dangerous Man", and was signed to the then-WWF, where among other things, [[WhatCouldHaveBeen he was at one point considered as a candidate to win the WWF Championship]] from the departing Wrestling/BretHart, defeated Wrestling/TheRock at Wrestling/WrestleMania to win the Intercontinental Championship (the decision would be reversed when Shamrock refused to release the Ankle Lock) and won the prestigious King Of The Ring tournament. However, he would go on to sustain a serious neck injury at the hands of a debuting Wrestling/ChrisJericho, and was never the same. He would try to return to MMA, and while his old self briefly shined through, he just didn't have it any more. To this day he has refused to retire, despite the heavy toll steroids have taken on his body and losing far more matches than he's won (and on one of those occasions where he won, it was overturned afterwards when he tested positive for steroids after the match), and usually ending the fights as a bloody mess, a mere shell of the man he once was.
* When Albert/A-Train returned to the WWE as Lord Tensai he was a mysterious and intimidating monster heel. It only took a few months before he was dancing the robot in a basque and thong...
* Velvet Sky after her HeelFaceTurn lost all of the ruthlessness and AwesomeEgo that made her so entertaining in the first place. Lampshaded when her former tag team partner, Angelina Love, returned to tell her that Velvet had gotten "vanilla" and boring.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* This inevitably happens in many card games due to a phenomenon known as "power creep," where R&D overpowers their new cards so much that older sets become laughably weak in comparison. Remember how powerful Base Set Charizard was in the Pokemon TCG? Nowhere near the title holder for HP or damage output now.
* The entire drow race in the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms setting. First they were [[EvilIsSexy sexy]], intelligent, [[TheBaroness heavily matriarchal]], and AlwaysChaoticEvil insane badasses with a small pantheon. Then we got the hero Drizzt (a fugitive from his culture). Due to the Dungeons and Dragons rules discouraging evil players, some players want to be drow because they're cool... but good-aligned and without the severe social stigma, despite drow being nearly always evil and Drizzt being a considerably-developed unique example of a good-aligned drow. Then we got the good aligned deity Eilistraee, and her entire clutch of (mostly) female drow worshippers who, naturally, danced naked at night. (Their chief priestess, Qilue, has a magic dress of invisibility. No, it doesn't make Qilue ''herself '' invisible...)
** Drizzt himself in the 2nd edition had rules written solely to make him more dangerous, such as, despite being in a HitPoint[=/=]CriticalExistenceFailure based combat system, having a flat chance of killing anyone in a single shot. It was a low chance, but he had a better chance of killing someone with a normal attack than he did of scoring a critical hit. In 3rd edition, he is a less than optimal build with very few special rules. This [[CreatorsPet may]] or [[EnsembleDarkhorse may not]] be a good thing.
** Drow are a slightly odd case because they started off as a society of mostly-neutral people oppressed and managed by their massively evil and Machiavellian rulers and priestesses under the aegis of their malevolent goddess Lolth. One of the first sources to deal with them, ''The Vault of the Drow'', described a lot about the Vault and the city therein, and they were a functioning if troubled society. Later sources ''removed'' nuance by [[AdaptationalVillainy promoting their entire society to]] AlwaysChaoticEvil [[AdaptationalVillainy dark elf badasses]], until eventually different interpretations were built up again.
* Another TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms example: the Red Wizards of Thay. They used to be an extremely powerful and influential organization of (mostly) amoral/evil wizards. Now they are band of loosely connected merchant arcanists who make a, admittedly profitable, living trading magical items. This is a justified case: their ''own leader'' launched a coup in their homeland of Thay that his lieutenants the zulkirs did not want. When they rebelled against him he unleashed the Spellplague against his own followers. The last of the zulkirs then sacrificed themselves to prevent their treacherous leader's ascension to godhood. Without their leaders, and beset on all sides by their many enemies, the Red Wizards were forced to disband their once powerful organization and focus solely on their front business of magical item trading to survive.
* The Necrons of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' and their C'Tan gods began as a supremely enigmatic group of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s with ultimately unknown designs for the galaxy in general and mankind in particular. They had few unit selections and no real characters because the vast majority of their forces simply had not awakened yet, or at least had left no survivors to report their existence, and ended up with a reputation for being [[CreatorsPet Creator's Pets]] due to their implication of being ultimately unstoppable, despite two other major factions being just as doomsday-ish. Then, starting with the Fifth Edition, they started getting development and have been subjected to a nonstop [[TheWorfEffect Worf effect]] by everyone with no end in sight.
** This example is based primarily off the author's POV. Since the C'tan are omnipotent star gods and the necron race managed not only to engage and imprison them, it would stand to reason that the race in general has in face averted the worf effect, whilst simultaneously worfing the star gods themselves.
** By 4th Edition, some parts of the fluff were just [[ButtMonkey merciless]] and [[CurbStompBattle humiliating]] for the Eldar.
*** The Avatar of Khaine. A physical manifestation of the AxCrazy Eldar god of war. He used to be a nigh-unstoppable close-combat beatstick for the army, yet recent fluff has it constantly being beaten and overwhelmed to [[TheWorfEffect make another character look more badass]].
** The God Emperor went through this after the Horus Heresy, rather understandably. Before that whole mess, he was the greatest psyker in the galaxy, a mighty warrior, a genius scientist and ruled over an impossibly vast interstellar empire. You could've called him a God without being accused of hyperbole or exaggeration. However, after he was wounded by Horus and had to go on life support... Well... Here's [[http://images.wikia.com/warhammer40k/images/5/50/EmperorsWisdom.jpg before]] and [[http://images.wikia.com/warhammer40k/images/2/25/Emperor_Upon_Throne.jpg after]].
** Any army with a Codex or Army Book designed in a previous edition will end up undergoing this as time marches on and they become less and less effective, to the point of being unusable, on the tabletop.
* From ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'', we get the Sabbat. Initially portrayed as something like TheLostBoys, they get watered down slightly in that, indeed, they do have their own rules after all. An odd case, though, goes to the Tzimisce, the resident BodyHorror masters. A poorly-received book posited that their powers were really an EldritchAbomination plague, and this actually made them less awesome somehow. Later books ignored this in general.
* This trope is inherent to [[LordBritishPostulate virtually any campaign that actually gives stats to its gods.]] Some settings avert this by having enemies above a certain power level being unstatted, but killable if the players come up with a plausible means to do so. Others do their level best to spend five hundred to a thousand words saying "You lose" in attribute and skill form. Justifiable in some settings more than others -- TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms and TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}} have gods dying to mortals be rare, but not unheard of events, but there's no excuse for statting up Cthulhu in D&D.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Comicbook/SilverSurfer'' gets hit with this in one of the [[ExaggeratedTrope most ludicrous examples ever done]], in his infamous {{N|intendoEntertainmentSystem}}ES [[VideoGame/SilverSurfer game]]--he goes from being a borderline invincible, ultra powerful cosmic being, to a character who dies [[OneHitPointWonder in one hit]] from touching ''anything'', including rubber ducks.
* In ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance]]'', Naesala takes advantage of the Begnion senators' greed by looting their ships and selling the swag to the others. He also ''[[MagnificentBastard sells his best friend]]'' for a nice sum. Whether or not he's being truthful when he says he planned to rescue him is up to you. In the sequel ''Radiant Dawn'', it turns out Naesala is just the poor [[TheWoobie victim]] of [[spoiler: the [[MacGuffin blood pact]]. It is never explained how he was able to swindle the senators while being forced to obey their will.]] Notably, he gets ordered around by a thirteen-year-old girl.
* [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Bowser]] goes back and forth between this and [[TookALevelInBadass taking a level in badass]]. He varies between a genuine threat to the Mushroom Kingdom and a BigBadWannabe that pines for Peach's love or a harmless villain that [[GoKartingWithBowser go-karts with Mario]]. Generally, the main platformer series portray him as the former, while the spinoffs portray him as the latter.
** A straighter example in the series comes from the Koopa Troopas. In every 3D platform game, they're significantly less threatening than they are in the 2D Mario games, even being completely unable to hurt Mario in ''Videogame/SuperMario64''. [[TheGoomba Goombas]], [[TookALevelInBadass on the other hand...]]
* Axel and Riku from the ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' series. Many suspect that the popularity of these characters and their expanded roles as a result are chiefly to blame for this.
** In the first game his ambition, Riku's independence and pro-activity firmly cast him as an awesome AntiHero/[[AntiVillain Villain]] dedicated to [[LoveMakesYouEvil saving Kairi]] no matter [[ThisIsYourBrainOnEvil what the cost]]. That [[DemonicPossession doesn't really work out]]. Thanks also in due part by the Reverse/Rebirth mode of ''Chain of Memories'', in which he is pressured by an enigmatic and morally ambiguous StealthMentor into accepting the darkness in his heart which makes him more powerful but much less determined and proactive as a result, his independent spirit is all but absent in the sequel, where for the vast majority of the game he is content to play the role of the BlackCloak-wearing MysteriousProtector and wait for Sora to do the ''real'' hero work. He fully regains his badassness [[spoiler: along with his rightful body]] at the end of the game...too bad it took him this long, though.
** Axel was a cocky {{Manipulative|Bastard}}, MagnificentBastard in ''Chain of Memories'' and in ''Kingdom Hearts II'', became a wimp who got his ass handed to him easily, failed to really think things through despite previously showcased to be capable of [[GambitRoulette extensive planning]], and had an [[FoeYay unhealthy obsession with a fifteen-year-old boy]]. ''Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days'' thankfully [[CharacterRerailment helps justify a lot of this behavior]] and showcases genuine CharacterDevelopment for Axel, but prior to this game, fans were wondering what happened to him, and afterwards, the decay is still disappointing.
* Mannimarco from ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' is a particularly tragic example. When you first meet him in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'', he's a fierce and powerful lich lord of no small ability who commands armies of necromancers and is a strong political power, and [[spoiler:becomes [[AGodAmI godlike in the end]]]] and is still badass despite being an {{Expy}} of Kyuss from ''[[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons World of Greyhawk]]''. Fast forward two games, and we arrive at ''Oblivion'', where Mannimarco returns as...a skinny, wrinkly old man who sits around in a cave in the middle of nowhere and doesn't look menacing at all. He may still be a worthy opponent, but anyone who goes from [[http://images.uesp.net/5/59/DF-King_of_Worms.png this]] to [[http://images.uesp.net/6/6e/OB-npc-Mannimarco.jpg this]] isn't going to be taken seriously any more.
** ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' wiki attempts to justify this by making mention of a TimeyWimeyBall that happened in ''Daggerfall''...apparently it split Mannimarco into two beings: the King of Worms from ''Oblivion'' and the [[spoiler: God of Worms]] from the previous game.
* In the original ''VideoGame/BackyardSports'' games, Pete Wheeler could master everything with his ''blazing speed''. He eventually degraded into being the same as the other characters, thanks to [[SpotlightStealingSquad the pros]]. He also TookALevelInDumbass.
* The ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' series sort of accidentally did this in reverse to Rebecca Chambers, by giving her a badass upgrade in the ''prequel'', where she's a player character and therefore pretty competent. Some time between then and running into Chris in the original game, she apparently snapped from the sheer horror around her and lost all her zombie-killing skills. Not that you can really blame her, though.
* There is a particularly ridiculous and instantaneous example of this in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass''. In ''The Wind Waker'', Tetra is a {{Badass}} pirate who can certainly take care of herself and [[spoiler: is secretly Princess Zelda, who fights alongside Link in the final battle against Ganon.]] In the sequel, she is put out of commission at the ''very start'' of the game, and at the end when she's freed, does ''nothing'' to contribute to the final battle.
* Justified in the ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'' series: Crunch Bandicoot made his debut as a gruff and cocky villain working under [[BigBad Doctor Cortex]]. After being knocked out of Doctor Cortex's control and joining the Bandicoot family, Crunch became TheAtoner and softened his ways considerably in an attempt to be a positive role model to children.
* Cobra from ''VideoGame/SilentScope'' fell hard in just two games. In the first, you had to kill him while chasing him in a moving vehicle, with his hostage just inches away...whereupon he ''hijacks a trailer'' and comes after you again. (The only way to avoid this was to take him down in the stadium, which itself is at least the second hardest boss fight in the game.) In the second game, while he's still a tough nut, you only need to kill him once, and he's an absolute coward who hides behind a hostage the entire battle (mitigated...''slightly''...by the fact that he's fighting two guys at once). In the third game, he's nothing but an afterthought you obliterate in the first mission.
* A common criticism of ''VideoGame/StarcraftII'' is that this happens to [[spoiler:the Queen of Blades herself]] at the ending. Dropping from one of the most powerful characters and [[spoiler:''queen bitch of'' the universe]] to a DamselInDistress in one scene? The fans did not enjoy this at all. Reversed in the next part of the game, though.
* Poor Mr. Cash. Not only a total {{badass|Normal}}, but the [[KnightInSourArmor triumphant hero]] of ''ComicBook/ArkhamAsylumLivingHell''. Then the ''[[VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum Arkham Asylum]]'' video game came along and turned Aaron into little more than a foul mouthed DamselInDistress... Though this mainly because the game focuses on Batman. But since Cash is one of the few survivors of what happened, any of his actions were an OffscreenMomentOfAwesome.
* PlayedForLaughs in ''VideoGame/ViewtifulJoe'' with Alastor. In both games he starts out relatively badass, [[TooCoolToLive dying in some tragic way by the end of his appearance]]...and then after that he'll start whining and complaining about his part being over already and begging to be given more screentime.
* In ''VideoGame/DeadSpace2'', we first meet Ellie [[ActionGirl holding her own against a horde of Necromorphs]], she protects [[TheLoad Stross]] while Isaac is working on objectives in other areas of the Sprawl, and when Stross loses his mind and ''gouges out her eye with a screwdriver'', her response is to find a length of pipe and bludgeon him. In ''VideoGame/DeadSpace3'', [[spoiler: She's the point of a [[RomanticPlotTumor love triangle subplot]], spends the entire game unarmed, and [[HostageForMacGuffin Danik eventually uses her to get the Codex]].]]
* PlayedForLaughs in ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaV'' when Neptune complains that she went from level 99 all the way [[RestartAtLevelOne back to level one]] ([[BreakingTheFourthWall and yes, she really says it like that]]) while Nepgear, the protagonist of [[VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaMk2 the previous game]], is the CrutchCharacter but still at a low level.
* In ''[[VideoGame/FZero F-Zero GX]]'', Black Shadow gets hit hard with this. His status as feared villain goes right out the window in the first cutscene of the story mode with the arrival of [[BigBad Deathborn]].
* Miles Edgeworth in the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series is introduced as a ruthless, brutal prosecutor who seems not to care at all about human rights and terrifies everyone around him, even his subordinates. Eventually, though, he becomes instead quirky, awkward and fussy but likable, while Gumshoe and his other subordinates are {{flanderiz|ation}}ed into useless [[TheDitz ditzes]] that he has to use ToughLove on. This seems due mostly to his status as EnsembleDarkhorse, but [[WatsonianVersusDoylist is explained in-universe]] by learning from his former friend Phoenix that one doesn't have to be brutal to be just. Unfortunately, they ruin that last part with the {{retcon}} that [[spoiler:he never knowingly used forged evidence]], thus taking away a lot of his original badass (and villainous) points.
* In ''VideoGame/RuneScape'', we have a trio of ''gods'' getting hit with this. Guthix, Saradomin and Zamorak were originally capital-G Gods with presumed near-omnipotence, the latter two only held in check by the former's threat to nuke the world if they intervened directly. They were also the source of the Protection Prayers, which are GameBreaker abilities requiring bosses to have ''mechanics specifically to counter them'' in order to be ''a challenge at all''. Now, Guthix is dead, and Saradomin and Zamorak are fighting in surprisingly small physical bodies (only the size of the game's largest bosses) with a surprisingly small and weak-looking BeamOWar. Considering these were the guys who made the [[{{Mordor}} Wilderness]] by fighting at full power, you'd expect their BeamOWar to at least level Lumbridge, if not create a WorldWreckingWave, and cover THE WHOLE MAP in blinding light. Their physical bodies should be beyond the game's graphics capability to display fully. Instead, they look like MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha could defeat them.
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' gives us two glaring examples:
** First is Miles "Tails" Prower, Sonic's right-hand man. In the Classic games he was a standard TagalongKid {{Sidekick}} but he could definitely keep up with Sonic and was just as capable as him taking on Eggman. In the [[VideoGame/SonicAdventure Adventure]] [[VideoGame/SonicAdventure2 series]] he undergoes major CharacterDevelopment to stop relying on Sonic to always have his back and the result is beating Eggman and saving Station Square by himself, and then goes on to come up the plan of how to destroy a satellite laser. Nowadays he hardly fights and is more than content with just standing on the sidelines while Sonic handles all of the work; tellingly he's easily frightened by some Nightmares in Unleashed when he's done far greater feats in the past.
** Second is Knuckles the Echidna. Once was considered Sonic's equal and the respected guardian of a powerful artifact has now devolved into a ButtMonkey who always gets tricked by an outside party and is the embodiment of DumbMuscle. [[DemotedToExtra He's hardly even an important character anymore either.]] Fns were getting tired of playing multiple characters and wanted to go back to ''just'' Sonic. Tails has gotten better since ''VideoGame/SonicColors''. Meanwhile, Knuckles is still a butt monkey.
* Usually, the Ottoman Empire in ''VideoGame/VictoriaAnEmpireUnderTheSun''. It starts the game as a Great Power, up there with France, the United States and, of course, TheBritishEmpire. However, the highly illiterate, conservative and theocratic society has a tendency to not advance forward like the European powers out west. By the later period of the game's timeframe, they're pushovers.
* The Borg and Species 8472 (here called the Undine) had a bouncing effect in terms of Decay in ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline''. When they're first brought in, they're shown to be a much greater threat than before. However, a lack of appearance from the Undine neuter their Badassness while PowerCreep forces the Borg into this trope. Recently, however, the Undine have roared back in full force.
* Transition from ''VideoGame/PokemonRedBlueAndYellow'' to ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'': Psychic-type Pokemon in general, and Sabrina in particular. Psychic type were considered overpowered in the former games, due to them effectively lacking any type weaknesses. Come the latter games, and Psychic now has a disadvantage to two newly introduced types. Sabrina, being a Psychic-type gym leader in both games goes under this as well. For the former games, you'd better do some levelling up, and pray that your strongest Pokemon can prevail against her. For the latter games, just send in a Dark/Steel type, and she'll go down in no time.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/KevinAndKell'''s uber-wolf R.L. [[http://www.kevinandkell.com]]. R.L. begins the strip as the most fearsome predator at Heard Thinners, Inc. He does not lose his hunting skills, but after his medical domestication and marriage to Kevin's ex-wife Angelique, R.L now allows his rabbit wife to keep him collared and leashed. He fears smelly retribution if he fails to be a good father to his twenty skunk step-children.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In later episodes of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Bart suffers from this in the worst way possible. [[BigDamnMovie The movie]] even has him [[ParentalNeglect cry out for a positive father-figure/role model]] in the form of Ned Flanders. To add on, where Bart seemed indifferent toward [[VitriolicBestBuds Homer]] [[AbusiveParents choking him]] in the form of one of the series' [[PlayedForLaughs best known running gags]], later seasons would have Bart cringing in fear if this (even at the slightest implication), while the series would chalk it up to DudeNotFunny and Homer being an abusive father.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''
** Stewie started the series [[EnfantTerrible as an aggressive, psychotic, evil genius plotting to take over the world and kill his mother]], but [[UnCanceled by the fourth season]], he became much more [[AmbiguouslyGay effeminate]], petty, [[PingPongNaivete occasionally overly naive]], and immature, seemingly abandoning his evil ways. Now his evil-ness is only occasionally mentioned, for a quick joke. Though this is unlike most examples, as this was probably because they didn't think it would be funny for much longer (many fans think that reducing him to a walking gay joke is even ''less'' funny.) The two-parter "Stewie Kills Lois"/"Lois Kills Stewie" addresses this FailureIsTheOnlyOption issue. The ending reveals most of it was [[spoiler: a virtual reality simulation he was viewing to see what things would be like if he ''did'' decide to commit himself to his ambitions right now. It turns out that though he ''could'' pull off world domination, in the end he'd be killed.]] (There's some funny LampshadeHanging with Brian's comments on this story thus being a big tease.)
** Joe Swanson has also suffered from this. In the beginning, while the show occasionally made jokes about his disability, he was a competent police officer who could his own in a fight despite being handicapped. After the show was uncancelled, while he still has moments of badassery, he is made fun of for his disability all the time and is often seen as being weak for it, to the point where the show outright said he wore diapers!
* Gorgonzola from ''WesternAnimation/{{Chowder}}''. At the beginning, he was more sarcastic and intimidating (to Chowder at least). Now he's a bit of a punching bag for the other characters, frequently getting his ass handed to him. People have said this happened when his master, Stilton, was introduced. To be fair, he wasn't seen in many episodes before that point.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy''
** Mandy doesn't become less {{badass}} per se, but she ''does'' become less villainous, shifting from a not-so-secretly evil EnfantTerrible to a manipulative but ambivalent OnlySaneMan [[TheSnarkKnight Snark Knight]] who doesn't really care about anything, fights evil merely because she has nothing else to do, and isn't really vindictive unless someone disrespects her first. Like Stewie, she still has her evil moments every once in a while, but it's no longer her defining character trait.
** Hoss Delgado and Grim also fit this trope. Grim's first appearance in the first episode shows him as a terrifying spirit that collects people when it's their time to die. Starting in his very next appearance, he obeys the every command of Billy and Mandy, and things only get worse from then on. Hoss is more or less a competent badass in his first appearance, but in the TV spin-off Underfist, he lives with his mom in a trailer, is forced to work with several monsters just because Mandy says so, and he also gets beaten up possibly more than any other character in the story. He even admits that he has been wetting his bed for the last thirty years and a marshmallow bunny is the reason he hates monsters so much. A far cry from what he once was.
* The animated incarnation of ComicStrip/{{Popeye}} goes through this something awful. In the Creator/MaxAndDaveFleischer cartoons, he's truly {{Nigh Invulnerab|ility}}le like his comic strip counterpart, to the point where bullets will ''bounce off him'' (''without having eaten spinach first''). By the time FamousStudios starts making the cartoons, Popeye requires spinach to perform even the most mundane feats of strength.
* Skeletor from ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'', a classic two-dimensional villain with no previous redeeming qualities whatsoever, abruptly turns good for no apparent reason other than "the Spirit of Christmas" in the ''He-Man and [[WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower She-Ra]] Holiday Special''. This had no bearing on later evil; it was just something the eighties did, apparently.
** Three words: Staff Child Psychologist.
* In the [[Film/BacktotheFuture film trilogy]], Marty [=McFly=] was breaking the time barrier and facing off against terrorists and western gunmen. In the [[WesternAnimation/BackToTheFuture animated series]], [[TheLoad he]] needs constant supervision from at least one of the Browns.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'', the titular hero's nemesis and EvilCounterpart is Kevin 11, suffers this through a toned down version of RedemptionDemotion; in the original series, he was an 11 years old AxCrazy CreepyChild with some degree of {{Genre savvy}}ness who could actually stand against Ben of his own. The sequel ''WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce'', taking place after a 5 years TimeSkip, has him going through a HeelFaceTurn and becoming a AntiHero. While he remains useful, he was now unable to fully use his abilities [[spoiler:which was later explained by the fact it was his powers who caused him to go psychotic when he abused of them]], resulting in him becoming ridiculously weak compared to before (just before his HeelFaceTurn, he fight Ben and is easily defeated). To sum up, he went from Ben's second most dangerous arc-foe to the weakest of the protagonists.
** The protagonist himself went through this when the writers attempt to do a CharacterRerailment on him in ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse''. Sadly, this had the side effect to remove all the badassery he had gained over the course of the AUF era, making him an immature, clumsy, bumbling IdiotHero who can't use the Omnitrix right even after all those years.
* Valtor (or Baltor, depending on the version you get), from season 3 of ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'', was a magnitude better BigBad than his ridiculous predecessor Lord Darkar. Suave, fascinating, cool, powerful, and when he didn't use MindControl for his deeds, he fought the heroines in first person (also since the Trix were [[VillainDecay quite ineffective]]). He blinded Layla, transformed Faragonda into a tree, made Tecna disappear in a black hole - even if all these events were resolved after a few episodes, they showed he was serious menace. At some point, the authors must have realized he was ''too'' powerful, and the fairies had to defeat him sooner or later; so, in the last episodes he became an increasingly stupid cardboard villain and, finally, his handsome appearance was revealed to be the disguise of his true form, a big ugly demon. One of the many [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot wasted opportunities]] of season 3.
* Skulker in ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' (Ghost Zone's Greatest Hunter) is able to take down nearly any ghostly beast--big or small--without any fear. [[HuntingTheMostDangerousGame He hunts for sports]] and Danny Phantom is his only real challenge; otherwise, he's competent. Then by the last season, in one episode, it's spurred away: his motivation to hunt Danny is just to impress his one-time girlfriend (who points out how horrible he does said job despite no evidence of such), and despite handling a giant ghost monster in the same episode, is unable to fight back against a ''regular teeny bird!'' A later episode had him running away from mutant unicorns instead of combating. Other episodes seem to depict him back to his badass self, but they're often minor.
* Prince Erik from ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' goes from so badass that he does all of the action scenes in the first movie, to not even bothering to lift a sword in [[Disney/TheLittleMermaidIIReturnToTheSea the direct-to-video sequel]] to rescue his infant child. Inversely, Ariel goes from being mostly a DamselInDistress to taking Erik's sword off his belt ''while he's wearing it'' and rescuing said infant daughter while Erik stands back dumb-founded. Apparently it's impossible for both of them to be competent at the same time.
* In ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'', Phoebus was at least of average intelligence and is reasonable in his attitude towards outcasts once he has some experience with them. In the sequel, he is easily hoodwinked, displays a worse attitude towards the circus folk than toward Gypsies in the original film, and generally gets in the way more than helps.
* Captain Gantu from ''Disney/LiloAndStitch'' suffers from this. In the original movie, Gantu was a respected captain in the [[TheFederation Galactic Federation]]. He stood 20 feet tall and was trained well in alien martial arts (and to a lesser extent, hula-dancing). Although he ultimately failed his mission to bring Stitch back to the Federation, he came particularly close, and generally left us with the impression that he was an overall competent, and badass character. Fast forward to later sequels and the cartoon series, where he becomes a one-man Team Rocket. Gantu has since been fired, works under the employ of ''an anthropomorphic hamster,'' and is foiled on repeated occasions by the titular duo. On one occasion, he failed to succeed in an episode's mission when Stitch was incapacitated. He was foiled by '''a 6-year old child'''.
** ''Anime/{{Stitch}}'' took him down even further than the series did. He was indeed rather comedic and most often failed, but he was at least dedicated to his duty of capturing experiments, and he would rather spend time attacking the enemies than eating sandwiches. In ''Stitch!'', his first 'formula episode' appearance has him arguing with Reuben over flavours of sandwich, he cries uncontrollably after a sad moment in a television show (and is upset when Hamsterviel switches it off so that he can try to get Gantu to do something), and can hardly ever be said to attack. He doesn't even use his blaster even with it in the holster. But here's the doom sign; when Hamsterviel is the one who's reprimanding Reuben all the time, you know you've fallen pretty dang hard.
* Brother Blood of ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' is introduced as the suave, charismatic headmaster of the HIVE ([[AcademyOfEvil a supervillain training center]]) using a combination of MindControl and force of personality to make his "students" fanatically loyal and takes his defeat in stride. In his next appearance, he's making sloppy mistakes, cornball puns, and goes into petulant rages at the top of a hat- and now it seems he's also so cruel that no one would willingly work for him ''without'' MindControl. Oddly, he also got to show off new powers and his amazing martial arts skills, so his fighting ability went ''up'' even as his competence and cool factor went ''down''.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', a TV character who Homer shares his name with is downgraded from badass to blithering idiot, much to his dismay.
* Number 4 of ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'' he started out as a competent badass who enjoyed a good fight every now and then and had some brilliant tactics to his plans, in later episodes he became very whiny, a lot less intelligent, and lost nearly every fight he was involved in.
* Rampage of ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'', who starts out as a psychotic MightyGlacier who Megatron barely keeps under control, due to being (among other things) unkillable. He is progressively nerfed after this, becoming one of the Predacon troops (if still psychotic) and gets knocked around by [[TheLancer Depth Charge]]. He even loses his invincibility in the last episode for no apparent reason. That could have something to do with the Energon blades/spikes they were using still being in their raw, unstable state.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', Brock Samson's love interest accuses him of going through this when he displays uncharacteristic interest in taking care of the kids rather than just guarding them. He is, however, still plenty badass.
* Duncan of the ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' series started out as a bad boy {{jerkass}} from juvie who was able to intimidate most of the other campers. Come the next two seasons, possibly due to a RelationshipUpgrade with [[spoiler: [[BaseBreaker Courtney]]]], he starts to lose the intimidating aspect of him and occasionally gets his ass handed to him by some of the other campers. Two of which happen to Harold and Cody, the two nerdiest characters in the show. Although Duncan does get some of his badassery back late Season 3, when he teams up with [[BigBad Alejandro]] and starts acting like a ManipulativeBastard...but he fails at even that in the end.
** Season 5 builds an entire subplot around Duncan's badass decay. After being placed on the Heroic Hamsters team, he gradually gets "sucked into their niceness" and becomes a huge sweetheart, to his horror and everyone else's amusement. His desperation to prove that he is still bad leads to him [[spoiler:blowing up Chris' cottage, resulting in his subsequent arrest and removal from the competition.]] At least his badass nature has been restored.
** Similar to Duncan, Scott started off as a devious, street-smart badass who [[LackofEmpathy viewed all of the contestants as objects]] to the point that he seemed like a genuine [[TheSociopath sociopath]]. A few episodes into season five, his tendency to be BookDumb was Flanderized into [[TooDumbToLive full-blown idiocy]], with all of his evil traits totally forgotten. Oddly enough, like Duncan, none of this happened until [[spoiler: he got a crush on]] Courtney.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' General Grievous went from being the [[TheJuggernaut unstoppably]] {{badass}} [[HeroKiller Jedi killer]] introduced in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsCloneWars'' to the moderately {{badass}} DirtyCoward he was in ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith''. He tries to make up for it with becoming a CombatPragmatist instead, with more-or-less success.
* Plankton from ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' went from a menacing threat that always came close to get the Krabby Patty formula (and actually succeeds in TheMovie) to an IneffectualSympatheticVillain in the later seasons.
* Within the duration between the first and second season premieres of ''WesternAnimation/TheDreamstone'', Rufus devolved from a CloudCuckooLander BadassAdorable with a sword to a [[TheEveryman generic]] [[TheMeddlingKidsAreUseless Useless Meddling Kid]]. Amberley ended up [[DistaffCounterpart the same]], most episodes ending with them getting OvershadowedByAwesome with the Dream Maker or the Wuts. They gradually reverted back in Seasons Three and Four, though still had fluctuations.
* Megan from ''Franchise/MyLittlePony'' in the first special was a rough cowgirl, with a bulky frame (for a 12 year old girl, that's it) and wasn't afraid of fighting barehanded against monsters or diving downstream to rescue a friend, without mentioning how at the end of the first TV special, [[spoiler: she kills Tirac.]] Her second TV special turned her into a feminine Bishoujo girl and her Movie/TV series final redesign turned her into a boney girl who kept being overpowered by dumb enemies or falling for the dumbest traps and was nowhere as rough or competent as the original Megan.
* [[TheStarscream Starscream]] of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'', so very, very much. In the pilot, he was a [[AdaptationalBadass genuinely frightening, comparatively cool-headed]] {{Magnificent Bast|ard}}[[BastardUnderstudy ardly]] [[TheDragon second in command]] [[AdaptationalBadass unrivaled by any other Starscream to date]] [[spoiler: as Cliffjumper found out]]. Later episodes have seen him as a [[DirtyCoward sniveling coward]] whose fighting style is roughly 90% [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty cheap shots]] and [[KickThemWhileTheyAreDown beating up badly weakened opponents]], when he's not getting his ass kicked. Also, he's consistently upstaged and humiliated by [[TheStarscream Airachnid]], and [[HumiliationConga ruined]] in [[MeaningfulName "Rock Bottom"]]. Though to be fair [[spoiler: he does pretty well in the second half of "Partners," the episode detailing his desertion. He plays Arcee so she doesn't consider him a threat before beating the scrap out of her. [[CurbStompBattle Too bad]] for him she got a HeroicSecondWind...]]
** Cementing his downfall, seasons 2 and 3 rather consistently portray him as bumbling comic relief. Although he does get very brief moments to shine, when RuleOfCool calls for it, these happen rarely and he tends to get outdone quickly. In one episode, even his own men call him out briefly on his cowardly attitude.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' the seventy-year gap between its predecessor ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' and ''Korra'''s present-day has seen [[TheOrder The Order of the White Lotus]] change from a tight-knit elite group of RetiredBadass [[BadassGrandpa Grandpas]] to a much more diluted HeroSecretService charged with protecting Avatar Korra, who spends much of her time chafing under their limits and conspiring ways to DitchTheBodyguards, often [[TheGuardsMustBeCrazy successfully]]. It ''is'', however, justified in that those {{Badass Grandpa}}s are implied to be dead and that Korra is getting assistance in evading them from {{Reasonable Authority Figure}}s Katara and Tenzin. Plus, the guys from the original series were the leaders of the White Lotus, while in ''Korra'' we mostly see the lower-tier members.
* It says something when you were more badass as a ''baby'' than hitting puberty as is the case with [[WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}} Tommy Pickles.]] With a [[BadassCreed declaration of]] [[CatchPhrase "A baby's got to do what a baby's got to do,"]] even when he was ''aware'' [[TheFool of the danger]] such as dealing with [[TheDreaded "The Junkfood Kid,"]] he never failed to pull out his trusty screwdriver and lead [[TrueCompanions his fellow babies]] to fun/adventure. Then came ''WesternAnimation/AllGrownUp'' where he's now just another kid with crippling fears, awkwardness and just being well, [[BroughtDownToNormal normal.]] Maybe it's the hair and teeth. Of course Tommy isn't protected by AchievementsInIgnorance and InfantImmortality in the later show, and he is also dealing with RealityEnsues in AllGrownUp.
* Diego from ''WesternAnimation/IceAge'' started off as having being a {{Badass}} being his defining trait to getting his ass kicked repeatedly in the fourth movie.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* Harley-Davidson: [[TheFifties Once]] [[TheSixties upon]] [[TheSeventies a time]] the ultimate symbol of All-American rebellion. Nowadays, it's known just as much for its clothing line and restaurant franchises than its motorcycles, of which you're more likely to find a midlife crisis-having executive perched atop than an actual BadassBiker (many of whom will actually go out of their way to avoid Harley products).
* Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger went from being an [[Franchise/{{Terminator}} awesome]] [[Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian action]] [[Film/TotalRecall1990 hero]] to a [[LoveItOrHateIt typically divisive]] politician, and became slightly out-of-shape in the process, at least at first. [[HumiliationConga It also didn't help when combining the two flaws to claim]] UsefulNotes/BarackObama was a [[Series/SaturdayNightLive "girly-man"]] under that shirt before the famous [[WalkingShirtlessScene beach shot]] when everybody still remembered [[FanDisservice Arnold's black speedo]] and the whole [[YourCheatingHeart knocking up the nanny scandal]] that ''killed'' the once-unshakeable loyalty Maria Shriver had in him, making ''her'' [[UpToEleven even more of American royalty]] and him [[UpToEleven more]] [[ButtMonkey talk show fodder.]]
* Alan Cunningham conquered Ethiopia from the Italians winning one of the first Allied victories in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. Guess who his [[UsefulNotes/ErwinRommel next opponent]] was. [[TheWorfEffect Guess what happened?]]
* Spain and Portugal in the 19th and early 20th Century. Once being the two glorious empires that had colonies all around the world. Lost most of their colonies, by independence, or other countries taking over said colonies. Further humiliated by most said other countries underwent industrialization before Portugal and Spain! All courtesy of Belgium [[note]]She didn't even exist before the partition from the Netherlands.[[/note]], Britain, France, Germany [[note]]She wasn't even a unified nation until the 1870s.[[/note]], Japan [[note]]She wasn't even European/Caucasian. Instead, she was a seculded Asian country, with a feudal society, and was, in fact, at the verge of being the '''receiving end''' of colonialist takeover, all well into the 1860s.[[/note]], Netherlands, and the United States [[note]]It had a civil war in the 1860s, and the country didn't have all 48 states for most of the 19th Century[[/note]].
* Mike Tyson used to be the most feared boxer, but then he got clobbered by Buster Douglas and now he's just known for his lisp ([[TheTysonZone and whatever else]]).
[[/folder]]

!!Exceptions:

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker
** Creator/AlanMoore's Franchise/{{Batman}} story ''Comicbook/TheKillingJoke'' could be seen as a cruel parody of this. We are privy to his tragic backstory revealed in flashbacks as he tries to drive Commissioner Gordon mad by brutally shooting Barbara and then tormenting him with photos of her suffering. Near the end of the story, however, the Joker says that he doesn't clearly or consistently remember the events that made him what he is, naming the trope MultipleChoicePast in the process. (This story was an inspiration to [[Film/TheDarkKnightSaga certain filmmakers]].)
** The same can be said of ''Going Sane'' in which the Joker, thinking he killed Batman, regains his sanity, becomes an upstanding citizen, and becomes engaged to a woman, only to return to his old self when Batman is revealed to be alive. Amazingly this story made him even more terrifying. If the Joker's insanity isn't an unchangeable absolute in Franchise/TheDCU, nothing is certain. The Joker puts the 'chaotic' in ChaoticEvil. He'd never be as consistent as to be evil ''all'' the time. [[note]]YMMV, since if the Joker's madness hinges on the Batman being alive, then there is some consistency to his insanity[[/note]]
* The Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} story "Fall of TheKingpin" is an interesting study of this. The story starts out with Daredevil reminding Kingpin of his lost wife, who he genuinely loved but who left him because she didn't approve of his criminal lifestyle. Daredevil then takes down his top enforcer Typhoid Mary and things get worse from there. Fisk ends up running afoul of HYDRA, who blow up all of his business holdings in New York City and drain his financial accounts. Meanwhile, Daredevil has used SHIELD's database to acquire countless evidence of Kingpin's crimes, and turns them over to a federal prosecutor. Normally Kingpin's a man who'd be able to call in favors, but with the loss of his holdings and his current indictment, nobody wants to risk working with him. To top it all of, Daredevil tricks him into having a FreakOut in public, destroying any doubt of his true character and making it clear that nothing is going to save him from his problems. Kingpin has his bail paid by an old lackey of his, and at first he's grateful. Then he finds out that the only reason he got him out of jail was so the Kingpin could be HIS lickspittle for awhile, and tells him to go pick up his laundry. A pretty sad end for a man who once owned New York City and [[ComicBook/DaredevilBornAgain tore Daredevil's life apart]], huh? Except...that last insult was one too many. Kingpin smashes his cane into the guy's skull so hard the head breaks off. He then impales him with the broken end and lifts him into the air. As his blood runs down the Kingpin's arms, he thanks him, saying that he reminded him of a part of him that he had thought lost forever, remarking that he now feels [[TitleDrop ...Born again.]] He walks off with the intent to reclaim everything he had, and Daredevil feels guilty at how far he went to take him down. It could be argued that this storyline is a deconstruction of VillainDecay and Badass Decay: the Kingpin efforts to become a true DiabolicalMastermind by creating a legal media empire so he can be a VillainWithGoodPublicity are the reason HYDRA could blow all his business holdings in New York. Kingpin’s ability to be TheDon really depends on other corrupt people believing he has enough power to return their favors. Everyone else (his wife, Daredevil, HYDRA) believes he’s not more than TheBrute and TheBully. The storyline shows him slowly getting more desperate, stupid, and weaker… also becoming much more dangerous each time. [[CorneredRattlesnake When he is truly desperate]], he embraces being TheBrute and TheBully again… .
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* On ''Series/{{Deadwood}}'' the MagnificentBastard Al Swearengen starts off the series by stepping on a woman's throat and ordering the deaths of a family of travelers. Throughout the show, however, he reveals a vulnerable side, all manner of inner demons, and develops into something of an anti-hero as he works to build the community, fight the destructive influence of George Hearst, and occasionally PetTheDog. However, every once in a while a scene pops up to remind the audience what a brutal bastard he is. In one particular scene that seems specifically created to combat the trope, he takes his time torturing a mook and mocking him for shooting at an unarmed woman... then admitting to the mook as Swearengen is about to murder him that it was just another kind of torment, and Swearengen has and would kill women and children without hesitation.
* ''Series/{{Shark}}'' does everything they can to avoid having this happen to their badass protagonist, like [[KickTheDog the time]] he framed a SerialKiller. On the other hand, he gets to PetTheDog by having meaningful conversations with his teenage daughter. Then again, the first episode showed that he believed in his methods, just that he realized the wrong people were benefiting from them.
* Inverted with Lilah Morgan on ''Series/{{Angel}}''. She started off as a fairly spineless villain, constantly showing fear regarding her superiors as opposed to her counterpart Lindsey [=McDonald=] who was calm and casual even when there was a good chance his bosses were going to kill him. When he was put on a bus, Lilah stepped up and became a scheming and manipulative bitch who rarely took insults lying down. At the end of her run on the series she was ''still'' scheming and manipulating, despite being dead. The audience sees her more human side through her growing relationship with Wesley and earns some sympathy when she is brutally and shockingly murdered, while remaining whole-heartedly evil.
* Subverted in one episode of ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' where the [[MonsterOfTheWeek villain of the week]] was played by Creator/RobinWilliams - not angsty, dramatic Robin Williams, but [[AffablyEvil goofy Robin Williams]], complete with funny voices, which he used to pretend to be "Det. Milgram" and talk a woman's male boss into violating her, then got the jury to laugh him back onto the street. At the climax he tries a version of the Milgram experiment with Elliot and Olivia, and when Elliot won't press the button, breaks down crying at how unfair his life is and how "sheep" killed his wife...then he "reveals" it was a SecretTestOfCharacter and goes back to his goofy self. This was played straight many, ''many'' times in the ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' franchise, however.
* Subverted awesomely in ''Series/{{Primeval}}''. The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgonops Gorgonopsid]] is an incredibly powerful Permian carnivore, serving as the main threat in the first episode and only going down after being hit by a SUV and shot repeatedly with an automatic rifle. In episode 6, the new human-hunting, intelligent baddie, the Future Predator, ends up following our heroes through a TimePortal and into the Permian. A Gorgonopsid appears, and we all wait for the [[GoalOrientedEvolution old, "outmoded" creature]] to be [[TheWorfEffect killed by the new monster]]...except that doesn't happen. Instead, the Gorgonopsid proceeds to teach this future-spawned upstart just what ''throwing down, '''Old School''''' really means. Gorgonopsids didn't become extinct because of the evolution of other better predators, but because of the Permian extinction event which also killed almost everything else.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' is extremely good at averting this, with badass characters remaining as such after we learn about their FreudianExcuse backstory. Especially Benjamin Linus, whose tragic childhood was sort of balanced out by him committing mass murder because of it.
** It plays with the concept with Locke. When we first see him, he's got an awesome [[TheObiwan Obi-Wan]] sage thing going on, throwing knives at boars and such. In episode three, we discover he was a rather pathetic and needy guy before the crash, and that he was in a wheelchair before the crash. Episodes starring him only went further as the audience discovers exactly how pathetic and needy he is and why he's that pathetic, as his apparent destiny as someone 'special' is {{foreshadow|ing}}ed more and more. In season six, we discover [[spoiler: that in the end, Locke was a pathetic failure who was used by everyone for their own ends, up to and including the BigBad of the whole show. Huh.]]
** However, [[spoiler:we do discover that Locke was absolutely right about things happening for a reason, and everyone having a special purpose.]]
* ''Series/TheVampireDiaries''
** Damon Salvatore spends all of Season 1 slowly becoming more human and less evil vampire. By Season 2 he is unquestionably an anti-hero but he has become even more of a badass than before, if that is even possible, [[spoiler:such as when he tortured and then killed Mason Lockwood]].
** Katherine was introduced as the BigBad of season 2, and suffered some decay when Klaus supplanted her in that role. But come season 3, she quite unexpectedly gets back to her MagnificentBastard self via HeelFaceTurn.
* Over the course of Season 5 of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', the angel Castiel slowly lost his powers as he was [[FallenAngel cut off from Heaven.]] Though the loss of his abilities to heal and smite demons made him a lot less handy in a fight, he simply became a BadassNormal. Season 6 [[TookALevelInBadass restored him to full strength]], and even took the time to remind the audience how strong he actually is by basically dedicating its third episode to Cas kicking ass.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology]]
* In contrast to ''{{Kitsune}}'', Japanese fox spirits, the Korean ''Kumiho'' went from benign and beneficial to vicious to finally AlwaysChaoticEvil (''always'').
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/ShawnMichaels, aside from a title win in his second back match in 2002, lost the vast majority of his PPV matches for the rest of his career, particularly at Wrestling/WrestleMania (his trademark show), where he went 3-5 in his final eight years (and 2 of his 3 wins came against opponents on the other side of 60). But, he's Wrestling/ShawnMichaels, so his mic skills and ring-work were still so good that nobody cared. It also helped that he had a habit of getting his wins back sooner or later on regular TV, and dominated the tag-team division as part of DX. He generally did get a big win or two every year (against guys as big as Wrestling/JohnCena, even!), but compared to his complete dominance in the late 90s (he lost about three times total between 1996 and 1998, if that)...
* Wrestling/MickFoley became known as the violent daredevil Cactus Jack and the insane Mankind. After an injury, he took time off from wrestling matches and became known as commissioner under his real name. He then wrote his autobiography by himself (followed by several other books), as well as raising a young family and is now known as the nicest guy in wrestling.
* Wrestling/KurtAngle has remained very much a badass through his entire career, going on to cleanly defeat some of the biggest names in the industry, including Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, and Shawn Michaels. He's also one of the very few pro-wrestlers out there who can claim that they've beaten both Cena and Orton cleanly. Even when he's putting others over, he usually bounces back the next week and carries on with all the finesse of a main event top guy.
* Wrestling/RandyOrton remains, if not excelled in viciousness despite the PG Era since he was simply about being brutal, Wrestling/TheMiz [[LetsGetDangerous got serious]] as a credible champion instead of another David Arquette/Pacman Jones, and obviously there's The Undertaker, who after twenty years of competing, is still regarded as one of the top men on the WWE roster. Orton was, at one point, the spitting image of this trope. Shortly after his departure from Evolution, Orton was placed in a romantic plot in which he played a significantly softer, baby {{face}} [[TheGimmick gimmick]]. Fortunately, he got better. When he made another face turn in 2010, he didn't lose any of his ruthlessness.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Agrael in ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic 5'', starts off as a badass demon lord with a red armor and SpikesOfVillainy, although he's clearly a Noble demon from the start, but it didn't stop him from being one of the most badass characters, and the OnlySaneMan. He retained this trait even after [[spoiler: he reformed and dumped his old armor, revealing him to be quite the {{Bishonen}}]]. He's still the one with the most badass comebacks and {{Pre Ass Kicking One Liner}}s.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Author of ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Rich Burlew, specifically mentions this as a problem he faced when writing the ''StartOfDarkness'' prequel. Here's the full quote:
-->"Writing a story centered around your main antagonist is sort of difficult, because you risk "devillainifying" them. Yes, I just made that word up. What I mean though, is that once an audience has read all about a character's life, with all of their personal struggles and trials and tribulations and such, it's more difficult to see the character as the BigBad. My challenge here was to tell the story of Xykon's life without making Xykon even slightly sympathetic. I mean, he's wholly and unapologetically Evil, but more to the point, he's kind of a dick."
** Rich has a similar discussion about Belkar in the foreword for ''On the Origin of [=PCs=]'', and states this is one of the reasons why Belkar's backstory picks up a few hours before the party forms. Although in this case it's more about that giving Belkar a sad backstory would make him rather a sad figure than being a comical one.
** Belkar has completely turned this trope on its head by learning that he can garner sympathy and influence by ''pretending'' to have a case of Badass Decay, after a vivid fever-dream debate with the only character in the series he's ever given much respect. Pretending to turn over a new (Bitter)leaf, Belkar has risked his life to save Haley Starshine--even though she abandoned him when he was in a similar situation--but only so that he could mock her about it afterward. He also ''selflessly'' refused to kill Haley's treacherous former friend, and convinced his companion to do it instead.
** Occurred in-story with Vaarsuvius, who finally got the long-desired ultimate arcane power... [[spoiler: ...at the cost of alienating V's spouse, frightening V's children, getting partially damned, AND being utterly ineffectual. Nothing V did after [[TookALevelInBadass Taking A Level In Badass]] changed a thing, other than indirectly freeing O-Chul and giving V's familiar a look at the world of the Snarl...]] ...and giving V some overdue humility, proving again that [[TropesAreTools Tropes Are Not Bad]].
** Just to drive the point home, despite absolute superiority in terms of raw power in [[spoiler:the battle against Xykon, V still loses because Xykon uses his powers with more cleverness. Conversely, by using V's pre-existing powers (namely, V's familiar and the Explosive Runes spell), O-Chul and V manage to deal a significant blow to Xykon before escaping by dropping Xykon's phylactery into the sewers.]]
* [[http://www.meninhats.com/d/20031022.html Parodied]] with Aram in ''Webcomic/MenInHats''. (Aram's more of a {{Jerkass}} than a {{Badass}}, though.)
* Reynardine from ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' was introduced by betraying and nearly killing the protagonist, Antimony. By his very next appearance, he was trapped in a toy, [[KidWithTheLeash under the thumb of the girl he tried to kill]], and [[RestrainingBolt unable to do anything more evil than being annoying]]. At which point, Rey's cuteness and [[DeadpanSnarker snarkiness]] made him more popular with the fans than before. And as Rey began ([[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation arguably]]) [[HeelFaceTurn drifting towards the light side]], he's begun showing himself ''more'' badass than before, in the service of protecting Annie. And now fans are [[AmbiguousSituation questioning whether or not Rey was really trying to possess Annie]] in the first place.
* "Webcomic/WastelandersAnonymous": Benjamin, a loner, comes to town and starts making connections that slowly soften him up despite all his efforts to resist.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Paul Smith of ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'' fell victim of this towards the end of his run, laying down and dying and exhibiting little of his former spirit and in general, what made him entertaining. Jarringly, for the rest of his death, he was very in character. However, this is, at least in part, {{justified|Trope}} - another handler took over Paul for his death.
[[/folder]]


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