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Curb-Stomp Battle

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Good luck going through that enemy 17 more times.
"One blow...that was all it took. One blow delivered by some of the mightiest sinews in existence, fueled by anger and guilt and need, laid low all twelve of the heroic attackers. It happened so fast that Thok was not even sure Brutaka had moved. But the proof was strewn on the chamber floor before him in the forms of six half-dead Toa Nuva and six possibly very dead Matoran."
BIONICLE, "Dark Destiny"

A fight that's extremely one-sided, where one side just absolutely trashes the other with little-to-no effort. Commonly used as a way of establishing a character as being very strong, especially if the person on the receiving end of the beating is known for being very rough and tough.

The name comes from the act of forcing someone to lie down in the street and bite the curb, then stomping on the back of their head. This could be very humiliating, especially if they were to die. Even if the victim were to survive, they may be missing some teeth and have a severely broken jaw.

Sometimes, this is played for humor; other times, it tends to be a Moment of Awesome.

Sometimes, it actually makes sense by the logic of the story, but writers use Third Act Stupidity to avert it.

Compare Pendulum War, which is where sides take turns to perform this trope upon each other. In Professional Wrestling, this frequently overlaps with Squash Match. In video games, see Flawless Victory. Breather Bosses, Zero-Effort Bosses, and Anticlimax Bosses are the types most likely to be on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle. If this is done to the heroes, on the other hand, it becomes a Hopeless Boss Fight, often from a Hero Killer (or is at least a sign that you're going to have to do a lot more Level Grinding to get past that Beef Gate). Compare No-Sell, where one side thoroughly wins because they can shrug off whatever the other can do. Contrast Story-Breaker Team-Up. If the curbstompee manages to get a few good hits in to show that he or she is not totally helpless, it's a Curb-Stomp Cushion. A No-Holds-Barred Beatdown is similar, but much more realistic, brutal, and violent. And more importantly, the ignominy of such a beatdown will often fall on the aggressor in the end. Foes who manage to withstand such a beatdown, even one in private (though for realism's sake, this is usually averted) often get double the incentive if it's a matter of forcing their opponent to say "uncle", especially in a fight that's inevitably going on someone's permanent record. A curb-stomp battle that's heavy on Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs may actually turn into a no-holds-barred beatdown (but it's just as possible for a curb-stomp battle to be over in a few separate blows, if not just one, whereas a no-holds-barred beatdown is always a prolonged smorgasbord of violence). Also compare Single-Stroke Battle, which are also one-sided, but are decided by the attacker using a single move to win rather than drawing it out. See also One-Man Army.

One-Hit Kill is a subtrope that's Exactly What It Says on the Tin. A subtrope for elections is Landslide Election. There Is No Kill Like Overkill is often the result of a Curb-Stomp Battle. Often paired with The Worf Effect, which it amplifies.

Note that Real Life examples are not banned outright, but can only be used for examples in sports. Examples for elections go in Landslide Election.


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    Asian Animation 
  • In episode 21 of Pleasant Goat Fun Class: Sports are Fun, Wolffy easily beats Weslie and Tibbie in a badminton game with almost no effort at all. He gets tons of points before Weslie and Tibbie get a single point. Weslie and Tibbie proceed to do the same to him and get even.
  • The Simple Samosa episode "Sumo Momo" is about Samosa being challenged to fight a wrestler named Sumo Momo. Unfortunately for him, Sumo Momo is way stronger than he is, and as a result Samosa is defeated easily... 93 times in a row. Subverted when Sumo Momo cracks the tip on the top of Samosa's head, which ticks him off so much that he attacks Sumo Momo like a madman over it and ends up winning the fight.

    Comic Strips 
  • A Running Gag in Curtis in regards to the title character's favorite boxer, Percy Percy Coleman — an obvious Expy of former world champion James "Buster" Douglas. Every time Coleman attempts a comeback fight, the match always takes place with these exact words:
    Announcer: (DING!) And there's the bell for Round One! (POW!) And the challenger is OUT!
  • The Far Side: A chicken and a Wild West gunfighter go at it, except the chicken is throwing eggs instead of bullets.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In the Russian folktale The Death of Koschei the Deathless, Prince Ivan first hears of warrior queen Marya Morevna when he comes upon an army completely wiped out by her forces.
    After travelling some distance he came to a field where a host of soldiers were lying dead. And he called: If there is any man left alive here, speak up and tell me: who killed all this mighty force? Just one man was left alive, and he answered. All this mighty force was killed by Maria Morevna, the beautiful queen.

  • Dog fight (no, real kennel fight dogs). Everybody is laughing about the butt-ugly dog of the maverick. Well, when the fight starts, his dog wipes the floor with its competition. "Good grief!" the other owners say. "What race is that cur?" "Beats me, got it in Africa, I just shaved his mane."
  • Three guys have just gotten out of a fight, all bruised and beaten.
    "Man, what a fight!"
    "I know, right? 3 to 100; that was crazy!"
    "Yeah...toughest three guys we've ever met!"
  • Country 1 was about to invade Country 2. A full division was sitting on the border, with hundreds of tanks and cannons, thousands of soldiers and all the paraphernalia of war, waiting for the starting signal.
    From behind a nearby rock, they heard, "One 2'vian can beat ten 1'vians!"
    "Get that man!" shouted the general. A heavily armed infantry squad went behind the rock, and shooting and screams were heard. Then:
    "One 2'vian can beat a hundred 1'vians!"
    The general snarled, "I said, get that man!" A mechanized company drove past the rock, and tremendous explosions and a plume of smoke were the result. Another shout:
    "One 2'vian can beat the whole lot of you!"
    The general was furious at this point, and ordered the entire division forward even though it wasn't H-Hour yet.
    A wounded 1'vian soldier appeared from behind the rock, waving his arms. "Go back! It's an ambush! There's two of them!"

  • In PHD: Phantasy Degree, the students of Athena just beat up two of the top warriors of the Big Bad, and they're pumped. Then 5 more show up. Next time we see them? All the students are dead, except for one. AND THE VILLAINS DON'T HAVE A SCRATCH BETWEEN THEM.

  • Smooth McGroove's Pokémon theme parody is sung from the perspective of in-game Pokémon trainers who try to fight the Player Character using their crappy teams, only to be beaten badly. The music videos shows a poor lv. 13 Pidgey falling to a Hyper Beam from the player's lv. 70 Mewtwo.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Bible is full of these, most notably Samson slaughtering 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. (There's an interpretation that this actually describes an army under Samson's command making a pincer movement that looks like the jawbone of an ass, but that's not as fun.)
    • The Ten Plagues of Egypt were essentially the Hebrew God curb-stomping a series of Egyptian deities.
    • After the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land because they were afraid of the Canaanites, God became angry and told them that none of them would ever enter the Promised Land, but only their children would. When they changed their minds and tried to enter the Promised Land after all, they got curbstomped.
    • Archangel Michael is renowned for curbstomping, and doing it to Satan no less. And in most classical paintings depicting him, he does this very literally.
    • Jesus at the battle of Armageddon in the book of Revelation. As the Left Behind book Glorious Appearing can tell you, His enemies don't stand a chance against Him.
      • Justified example, given how Jesus is the son/human incarnation of GOD — you'd be hard-pressed to not be curbstomped by that.
    • On one side, we have Jesus the son of God. On the other, a man possessed by 5,000 demons named Legion. Legion never stood a chance.
    • The story of David vs. Goliath, wherein a fully armored giant champion is killed by a 13 year old with a weapon used to kill pests, and the boy then decapitates the giant with the giant's own sword.
      • Slings are basically Difficult, but Awesome incarnate. They can actually be lethally accurate even against a foe in modern-day armor (a properly thrown sling stone can break the sound barrier and have the same kinetic energy as a pistol bullet, and the projectiles are much heavier) and Goliath did the classic mistake - underestimating his enemy. David had, despite his young age, already killed a bear and a lion, which were far more dangerous opponents.
  • Norse Mythology has these in just about any battle involving the thunder god Thor. His battles against giants typically last only one hammer throw before the giant is defeated. The only exceptions tend to be when Thor is without his hammer, the opponent uses magic, or he's fighting the Midgard Serpent.
  • According to the Kojiki, Yamato against Izumo. It helped that he stole his sword earlier and swapped it with a wooden one.
  • In The Kalevala, Hot-Blooded Joukahainen challenges age-old Väinämöinen in a Wizard Duel, which proceeds by literally comparing what they know about the world. The old guy lets him have his fun for a while, until Joukahainen claims he was there when the world was being created. Which is something a youngster doesn't say to the guy who actually was there. So, yeah. Väinämöinen doesn't even need to do any stomping, he just sings a song that makes the earth swallow his enemy up, and Joukahainen only escapes by promising his sister's hand.
  • Hindu Mythology is replete with legends of gods and heroes killing thousands and thousands of enemies by shooting multitudes of arrows.

  • The initial battle against Scorpius in Sequinox sees the team barely scratch her because of her armour. By the time Autumn lands a decent hit, she's already killed Winter and Spring and quickly proceeds to kill the other two girls. Fortunately, they come back and put up a better fight while powered up.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Prior to the mid-1990s, a typical episode of weekly syndicated professional wrestling programs consisted mainly of curb-stomp battles; these were called squash matches, and were used to establish the pushed wrestler's skill; if he were a bad guy, these matches would also demonstrate how big and bad they were, and what a threat they posed to the lead babyface.
  • A bread-and-butter trope for years in professional wrestling, wherein an established wrestler is pitted against a jobber, and the resulting match is little more than the winning wrestler showing off all the moves in his offensive arsenal. While all pushed wrestlers – from babyfaces to run-of-the-mill heels – will be showcased in these matches at some point, this trope is most commonly used in association with the Monster, whom the promoter is trying to push as an unstoppable, feared juggernaut who will hurt, if not kill, at will and without remorse. However, given the nature of wrestling, it is possible for a wrestler to not injure his opponent in any way but still win, as it only takes ten seconds to win by count out, three seconds to win by pin fall and less than a second to win by disqualification.
  • On November 26th, 1988, Mr. Fuji unveiled his newest protégé, The Super Ninja, to take on The Ultimate Warrior for the Intercontinental Championship as the eponymous Saturday Night's Main Event. The guy got in no offense as the Warrior beat the ever-living crap out of him for three minutes.
    Jesse: "Boy it's a good thing he was wearing a mask. I wouldn't want anyone seeing me taking a beating that bad."
  • In 2014, after Seth Rollins made a Face–Heel Turn and joined forces with Triple H and the Authority, his key finishing move was the curbstomp, leading to him winning the 2014 Money in the Bank contract, which he cashed in at WrestleMania 31, during the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, which quickly became a triple threat match, with Rollins winning the WWE World Heavyweight championship belt. One month later, at Extreme Rules, Rollins banned Randy Orton's R.K.O. move in a steel cage match, with Rollins retaining the belt after Kane interfered. He would later take the U.S. Championship from John Cena at SummerSlam 2015, and hold both titles until November 4th, 2015, when he tore his ACL, MCL, and medial meniscus in his knee when attempting a sunset flip powerbomb, which resulted in him relinquishing his championships due to injuries.
  • Super Dragon and Necro Butcher's two on one beat down of BJ Whimter at Ring of Honor's Arena Warfare event was kicked off by Dragon jumping Whitmer from behind and curbstomping him. Unlikely saviors in the ROH academy chased the two CZW wrestlers off.
  • Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe delivered a two on one beating in which they competed to see who could beat Christopher Daniels worse at TNA Hardcore Justice 2012. The winner? AJ Styles, this being a climb up a ladder and retrieve a contract match, not a beat Daniels match.
  • Defied on SHIMMER Volume 69 when Cheerleader Melissa's match with Athena was called off after Melissa knocked out Athena with a curb stomp and then twisted her unconscious form in a Kondo Clutch rather than go for a pin or let the ref count her out.
  • SummerSlam 2014. WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena defends the title against Brock Lesnar. Most fans expected a repeat of their collision in 2012, in which Cena came out victorious after a hard-fought battle, or at least a back-and-forth contest. This wasn't a Lesnar that was still recovering from diverticulitis, however, this was the man that had broken the Streak. Lesnar steamrolled Cena, literally laughing off Cena's A.A., and threw him around like a rag doll with German suplex after German suplex. It was the most hopeless battle that Cena had had in years, and sixteen suplexes later, Brock Lesnar was the new champion.
    • In general, Brock Lesnar post-ending-the-streak is portrayed more then ever as an unstoppable badass who completely destroys everyone he faces in one-sided fights.
      • Ultimately, however, this would get turned around on Lesnar at Survivor Series 2016 at the hands of Goldberg.
      • Lesnar took on Kofi Kingston for Kofi's WWE title on Fox's premier episode on SmackDown. Kofi, at that point, had held the title since WrestleMania 35 and successfully beaten wrestlers from Kevin Owens to Randy Orton to retain. When the match begins, Kofi charges at Brock and immediately gets hit with an F-5 and pinned in UNDER 10 SECONDS.
  • In Lucha Underground:
    • Fénix and Mil Muertes clashed in Grave Consequences, a brutal back-and-forth match that saw Fenix put Muertes in the casket for the win, and presumably killing him. Mil Muertes wasn't done, though, and came back even stronger than before with the help of Catrina. He challenged Fenix to a Death Match and won with ease, throwing Fenix through the roof of Dario Cueto's office.
    • During Matanza's debut at the Gift of the Gods, he delivers one of these to everyone once he enters the match, with only Rey Mysterio Jr. putting up somewhat of a fight. Following that, he would go on to squash Pentagon Jr. and then the former LU champion Fenix.
  • Stalker Ichikawa of Dragon Gate is such a loser that he is usually pinned within five seconds of the bell, often by a simple punch. Should this happen, he will beg for (and be granted) another chance. He'll last much longer on the second try, but still lose without hurting his opponent or coming close to victory.
  • In All Elite Wrestling, perhaps one of the shocking most recent examples in Wrestling, Jon Moxley took on CM Punk in a title unifications match two weeks before their All Out PPV. The match starts up and seems like it will be a major fight only for CM Punk to kick Mox in the head and instantly hurt his freshly recovered injured foot. Mox not missing a chance quickly goes on the attack towards Punk's foot and hit his finisher twice on Punk and pins him in three minutes.
  • Before Ricky Starks was in All Elite Wrestling on the January 15th 2018 episode of Raw, Ricky Starks got dominated by The Revival in a tag team match that went less than two minutes. This is very ironic because 5 years later on the October 7th 2023 episode of Collision, Ricky Starks alongside Big Bill would squash The Revival(now FTR) in a tag team match to win the AEW Tag Team Championship

  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! East Academy David utterly destroys Denero in his first duel. Proving himself to be more than just some fanboy.
    • And before that was Marcus's duel against Denero's father. Every move the latter made only served to help Marcus's strategy. Which cultimated in him finishing off the culitst with a casual One-Hit Kill.
  • In My Little Metroid: Magic is Showtime, a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic/Metroid/Kamen Rider Wizard crossover, has several of these due to the Tokusatsu elements (though Samus also dishes out her fair share of them), but of note is the Mnwga Phantom, who delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Twilight (who's become a Kamen Rider) as well as Trixie and Squire, putting all three in the hospital, and later doing the same to Rarity (though she fairs better due to Generosity Style's Weak, but Skilled dynamic), breaking her arm/leg. Twilight returns the favor when she unlocks Magic Phantom Style and demolishes Mngwa in Tranquil Fury for hurting her loved ones.
  • Destroy the Godmodder: the nature of the godmodder himself causes lots of this, and many other things have been good examples of this.
    • Whenever a player tries to one on one the godmodder.
    • Ninjatwist vs. metal sonic. The robot went from 80% health to dead in almost no time at all. It was a forty post summon too.
    • when sigma's Wily Egg Zone got counter-invaded by three other players at the same time.
  • Dino Attack RPG:
    • Amanda vs. Sam Sinister and the Brickster in the subway station, and Frozeen and Libo vs. Lord Vladek in the subway tunnel. The villains never stood a chance.
    • Rex vs. French Fries and Pharisee vs. French Fries. In both instances, French Fries was soundly curb-stomped.
    • Pharisee vs. Trigger was actually a subversion. For most of the fight, it was definitely a Curb-Stomp Battle, as Pharisee easily overpowered Trigger in the fight. However, it was ultimately subverted because Trigger knocked out Pharisee in the end, emerging as the victor of that fight.
  • Lords Among the Ashes: Has several with the most prominent one taking place on turn one. Most armies, even those from Remnant, would suffer severe casualties or even complete annihilation if they tried to invade a Grimm-infested ancient city on the Dark Continent. Most armies aren't led by Jaune Arc. The city is taken and all of its former inhabitants were purged in under two years with only six lives lost.

  • Cyrano de Bergerac: This is the outcome of any battle (of wits or of swords) with Cyrano.
  • The Pirates of Penzance: The pirates' victory over the policemen is achieved still faster, in just a few bars of music.
  • Richard Wagner: The first act and a half of Siegfried is spent building up to what ought to be an epic battle between the fearless Siegfried and Fafner the dragon. The actual fighting only goes on for one minute before Siegfried runs Nothung through Fafner's heart, and is set to uninspiring (though loud) music.

    Theme Parks 

  • As noted in the page quote, Brutaka, one of the most powerful BIONICLE characters ever, actually did this during his time as the co-Big Bad of the 2006 story. As an example of his immense strength and power, he instantly defeated and nearly killed both the Toa Nuva, who are already powerful enough, and the Voya Nui Resistance Team with just one swing of his Rotating Blades. Fortunately, before he could continue, Axonn and the Toa Inika came, and Brutaka was also betrayed by the Piraka who temporarily stole his powers.

    Visual Novels 
  • Dies Irae:
    • Any battle Reinhard partakes in becomes one of these horrifically one-sided affairs. Special mention has to go to the battle against Methuselah in that for most of the battle, Methuselah didn't even realize he was facing down one of these and believed that he himself was delivering one upon Reinhard and that his legions stood no chance, only for Reinhard to finally start trying a little after Wilhelm manged to get Claudia back from Methuselah and promptly ending the battle in a single strike, much to Methuselah's disbelief.
    • Reinhard is not the only one capable of dishing these out, either. The Schreiber vs Wilhelm battle is perhaps one the most brutal, with Wilhelm trying futilely to hit Schreiber, only to get thoroughly trashed and eventually killed in return.
  • The protagonist of Double Homework has a “fight” with Dennis in the final chapter. The protagonist starts by throwing Dennis out of a second-floor window. Then, after Dennis miraculously lands softly and starts running away, the protagonist chases him down and beats him up. All the while, Dennis is out in the snow in his underwear.
  • Fate/stay night had its own share of Curbstomps as well. Archer vs Berserker stands out for being a curbstomp on both sides. Archer gave 5 curbstomps in a row, but sustained sufficient injuries doing so that when Berserker went in for round 6 it was really a lost cause, with the final victor being Berserker.
  • At the climax of Heart of the Woods, the true Fairy Queen faces off against the Big Bad, and destroys the latter with a single spell. This even happens in one of the bad endings, in which the Fairy Queen is fatally wounded at the time but still manages to kill the Big Bad with the last of her strength, showing just how great the difference between them is.
  • In Silver Crisis, the main protagonist, Lucas, constantly has him on the receiving end of this due to his status as the load, with one of the most notable instances being his fight against Bowser, which ends with him begging him to live.
    • This is also a recurring trope for the story as the heroes on the whole are usually on the receiving end of this for any battle against Silver or Ganondorf, assuming Captain Falcon or Claus aren’t around. But even then, those exceptions are subverted towards the end of the story.

Alternative Title(s): One Sided Battle, Curb Stomp, Kerb Stomp Battle


Bass Cross

Mega Man and Bass perform Cross Fusion to defeat Dr. Regal and Nebula Gray.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / EleventhHourSuperpower

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