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Combat Breakdown

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Oh, if only they brought a Mana Potion.

When a fight lasts a long time, often a very long time, things can get a bit... different. Elaborate sword duels can turn into bar brawls. A gunfight or mechafight becomes a fistfight. A long-range exchange of sorcery or powers becomes an up-close and personal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Improvised Weapons start appearing. Things get brutal, or just plain silly, or even sad.

A common comedy variation is for a brawl between two grown men to devolve into a childish slap fight. When played for drama, use of this trope can evoke feelings of desperation and/or savagery as arsenals get depleted, weapons broken, exhaustion and/or severe injuries impair the fighters, and yet the combatants only tear into each other even harder with their bare hands.

Destructo-Nookie is one possible outcome. Contrast Interesting Situation Duel - a fight that is as complicated as Combat Breakdown is simple.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Revy and Roberta's first duel in Black Lagoon begins with a car chase across the city, then becomes a deadly game of hide-and-go-seek at the docks, then finally ends up as a no-holds-barred fistfight that lasts all night. Roberta wins, just.
  • Most fights in Blade of the Immortal are bloody, messy, and... rather clumsy-looking affairs. Clean Cuts are few and far between.
  • Blue Submarine No. 6: Mayumi and Hayami having just killed Zorndyke, and the Blue Fleet having already destroyed his entire empire, his son Verg goes out in murderous rage against Hayami and they both end up in a very brutal fight. Not really a fight per se. Hiyami is just letting Verg beat the crap out of him because Zorndyke said that humanity needed to learn to talk out its problems. It was more like a voluntary No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, with Hiyami as the beaten and Verg as the beater.
  • The Final Battle between Suzaku and Kallen in Code Geass starts with both of their Knightmare Frames flying with energy wings and armed with powerful beam weapons. In the process of the fight, they lose the wings, wear each other's weapons down one by one, and eventually end up slugging it out with punches and kicks in a sequence that many fans declared the best fight of the entire series (and certainly the best one since the Lensman Arms Race took effect early in the second season, leading to battles decided by technological prowess rather than strategy). This was seen as particularly fitting because Suzaku and Kallen were piloting the two Knightmares that most exemplified said Lensman Arms Race, rendering them all but invincible against anybody other than each other.
  • Deadman Wonderland: When Ganta finally confronts the "Red Man" who killed his classmates and ruined his life actually his long-lost friend Shiro, actually her long-suppressed psychotic/suicidal side they initially attack each other with their blood-based powers but end up pounding the snot out of each other, though acrobatically (Red Man is understandable, but when did Ganta learn how to fight like that?).
  • In the Desert Punk anime, the titular hero and his rival, both Gadgeteer Geniuses have a duel that lasts an entire day- but it results in truly Epic Fail as they abandon their usual tactics and have a Blast Out with shotguns, the handguns, followed by running out of ammo and throwing rocks at each other. Eventually, they run out of loose rocks and flip rubber bands at each other. The watching townspeople get bored and go home, and eventually they punch each other out.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Before becoming a Super Saiyan, Goku tended to end his fights in such a way, particularly against King Piccolo, Piccolo, and Vegeta. In the first one, Goku ended up crippled, and the fight ended when he propelled himself against Piccolo, bursting clean through his torso and killing him. Against Piccolo, Goku ended up with a hole the size of a fist in his shoulder, and won by dropping from the sky against Piccolo and knocking him out of the ring (they were still in a tournament fight). As for the fight against Vegeta, Goku had to push the Kaioken further than King Kai thought was safe to have a chance, which just made Vegeta mad enough to turn into a giant were-ape. It ends with an already-weakened Vegeta getting crushed by Gohan's were-ape form, after which he has to drag himself back to his spaceship. Everyone involved needs a trip to the hospital after that mess.
    • In Dragon Ball Super, the Tournament of Power ends with base form Goku and Frieza slugging it out with an equally-battered Jiren as Android 17 provides cover fire. While still impressive, it's clear they're all on their last legs; it takes a last-ditch effort from Goku and Frieza to actually ring Jiren out, with Goku flickering between base form and classic Super Saiyan, and both Goku and Frieza have to ring themselves out in the process, leaving 17 as the only one left standing in the ring.
    • In Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, Goku and Vegeta spar with one another on Beerus's planet, with the stipulations that they cannot go Super Saiyan or use ki attacks. In The Stinger, both Saiyans had gone so hard at each other for so long that they are completely and utterly exhausted, the final blow coming from Vegeta with a tired punch that doesn't knock Goku out so much as just push him to the ground...not that Vegeta would miss the opportunity to declare that, technically, he won.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • During a Mirror Match between Erza and her Alternate Universe Edolas counterpart, destroy the floating island they were fighting on, each other's weapons, each other's clothes, and use up all their magic in the process so their battle eventually breaks down to a fist fight that finally leaves them both too exhausted to move. Earthland Erza still technically wins due to convincing Edolas Erza that stealing magic at the cost of lives is wrong.
    • When Juvia and Chelia get into a fight in the Grand Magic Games, it is initially a rather cool battle where both make use of their badass water and wind magic, but it soon degrades into a childish fight where they just pinch and slap each other... That is, until Gray and Lyon turn up to help Juvia and Chelia, respectively.
  • Terry's rematch with Krauser in the second Fatal Fury OAV ends this way after the two of them have exhausted each other with their ultimate attacks.
  • The final assault on Father in Fullmetal Alchemist starts as a proper battle, with heavy artillery and alchemy attacks flying left and right, and ends with Edward beating Father senseless with his bare fists.
  • The final battle in GaoGaiGar, against the Zonuda Robot ends up being a particularly memorable example of this. GaoGaiGar's Stock Footage attacks, the Broken Phantom, Goldion Hammer, and Hell and Heaven, all prove to be ineffectual against this enemy, and his Phantom Rings and Space Boosters are quickly destroyed. So then it gets into a brutal slugfest with the enemy robot, smashing in its head with its bare hands and legs and tearing off limbs before ripping its hands through it to pull out the core.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack has Amuro and Char whittle each others' Mobile Suits down bit by bit, turning from an epic duel into a bare-knuckle slugfest that is fondly remembered by fans decades later; many of the attacks from the latter part of the fight are considered iconic enough to be used in games such as Super Robot Wars.
    • Before that, in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Amuro and Char systematically destroy each other's mobile suits, going from the full suits, to fighters, to a gunfight, to swords... at which point it is interrupted.
    • In a most memorable scene from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Athrun and Kira duke it out in a free-for-all death match that made them both forget that their Gundams had any kind of specialty in mind and just go at it against each other. Involved lost limbs, broken cockpits, and bashed heads. Eventually it would have ended in Athrun's victory had he not run out of power to fire the Scylla cannon after grabbing Kira. Of course this also results in him winning anyway since he self-destructs the Gundam to attempt to kill Kira.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00:
      • At the end of the second season, Setsuna gets his Gundam, the 00 Raiser, pretty much destroyed by Ribbons Almarck. Ribbons's Gundam, however, is also heavily damaged, so he takes the GN Drive he stole from the 00 Raiser and installs it on his old Mobile Suit, the 0 Gundam, that was drifting nearby. But then he gets attacked by Setsuna, who has installed the other GN Drive from the 00 on his old Gundam, the Exia. And they proceed to fight with their outdated Gundams. Gotta be the only mecha series when the hero got a Last Episode Downgrade.
      • It also happens in the first season's finale. Setsuna and Lasse start off piloting the GN-Armour Type-E against Alejandro's Alvatore, then the main bodies of those two are destroyed, leaving Setsuna's Gundam Exia that was inside the GN-Armour against the Alvalon that was inside the Alvatore, which Setsuna defeats by throwing six of swords at it. Then Graham Aker comes in a custom "GN-Flag", and they fight with Exia's one last weapon - his GN Sword/Rifle - against Graham's beam saber. By the end of the fight, neither machine is destroyed, but both of them are essentially floating wrecks with Exia's cockpit simply torn open.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team had this towards the end, with a battle between Shiro and Norris Packard devolving to the point where Shiro ends up beating Packard with the severed arm of his own mobile suit. The fight can be seen here in full.
    • Gundam Build Fighters features one in the fifteenth episode. Reiji and Sei's Star Build Strike is statistically superior, but Ricardo Fellini and his Wing Gundam Fenice have decades more experience together. The battle starts off with high-flying ranged combat, then they begin losing weapons and have their thrusters damaged, bringing things down to Earth. Even that suffers a breakdown, with both Gundams losing their respective Laser Blades, which results in them duking it out with their fists, Fellini wrapping his Gundam's beam cape around its left arm to counter the Build Strike's Super Mode. The whole thing ends with a "combat brofist" that causes both Gundams to shut down, marking the first and only draw in the entire series.
  • Majestic Prince: Episode 18's battle with Klein. By the end of the fight, every one of Team Rabbits' mechs has been rendered inoperational.
  • Megalo Box: The match between Aragaki and Joe eventually devolves into the fourth round being little but both men jabbing each other in the face, unable to make telling blows; Joe being too tired and Aragaki's mind and leg prostheses both giving up on him.
  • In Metal Fight Beyblade: Metal Masters, this is how Gingka's fight with Kyoya plays out. It starts with them fiercely attacking each other with all their strongest special moves but ends with them so exhausted that their beyblades barely manage to touch each other before they fall over and Gingka and Kyoya pass out.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto's battle with Gaara ends with a plain old headbutt. This was after Gaara's multiple transformations into his inner monster, various sand-based binding techniques, and Naruto's pulling out a thousand clones, summoning a giant frog, and so on.
    • This is how the battle between Madara and Hashirama ultimately went. It started with them throwing their most powerful and impressive techniques at each other. It ended with a battered and exhausted Hashirama tricking an equally exhausted Madara with a clone technique — one of the simplest tricks in a ninja's arsenal — and impaling him in the back with a sword, which was only possible because Madara couldn't even maintain his Sharingan to see through the deception.
    • The final battle between Naruto and Sasuke plays out the same way (and at the same spot as the above one) - the two combatants throwing ridiculously powerful attacks at each other until they're both out of usable chakra, at which point they forgo all that and just charge in and start beating the crap out of each other. By the end of it, they're so injured and completely exhausted that their punches are too slow and weak to even hurt each other anymore. Eventually though, they do go back to ninjutsu, both giving all that they had left to give. The end result costs each of them an arm.
  • The absurdly epic battle between Negi and Rakan in Negima! Magister Negi Magi eventually ends with just the two of them slugging it out... for fun.
  • One Piece:
    • This is essentially how Luffy won the final round of his fight with Crocodile. The first round had Luffy brutally curb-stomped thanks to Crocodile's devil fruit powers. The second round had Luffy get some hits in thanks to learning about Crocodile's weakness to water but ended with Luffy being dried out. The third round is when the breakdown of the fight occurs — seeing Luffy show up to fight him again after seemingly having been killed twice triggers Crocodile's Villainous Breakdown, which translates to how he fights Luffy. Rather than use his broken devil fruit powers to kill his opponent, he instead takes off the protective casing on his poison hook and tries to match Luffy physically, degenerating the battle into a pure brawl. Crocodile is not a physical fighter, his Warlord title be damned, and even at that point in the series, very few people could hope to match Luffy in a physical contest. By the time he starts deciding to use his sand powers again, Luffy had built up enough steam to plow through it and finish off Crocodile with a brutal Gum Gum Storm, sending him flying through the roof of the underground area they were fighting in to crash unconscious, before Luffy himself drops from exhaustion and the poison in his system.
    • In the twelfth movie One Piece Film: Z, the final battle between Luffy and the titular antagonist starts out as a proper fight with showy techniques. By the end of the fight, both Luffy and Z are so exhausted that they're reduced to slugging it out with Haki-enhanced punches until one of them falls.
  • Persona 4: The Golden Animation has the battle between Yu and Adachi. While Adachi has only one Persona, it's the incredibly powerful Magatsu-Izanagi, which takes all of Yu's Personas to bring down. In the end, neither has any Personas to summon, and the fight degenerates into a one-on-one brawl between Yu and Adachi, with Yu eventually managing to knock Adachi to the ground and pummel him.
  • Pokémon:
    • One of the most brutal fights of Pokémon: The Series had Ash's Bulbasaur and an opposing trainer's Meganium start off the fight with Razor Leafs, Body Slams, and Vine Whips that also included a lot of moving. As the fight dragged on, it eventually got to the point where neither one of the combatants was even trying to dodge attacks, causing them to just be in a Vine Whip slug-fest that ended with a cross-counter that knocked both to the ground. The fight didn't end there, however, but stopped almost immediately after with a double Solar Beam.
    • The clones vs. originals in Pokémon: The First Movie. It's especially notable with the two Pikachu, as the clone starts crying while it keeps slapping Ash's Pikachu, who is just standing there sadly.
  • Hayao Miyazaki's Porco Rosso, several times during the same fight, no less. The dogfight starts out with machine guns, then devolves into using handguns, then throwing various tools, debris, and pieces of garbage at each other, and finally degenerates completely into a fist fight on the ground with both just brutally gut punching each other in succession with neither of them making an effort to block. To say it looked silly would be an understatement.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, Kenshin and Saitou's fight starts out a relatively controlled "one special move at a time" sword duel, then devolves into Kenshin using his sheath as a bludgeon and Saitou trying to snap his neck with a jacket. They were saved from going fists-versus-sheath trying to beat each other to death only by Saitou's boss's timely intervention.
  • The Final Battle of s-CRY-ed starts out as a fight between alter-powers which continuously escalates as Kazuma and Ryuhou use higher tiers of their alters. Once they've hit the strongest form of their alters, they quickly start breaking away each other's Power Armor and then gradually break down to a simple (though brutal) slugfest. The final clash is each using the last of their energy (and their own blood) to form a tiny fragment of their base alter-power and swinging at each other.
  • In Soul Eater, after all the anti-magic, enchanted weaponry, suicidal spirit-attacks, and what-have-you the protagonists throw at the Big Bad fail to even scratch him, he is finally defeated with a perfectly ordinary fist to the face.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • By the time of the Simon vs Lordgenome battle, both the Gurren and Lazengann have been trashed, and the fight continues with Simon's Lagann and Lordgenome's bare fists. When Lordgenome actually wins that one, he pulls Simon out of the cockpit to gloat — and Simon stabs him with his car keys, with explosive results.
    • In the last episode Gurren-Lagann ejects layer-by-layer from the titular mecha, starting from Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann, to Super Galaxy Gurren-Lagann, to Arc Gurren-Lagann, slowly but surely closing in on the Anti-Spiral homeworld, a component of their own super-mecha, Grand Zamboa, upon which their central hive-mind stands, and culminating in Viral manually ejecting Lagann from Gurren and throwing Lagann at the Anti-Spiral, which drills a massive hole in him. Woah...
    • And then in The Movie, it's taken yet another step further by having Lagann literally throw Simon at the Anti-Spiral. An epic fistfight ensues, ending when Simon creates a drill with his own blood and drills through the Anti-Spiral.
  • With their powers burned away at the end of TRIGUN MAXIMUM, Millions Knives tries to initiate this with his brother Vash the Stampede to settle their feud once and for all. Except Vash brought a gun with him and Knives didn't.
  • Joey's fight against Marik (actually his Dragon Odion, who was masquerading as Marik) in Yu-Gi-Oh! ends with both duellists collapsed on the ground, with the referee declaring that the winner will be the first to get up. Children's card games are Serious Business.
  • YuYu Hakusho:
    • Yusuke's battle with Chu ends with a stand-up slugging match with each of them having a knife at their heel to keep them from moving away.
    • The first tournament arc ends with Yusuke and his opponent, a demon named Rando, completely exhausted - both combatants are depleted of energy, with Rando reduced to a tenth of his physical size thanks to a last-ditch spell gone awry. Yusuke decisively ends the fight by falling on top of Rando - with an elbow drop. Fighting until the very last gasp, and then a few punches more, is something of Yusuke's defining features in the series.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Asterix story The Great Divide, the two chieftains are finally convinced to fight each other for who gets to lead the village, instead of having their villagers do it. Their fight starts with the entire village watching and taking bets, but as it consists of nothing but the two punching each other, they get bored and leave, and even Asterix falls asleep while refereeing as they keep punching each other. When he wakes up, he finds they've both fallen asleep leaning onto each other, so he calls it a tie.
  • The French comic Captain Biceps (where the titular hero goes around fighting Expies of comic heroes and villains) has the fight against the Punisher. They start laying into each other with machine guns, then throwing knives, then fists. Exhausted, they settle on Rock–Paper–Scissors (Biceps wins).
  • The end of Infinite Crisis. After flying through a red sun and a field of Kryptonite, Superman, his Earth-2 counterpart, and the Big Bad Superboy-Prime are all Brought Down to Normal and duke it out in a mundane fistfight.
  • In Iron Man: The Order, a fight between Tony Stark and Ezekiel Stane starts with high-tech weaponry but eventually devolves into them fighting with sticks and stones.
  • At the end of the Sinestro Corps War, Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner and Sinestro's rings all lose power... so they start fighting with their bare hands.
    • Equally, in Emerald Twilight, the final fight between Hal and Sinestro ends with the two just slugging it out with their fists.
  • The Spectre once tried to stop a war by removing all weapons from the battlefield. The armies simply picked up rocks. Even the embodiment of God's Wrath can't stop humans from killing each other.
  • At the conclusion of Superman: Up, Up and Away!, Superman has been battling Luthor, who is in a giant Kryptonian battleship equipped with Kryptonite. Superman slowly destroys the ship but loses his powers to the Kryptonite. Luthor dons his protective suit and starts to get out, just as they plough into the ocean. The two wash up on the island, with Superman depowered and Luthor's armour shorted out, and proceed to beat each other unconscious in a fistfight.
  • Near the end of World War Hulk The Sentry and Hulk engage in a fight that tears apart Manhattan. Sentry unleashes what seems to be his full power and Hulk responds in kind. Then Iron Man hits them with De-power rays from the satellite. They revert back to Bruce Banner and Bob Reynolds... and Bruce punches Bob out.
  • Fantastic Four: An interesting variant occurs when the team battles the nigh-omnipotent Marquis of Death. They manage to exhaust his reality - warping powers by pitting him against a past version of himself, who had the same powers, but not quite as strong. Once the Marquis wins, he is exhausted enough for the team (helped by a machine Reed Richards created to merge all 4 of them with countless alternate reality versions of themselves) to take him down. Although before going down fully, he still survives a Planck Temperature blast from the merged Human Torch which could potentially damage the multiverse.

    Fairy Tales 
  • Quite a few Russian fairy tales have two people starting a duel with spears, then maces, then swords... all of these are shattered one after another, so they end up having a wrestling match.

    Fan Works 
  • The final fight against Mega Latios and Michael in the Ancienverse starts off with throwing powerful attacks, but becomes little more than a glorified fistfight by the end.
  • Luna and Junior's fight in The Bridge. By the end, Luna only has the use of one wing and can't fly while Junior is injured so badly that he's not healing normally. Both are also battered and bloody. The final attack isn't even some big fancy move, just Luna bucking Junior really hard in the face.
  • Changing Gears: Over the course of the Sports Festival tournament, multiple characters are gradually worn down due to injuries or simply overusing their Quirks. In the finals, Setsuna can barely split herself apart and Izuku can't use several techniques he had previous shown off due to the damage done to his hands and how exhausting Gearshift is to use.
  • Dead or Alive 4: The Devil Factor: Dante and Vergil's fight in DOATEC Paris serves as an example of this. It begins with the two using all manner of guns and Devil Arms, then with the two going Devil Trigger, and finally climaxes with the two utterly exhausted and swinging at each other, ending with Dante breaking Vergil's nose with a punch and Vergil pulling a tactical retreat.
  • This happens between Examon and Dorbickmon in the Digimon fanfic A Dragon in Shining Armour during their final fight.
  • Androgyninja's A Drop of Poison: Sakura and Ino's preliminary match devolves into a savage brawl after Sakura manages to break free of Ino's Mind Transfer jutsu. Many of the spectators are shocked and appalled to see a 'civilian-born' shinobi fighting a clan heiress in such a fashion, though Akamaru is shown approving of how Sakura "fights like an Inuzuka" when she bites her opponent.
  • Enemy of My Enemy: As the siege reaches its end, both sides find themselves short on ammo and falling back on improvised weapons. Comparisons are made to medieval tactics.
  • In Gundam Build Fighters FF, battles at Summer Shizuoka are, just like in Try, run at Damage Level A. By the end of Summer Shizuoka, both Charlotte's Invoke and Souji's Guilty Gear are trashed.
  • Here We Go Again!: The Siege of Italica begins with the tanks of Charlie Company firing down on the bandit hordes with explosive shells and their coaxial machineguns. By the time the JSDF and the rest of the US Marines arrive to support them, the crews are down to leaving the safety of their tanks to engage surviving forces with small arms and the occasional bayoneting.
  • The Hill of Swords: The final battle between Shirou and Sheffield starts off with both combatants throwing every technique in their very large arsenals. It ends with both exhausted and completely drained of power, so Shirou simply distracts Sheffield long enough to grab her, then starts smashing her skull into the nearest piece of shrapnel until she finally dies.
  • Used in I Did Not Want To Die. The protagonist starts out with an M 4 A 1 carbine and in the end resorts to unarmed punches.
  • Juxtapose: Izuku's and Hitoshi's fights over the course of the Sports Festival tournament devolve first due to being unable to fix/replace their broken weapons then overusing their Quirks in their final match, eventually leading to the two simply brawling until knocking each other unconscious.
  • Manifest Destiny: The Third Recon Team experiences this at Italica. Starting with their top-of-the-line weaponry, then gradually wears down as ammo and supplies run low, personnel become injured and incapacitated, and as the bandits begin to overrun their positions. Emerson was down to his M45 pistol before they were saved by the Marines and JSDF forces.
  • The Final Battle of Marionettes sees Trixie having been upgraded into a 'mecha Alicorn' facing off with Masquerade (who is already injured from a previous fight) who's wearing a suit of Powered Armor called the Puppeteer that was designed to survive conflict with Celestia. The fight is long and destructive, going through a large portion of the Stallion's in Black's base of Moirai, but ends with a badly damaged Trixie destroying the Puppeteer with a Death or Glory Attack, leaving her mana engine nearly completely drained to the point she can barely move and Masquerade so badly hurt she can hardly stand. What results is two exhausted combatants no longer able to use their magic throwing tired punches at one another until Masquerade can no longer stand back up.
  • Poké Wars: Present in practically every fight so far. The only exception was Pikachu vs. Sandslash, since (despite everything) it was just a spar.
  • Racer and the Geek: Happens during the battle of Hill 20. The fight gets DESPERATE.
  • Son of the Sannin: The final battle of the Fourth Ninja War arc begins as Naruto and Hinata versus Madara Uchiha, who combine their chakras to create the Golden Avatar of Kalika to fight Madara's Susanoo. The battle escalates in the following chapter with Madara powering up his Susanoo with the chakra of the tailed beasts, while the rest of the Konoha 15 join with their own respective powers and abilities so the Avatar of Kalika can fight on even grounds. Then it escalates even further to the point they even go out of Earth's atmosphere, and the explosion of a giant meteor Madara created with Chibaku Tenseis sends both sides back to Earth, crashlanding in the Valley of the End. By then, both the Konoha 15 and Madara are running on fumes, and it takes the combined efforts of everyone to finally bring Madara down for good.
  • Storms Overhead: The duel against Karin which begins as a massive speed-based magic and iron dust battle turns into this as it slowly devolves into a slower and more brutal close-quarters combat.
  • This Bites!: During the Strong World arc, the Straw Hats weapons noticeably break down over the course of their week of non-stop fighting, with it being especially obvious in Usopp and Conis as they specialized in ranged combat and run out of ammo after a single day.
  • The armor battle in Chapter Twenty of Tiberium Wars becomes one of these, starting at a relatively short distance (about half a kilometer) and rapidly becoming an extremely close and vicious brawl in vehicle terms (less than one hundred meters).
  • Vow of the King: Ichigo's bankai training goes on long enough to completely deplete the summoned Field of Blades. By the end of the fight, Eien-ō is reduced to fighting with her bare hands and Ichigo kills her with a rock.
  • With This Ring: The Renegade's fight with the First Citadelian starts off with power rings vs epic-level telekinesis (to the point of creating localised gravity distortions). Then the rings get broken or lost, and the telekinesis gets disconnected, the Renegade's combat drones have been destroyed, both parties are severely injured and groggy, and it ultimately gets finished off with a punch to the head.

    Film - Animated 
  • Up has this between Carl and Muntz, as they're both really old men.
  • Happens to Sgt. Calhoun in Wreck-It Ralph during the movie climax against Cybugs in Sugar Rush. She is using her rifle at the beginning, but thanks to the enemies' numbers she rather quickly runs out of ammo and needs to resort to her pistol. She eventually runs out of ammo for that as well, since when she and her pals are cornered on a bridge, she prepares her knife as a last resort.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Atomic Blonde has a ridiculously long fight between Lorraine and some KGB agents in a hotel. It is highly intense, and by the time it's done, everyone involved is struggling to just stand, let alone fight.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier has the first fight between the titular characters. The Winter Soldier starts the fight with an assault rifle that he quickly drops in favor of a submachine gun. He's forced to use a handgun, Captain America's shield, and two different knives until he's down to his holdout pistol. In the second fight, he's reduced to his bare fists.
  • A variation in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Jen Yu fights Yu Shu Lien with the Green Destiny sword, with Shu Lien using a wide variety of different weapons against her as the sword whittles down everything she tries. Shu Lien still wins.
  • The third Sword Fight in The Duellists goes on for so long the duellists are gasping for breath, propping themselves up on their swords, and occasionally mustering the strength to make wild roundhouse swings at each other. The duel is ended by their seconds when they discard their swords and just start having at each other.
  • The German follows an air-to-air battle as it goes from fighter planes dogfighting all the way to two men in the woods in a fistfight.
  • The ending duel in House of Flying Daggers has the two male leads fighting one another with their swords. Eventually the fight devolves from them fighting skillfully to them just slashing each other.
  • Gunpowder Milkshake: Sam's two fights against the "Boneheads". While in the first everyone is fit and healthy, they begin the second with everyone disabled to some extent. Sam's arms are paralysed, forcing her to fight by spinning wildly and hoping to hit something. Of her three opponents, one is in a wheelchair, the second on crutches, and the third has an arm in a sling.
  • This trope is both played straight and subverted in Kill Bill.
    • Subverted when The Bride is about to hit Pai Mei with a rock but he will have none of that.
    • The Bride's battles with both Vernita and Elle degenerate rather rapidly, with all combatants resorting to dirty tactics and Improvised Weapons within minutes.
  • The final shown battle in Kingdom of Heaven has the Saracens breaching Jerusalem's walls. The battle goes from a stereotypical fight to what seems like the two sides pushing back and forth.
  • After nearly three hours of epic High Fantasy swordplay, the final duel between Aragorn and the Uruk-Hai captain Lurtz in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring devolves into a comparatively fast but extremely vicious physical brawl between the two of them stabbing, choking, punching, headbutting, and generally beating the absolute hell out of one another. It only ends when Aragorn cuts off his arm, stabs him in the chest up to Anduril's hilt, and finally cuts off the Orc's head.
  • The Roman Polanski film version of Macbeth has the final fight between Macbeth and Macduff turn into a protracted anything-goes match including punches, kicks, and Macduff swinging at Macbeth with a piece of firewood when he's been disarmed.
  • The Matrix:
    • The big fight scene in The Matrix Reloaded starts as a weapon brawl, and eventually traverses car chase into a fist v. sword fight on the back of a speeding semi, and ends with a game of chicken...
    • Burly Brawl starts out as a typical one-against-many fight scene and gradually turns into a Looney Tunes short on crack.
    • The Matrix Revolutions has Neo and Smith engaging in an aerial battle above the city, creating massive shockwaves, with Smith gaining the upper hand when he gives Neo one hell of a Meteor Move sending them crashing back to earth, and after much monologuing, the battle is reduced to a slightly high-powered version of Good Old Fisticuffs in a six-foot crater.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005): The fight between John and Jane Smith starts with guns, then progresses to everything in the entire house being used as a weapon, from the dishes to the couch. And ends in Destructo-Nookie.
  • The famous Hallway Fight in Oldboy (2003), in which Oh Dae-Su pushes through about two dozen fighters, inflicting and receiving injuries that cause the action to briefly pause until he gets his Heroic Second Wind.
  • Happens offscreen in Patton. A battle that starts at night between tanks and rifles finishes at dawn with knives.
  • The fight between the bandit and the husband in the fourth story in Rashomon goes from a swordfight to a literal knock-down-drag-out where one of them ends up just throwing dirt in the other's face.
  • In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan and Grievous start out their fight on Utapau with a lightsaber duel. After the clone army storms the base, however, both of them lose their lightsabers in the ensuing frenzy, and after a chase scene, they resume their fight with their fists as well as an electrostaff and blaster that they grapple over.
  • Played for Laughs in Robin Hood: Men in Tights with Robin and Little John's fight over the creek. It starts off as a staff fight, only for them to repeatedly snap each others' staves in half, throw away one stick, and continue fighting. By the end, it's essentially become a game of Pencil Pop.
  • The final duel in Robot Jox begins with two giant mecha fighting each other until both mechs are utterly destroyed, at which point the "jox" jump out and start swinging broken parts at each other.
  • Happens rapidly between two soldiers in Saving Private Ryan — both of their guns jam, so they resort to throwing things including their helmets at one another before they can get their sidearms out.
  • In the final battle of Serenity, Mal and the Operative start by fighting with pistols, but rapidly lose their respective firearms, resorting to melee combat with sword and screwdriver, before finally resorting to a blunt bare-handed fistfight.
  • The climactic battle of Streets of Fire begins as a sledgehammer duel between the hero Tom Cody and the villain Raven Shaddock, and despite the heavy weapons the battle is not without technique and finesse. By the end, they're both so exhausted and battered that they're staggering around throwing wild punches, and Tom finally finishes the battle by pushing Raven over.
  • The climactic seven-minute fight scene in The Sword of Doom sees Ryunosuke Tsukue steadily gaining new injuries to different parts of his body, affecting his speed and fighting style.
  • The ending of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby uses this idea, although substituting auto racing for actual combat. Near the end of an aggressive and hard-fought race, there's a spectacular crash that destroys all the cars. But Ricky and Jean are so determined to beat each other that they both get out of their cars and start running. Ricky wins, barely, but both of them are officially disqualified for leaving their cars.
  • The climactic battle between The Terminator and Sarah Connor ends with Sarah, who has been stabbed through the leg by shrapnel, crawling painstakingly slowly through a delivery shaft, "chased" by the barely functioning remnants of the Terminator after a bomb has exploded whilst attached to it.
  • The famous fight scene from They Live! is all breakdown. They fight like they're stone drunk, and it gets worse from there. And it works.
  • Several times in We Were Soldiers, but particularly one engagement between the North Vietnamese forces and the Lost Platoon. At one point, an American soldier can be seen bludgeoning a Vietnamese troop to death with his helmet.

  • In Willow, Bavmorda and Fin Raziel start with a Wizard Duel wielding telekinesis and elemental powers, before devolving into physically struggling with each other to grab the Magic Wand, which they lose in the scuffle, so it's resolved by Bavmorda choking Raziel into unconsciousness with her bare hands.

  • A joke told during the Cold War is as follows: World Wars I and II were fought with conventional weapons. World War III will be fought with nuclear weapons. And World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

  • The duel between Raghunath Rao and Rana Sanga in the back story of the Belisarius Series was this. It started with both combatants on horseback, moved to fighting on foot, went to wrestling when both combatants were disarmed, and eventually ended with both of them on the ground, too exhausted to move and debating philosophy. Since both of them fit the Cultured Badass trope, even the debating was admitted to be quite impressive as well.
  • Book of Swords: Baron Doon goes three rounds against Shieldbreaker, which is shown in-universe to always defeat armed opponents. He keeps dropping his sundered weapons and grabbing new ones.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • A one-sided variant happens in Fool Moon: Harry holds his own against several werewolves with the aid of a magic potion that works a lot like mundane amphetamines... especially what happens when they wear off. Completely exhausted and unable to cast spells, and surrounded by several very pissed-off werewolves, Harry falls back on his .38 Special.
    • In Death Masks, Harry's officially sanctioned duel with Ortega devolves into a brawl between Harry's allies and Ortega's vampires when Ortega cheats.
  • The fights in Eden Green are improvisational and brutal, with the needle-infected humans often creating weapons from their own bodies. In the final battle, Eden and her best friend finally drop all pretense and wail on each other without mercy.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Having been goaded into accepting Malfoy's challenge to a Wizards Duel, but having very little idea how to go about fighting one, Harry is concerned about what happens if the (very few) combat spells he knows don't work. Ron immediately suggests a sensible alternative: "Drop your wand and punch him on the nose."
  • One climactic fight in the Jerusalem Delivered takes place between two knights who end up closer than a sword's length and resort to shield bashing, headbutting, and eventually wrestling.
  • In Machine Man, the final fight between Man in the Machine Dr. Charles Neumann and crazed Cyborg Carl sees them deal a great deal of damage to each other before Neumann blasts Carl to smithereens with his BFG Arm Cannon.
  • In R.S. Belcher's Nightwise, the climactic battle between Laytham Ballard and Dusan Slorzack begins with a masterful Wizards Duel, with each spell being perfectly countered by the opponent; as the fight continues, the spells become less and less artful, until the two are just hammering each other with raw blasts of kinetic energy. Then Laytham surprises Slorzack by charging up to him and sucker-punching him in the face, then trying to strangle him; Slorzack retaliates by grabbing a gun and shooting Laytham in the guts.
  • Alexander Pushkin uses the trope (the Fairy Tales variant above) in the battle between Ruslan and Rogdai in Ruslan and Ludmila. Ruslan wins, but ends up unarmed; fortunately, there is an old battlefield covered with scattered weapons nearby.
  • In Serbian Epic Poetry, duels often start with both combatants using spears, then they go through maces and swords in some order, before ending up using their bare hands (and, on at least one occasion, teeth).
  • Derfel, the narrator from The Warlord Chronicles lampshades this several times, and notes it as being almost inevitable in any proper early Middle Ages battle that features both sides using a shield wall, which is essentially a Stone Wall tactic. The start of the battle may have plenty of Boisterous Bruisers taunting the enemy, wizards chanting, and berserkers making charges at the enemy lines, but after more than a few minutes of battle, you have a bunch of exhausted men weighed down by their own armor and weapons whose swords have been blunted by the impact on shields and armor, whose spears have snapped, and are reduced to leaning against one another and just trying to muster up the energy for the occasional attempt to stab an enemy soldier. Now imagine a few hours of doing that...
  • X-Wing Series: In Starfighters of Adumar, Wes Janson participates in a blastsword duel only to purposely turn it into a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown — knowing that he can't beat the other guy in a fair duel, he goads him into making a wild swing, disarms him, then puts up his fists. The other guy tries to punch back, but he's not trained in Good Old Fisticuffs. Wes Janson then promptly just punches the guy until he is one hit from dropping... then, as a finishing blow... SLAPS him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The big Mutai fight in the Babylon 5 episode "TKO" starts off as a gritty pugilistic battle and eventually devolves into a clumsy back-and-forth punch trade at the end as the fighters both approach their limits.
    • During the intense battle aboard the station in "Severed Dreams", Garibaldi tries to set up station security at a chokepoint to repel incoming boarders. However, the recently recruited Narns charge forward, unused to such tactics, forcing everyone else to do the same, and the firefight quickly breaks down into a massive melee.
  • Fairly common in Robot Combat competitions like Battlebots. Contestants show up with sophisticated killing machines that are brimming with weapons. After only minutes of in-ring action, weapons and wheels will break off or be disabled. The battered bots will then resort to ramming each other (if they can) to score points with judges. Sometimes, fights degenerate to the point where bots try to limp around the ring to avoid a technical knockout.
  • Daredevil (2015) has the end of the second episode, when Matt goes to take on roughly a dozen thugs having already suffered a thorough beating with only the barest minimum of patching up. He starts flinging them through doors and jumping off walls, but by the end is reduced to bodily knocking them down and hitting until they stop hitting back. It's a mark of his sheer bloody-mindedness that he still wins. It's especially evident because the fight scene is shot all in one take and nobody goes down after a single hit, instead they keep getting back up again but with their punches getting sloppier, weaker, and less accurate as the fight drags on.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The war on Skaro that led to the Daleks' creation is an extremely large scale example, as it went on for so long that both sides began running out of resources to power their more advanced weapons and resorted to using gunpowder-based weapons, bows and arrows, etc.
    • The Last Great Time War was a universal-sized conflict that spanned through all of time and space. It involved apocalyptic threats on the regular, agents and soldiers weaponizing paradoxes, people dying and being resurrected in endless cycles, etc. On the last day of the Time War, as depicted in The Day of the Doctor, the conflict had devolved into the Daleks attacking the Time Lords with more conventional warfare (albeit with trillions of troops armed with weapons capable of exploding entire planets). The Time Lords claim that all of their doomsday devices except for the Moment (which is ultimately used by the Doctor to end the conflict for good or so he thought) were already used up, resulting in this trope.
  • Paul and Feyd's knife fight in the Dune miniseries has them throwing punches and kicks after one, then the other, is disarmed, in contrast to the book and the earlier film. Though the climax is the same as they pick up their knives again.
  • In Firefly Mal starts fighting Atherton Wing in a swordfight. As he's never touched a sword before, this goes poorly. But when things get down to the punching, he has a definite advantage.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Brienne vs The Hound. It starts out sword-to-sword; by the end, it's degenerated into a series of groin attacks, ear-biting, rock-bludgeoning, and repeated face-punching.
    • Cleganebowl, the battle between Sandor Clegane the Hound and Gregor Clegane the Mountain starts off as a swordfight, but by the end of it, the combatants are resorting to eye-gouging and grappling.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • The final battle between Kamen Rider Kuuga and N-Daguva-Zeba progresses thusly: Kuuga Ultimate Form vs. Daguva, brutally assaulting each other until they shatter each other's Transformation Trinkets and revert to their human forms, still punching each other. However, it starts and ends as a fistfight, albeit initially one between two super-powered beings.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim inverts and then plays it straight: the final battle between Gaim and his rival Baron starts with each of them using their weakest forms and equipment, then steadily going up through the chain of their more powerful forms throughout the battle. The very last stage of the fight is intercut between two identically choreographed versions of the same fight, one where they're using their strongest forms and one where they're using their weakest ones, both versions ending with Gaim impaling Baron on his own weapon.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid ends with the Riders successfully applying a cure to the virus that grants the Big Bad his powers, leaving him no longer able to stop time, but not before he knocks away all of the devices they would use to access their more powerful forms. Now that he doesn't have his primary ability, though, they're able to pretty easily defeat him using only their basic forms.
    • Kamen Rider Build goes in a similar direction with its final battle, with Build struggling against the Planet Destroyer Evolt due to losing his Super Mode in the previous episode and getting his successive Mid Season Upgrades whittled down over the course of the battle until all he has left is his original form. However, Evolt is going through a similar process, having lost his Rider form and slowly losing the power-ups he gained from absorbing the Moon as his power is drained away. It ends when Build gets an 11th-Hour Superpower that allows him to finish off the monster once and for all.
    • Kamen Rider Zero-One and Kamen Rider Saber each get an 11th-Hour Superpower that uses the same costume as their base forms, allowing them to play the appearance of this trope while still getting a second wind to defeat the still full-strength villain with.
  • When Master Ping recounts his epic battle with the greatest Luchadore in history during the second episode of The Middleman, their combat starts with martial arts fisticuffs but eventually branches into Bi Plane dogfights, machine gun duels, and swordplay before his opponent finally dies of a heart attack during a Rock'em Sock'em Robots game.
  • The Monkees episode "Fairy Tale" climaxed with a battle between Peter Tork and Knight Harold. They fought with swords and somehow lost them, they continued fighting with daggers, and then Harold said, "You know, I'm really a non-violent sort." Peter replied, "That's very refreshing," and they put away their daggers and arm-wrestled.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: In the second half of the pilot Battle At The Binary Stars, a large fleet engagement starts with both sides mixing it up with great intensity. As the battle damage piles up on both sides, the overall pace of the fight drags down, as illustrated by a late scene of Shenzhou, a hole blown clean through her saucer, limping past a disabled Klingon warship, one of her phasers pecking away slowly rather than the rapid-fire they were using earlier. The battle ends with both Shenzhou and the Klingon flagship Sarcophagus disabled, with a small Federation boarding party fighting hand-to-hand with several of the Klingons, ending with Captain Georgiou's death at T'Kuvma's hands and T'Kuvma's at Commander Burnham's.
  • Several of the Terminator duels in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles start out with both combatants shooting at each other. Considering that doesn't work too often against Terminators, the battles rapidly devolve into environmentally destructive fisticuffs.
  • In Vikings when Ragnar and Rollo confront each other after Rollo has betrayed the Norse and married into the family of the French Emperor, it begins as a sword fight between two highly capable combatants, but after each man manages to disarm the other, it turns into a violent, sloppy fistfight as the two brothers take out all their long-suppressed anger and resentment on each other. By the end, both men are so battered that only adrenaline is keeping them on their feet.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The entire point of the Iron Man Match, in which the wrestlers go for a full hour in-ring. The winner is whoever had the most pinfalls or submissions during the bout.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Succession Wars in the BattleTech storyline. The first two involved weapons of mass destruction, and a savaging of the Star League-era technological advancements. The latter two Succession Wars involved devolved levels of technology on all sides, almost back to that of the Age of War that preceded the Star League. Any old Star League era relics are known as "LosTech".
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In older editions, this will often happen to Squishy Wizard-type characters, particularly at lower levels: when they're out of spell slots, their viable combat options often degenerate to plinking away with crossbow bolts, which casters aren't often proficient with. 3.5th Edition added magical "reserve feats" that allowed mages to use damaging or non-damaging magical effects so long as they kept a particular spell slot un-"fired," which while not as dramatic as proper spellcasting, was at least better to mundane weaponry. Later editions have given spellcasters unlimited usage of cantrips, the weakest spells available, and 5th Edition has buffed cantrips to the point that they scale with character level, making them reliable and viable attack options.
    • This is the almost inevitable result of two beholders fighting. These floating oculothoraxes are covered in eyestalks that can fire dangerous magical rays every round, but their central eye projects a cone of Anti-Magic. This means that two beholders who come to blows will use their anti-magic eyes on each other, forcing them to resort to slamming into and biting each other to deal damage.
    • Similarly, this can happen when two dragons do battle, depending on their subspecies. All dragons are natural sorcerers, but also grow Resistant to Magic as they age, so their spells tend not to work well on each other. And as a form of Required Secondary Powers, nearly every true dragon is immune to the same energy type as produced by their Breath Weapon. This means that if a lightning-breathing blue dragon finds itself fighting a lightning-breathing bronze dragon, the contest is going to be decided by tooth and claw.
  • Pathfinder: Spellcasters being useless after running out of spell slots was seen as a problem, and both editions out as of 2021 try to solve the problem. So does Gaiden Game Starfinder.
    • First Edition, as a successor to D&D 3.5 Edition in light of 4th Edition's controversial status, tries to fix this by giving all Squishy Wizard-type characters some combat-effective ability to use when not casting their leveled spells on top of their woefully weak cantrips. For example, Witches have Hexes which can be nearly as good as leveled spells, specialist Wizards might have nice powers like Blinding Ray or Diviner's Fortune to blind enemies or buff allies, and Clerics have reusable domain powers.
    • Second Edition, its own product, makes everyone at least able to have a viable chance to attack an enemy with weapons. Additionally, Second Edition buffs cantrips to make them completely viable attacks. Coupled with how most full casters become Legendary in their attack proficiency, these cantrips become nearly as good as a tricked-out fighter's sword.
      • Starfinder just gives the Squishy Wizard-type guns just as good as everyone else's and makes them almost as capable of shooting them as everyone else. Those characters won't steal the Soldier's or Operative's spotlight in a firefight, but they will not be ineffective either.
  • A variant of the card game War is discarding top cards if there are two or four of them (such as the aces of A-A-10-7). Since such Mutual Kills tend to be high cards, lower cards become more and more important as the game goes on.
  • Described in a bit of flavor text from WitchCraft, where an independent mage talks about a battle against a dark wizard where the narrator's master was killed, the dark wizard's army of zombies were destroyed, etc. It ended with both the narrator and the dark wizard out of magical energy..."But I had a deer rifle and he didn't."

    Video Games 
  • Asura's Wrath: The last battle of the game begins with two gods capable of becoming planet-sized, throwing and destroying planets, meteors, and small stars, causing supernova, warping reality, firing laser beams at each other, and stopping time, and ends with them grappling and punching each other to death after all their godly strength has been exhausted.
  • When a pawn takes a pawn in Battle Chess 2: Chinese Chess, the two pawns trade blocked swings on their pikes for a while before the capturing pawn has enough, throws his own pike on the ground and just walks up and finishes the other pawn with a right hook.
  • Battlefield 3 starts with you and the villains engaging in massive battles with guns and tanks and bombs, and ends after a chase through the New York subway system followed by a Press X to Not Die sequence that ends with you bashing the Big Bad in the face with a brick.
  • Command & Conquer: Units that take large amounts of damage move at a crawl. In some games, power plant production is reduced if they're damaged.
  • Most fights in Condemned 2: Bloodshot become this due to melee weapons breaking. Which often leads to the player using their fists to fight or running around in hope of grabbing a new weapon.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: As the final battle drags on, Adam Smasher takes on more and more damage, gradually losing weaponry, armor, and even limbs while still throwing everything he has at you. By the end, he's basically half-dead, missing both his arms and barely managing to stagger in your direction, desperately firing off his weakest weapon to try and kill you before he finally collapses... and given how brutal the fight is, you're probably running on fumes yourself.
  • Dark Devotion: The Queen, the game's penultimate boss, starts out as a formidable foe with an arsenal of Unblockable Attacks that cover much of the screen and are difficult to avoid. Then you knock her out of her throne, and she spends the rest of the fight sprawled on the floor in a pool of her own blood: while she isn't completely helpless, her attacks are much less frequent and cover a much smaller area from that point onward.
  • Dawn of War: Squads that have their Morale Meter reduced to zero become horribly inefficient at fighting, losing accuracy, damage, and armor, and it drops as long as the squad takes damage. If you somehow get two squads to suffer this, it leads to this trope. Some squads are immune to morale damage, mostly thanks to being complete fanatics, possessed by daemons, missing chunks of their brain, or being more afraid of the commissar than the enemy.
  • If you drag a gunfight out for too long in Deus Ex, your foes will run out of ammo and try to stab you.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, soldiers who lose the weapon (or limb) they were attacking with will more often than not keep fighting with whatever's at hand (including their own hand), and lacking that start punching, kicking, biting and wrestling. Expect such scenes to come by the dozen when a siege occurs.
  • Throughout The Elder Scrolls series (at least until Skyrim did away with Breakable Weapons), this could happen to your weapon in combat. At that point, you're left with a lesser backup weapon, your spells, or even your fists. Notably, this can happen to NPCs as well, though it is much more rare as their weapons typically start at full condition, and fights rarely last long enough for the weapon to break.
  • Fallout 3 requires that you maintain your weapon and armor conditions so that you can equip and use them effectively. A similar effect can be inflicted on enemies, as shooting their weapon enough time will cause it to have a 0% CND rating, making it unusable to them.
  • Competing online with other players in Fight Night: Champion for many rounds can result in this, as both players will have reduced stamina by that point. Even more so when there are two players who have been spamming punches and wasting stamina.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The final battle of Crisis Core pits Zack against the entire Shinra Army. You can try to beat them, and if you've been leveling yourself by doing plenty of sidequests, you may be even able to survive indefinitely. However, as this is a prequel to Final Fantasy VII, Zack is Doomed by Canon to die, thus leading to a climactic showdown between a One-Man Army boasting a massive sword and extremely powerful Limit Breaks and a literal army with thousands of troops eventually devolving into one tired man who can barely swing his sword and the remaining three members of the army.
    • At the very end of the Endwalker story in Final Fantasy XIV, the Warrior of Light and Zenos have one final fight where the two of them fight beyond their limits. Eventually, they cross weapons and try to overpower each other, only for both of them to be sent flying back and losing their weapons. With both characters exhausted and weaponless, they resort to punching each other with slow but heavy blows as they struggle to stand. The Warrior of Light wins out, but both collapse from their wounds and Zenos eventually dies.
    • The final boss of 'Final Fantasy XVI is fought across three battles, each with multiple phases. By the second-to-last phase of the final battle, he has powered up to a Limit Break form which vastly increases the power of all his attacks. The final phase sees him so exhausted that half the time, he just sits in place letting the player attack while he tries to catch his breath, and all of his attacks are considerably weakened. When he tries to cast his ultimate attack, he no longer has the energy to actually do so and will just tire out after charging for a few seconds.
  • God of War II has Kratos inflict this on Perseus, constantly wrecking all his divine gadgets until he is forced to take Kratos seriously.
  • Just Shapes & Beats: Happens to the Big Bad in his One-Winged Angel form, after the player obtains the 11th-Hour Superpower which makes them invulnerable and gives them the ability to attack. The villain normally keeps using projectile attacks, and later an Orbiting Particle Shield. On the last third of his health, he gets so badly damaged that he loses all projectile attacks, and his only attack becomes a futile bid to kill the player by angrily smashing his face into the ground and creating a shockwave.
  • This is the best way to describe the final battle between Ellie and Abby in The Last of Us Part II. Ellie goes out to California to hunt down Abby, the woman responsible for killing Joel at the beginning of the game and also killing her friend Jesse while she, Dina, and Tommy were in Seattle. By the time she finds Abby, she's lost a lot of muscle mass from not only being used as a slave to the Rattlers but has been left for dead crucified along with her partner, Lev. Even though Ellie lets her down and Abby has just as much reason to want to kill her for murdering her friends, she's forced into a tired final battle when Ellie points her knife at Lev, making her settle the score. What follows is a knockdown, drag-out brawl that leaves both girls a bloody, broken mess along with Ellie losing her left pinkie and ring fingers after Abby bites them off. The only reason Ellie doesn't kill her is cause she's finally able to let go of her hatred of her as she recalls her final conversation with Joel, allowing Abby and Lev to leave.
  • Breakable weapons in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild mean that boss fights often become this, as you devolve from hitting the thing with a Royal Claymore and shooting three bomb arrows at a time, to just wailing on it with the weapons that dropped from those mooks you killed earlier. In a pinch, players might even resort to throwing their endless supply of comparatively weak bombs.
  • A common outcome in MechWarrior games and its adjacent tactical games MechCommander and BattleTech (2018). You will generally start with 'Mechs containing full combat loads and fresh armor, but as missions progress, you will start expending valuable ammunition or losing precious armor (or worse yet, components and internal structure). In worst-case scenarios, you may start losing 'Mechs and pilots. Many of the games in these series will not let you repair or reload mid-battle, so by the end of a mission you will probably be down to your last few salvos and sporting several armor breaches or the occasional lost limb. In recognition of this fact, most stock 'Mech designs install a Ranged Emergency Weapon by default, typically a basic laser or two, but some players remove these under the impression they won't need them. In such instances, god help you in the cases here you have to play missions back-to-back, surviving on whatever you finished with in the earlier mission, such as the "Siegebreaker" DLC missions in Battletech.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the final battle between Old Snake and Ocelot starts as an over-the-top cutscene brawl before entering into a three-stage fight (each stage reminiscent of the previous three Metal Gear Solid games), and eventually degenerates into two exhausted old men slugging it out with each other.
  • Persona 5 Royal has Joker and Maruki devolve into this after the final fight. Maruki's been thoroughly beaten but still needs to process his negative emotions, and with his Palace and the Metaverse collapsing, both he and the protagonist lose their ability to use their Personas. The end result is a playable sloppy slugfest where both of them punch each other three times before Maruki finally collapses.
  • Pharaoh: The longer a unit of soldiers remains in combat, the lower its morale drops, until they flee back to their fort. Enemy soldiers don't suffer from this, though they do retreat after a while.
  • A Pokémon that runs out of PP for all of its moves will resort to the move Struggle, which does moderate damage and also damages itself.
    • Another example: some extremely powerful attacks in the games have this trope as an explicit side effect. Such as Draco Meteor, which reduces the user's Special Attack and thus can't hit as hard the second time, or V-Create, which lowers defenses and speed so that the user is left wide open to being hit for massive damage.
    • Competitive Pokemon, especially Doubles, is this trope left and right. A common strategy is using a two-Pokemon setup to create a brokenly powerful Pokemon, such as attacking your own Pokemon with a weak, super-effective move to give their stats a huge boost using the Weakness Policy, and then tear through the entire enemy team one after another... but if these broken Pokemon are focussed down and their teammates are switched into less-than-ideal situations, these kinds of setups become much more difficult to accomplish. In the worst cases, all the attacking Pokemon are taken down and the team is left with only support Pokemon - though sometimes support Pokemon pack a single attacking move or a status condition, that can still pull out a victory.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon in addition to running out of moves, running out of items has this effect.
    • Of note is the Max Elixir, which recovers your PP, but works on all moves at once and is consumed on use. To get the maximum out of one, you need to use up all your PP, meaning that you slowly run out of moves to use until you finally recover them all at once, only to repeat the process - several times, for longer dungeons.
    • If you run out of dedicated food items, you have the option of wasting your effect-causing berries, seeds, and elixirs or letting your hunger run down and eat into your health until you can find something to eat off the floor. Either way, it's a pretty bad time.
    • Orbs are precious. You can't pack many since they're inventory-filling, rare, and expensive, but if you run out of them and enter a Monster House, prepare for hundreds of turns of agony as you're forced to pick off each Pokemon one by one.
  • The Dominion Tower's Climber Mode in RuneScape can have this effect. Instead of limiting storage access like Endurance Mode, before every fight you get a handicap (Such as lower attack accuracy, no prayers, monsters start out unable to attack, etc). While it starts out rather easy, by the time you get to F15 you'll affected by so many handicaps that you'll constantly be dazed, dropping your weapons, unable to eat, drink or even wear armour while fighting some of the toughest bosses in the game.
  • While combat encounters tend to end quickly in Splatoon 2, they can turn into this if players run out of ink - especially as certain weapons stop you from recovering ink for a time after using them. This is compounded by getting stuck in enemy territory, and thus being unable to recover ink. Using your Special weapon refills your ink tank, but that means you're stuck with whatever your Special is, leading to players desperately throwing rain-bombs or blowing bubbles in their opponents' general directions, among other things.
  • Spider-Man (PS4): The final boss fight begins with Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus facing each other at full strength, making full use of their gadgets and powers as they leap about on the rooftop of a skyscraper. Then Doc Ock crushes Spidey’s web-shooters, Spider-Man tears off one of Ock’s tentacles, and the fight moves to the side of the skyscraper, forcing the wounded combatants to fight more conservatively lest they fall to their deaths.
  • Super Robot Wars: one particular level ends with Duel Boss battle between Sanger and Wodan. Both of their machines get severely damaged in the cutscene beforehand, and you have three turns to defeat Wodan before the level ends anyway. To get the Bragging Rights Reward, you will have to throw everything at Wodan, and by fight's end, Sanger's machine will be stripped of pretty much all energy, Spirit, and be on its last legs.
  • Over-committing in Team Fortress 2 can turn a fight into this trope, especially for classes who can give up their secondary weapons for a piece of equipment, such as a Scout using the slow-reloading Scattergun as well as the Bonk Atomic Punch. Most notable with the Soldier and Demoman, who have powerful weapons but long reload times — players who empty their magazine with one weapon will often just switch to the second and keep firing, and if that goes dry mid-fight as well, it's not uncommon for them to draw their melee weapon and have at it.
  • In Tekken 7, The final battle between Kazuya and Heihachi starts out epic and flashy, with Kazuya turning into his True Devil form and Heihachi refusing to stay down even with torn karate gi (represented in gameplay as Ascended Heihachi, another SNK Boss), with both of them taking moves that deal huge damage and keep going, such as Kazuya's 10 hit combo, later Devil Kazuya and Ascended Heihachi giving each other their Rage Arts (One-Hit Kill in normal gameplay). By the end of the battle, both men are exhausted and at their limit, reduced to slugging it out until Heihachi finally falls and dies.
  • War of the Roses has weapons that break if you parry with them too much - good players duelling will often go through their main weapon and side arm both in a single fight, having to end the fight with daggers.
  • We Who Are About to Die: The Stamina system, combined with Breakable Weapons and armor, can lead to this during protracted fights. Sure, you start with professional combatants skillfully swinging sharpened blades, parrying and blocking with ease, and with gleaming armor to stop what their guards couldn't. But as everything shatters and injuries pile on, you can end with two half-naked, heavily injured, and utterly exhausted men smashing random crap the crowds throw at them into each other's faces hoping against hope the other man dies first.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night: After all the superpowered Servant battles and crazy powers, the final battle of the Heaven's Feel route is between Shirou and Kirei. No powers or other abilities are in play here, just two men at the last of their strength beating the ever-living shit out of each other.

    Web Animation 
  • Many episodes of DEATH BATTLE! have this happen in order to show off the contestants' full arsenals and capabilities. Here are some stand-out examples:
    • Terminator vs. RoboCop sees the time-traveling assassin go through all of his human weapons, before eventually losing his skin and resorting to his futuristic plasma rifle. That's enough to take out RoboCop's extra weapons and jet pack, but the T-800 still winds up blown in half. Even then, it is able to detonate its hydrogen fuel cells. Unfortunately for it, RoboCop launched it far enough away to be out of the blast range.
    • Deadpool vs. Deathstroke starts out with a lot of guns and fancy acrobatics but eventually devolves into a brutal swordfight amid the ruins of a 50-car pile-up.
    • The remastered Boba Fett vs. Samus Aran breaks down as Samus loses her armor and Boba loses his weapons, leading to them having a swordfight with little more than their respective Laser Blades.
    • Iron Man vs. Lex Luthor starts with each of them in their base Powered Armor. Over the course of the fight, Tony Stark goes through several suits as they get destroyed, while Lex uses and loses most of his weapons.
    • Solid Snake vs. Sam Fisher has the two spies starting by shooting at each other, but eventually lose the guns and have to resort to knives and fisticuffs.
    • The Joker vs. Sweet Tooth: at first the Joker and Needles are trying to run each other off the road and make use of their vehicles' crazy weapons and abilities. Then the Joker-mobile crashes and Needles transforms the Sweet Tooth into its robotic form. And then Joker convinces him to get out and fight hand-to-hand, and uses his Joker Venom.
    • Agent Carolina vs. The Meta starts off with the two Super Soldiers fighting each other using hand-to-hand combat combined with their high-tech arsenal. The fight goes into a bit of a stalemate due to Meta absorbing blow after blow and Carolina moving too fast to get a proper hit on. Then, Carolina tries using all of her armor enhancements to get the upper hand only for the Meta to activate his Temporal Distortion Unit to freeze her in her tracks and follows it up by slamming her into a wall with his Brute Shot. This leaves Carolina bleeding from the chest and Church focusing his efforts on using the Healing Unit to tend to her wound. Carolina retrieves her pistol and unloads the clip in Meta, who finally starts to slow down from the multiple injuries he has sustained over the fight, however he still continues to advance on Carolina. He then throws his Brute Shot at her, slashing her across the chest, and is just about to pummel her to death when Church distracts Meta in order to give Carolina enough time to blast The Meta's head off with his own Brute Shot.
    • Optimus Prime vs. RX-78-2 Gundam (piloted by Amuro Ray) starts with the two fighters in duking it out on the Autobot Ark in space, using their built-in thrusters to quickly move around, shooting at each other with laser rifles, and engaging in close combat with their respective melee weapons. Then, Amuro uses his Beam Rifle's last shot to blow up the Ark, which destroys it but launches Optimus into the Gundam, leading to both crash-landing on Earth. The two resume fighting where the Gundam cuts Optimus' Ion Blaster with its beam saber. After a period of hand-to-hand combat, Amuro manages to pin Optimus down by impaling his arm with a beam saber and moves in for the kill. However, Optimus opens his chest and uses the Matrix of Leadership to vaporize Amuro and his Gundam in one large blast of energy.
    • Black Widow vs. Widowmaker starts out as a Sniper Duel, with Black Widow struggling to close the distance. Once she does, smaller caliber firearms are briefly used before the fight devolves into hand-to-hand with Amélie even stabbing Natasha with a piece of glass.
    • Downplayed and Subverted in Wario vs. King Dedede as the two start off in their Super Modes (Wario-Man and Masked Dedede) before they lose those forms and start relying on their other powerups and wackier abilities just to one-up each other where things start to escalate from there.
    • Batman vs. Iron Man bends the rules of the show a little to give the two combatants their most powerful suit of Powered Armor, rather than limit them to their normal arsenal. Both Batman's Hellbat and Iron Man's Godbuster armor are around the same power level, making them able to face off against Physical Gods like Darkseid and Galactus so that alone wasn't enough to decide the fight, and both suits get destroyed: Iron Man gets blown through several buildings by the Hellbat's Chest Blaster, causing his Godbuster to fall apart, but before Batman can deal the finishing blow, Iron Man hacks his suit, then hits him with Sol's Hammer (a Kill Sat powered by a Dyson Sphere), damaging both their armors to the point where they're forced to abandon them. As a result, the fight ends with the two billionaires fighting hand-to-hand, allowing peak-human martial arts expert Bruce to dominate... until Tony reveals that he implanted him with a self-destructing nano-armor all the way back at the start of the fight. That's still quite a huge step down from a suit of armor that can stand up to some of the Marvel multiverse's most powerful beings.
  • The short film PATHS OF HATE follows two fighter pilots in a brutal dogfight, the planes getting damaged and the pilots getting more demon-like as the fight goes on. They end up running out of fuel and ammo, ramming each other, emptying their pistols while parachuting to the ground, and crawling towards each other holding knives.
  • In the Pico animation Pico's Unloaded after he gets rid of the great majority of the huge group of Uberkids attacking him by making a bus explode, he is faced with a single survivor... and he is completely out of bullets in his uzis, so they have to resort to hand-to-hand, where this uberkid is equally matched to Pico.
  • Red vs. Blue: In Revelation, Agent Texas VS Agent Washington and the Meta begins with Tex taking every advantage she can get. She carbombs them so they're weak and disarmed before the fight even starts, hides weapons all around the battlefield for her to utilize with great effectiveness, and rigs more explosives along the cliff face to alter the playing field even further. Unfortunately, she's facing the two Freelancers who are capable of surviving things Rasputin would succumb to. She gets shot in the back by Wash, which slows her movements. Then, she's thrown into close-quarters combat with The Meta, her kabar against his Brute Shot. In the end, she's stabbed in the face in one of the most brutal finishers of the series.
  • In RWBY Volume 6, the fight between Yang and Blake against Adam Taurus late in the volume turns into this. Blake starts off fighting a desperate running battle against Adam as he chases her through the woods, until her weapon breaks. Then Yang arrives to help her, and in the ensuing fight all three lose their Aura to repeated blows, and the fight ends with Yang disarming Adam, a desperate last struggle to grab the pieces of Blake's weapon, Adam being stabbed through the heart and lungs.

  • In Drowtales Nishi'kanta's fight with her eldest sister Snadhya'rune devolves from them lobbing their summons at each other, then mana attacks when Nishi melts the metal in their gauntlets, then after she runs out of energy and gets eaten alive by Snadhya's summoned dragon she crawls inside the summon and starts hitting Snadhya in the head with a rock.
  • In Gold Coin Comics, at a tournament, two magic users are fighting, and use up their magic. Then it turns into a Wimp Fight.
  • The ending conflict in the Empire of Blood arc from The Order of the Stick drags on like this, with the Vector Legion hammering away again and again at the Order, forcing them to improvise over and over. Near the end, you see most of them lying near dead in the desert heat before their backup arrives. The final attack of the battle is delivered by Haley, propping her bow with her legs as one of her arms was broken by Tarquin.
  • The Bun-Bun vs. Oasis fight from Sluggy Freelance started out as a pure knife fight, but quickly turned into a chase scene involving grenades, handguns, and eventually Oasis revealing she can start fires with her mind.

    Web Original 
  • There's a cool one in Issue 13 of the Knights of Reignsborough Actual Play podcast. The Necropath and Land Mine locked in a brawl underneath a stadium, throwing mental blasts and explosions, respectively, at each other, ending with them both resorting to fists, then a truly amazing Eye Scream.
  • Subverted in Ryan vs. Dorkman 2. Both combatants lose their lightsabers and begin to menace each other with fists... and then think better of it and make a mutual dive for their weapons.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In "Who Would Win?", an argument between Finn and Jake escalates into an all-out fight, with the two brothers facing off against each other with Finn's sword-fighting skills against Jake's shape-shifting powers. The two prove to be evenly matched, and the battle ends with the two of them growing increasingly exhausted, reduced to awkwardly grappling with each other and pulling cheap tricks before collapsing in exhaustion.
  • In the final episode of the Battletech cartoon has Adam Steiner (our protagonist) and Nicolai Malthus going against each other in Fresh BattleMechs in a duel of sorts for the planet Somerset. Nicolai Malthus wins the mech duel, but then loses his own mech to a cliff face after Adam jumps into his cockpit; the ensuing struggle sends the mech out of control. Steiner and Malthus end up duking it out man-to-man on the remains of Malthus's mech.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Burger Wars", a fistfight between Bob and his Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Jimmy Pesto ends with Bob and Jimmy awkwardly grappling with each other, exhausted.
  • Dexter's Laboratory. When Dexter and Mandark's dads throw down (ironic considering Mandark's father is a peace-loving hippie), it starts out as a flat-out fistfight, then degrades into a wrestling match. Then they start throwing food and stray animals at each other. Then they just jump into their cars and ram each other for the rest of the day. The episode ends with Mandark and Dexter arguing over whose mom is tougher.
  • Samurai Jack:
    • Jack's first large-scale battle against Aku's minions (specifically, him fighting an army of his robot beetle drones) begins with him in full armor riding atop a six-legged horse creature, shooting diamond-tipped arrows and attacking with lances and booby traps. It ends with him dismounted, naked from the waist up, covered in oil, and armed only with his sword and sheer rage.
    • In "Jack and the Travelling Creatures", Jack's battle with The Guardian begins as a swordfight. Then The Guardian disarms him. Jack grabs a spear and The Guardian discards his sword for a pair of sai. They disarm each other. Jack grabs a pair of shields and The Guardian answers with a machine gun and grenades. Jack deflects one of The Guardian's grenades and blows up his suit, causing The Guardian to get serious, eat Jack's shield, and give him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • The Transformers: The Movie has Optimus Prime and Megatron fighting their ultimate battle to the death, from firing lasers and swinging energy blades to throwing rubble to flat-out just pummeling each other with their fists and feet. As it goes on, they're both clearly exhausted and taking heavy damage with dented armor and destroyed weaponry, and after knocking Megatron off the battlements Optimus can't even stand due to his (fatal) wounds, while Megatron is forced to beg Soundwave to get him to safety.

    Real Life 
  • Occasional Truth in Television. For example:
    • During the battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War, Joshua Chamberlain's 20th Maine regiment had to hold a vital hill on the flank of the Union Army. They repelled several enemy attacks but ran out of bullets. In desperation, Chamberlain ordered a bayonet charge, which saved the Union Army and got him the Medal of Honor. Several battles in that war had soldiers throwing rocks at each other.
    • In World War I, soldiers who could expect to wind up doing a lot of trench fighting often had customized melee weapons (mostly knives and clubs) that saw just as much use as their rifles, if not more. The wicked trench spike (think brass knuckles welded to railroad spike) was pretty much invented in this war.
    • During the legendary Battle of Thermopylae, the Greek soldiers who fought the Persians reportedly kept battling their enemies even after their spears and swords were broken, battering them with their shields, eventually being forced to use their teeth and fingernails as weapons. Deadliest Warrior suggests that a Spartan shield punch, while obviously not a move to be used in heavy combat, was as or more lethal than the spears or swords. That's a lot of weight coming at you. Not to mention the circular (and actually quite sharp) edge of most Spartan shields. They could very well break bones and tear open flesh (albeit rather shallow) if used by the right people.
    • Standard procedure during mass aerial combat. Faced with too many aircraft moving too quickly for a human to properly track, combat breaks down rapidly into smaller and smaller fights. The stories of pilots who began the fight as part of a large formation then looked around at the end and saw a whole bunch of empty sky are numerous, while one of the best ways to score kills is to realize somebody doesn't think you're part of their fight and kill them before they realize you are.
    • The Cruiser Night Action of Friday, November 13th, 1942 during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Think of the big guns on a WWII cruiser. Think of the even-huger guns on a battleship. Now imagine dozens of those ships firing those huge guns into each other while their hulls scrape together, antiaircraft gunners spray their counterparts from a few feet away, and men getting cut down by shrapnel from their own guns hit on an enemy ship. A U.S. Navy officer who survived the battle later compared it to "a barroom brawl after the lights had been shot out".
    • The Battle of Stalingrad started as a battle between armies trying to outflank each other on the steppe and breakthroughs could shift the front lines hundreds of kilometers and encircle tens of thousands of soldiers. As the fighting moved into the city, the two forces experienced massive attrition. By November 1942, the two armies were so undermanned and exhausted that a major attack now involved only a few hundred men, and the capture of a single building was seen as a significant victory. The Soviet defenders were on their last legs and were almost out of food and ammunition but the German units were now too weak to finish the Soviets off. The Germans needed another month to finish the conquest of the city but never got the time as new Soviet armies launched Operation Uranus which ended any chance of a German victory at Stalingrad and destroyed the German forces fighting there.
    • Far different than most of the honorable sword-on-sword fights you see in films set in Medieval Europe, most fights were far more vicious and simple. Knights would ram people with horses, use multiple weapons, punch, kick, use sword as hammers while holding it backwards, etc... Backstabbing and double-teaming opponents was also very common. One of the standard strategies for dealing with a fully-armored knight was basically to wrestle him to the ground and then draw a knife and try to shove it through one of the weak points in his armor... which was likely his eye, neck, armpit, or crotch.
      • This doesn't include that standard conscripted peasant, who likely would have never even held a sword before. As your enemy (or, really, your local lord's or king's enemy) goes from far away to right in your face you might start with a crossbow, move to a simple spear, then an axe, then a knife, then finally fisticuffs.
    • In modern combat, if a plane/ship/tank has no more ammunition left, or has sustained too much damage to properly operate weapon systems, there's always one more method to try and finish the fight evenly.
  • Also, Mixed Martial Arts bouts also tend to go this way. The first round can be fast-paced and exciting, but after 10 minutes of trying (and mostly succeeding) in beating the crap out of each other, the fighters noticeably slow down in the final round.
  • A verbal example comes from William F Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal's debates during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in 1968. What began as a debate on the Republican candidates quickly turned into a one-up contest, with both participants trying to make the other one look stupid. By the end of the debates, they were just insulting one another, and it looked like they were going to actually hit each other at some points.
  • Long and/or grueling boxing matches often follow this trope. A fight may start with the fighters moving very quickly and fluidly, throwing pinpoint combinations that show their skill as boxers. After a half hour or so of hitting a guy in the face and getting hit back, the two fighters may be reduced to a tired wrestling with each other and occasionally throwing sloppy, exhausted punches that don't much resemble what was being done in the first round when the fighters were fresh. Factor in the possibility of injuries to the hands, face, eyes, and even other areas such as the back, knees, and shoulders, and it's not surprising when this trope is played straight during a fight.
    • Muhammad Ali's famous "rope-a-dope" technique was essentially based around letting his opponent stay on offense the whole time so he reaches this point faster while using the elasticity of the ring's ropes to help absorb the force of their blows, then capitalizing on it with a burst of aggression he doesn't have the energy to defend against, typically leading to a knock-out blow. Most famously, Ali used this strategy against George Foreman at the Rumble in the Jungle to negate Foreman's superior punching strength. He combined this with taunting Foreman during the fight to provoke him into throwing reckless haymakers that would use up even more energy and would be easier to at least partially dodge.
    • The Thrilla in Manila, the third and final fight between arch-rivals Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, featured some high-level boxing. Towards the end, however, Frazier’s eyes became swollen shut from Ali's punches so that he couldn’t even see what he was swinging at, and the referee had to help him find his corner at the end of the round. Meanwhile, Ali became so exhausted from the marathon battle that he could only throw a few punches each round. Indeed, he’d been pushed so far beyond the limits of his body that he felt like he was dying. With the boxers in their corners after the fourteenth round, Ali told his cornermen to cut his gloves off, but his trainer Angelo Dundee refused to let him quit. It was the opposite in the other corner, where Frazier was begging his second Eddie Futch to let him keep fighting, to no avail: determined to save his fighter from further damage, Futch signalled corner retirement to the referee. Ali briefly celebrated his victory by walking around the ring before collapsing on his stool, after which he was rushed to the hospital and treated for dehydration.
    • Professional boxing is limited to twelve rounds. It used to be fifteen, but after a 1982 bout ended with a boxer's death, it was reduced for safety reasons.
  • This can occur in fencing bouts. Occasionally, the intricate back-and-forth of thrusts and parries will be abandoned in favor of less... conventional play. Referees may interrupt a bout if this happens, and the action has become too confusing to follow from a judging perspective.
  • World War One (at least on the Western Front in France) was a large-scale version. Instead of Napoleonic-style field battles of manoeuvre and tactics, it rapidly became two entrenched armies simply throwing artillery fire and masses of men at each other's defences in brute force attempts to break through.
  • This Trope is why American troops are still issued E-tools (excavation). The shovel has a jagged edge on one side that's good for burying it in someone's head.


Video Example(s):


Jagi's Desperation

With neither his own skills or his dirty tricks working in stopping Kenshiro, Jagi abandons his skills entirely in favour of just desperately swinging a concrete pillar into Kenshiro. When even this fails, he's reduced to ineffectually chucking the remaining chunk of concrete in his hand at Kenshiro's face, but this fails to have any effect too. It's time for Kenshiro to use his Hokuto Hyakuretsu Ken once again!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / CombatBreakdown

Media sources: