In an action series based around an endless series of one-on-one fights, defeating a Worthy Opponent or The Rival will sometimes convert them to the hero's side, if not always to their cause. Furthermore, no matter how much trouble the Worthy Opponent has caused for the heroes or other people, as soon as they show remorse or go out of their way to help others, they will be welcomed into the hero's circle of True Companions with open arms.
It helps if the story is idealistic enough for the hero to forgive the villain after they are safely defeated. Correspondingly, the villain in this kind of story is so surprised and moved that the hero would be big-hearted enough to do that, that they have a change of heart.
From the writers' standpoint, this trope is a way to keep characters around longer. If it's a show about fighting, and if The Protagonist is always getting stronger, what's the use of a defeated enemy? If said enemy is well developed, has a sizeable fanbase and/or a sympathetic motive or backstory; then killing them might risk pissing off the fans. We want to see them fight some more, but they can't fight the hero again because that would be repetitive and we all know that they would lose. So instead, they become an ally and get to assist the hero. Thus, this is a standard way for most Sixth Rangers to be added into the cast.
In video games, this may simply be an instance where the designers wanted to include more Boss Battles; this is more obvious in several cases where a character is already an ideological ally, but wants to "duel" or "practice" against you anyway, or needs to "test your strength" before they'll join up. (Summons love to do this, as do Mons and warrior tribes.) This may be repetitive, but more Boss Battles are usually what the player wants, so there are rarely complaints.
Compare Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand (when the hero refuses to kill their enemy, which may lead into this trope depending on the story), Let's You and Him Fight (when two characters are already on the same side, but don't know it and fight because one or both of them think the other is an enemy), Defeat Means Respect (when a defeated enemy respects the victor instead of becoming friends), Fire-Forged Friends (when enemies forced to fight on the same side become friends), and Enemy Mine (where two bitter enemies are forced to work together by external circumstances). A darker variant might see the defeated party being Reforged into a Minion.
See also Love at First Punch and Best Her to Bed Her for romantic variations and Defeat Means Playable for a video game trope often combined with this one. Compare I Fight for the Strongest Side!.
Since this trope typically occurs at the denouement of a story, expect unmarked spoilers.
- Happy Heroes:
- In season 3, Careful S. fought and defeated Kalo three times (or two and a half, depending on how you consider the last one) and at the end, Kalo wants to stay and fight alongside Careful S. In this case, it somewhat overlaps with Fire-Forged Friends.
- In season 14, Happy S. becomes friends with the Dark Demon in episode 50 after defeating him in a battle.
- Mechamato: After Mechamato defeats Champbot in the final game, the latter expects the hero to gloat, but Mechamato instead thanks him for the good game. Amato and his friends explain that being a good sport is more important than winning, then Champbot calls him a friend before allowing himself to be captured as agreed.
Champbot: An opponent, and a gracious friend. You are a true champion, Amato!
- Amazing Agent Luna has Luna offering her protection to the evil clone she had just defeated.
- A Wrong Genre Savvy character in Birds of Prey that later becomes Misfit assumes this is the reason Oracle ends up attacking her when she breaks into the clocktower.
- Sheriff Bronson and Ma Sewell of Copperhead are brawling within a minute of their first meeting. Bronson manages to handcuff Ma and tosses her in the jail cell overnight. When she releases Ma after the investigation, they've warmed to each other enough that Ma starts babysitting Zeke Bronson.
- The final issue of El Cazador ends with Lady Sin offering her defeated foe Redhand Harry an alliance (possibly conditional on his knowing Latin). While his reply was not actually given, under the circumstances it was almost certainly a "yes".
- In ElfQuest, after centuries of festering rivalry (and Rayek abducting Cutter's family so that he has to be lonely for a couple hundred years!), Cutter and Rayek decide to settle their differences by beating the crap out of each other. Once the fight is over, they don't exactly become friends, but they're at least willing to cooperate with each other.
- The Wolfriders tend to treat all internal conflicts this way, which makes sense given that their society is modeled on the wolf pack.
- In Empowered both the heroine's boyfriend and best friend are people who defeated then befriended her. And if you include the Caged Demonwolf on her coffee table is one of the enemies who SHE defeated, and befriended (however begrudgingly.)
- In Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, John Stewart and Soranik Natu attempt to enforce this on the Sinestro Corps, but it's tense until another example of this trope appears in the form of Guy Gardner tracking down Arkillo, the single hardest and most respected Lantern in the Sinestro Corps, and taking him on in a bare knuckle brawl. Guy wins, nearly killing himself in the process, before both of them lay down the law - any Green that steps out of line faces Guy, any Yellow faces Arkillo. While the Green/Yellow alliance collapses (though some reformist Yellow Lanterns defect to the Green Lanterns), Guy and Arkillo become Bash Brothers who meet up for a monthly beer.
- Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat!: Lampshaded in the final issue, after Patsy lets a pair of would-be teen supervillains off with a warning.
Jubilee: How many bad guys have you actually sent to jail in the last year or so?
Jubilee: You've got to quit befriending your villains.
Patsy: I like people, that's all!
- In the first Rogue Squadron there is an Expy/Distaff Counterpart of Fel in Kasan Moor, a very good pilot who is part of a very good Imperial squadron. She gets captured by being shot with a Y-wing's ion cannon, and transmits not only her surrender, but her willingness to defect and provide useful intelligence. Sure enough, the next several missions involve targets she's chosen, and she's flying in an X-Wing with the Rogues, musing that now she knows what it's like to be on their side of these little raids. Why she defects is never really elaborated on, but none of the Rogue Squadron games are famous for plot.
- Kasen Moor is stated to be Alderaanian on the official wiki so that may be another reason for her defection.
- In 2005 story arc Girl Power, Supergirl and Wonder Girl fight and the former wins. Both girls become friends afterwards.
- In Bizarrogirl, Supergirl befriends her Bizarro counterpart after defeating her.
- In Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, after their mandatory first meeting/fight, which Superman wins, Superman and Spider-Man agree to work together in the same case and they quickly become friends.
- In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, Casey Jones spent most of his first appearance having a knock-down-drag-out brawl with Raphael over Casey's overly violent street vigilantism. Raphael ultimately won, and Casey thereupon became one of the turtles' closest allies and Raphael's best friend. The 2003 cartoon had a similar sequence.
- Wonder Woman:
- Paula von Gunther didn't really like working for the Nazis but also hated Wonder Woman during their first few encounters. After her final defeat at Wonder Woman's hands, and Wonder Woman's rescue of her daughter, Paula became one of Diana's most loyal friends and allies throughout the Golden and Silver Ages of comics.
- Several versions of the Cheetah have become friends with Diana after their defeat. This generally doesn't last past any shakeups in the creative team as new writers want to have Wondy face off against her iconic villain once more.
- Wonder Woman (1942): Despite the fact that he looks like Satan the Emperor of Saturn admits defeat once Diana and Steve Trevor outmaneuver him in his own throne room (after dismantling most of his interplanetary slave trade abilities and wreaking a lot of military equipment), he outlaws slavery and becomes a good ally to Di and the United States, with an ambassador sent to Washington DC straight away.
- Wonder Woman (1987): Ectreba started out as a cruel opponent on Hope's End before Diana gained her respect by defeating her, which led to a strong if contentious friendship.
- In the original Little Nemo newspaper comics from the early 1900s, self-centered prankster Flip torments Nemo endlessly, even getting him exiled from Slumberland and hindering his attempts to return, until Nemo insists they settle their dispute in a boxing match. Upon being soundly trounced, Flip immediately declares himself to be Nemo's loyal friend and companion, and remains so until the Reset Button years later.
- This trope is how Popeye befriends Toar, the immortal caveman. After Toar admits defeat ("You hit too hard, no fight crazy fool like you!"), Popeye offers him a friendship and Toar accepts.
- Hogyoku ex Machina lampshades this when Ishida asks, "Kurosaki, is there anyone you've fought that you haven't become best friends with?"
- The Urthblood Saga: The vermin who join up with Urthblood's army in The Crimson Badger, a Redwall fanfic.
- Two examples in With Strings Attached, though in both cases the "defeats" were pretty mild:
- As'taris, dying to take the newly revealed Kansael from John, threatens to cut it out of his chest. Ringo telekinetically shoves him away, takes his sword, and threatens to drop him in the ocean if he tries it again. As'taris is so impressed that Ringo actually fought back that he immediately drops his main objection to the four (that they were noncombatants) and thereafter views them as peers—more or less.
- The four “defeat” the Hunter (and by proxy Jeft) simply by being themselves; their obvious love for one another makes him long for an alternative to his friendless, loveless life of adventure and murder. He becomes the best friend they make in the entire book.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, Theecat the tech rogue becomes rather fond of the four after John buries him (and his companions) neck-deep in mud. He starts out sucking up to them like mad so they won't steal all his stuff, but ends up genuinely liking them. They aren't quite so enamored of him, but conclude they might as well consider him a friend because he's one of the very few people on C'hou they don't actively hate.
- Legend of Zelda: Rings of Dualty subverts it with the main characters, Link and Samba, because their battle came to a draw. Played pretty straight with the Leviathans of Material.
- In Clash of the Elements most heroes manage to form a bond of friendship with their respective Genesis Samurai opponents, save for Geno, who was already acquainted with them long ago, and Luigi, who was knocked unconscious after his battle before he could form one with his.
- Parodied (like everything else) in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series.
(Pegasus walks onto the stage)
Yugi: Oh hey Grandpa, it's that guy who kidnapped your soul and then tried to kill me. But now he's our friend.
- Goku thinks this is the way things work in Dragon Ball Z Abridged
Goku: Hey Vegeta, we're friends now. Right?
Vegeta:' F*** off
Goku: The best.
- In the One Piece fanfic Second Wind, as in canon, Luffy defeats the Kung Fu Dugongs, who subsequently subject themselves to him as disciples. The key difference here is that this time, he rejects all but one, who joins his crew…at least for the time being.
- The villain Circus seems to think so in the Worm fanfic A Skittering Heart. After Circus tries and fails to steal Taylor's Keyblade they knockout Taylor. Her best friend Sabah then gets angry and defeats Circus. After talking out their problems Circus leaves but later comes back, jumping in to help Taylor and Sabah fight Lung and Oni Lee. Circus also gives them a new coffee table after breaking their original. Taylor and Sabah are less than effused by this.
- Thousand Shinji: Shinji challenged Asuka to a duel, won, and suggested that they work and fight together. From that point on, they started getting along, and eventually they got together.
- Invoked and averted in Quicken. After defeating super-villain Cricket, Emma knows that they’re NOT are going to become friends later on.
This wasn't some Saturday morning cartoon; we weren't going to come to some kind of mutual understanding, enter as enemies, leave as friends. She had given her best to see me dead. It was always going to come down to either me or her.
- In Undertale: Rebirth, Undyne and Samson are at each other's throats until she beats him in a wrestling match. By the time Alphys gets back from her lab, the two have become "buds".
- In This Bites!, Kaku tries to invoke this, asking if there's a vacancy in the Straw Hat crew after Zoro beats him, only to be told that they had Franky lined up to be their shipwright, though Zoro does still say that Luffy would let him join if he really wanted to.
- In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku's self-esteem issues and his longtime exposure to Katsuki Bakugou has drilled the idea that he has to prove that he's strong and worthy of standing alongside his peers to make friends. But after he loses his first spar as a Curb-Stomp Battle, all of his attempts to do this end up having the opposite effect he intended. Those who lost to him were considered weak instead of Izuku being considered strong. His overly pragmatic approach to his spar with Weiss humiliated her and did nothing to teach either of them anything. While he has earned the respect of many of the other Beacon Academy students for how ridiculously powerful his Semblance is, he has yet to earn friendship with any of them through combat. He got most of his new friends simply by being a Nice Guy.
- This is lampshaded and defied in Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness. Reimu understands that it's really a thing, though she doesn't get why past enemies keep gravitating towards her. On the other hand, Yuuka wants nothing to do with Coop after her defeat and vacates the area after the situation is straightened out.
- Downplayed in Ranma ½ and Touhou Project crossover Carried Off. Ranma and Suika's fight just leads to some mutual respect.
- In Peter Chimaera's Digimon 3: Predator vs. Digimon, this somehow ends up happening after the Predator is defeated by being "kicked in the invisible".
- In Kara of Rokyn, Kara begins to build a tentative friendship with her ex-rival wrestler Jara after defeating her for good.
- Final Stand of Death: Both the Spice Girls and Hanson ended up as this as they didn’t had much against others. After all, they were forced into Deathbowl ‘98.
- Sort of happens in The Rigel Black Chronicles; by defeating Peter Pettigrew, Harry apparently passed a test of worthiness, and now the Dominion Jewel wants to work with her. She's more reticent, but gradually accepts out of necessity.
- The It (2017) fanfic "(you) Need A Better Resurrection" can basically be summarized as 'what if Henry Bowers became friends with the Losers after the rock war?" It's really more downplayed in the fic itself, as the friendship has less to do with the Losers beating Bowers and more to do with Bill more or less taming him through sheer dogged kindness.
- Red Rose of Winterfell: While they didn't actually hate each other, Robert's respect for Ruby greatly increased after she beat him up for trying to sleep with her, to the point of considering her one of his closest friends and willing to listen to her advice.
- Trading Game:
- Subverted with Yuuna's first established rival, Haru, who became increasingly unhinged with the long streak of losses he experienced against both Yuuna and Mei.
- Played straight with other characters, such as Edo, Ryo, Serena, and Yuri.
- Better Bones AU: Firestar defeats Scourge without killing him and Scourge later joins ThunderClan after retiring from leadership, taking the Clan name Iceheart. He is very loyal to Firestar for how he was willing to deal with him honorably, not killing him in battle despite the warrior code permitting it and honoring the deal Tigerstar had made to him earlier, the breaking of which caused him to wage war against the Clans in the first place.
- In Frozen II, The Nokk tries to drown Elsa, but she creates ice reins and takes control, riding the Nokk to Ahtohallan. At the end of the movie, the Nokk voluntarily bows to allow her to dismount more easily, and readily comes when she calls and allows her to freeze the water horse in order to ride on land.
- In the 2008 Horton Hears a Who!, Horton is triumphant getting his neighbours to believe the microscopic Whos exist and is hailed a hero of the ages. However, he can't help but notice the Sour Kangaroo is now alone, ashamed and hated for what she did to him and almost to the Whos. Fortunately, Horton has a heart as big as his ears and he immediately goes to offer his forgiveness to the Kangaroo. The Kangaroo, realizing how lucky she is to have a friend as noble as Horton, immediately offers to help him shelter the Whos for the trip to Mount Nool.
- My Little Pony:
- Sunset Shimmer in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. The girls who defeat her are her only friends in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks as the rest of the school has not so easily forgiven her for attempting to brainwash the school.
- Repeated in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games, where it is Sunset Shimmer doing the defeating and Human Twilight Sparkle being defeated, with her displaying the empathy of someone who used to be on the other side of the offer.
- Inverted in the first Equestria Girls movie with Rainbow Dash, who offers her help if Twilight can beat her at soccer. After a spectacularly one-sided match that leaves Twilight on the ground gasping for breath while Dash hasn't even broken a sweat, she reveals that it was a Secret Test of Character and (re)joins the team.
- Puss in Boots in Shrek 2 is hired by the king to assassinate Shrek. However, unlike his fairy tale counterpart, he does not try to trick the ogre into changing into a mouse, but instead makes a direct, frontal assault on Shrek, which works up until the feline gags on a hairball, spitting it up. Shrek and Donkey spare his life, and Puss proposes to the ogre he owes a life debt to him, in thanks. Although there is some tension/rivalry between Puss and Donkey (who seems nervous that Puss is taking his place as "annoying talking animal"), the three eventually become close friends and allies.
- At the end of the Yellow Submarine, after the Blue Meanies are defeated, the Beatles invite them over for tea. Partying ensues.
- American Ninja has this. Jackson starts a fight with Joe, when Joe effortlessly kicks his ass, Jackson becomes his buddy, willing to risk court-martial for his new friend.
- In Avatar, the Na'vi knows which banshee is destined to be theirs because it will try to kill them. They also have to 'tame' it through violence.
- At the end of Back to the Future, Biff is a friendly (if sycophantic) worker for George after George beats the crap out of him in the past.
- In Bad Moms, after Amy defeats Alpha Bitch Gwendolyn in the PTA election, she finds Gwendolyn crying in her car. The two of them talk, and Gwendolyn admits that the reason she's been so obsessed with the PTA is that the rest of her life is a shambles and she's just as big a screwup as everyone else; her rich husband is actually a white collar criminal, etc. The next scene shows Gwendolyn inviting Amy and her friends onto a private jet.
- In Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, after Bill and Ted defeat The Grim Reaper in a great variety of games, he accompanies them on their further adventures and even joins their band.
- Blazing Saddles. After Sheriff Bart blows up Mongo and captures him:
Mongo: Mongo stay with Sheriff Bart. Sheriff first man ever whip Mongo. Mongo impressed, have deep feelings for Sheriff Bart.Waco Kid: Uh oh, you better watch out, big fella. I think Mongo's taken a little fancy to you.Mongo: Aww, Mongo straight!
- The Count of Monte Cristo (2002): When Edmond defeats Jacopo in their knife duel, the latter swears eternal loyalty after his defeat.
- The Disney Channel frequently invokes this trope. There's no actual fighting, but after the protagonist wins/beats their opponent/whatever, the antagonist suddenly becomes BFFs with them.
- End of Watch: After trading insults with a suspect, Zavala agrees to fight him. Zavala's victory, as well as his decision to only arrest the gangbanger on the original charge of disorderly conduct (when he could have added assault on a police officer), wins the gangbanger's respect.
- In Boorman's Excalibur:
- Lancelot is seeking to serve the man who can best him in combat. Arthur loses to Lancelot, then cheats by using Excalibur's power to knock Lancelot silly. Lancelot doesn't realize what happened when he wakes up and agrees to join Arthur. Things don't turn out so great in the end...
- The first knight Arthur bests in battle — Sir Uriens, who knights him — winds up being Arthur's lifelong ally, and the first to obey Arthur's order to find the Holy Grail. He ultimately dies on the quest to find it.
- The The Fast and the Furious series relies on this trope heavily to expand its roster of protagonists; nearly every antagonist that isn't killed at the end of their film ends up joining the crew.
- Of course goes back to the original The Fast and the Furious, where Dom is all but defeated and Brian could easily arrest him, but he lets him go, leading to them teaming up again in every subsequent film they both appear in. Dom's crewmates Brad and Letty later pop up and work with him and Brian again in later films.
- Fast Five had the crew hunted by DEA agent Luke Hobbs and Brazilian police officer Elena Neves; they ultimately fail to take them down and both later join the crew themselves.
- Brothers Owen and Deckard Shaw (the lead antagonists of Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7, respectively) are thoroughly defeated, and return in The Fate of the Furious to rescue Dom's infant son. Deckard also returns alongside former nemesis Hobbs in the teamup spinoff Hobbs & Shaw.
- Prince Barin spends the middle third of Flash Gordon trying to kill Flash, then joins him when Flash defeats him in a "battle to the death" — and then saves him from a very, very long fall.
- In Girlfight, Diana and Adrian's relationship begins after Adrian beats Diana in the boxing ring. That he takes her out to dinner afterwards probably helps.
- Godzilla Raids Again, the second film overall and the first where the title character fights another monster, introduced Anguirus, an ankylosaur-like monster that duked it out with Godzilla through Osaka before ultimately being killed by a bite to the neck. Since then, subsequent appearances of Anguirus in future Godzilla films have presented him as a good friend and ally to Godzilla, ready to assist the big G in combating any threat that needs to be dealt with (though it hasn't been established whether or not this is the same Anguirus from Godzilla Raids Again, or a second one altogether that never engaged Godzilla in a fight).
- Mothra and Rodan both started out as some of Godzilla's toughest enemies before becoming allies against the Big Bad King Ghidorah. In the rebooted "Heisei" films, Mothra and Battra are initially set up as rivals but they end up working together to beat Godzilla.
- In The Grand Budapest Hotel, Gustave beats up a cellmate for questioning his virility, with the explicit purpose of gaining their respect. It works.
- From Hatari!, Kurt only accepts Chips onto the team after Chips beats him at shooting and punches him in the face. Zigzagged in regards to both men vying for Brandy, as they both admit defeat after she chooses Pockets. By the end, they seem aware of this trope, as both go to Paris after the summer ends to fight over a girl they both know.
- Swede, the violent and unruly marine from Heartbreak Ridge has been in and out of the brig on one charge or another until Recon Platoon recruit him to remove Drill Sergeant Nasty Tom Highway. Highway himself has been on a great many charges for violent disorder and when Swede offers to turn himself in after losing, Highway instead orders him to get on parade. Later, Staff Sergeant Webster is trying to get evidence against Highway at the direction of the company CO, the entire platoon stands against him, but Swede seals the deal simply by standing over Webster and staring down at him. Way down. Webster wisely leaves.
- In Hong Kil Dong, Thuk Jae the bandit has sworn vengeance after Kil Dong killed his brother in a fight. But ahfter Kil Dong first defeats Thuk Jae, then spares his life, Thuk Jae has a Heel–Face Turn and decides to serve Kil Dong. He becomes The Lancer to Kil Dong, and brings his bandit buddies along as Kil Dong's warriors as well.
- In The Horror of Party Beach, shown on MST3K, at a beach party in the beginning the main hero fights with a leader of a biker gang and defeats him (with some help from some scrawny bystanders in speedos). The leader shakes his hand.
Mike: (in upperclass British accent): "You have defeated me sir! You and your noble band of choreographers!"
- In Hussar Ballad, Vincento Salgari gets (off-screen) into a fight with Shura, nearly killing her, but she manages to take him prisoner. As he was freezing to death at the time, and Shura happily provided him with some warm clothes, he swears to be her friend forever, and later proves to be true to his word.
- Ip Man 2.
- After Ip trashes Wong Leung the first time they meet, the latter up and leaves. He comes back with three friends to try to defeat Ip. It's only when this fails that Wong asks Ip to accept him as a student.
- Played straight from the first movie to the second: The leader of the ne'er-do-wells from the first movie gets defeated by Ip in it, and in the second movie comes to his aid. He even credits Ip for helping to turn his life around.
- The Island at the Top of the World: Once the Vikings realize they can't kill them (and The Godi's death certainly helps) the Vikings agree to let the heroes go peacefully as far as one of them stays behind.
- In Jason and the Argonauts, Hylas is challenged by Hercules to a discus-throwing contest. Being The Smart Guy, Hylas manages to win by skimming his discus across the water. Hercules takes his loss well, and the two become buddies. Hercules is the most torn-up over Hylas' eventual death at the hands of Talos, and he leaves.
- The Karate Kid movies and Cobra Kai:
- From The Karate Kid (1984): "You're all right, LaRusso!" While they didn't really become buddies after that, Johnny did stop his bullying and Daniel held no grudge toward him. The dynamic between them gets explored in much greater depth many years later; Daniel initially treats Johnny like an old friend and is glad to help him out, saying that Cobra Kai dojo was really to blame for their past conflict. Johnny, however, is a mite more bitter about the past, and his idea to reopen the dojo kicks their rivalry back into high gear, also revealing that Daniel is still pretty sore about what happened back then, too. In the long run, it's eventually played straighter.
- In The Karate Kid (2010), Cheng and his group of friends who had once bullied Dre respect him after he wins the tournament. In fact, Cheng, the main bully, is the one to present the trophy to him. This was significantly aided by their disgust with the lengths their coach pushed them to in an attempt to defeat Dre. This is even more evident in the alternate ending, where Li challenges Han to a fight after the tournament.
- The King and the Clown: When Jaeng-sang and Gong-gil arrive in Seoul they crash the show of some local jesters and engage in a little showdown. Their double act clearly wins and that evening the Seoul clowns propose to join forces.
- Labyrinth: Well, not defeat, but more like "battle to a draw". Still, Ludo doing so impresses Sir Didymus enough to make peace and call him a brother.
- In the Director's Cut of Legend (1985) The Gump is furious with Jack for allowing Lily to touch the unicorn, and then throws a massive tantrum when Jack solves his subsequent riddle — but once he's over it he forgives Jack immediately (as he promised) and joins his quest to save the unicorns (and Lily) from Darkness.
- When the mechanic mom finally accepts the evidence that her son was murdered, she still harbors a grudge against The Machine Girl, who she previously blamed for it. Before joining her on a vengeful warpath, she's determined to engage the one-armed girl in a fight that culminates in an arm-wrestling match. After she's defeated, the mother immediately makes friends with Machine Girl.
- In the Mixed Martial Arts-meets-The O.C. film Never Back Down, the hero and villain share a HoYayish smirk the day after their final brawl. Apparently there were no hard feelings about putting the hero's friend in the hospital.
- After Larry defeats "the bad guys" in Night at the Museum, the three former security guards, there don't appear to be any hard feelings. When Larry goes to visit them at the retirement home in the third movie, they are quite friendly with him (save for a bit of Gus' usual snark), and Cecil actually helps Larry with what to do next to repair Ahkmenrah's tablet.
- Rocky and Apollo from the Rocky films. For Apollo, the only way to get back at the man who reminded him of his worthlessness is by befriending the one who took it away.
- When Matthias and Balthazar go at it in The Scorpion King we know how it's going to end. Call it a curious form of prehistoric male bonding. They engage in a spell of no holds barred combat — half wrecking the Free People's camp — before sitting down together to plan their assault on Gommorah.
- Probably the most famous instance was Shane's barfight retribution of Calloway's earlier public humiliation. Shane wailed the tar out of his attacker and others in the bad guy Ryder's employ. Out of respect, Calloway quit Ryker and warned Shane of a bushwhacking plan using a hired killer.
- The villains of the Spy Kids movies are often defeated this way.
- In St. Vincent (2014), when Oliver finally gets fed up with his bully and beats him up, they bond in detention and end up becoming best friends.
- After Jerry beats up his bully in Three O'Clock High, the bully shows up to return some money so that Jerry can get out of a theft charge. He even gives him the very faintest of smiles before walking off.
- In the 2011 film Warrior: A classic example. Tommy can't set aside his resentment towards Brendan until Brendan reluctantly gives him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Brendan only does it because Tommy's fighting despite a dislocated arm and needs to be subdued quickly or else risk more intense injury fighting. While choking him out, Brendan asks for forgiveness in anguish and tells Tommy he loves him (keeping in mind Tommy had just gleefully tried to punch the life out of Brendan), at which point Tommy finally taps out and they embrace as brothers.
- It's a one fight thing, but when the documentary film, When We Were Kings, won its Oscar, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman went to the podium with the winners as a gesture to show they'd reconciled over the 1974 bout. (Particularly touching was Foreman's very gentle attempts to assist Ali up the steps). No such luck getting Smokin' Joe to forgive the Uncle Tom comments, though.
- Wrong is Right: President Lockwood and his Republican challenger, Senator Mallory, spend most of the movie at each other's throats. However, after Lockwood wins his reelection campaign, the two are seen having a friendly phone conversation. This is mainly due to Lockwood launching an invasion of a foreign nation that Mallory hates and initially believed Lockwood was too non-confrontational toward.
- Bazil Broketail: When Bazil and the Purple Green of Hook Mountain meet for the first time, they end up fighting over a wild dragoness. Bazil wins the bout quite easily (he is armed with sword, while Purple Green fights only with his bare claws and fangs) and, taking pity on his opponent, patches up his wound with a bandage. When they meet again later in Tummuz Orgmeen arena, they refuse to fight each other and instead enter an Enemy Mine alliance, freeing other prisoners and rising against their captors. In second book, the Purple Green agrees to join the Argonathi army, and he and Bazil soon become close friends.
- Beast Tamer: When Rein and Kanade first meet Tania, she's hanging around a bridge challenging any adventurers who pass by to fights. Following her defeat she takes an interest in Rein and because of this, and thinking she can get more training by hanging around him and Kanade, asks to join the group and form a contract with Rein.
- The Belgariad: A rare pre-emptive example occurs in The Malloreon when Emperor Zakath finally accepts that the Alorn religious myths are real, and Belgarion isn't just a rival overlord but also the designated custodian of cosmic power. Zakath takes one look at the odds and decides to just skip the "defeat" and get right to the "friendship". It's heavily implied that it's not Belgarion's power that motivates Zakath, but his humility and unwillingness to abuse such power for personal gain; until that point, Zakath's true motive for seeking power had been to find someone strong enough to kill him. When he finally meets that man, getting to know him teaches him to enjoy a life that he had previously found intolerable.
Belgarion: Oh yes. [The Orb] has no conception of the word "impossible". If I really wanted it to, it could probably spell out my name in stars. * Orb twitches* Stop that! That was just an example, not a request. * Belgarion grins sheepishly* Wouldn't that look grotesque? 'Belgarion' running from horizon to horizon across the night sky?
Zakath: You know something, Garion? I've always believed that someday you and I would go to war with each other. Would you be terribly disappointed if I decided not to show up?
- The Black Arrow: As tracking down Sir Daniel to rescue Joanna, Dick Shelton and his outlaws run into an unknown group. After defeating them, Dick finds out that he has not trounced Sir Daniel's allies but Lord Foxham -Joanna's lawful guardian- and his retainers. After yielding himself to Dick, Lord Foxham explains he was spying on Sir Daniel to free his ward; and since their goals overlap, both men agree that they should be friends and allies.
- In The Broken Earth Trilogy after Essun defeats the army of Rennanis, some of the survivors agree to join her community, Castrima. Danel, their general, befriends Essun, which is helped by how she was a lorist pressured into joining Rennanis' army who wasn't enthusiastic about fighting in the first place.
- Council Wars: Justified group example in There Will Be Dragons. The inhabitants of a town are rather irritated with the legionnaires stationed nearby. The farmers and craftsmen all work hard for their living, while the soldiers are just lazing around in the woods, and coming to town with lots of unearned money and making trouble. Tension is high and there are fights between townspeople and soldiers. To solve the situation, the legionnaires challenge the town militia to a mock battle, and proceed to beat them soundly. The townspeople realize that the soldiers are not just lazing around, but are training hard to be able to defend the town if needed. And all are friends again.
- Dave Barry Slept Here outright parodies this, repeatedly using the term "befriend" to describe Gunboat Diplomacy.
- In The Dresden Files novel Turn Coat, Harry calls up the very foreboding spirit of an island and challenges it to a contest of strength and will. By winning, he forges a magical bond with it. He later explains it in terms of this trope: see the quotes page. It turns out the island is a prison and the fight was more of a job interview for the position of warden, as Dresden certainly couldn't have beat the spirit if it was fighting back in earnest.
- Aliens try this on an interspecies scale in Larry Niven's Footfall—they figure humanity will either submit to their armies, or accept the submission of their armies, and either way it'll lead to good relations in the long term. They're quite surprised when humanity responds with total war.
- In Greek Ninja, Sasha and Daichi came close to defeating each other. Later on, Daichi joins her and her team on their quest.
- Harry Potter: Magic wands appear to operate like this, functioning as Loyal Phlebotinum for their specific owners but switching allegiance via You Kill It, You Bought It. For some especially fickle wands like the legendarily powerful Elder Wand, you don't even need to kill anyone; beating the owner in a Wizard Duel can work just as well even if nobody dies. Granted, acquiring the Elder Wand in particular tends to entail murdering the owner outside the context of a duel, since beating it in a fair fight is nigh impossible, the only known instance being when Albus Dumbledore defeated Gellert Grindelwald (even then, we don't know the exact details on how it happened). But you can also apparently wrest control of the wand by disarming its owner before a fight can even begin. The Elder Wand can even shift loyalty by proxy if the owner loses a duel while using a different wand. That's how fickle the Elder Wand is, people.
- In I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, most of Azusa's incredibly powerful allies or adoptive family members were once her sworn enemies, until she soundly beat the crap out of them, or otherwise outsmarted them.
- Journey to Chaos: A reconstruction; the result of Tiza and Hailey's brawl only means that they can't consider the other to be weak anymore. It's in the talk after the fight where they discover how much they have in common (as well as their shared concern for Nolien) that leads to the friendship.
- Subverted in Dorothy Dunnett's King Hereafter. Thorfinn tries this repeatedly on Rognvald, who always behaves for a while and then reverts to form. Eventually, Thorfinn's foster-father Thorkel loses patience, which is Truth in Television.
- Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mage Knight: Rigil has no respect for newbs, including Danny. Then Danny defeats Rigil in a duel and thus proves himself a Worthy Opponent. From then on Rigil calls him 'friend' and 'newb'.
- In The Mental State, Officer Reed and Officer Jeff are both police officers who do amoral things. Reed infringes on prisoner rights by spying on inmates, and Jeff is extorted into helping a devious psychopath in his plans to strengthen his hold over a vast criminal network. Zack State's machinations have dire consequences for both of them. However, Reed gradually comes to realise during his time in Zack's service that the two of thema re not so different, and Jeff actually thanks Zack for concocting a way to save his daughter from the psychopath's influence. Ultimately, they both end up on very good terms with Zack and one of them even ends up becoming his replacement as prisoner representative once Zack is finally released.
- While the Great Skeeve normally plays this straight during his Myth Adventures, he subverts it in the sixth book, Little Myth Marker. After thwarting the Ax, a "character assassin" hired to ruin his reputation, Skeeve flatly refuses a request to join his group, which the Ax had grown fond of. His reason is that, while he doesn't hold a personal grudge against the assassin, because Skeeve's team often succeeds on The Power of Friendship the fact that the Ax makes money by betrayal leaves a bad taste in his mouth.
- Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen: Cassie latches onto Penny like a limpet after losing to her, especially when Penny promised that she can choose whether she wants to be a hero or a villain.
- In Protector of the Small, this happens a couple of times with Kel, although more in the vein of "newfound respect" than outright friendship. In Squire she's defeated in a joust by an anti-female knight, but he's impressed by her considerable skill and apologizes for misjudging and making assumptions about her. In Lady Knight, she meets one of the bandits she rallied her fellow trainees to defeat back in Page, as a convict soldier. He's quite happy to meet her again and glad to serve under her; he even proudly relates the story to all the refugees.
- In the Ranger's Apprentice book The Siege of Macindaw, Nils Ropehander, one of the Skandians objects to following Horace, seeing how young he is. Horace, having some personal experience with Skandian ideology, responds by calmly acknowledging his refusal...and handily beating the older and more muscular man in a fight. Nils comes out of it with a bloody nose and unshakeable loyalty to Horace.
- Reign of the Seven Spellblades: After Oliver and Nanao defeat Vera Miligan at the climax of volume 1, Miligan takes a liking to the Sword Roses and starts mentoring them, particularly Katie. It's more than a little one-sided: while they appreciate her help and her knowledge, after what she did that prompted the relevant fight, they consider her an Evil Mentor and don't trust her much further than they can collectively throw her.
- Ruslan and Ludmila: When he describes his pirate life, Finn mentions that he held feasts of friendship with the people he defeated.
- Occurs on both the individual and national levels throughout the Safehold series:
- Four of the five nations whose navies were conscripted to attack Charis in the first book are now part of the Empire of Charis. Two of those nations were outright enemies of Charis, and a third had betrayed an alliance before coming back. In the cases of the two enemies, the nations were conquered and their rulers surrendered, but have since become integral parts of the Empire.
- Among the individual leaders, Sharleyan had never wanted to take part in the attack to start with and becomes one half of Charis's Ruling Couple. Cayleb himself is surprised later to find that he actually likes ex-enemy Prince Narhmahn once he got to know him. Corisande's prince would've been an Enemy Mine (at best), but his successors become very close to Cayleb and Sharleyan. King Gorjah, the betrayer, finds his principles again and is forgiven, if not welcomed, back into the fold.
- Semiosis: The human colonists try to invoke this against the Glassmaker aliens who attack, capturing them and slowly introducing them to the community as friends. Some of the Glassmakers realize that the humans genuinely want them to join the colony and do so.
- Happens from time to time in A Song of Ice and Fire.
- It's most notably a trait of Robert Baratheon, who turned bitter Targaryen loyalist enemies into staunch supporters with clemency, generosity, and plain old charisma after his (successful) rebellion. He only does this with those he considers Worthy Opponents, though; he kills Rhaegar just as dead as he can after Rhaegar kidnaps maybe his fiancee, and has no mercy for any Targaryen survivors, even children who were babies during the war. Tywin also instructs his grandson Joffrey that rebels must be shown mercy and welcomed back into the fold upon surrender, or else they will have no incentive to surrender and will fight to the bitter end instead. (The lesson is a bit lost on Joff.)
- Deconstructed by House Bolton. The Boltons were bitter rivals of the Starks, and were the most powerful and last of the Northern petty kings to be conquered back in the Age of Heroes. Since then they have rebelled multiple times, secretly defied many of the Starks' laws, and tried to wipe them out in the Red Wedding.
- In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novel On The Razor's Edge, when Gidula pitches Donovan against Eglay Portion, in an official combat that Donovan suspects may be used to cripple him against the rules, Donovan with some cunning timing defeats him in the first moments. Eglay appraises him, asks him how to do it, and is his man thereafter.
- Star Risk, Ltd.: Riss and Freddy meet in the Action Prologue when she executes a hostage rescue where he's one of the guards. Shortly after, he invites her to be his business partner.
- InThe Stormlight Archive Dalinar applies this strategy during a flashback in Oathbringer. An enemy archer hits him multiple times from roughly 400 yards away. Dalinar and his elites run him down, only for Dalinar to demand he makes another such shot to prove he can duplicate the feat. He then informs the archer that he is now one of his Elites: See Quotes page.
- In Tales of MU, Sooni's belief in this trope is central to her Wrong Genre Savvy. She believes herself to be in a Shojo anime, with herself as The Hero and Mack as the evil, demonic, lesbian Rival who needs to be defeated to become her friend. When Mack continues to refuse to admit defeat and cede the election to her, she flies into a homicidal rage and begins attacking her, to the extent that the almost-invulnerable Mack ends up in the hospital (granted, this was mostly because Mack was using more magic than she should have been, but still). Sooni later visits Mack and happily tells her that she has defeated Mack, and therefore they can be friends now. Mack is naturally furious, but then the story heads for a Double Subversion when Mack agrees out of exasperation, pity... and sexual interest.
"Subtext!" Sooni said, practically dancing with joy. "See? We have subtext now!"
"I'm not sure that qualifies as sub anything."
- Tarzan has an example in Tarzan and the City of Gold. Lord Greystoke finds himself battling "the strongest man in Cathne," Phobeg, in a gladiatorial combat for the pleasure of Queen Nemone and the crowd. Tarzan quickly turns it into a Curbstomp Battle, but refuses to Finish Him!! Later, Phobeg tells the Lord of the Jungle, after having (twice) proven his friendship, "Because I owe my life to you," replied the warrior, "and because I know a man when I see one. If a man can pick Phobeg up and toss him around as though he were a baby, Phobeg is willing to be his slave."
- In War Horse, the two horses Joey and Topthorn start out as rivals, but after Joey (Captain Nicholls astride him) defeats Topthorn during a practice run race, they become friends.
- In Christopher Stasheff's The Warlock in Spite of Himself, a goon named Big Tom picks a fight with the hero, Rod Gallowglass; when Rod proves he can best him, Tom asks humbly to be Rod's man. Subverted in that Tom is a canny agent of Rod's enemies, taking advantage of this trope to get close to him.
- Warrior Cats: A fight between Graypaw and then-housecat Rusty marks the beginning of their long-lasting friendship (and Rusty's invitation to join ThunderClan) when Rusty defeats the better-trained Graypaw.
- Happens rather regularly in Stackpole's X-Wing Series books. All right, so the Rogues kill or drive off most of their enemies, and the retreating ones are still enemies. But when they, for example, shoot down the freighter ship that is the only way the TIE fighters could get out of the system, the TIEs tend to surrender, and Rogue Squadron accepts readily. Once this happened near a station that the Rogues had just captured, and the highest-ranked TIE pilot who had just surrendered warned the leader of Rogue Squadron that the station master was wily. It's a little different in Aaron Allston's parts of the series.
- It happens at least twice in the Redwall series. In Taggerung, Jurkin Dillypin, a hedgehog, does this with the main character, Tagg, an otter, after Tagg shows off a knife trick Jurkin can't do and Jurkin challenges him to a spiketussling match. Tagg uses his claws as a substitute for spikes. After being thrown several times, Jurkin gives up, only for Tagg to help him up and say that it was a good thing he gave up when he did. If Jurkin had gotten up again, Tagg claimed, Jurkin would have beaten him and he had never fought a beast so tough. This leads to Jerkin calling for food for the two of them and the pair eating together like brothers. In Rakkety Tam, this trope involves Ferdimond and Doogy. They first meet when Tam and Doogy are captured by the Long Patrol, and Ferdimond pushes Doogy onto the floor and calls him names because he thinks he's a villain, and the latter takes offense at the treatment. Their animosity lasts after the misunderstanding is resolved until they are ordered to give a boxing demonstration to the rest of the Long Patrol, after which they make up and become friends. Not 100% played straight, because while each one has a moment where they defeat the other during their demonstration, what finally causes the demonstration and the animosity to be halted is that Ferdimond and Doogy wear themselves out and end up collapsed in a heap, wherupon they both agree that "I've had enough if he has."
- And on Angel, the Big Bad of the first four seasons, Wolfram and Hart, becomes an ally (or the employer) for the fifth, after the defeat (murder) of its representative, Lila Morgan, and the defeat of their 4-season-long master plan. (They at least set things in motion by bringing Darla back, having Drusilla re-vamp her, and so on). It's an example of the trope where the corporation is the character and one that changes the very structure of the show, since the nemesis from the first episode onward is transformed into the ally. Very Wheedonesque.
- An interesting case happens in Babylon 5 between Neroon and Marcus. When Neroon is rebuffed by Delenn upon his demand to lead the Rangers instead of her, he vows to stop her appointment "by any means necessary". While on his way to do the deed, he is confronted by Marcus who invokes Denn-shah (combat to the death). While Marcus is a highly competent fighter himself, Neroon on the other hand is a legendary and merciless warrior who claims to have killed more than 50,000 humans in the Earth/Minbari war. In the Curb-Stomp Battle that ensues, Marcus refuses to yield even when soundly beaten, and braces himself for the killing blow. It never comes, and Neroon concedes to Delenn she is more worthy of leading the Rangers, because they would not hesitate to die for her while they would for him. He respectfully visits Marcus in the infirmary later, and confesses, "one warrior to another", that the victory belonged to Marcus, not to him.
- On the short-lived Brooklyn South, an arc had two cops becoming more and more antagonistic to each other until they finally had a knockdown brawling fight, to the point of minor injuries — after which they respected each other and cooperated.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Anya's first two appearances have her as the (or one of the) villains of the episode.
- Andrew was originally one of the Big Bads for Season 6, was a hostage for a bit after killing long-time minor character Johnathan and then became one of the Scoobies.
- Burn Notice:
- Invoked when Michael has to gain the trust of an enforcer for the Russian Mob that he has captured. He pretends to be another member, locked in the same cell. They fight, and, typical on this show, Michael narrates the action by describing the importance of learning Russian martial arts if you're going to pretend to be Russian.
- Another example is Sugar, the drug dealer from downstairs. He gets himself a quick curbstomping during the pilot, but years later shows up again as one of Michael's biggest fans and a useful contact in the narcotics community.
- Cobra Kai:
- Daniel and Johnny eventually (eventually) manage to become friends as the series goes on, though it also takes a good common enemy in Kreese and Silver to push them from tolerating one another to actually being friends.
- Daniel defeated Chozen decisively in The Karate Kid Part II; Chozen returns the favor in Season 3 in Cobra Kai, after which all bygones are bygones and they become close allies.
- It similarly happens with Mike Barnes of The Karate Kid Part III who, while not becoming one of Daniel's friends like Chozen, has similarly found balance and eagerly admits to Daniel that he's wanted to apologize for years but was simply afraid of doing so.
- Johnny actually evokes this between Robby and Miguel, eventually telling them to just kick the shit out of each other and get all the malice out of their systems, when all other attempts to make them reconcile their grudge fails. It actually works as Miguel gaining the upper hand and backing off actually gets them talking, and gives Robby a chance to express just how much regret he actually has for injuring Miguel the way he did.
- Robby had one while he was in juvie in Season 3. He was regularly picked on by Shawn and his friends, but after Kreese visited him and suggested he "strike first", in their next confrontation, he took out Shawn's friends and was getting the better of Shawn when guards broke it up. Afterwards, when neither of them snitches on the other, they make peace enough that, in Season 4, when his brother Kenny was being bullied at school, Shawn sent him to Robby.
- Daredevil (2015): Matt Murdock's friendship with Melvin Potter begins with them having a physical fight, due to Melvin being in Fisk's employ at the time Matt learns about him. After their fight, and Melvin revealing Fisk's leverage over him, Matt convinces Melvin to build armor for him, and this continues well into Season 2.
- Game of Thrones:
- Greatjon Umber laughs off losing two fingers and then being humiliated by Grey Wind because Robb's forbearance and willingness to stand up to him are impressive. He later becomes one of Robb's staunchest supporters.
- Osha is remarkably friendly to Bran in "The Pointy End" and becomes his most protective caretaker after her companions tried to rob and murder him in her previous appearance. This attempted robbery fails as Robb bests her in combat and makes her prisoner. She explains later that it was Nothing Personal and she was treated far more reasonably than she ever imagined.
- Stannis states in the Histories and Lore segments that this was Robert's greatest gift and allowed his to cement his rule and defeat the Greyjoy Rebellion. This rebellion led him to bring his former opponents to fight against an external threat; and Robert, bored of the monotony of peacetime, was secretly grateful to get the old fire back to bring the best out of him once again.
- Subverted by Balon Greyjoy, who spent a decade brooding on his defeat until he could rebel again, this time motivated by revenge.
- This is one of the ways Mance Rayder rose to become King Beyond the Wall. One by one he defeated anyone who stood against him, earning the loyalty of chieftains and warlords like Tormund Giantsbane and Styr.
- Qhono and Daenerys, in a sense. Daenerys wipes out all the Khals in a raging inferno and then walks off, unscathed. This is awe-inspiring enough that Qhono (and many others) kneel and pledge fealty to her. Qhono, for his part, is shown to be very loyal.
- Discussed and then defied in Garrow's Law by Garrow after his duel with Silvester.
- Justified in The Good Place; after Eleanor ruins Eight-hundred of Michael's attempts to torture her, all of his underlings get fed up and blackmail him into letting them have more power in the experiment. Unwilling to give up control, he convinces the humans to work with him instead.
- A fair number of Kamen Rider shows have this be involved in the process of turning an initially-antagonistic secondary Rider into an ally, but Kamen Rider Fourze is the only one to do this to virtually everyone he fights. Even the final boss.
- Wayne of Letterkenny tends to wind up making friends with those who come seeking a scrap and get summarily clobbered. The most notable being Joint Boy and Tyson.
- On Leverage, Nate chased all of the team members when he was previously an insurance investigator. One flashback reveals that Nate and Sophie even shot at each other when he was chasing her.
- On Disney's Davy Crockett mini-series, Mike Fink becomes friends with Davy and Georgie after the beat him in a riverboat race.
- Ransik and Nadira from Power Rangers Time Force fits this trope because in the 3 part series finale of Time Force, Nadira changed her view about humans after helping deliver a baby at the clothing store, and Ransik saw what his hatred for humans had almost killed the one true person he values more, his daughter Nadira, as well as a baby she helped. Luckily no serious harm came to them. Seeing the error of his ways, he willingly turned himself in as he was ready to pay for his crimes. Ransik and Nadira became friends with the Power Ranger in the 2 part crossover of Power Rangers Wild Force and helped stopped the Mut-Orgs, which Ransik has set free in his plot for revenge. At the end, they even became better friends with the Rangers while celebrating the success of their mission with a picnic, especially with Ransik no longer a mutant, but a human when he destroyed the Mut-Orgs mutant half.
- Rumpole of the Bailey: In "Rumpole and the Married Lady", Horace Rumpole by an underhand trick makes neophyte barrister Phillida Trant (acting for the prosecution against him) quote legal precedent to such an extent that it antagonizes the judge and she loses the case. It turns out to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
- In Star Trek, this is the major theme between the Federation and the Klingon Empire following years of bitter enmity. After Praxis exploded and would've otherwise doomed the Klingons, the Federation stepped in and helped them get back on their feet, even saving the Klingon homeworld. Within an eighty year period, they become Vitriolic Best Buds and stood side by side to oppose the Dominion when it invaded the Alpha Quadrant. It also helped (in a big way) that the Enterprise-C performed a Heroic Sacrifice while defending a Klingon outpost. An Alternate Reality Episode shows what would have happened otherwise, and it's not pretty (Klingons on the brink of defeating the Federation).
- The West Wing:
- The last season largely focuses on the presidential election between republican Arnold Vinick and democrat Matthew Santos. The winner ends up offering his competitor the job of secretary of state.
- Ainsley Hayes, for example, got offered a job as Deputy White House Counsel after wiping the floor with Sam on a Crossfire-esque debate show. Granted, it took some time for the senior staff to take her seriously (especially Sam), but President Bartlet's first reaction was to hire her, and Leo agreed pretty quickly (even though Ainsley had written an op-ed saying that Leo should resign after his past addictions became public).
- Arthurian Legend: In many versions, Arthur's first major challenge as High King is to defeat the rebellious King Pellinore. In their first fight, Pellinore beats him rather soundly, but in the rematch, Arthur has Excalibur and, more importantly, Excalibur's sheath, which magically protects its wearer from ever being cut. With it, Arthur (barely) defeats Pellinore, who then joins the Round Table and becomes one of Arthur's strongest supporters and closest friends.
- Celtic Mythology: Fionn mac Cumhaill and Goll mac Morna (in some versions).
- In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh and Enkidu become friends after Gilgamesh defeats Enkidu in a fight.
- A likely inspiration for the trope's appearance in anime is the legend of Minamoto Yoshitsune's defeat of the monk Benkei on the Gojo Bridge in the 12th Century A.D. Minamoto spared Benkei's life, after which Benkei swore to serve him to the death. The story bears an uncanny resemblance to the story of Robin Hood's first meeting with Little John, but they could simply be examples of parallel invention.
- Robin Hood gains many of his Merry Men this way, though often it's him that loses. His magnanimous behavior, rather than his skill at the contest, convince people to follow him. The most common example of this is Little John, who in many retellings starts off as another outlaw who tries to rob Robin, resulting in what is almost always depicted as a quarterstaff battle on a narrow bridge over a river.
- The Shahnameh: On his fifth Labor to save the Persian king and army, Rostam fights multiple Mazandarani warriors and captures their leader, Oolad. He makes Oolad his guide in Mazandaran and gets information about the White Demon from him. Oolad comes to admire and respect Rostam and Rostam in turn warms up to his captive for his help and promises him Mazandaran. When it is all over Rostam keeps his promise and makes Key Kavous appoint Oolad as the ruler of Mazandaran.
- In the Story Mode of Sonic Pinball Party, Sonic must defeat each of his Brainwashed and Crazy friends to rescue them from Dr. Robotnik.
- Happens a lot in Professional Wrestling, as well; for example, this was the impetus for AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels to form a Tag Team and go after the NWA Tag Team Championship. Usually comes with a Heel–Face Turn for the heel side of the previous rivalry, though the opposite happens occasionally. This happened again with Chris Jericho after coming to WWE, and he learned to sacrifice for the team.
- Subverted at WrestleMania XIX - after losing to Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho seemed to be going in for the big weepy face-turning hug... and instead boots HBK full force in the crotch.
- After CM Punk successfully defended the Ring of Honor tag team titles against Dixie and Hydro by himself at Survival of the Fittest, Hydro challenged Punk to a one on one rematch to redeem himself...and shook Punk's hand when accepted, a sign of the code Hydro's stable, Special K, were otherwise against.
- Invoked by Kimberly at SHINE. In her effort to turn around her losing streak, she attempted to team up with every wrestler who defeated her. Leva Bates was the only one who accepted though.
- In The Sydney Scroungers, Greg, a guard for the Wulagu Syndicate, was shot in the leg and brought on board to interrogate, but he ended up befriending his captors (mostly through unflinching sarcasm) to the point where they rushed into a combat situation to rescue his boyfriend.
- Back in the early days of development of what would become Dungeons & Dragons, many of the characters who would later be important figures of lore were actually played by Gary Gygax and his friends. Two such characters were Mordenkainen (Gygax's preferred PC) and Bigby (a creation of Gygax and Robert J. Kuntz). At some point, both of these characters were in the same session as PCs, and came to blows in a Wizard Duel. Eventually Mordenkainen emerged the victor and Bigby joined the party as a sort of "henchman." As time went on, Bigby would become Mordenkainen's assistant and apprentice in magic.
- From Magic: The Gathering: Meet Surrak Dragonclaw, khan of the Temur, infamous for punching out a bear who later aided him and his clan in a skirmish at the cost of the bear's life. Full story here.
- King White Estrid of Pathfinder went against the usual traditions of the Linnorm Kings by invoking this trope. While one usually has to slay a linnorm to become a Linnorm King, she instead defeated one but spared its life, gaining a powerful thrall. While their relationship began as one of servitude, they have grown to actually respect one another over the years, which is probably as close as a linnorm can come to friendship.
- Traveller: During the Interstellar Wars a number of Vilani defected and took the Terrans side. This was especially the case with the Khimashargur who were Space Cossacks that had fled from the vilani mainstream because of philosophical differences, and held a resentment against the Vilani government.
- In the Fate route of Fate/stay night, after defeating Illya, All-Loving Hero Shirou adopts her into his home, much against the wishes of the more pragmatic Rin and Saber.
- In Majikoi! Love Me Seriously!, Yamato gets Chris to come around to his way of doing things by defeating her with such tactics.
- Ace Attorney:
- Miles Edgeworth. A bit more like Defeat Renews Friendship, and also fuels his Character Development.
- Simon Blackquill and Nahyuta Sahdmadhi from Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice: both come to respect the members of the Wright Anything Agency for their aptitude in the courtroom and personally come to the WAA and the Justice Law Offices with defense requests.
- In Little Busters!, this is how Masato and Kyousuke first met and became friends and so is how Riki and Masato renewed their friendship in Refrain. Masato also insists they do this to get Kengo back into the Little Busters, insisting that 'when two men cross fists, a spontaneous friendship will be formed.'
- Mal and the giant flesh-eating ceiling squid in Cthulhu Slippers become this after Mal sets out to see if jiujitsu works on giant carnivorous cephalopods (answer: no). The squid protects Mal from knife-wielding cultists, and even joins Mal to fend off Cthulhu himself after a reality reset reverts Cthulhu to an uncivilized Great Old One.
- Cursed Princess Club: Lorena views her fencing match with Suzanna as good fun and immediately glomps her after their fight, asking if they can do it again. Suzanna, however, certainly doesn't consider Lorena her friend, even after she shows up to cheer her on at her future matches.
- Rosof Tions of Drowtales ends up becoming Quain'tana's most loyal follower after she defeats the leader of his minor clan and defeats him in single combat. His advice and actions led to Quain'tana's clan becoming one of the most powerful clans in their entire kingdom and he harbors an unrequited love for her.
- El Goonish Shive clearly wants to subvert it at the climax of Sister II, even using the title "Not Quite BFFs", but no one actually expected it in the first place.
- Played straight in Erfworld with Ansom, although this is largely due to a MacGuffin whose entire purpose is to have this result. When it raises you from the dead. Though everyone at least suspects that mind control is involved, with most people believing it completely.
- A rather extreme example in Fite! — once Lucco takes the upper hand while fighting Guz, Guz suddenly puts down his sword and gives Lucco a big ol' hug.
- Karin-dou 4koma: Seren killed an ancient dragon after an epic battle, but they came to a Worthy Opponent-like understanding by the end. The dragon's reincarnation is now Seren's adopted daughter, Tamaryu, and they get along quite well.
- Played with in Misfile while most of Ash's races are nothing more than just races (some friendly, some less so), when Ash gets defeated by Kamikaze Kate it is Kate that declares Ash not only to be her friend, but surrogate "little sister".
- Our Little Adventure:
- This◊ strip about Britain's and France's long history together.
Britain: "From the frozen wastelands of North America to the jungles of Africa I have fought you. Yet together, we have accomplished some amazing things. As the world changes, there is one thing that will always remain constant: the future does not seem so dark if I face it with you...my old enemy...my rival...my neighbour...my ally..."
- To a lesser extent, Rome takes a paternal interest in the Celtics (who would later become England and France) and both Celtics have fond memories of Rome as a stern but loving teacher and credit him with their future successes.
- This◊ strip about Britain's and France's long history together.
- Weak Hero:
- After getting thrashed by the protagonist Gray, Teddy does some introspection and realises that he craves the genuine friendship that Gray has with his friends, rather than the flimsy one Teddy has with his fellow bullies. This leads him to protect one of Gray's friends from other bullies, and gradually he finds himself integrating with them both.
- It's revealed by Hugo that Jack, Jimmy Bae's Number Two, introduced himself to Jimmy in middle school by challenging him to a fight. Though Hugo doesn't reveal the result, it doesn't change that Jack now happily serves as Jimmy's right-hand man in the present day.
- Chaper 3 of the Book of Villainy of Acts of Gord recounts how a thief was caught for shoplifting, and Gord allowed him to pay (the exorbitantly marked up thief-bait price) for the game he stole, rather than press charges, and the Thief, impressed by Gord's mercy, evidently, became a regular (and proper) customer.
- Wyn from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes makes a deal with Rob: if he can defeat him in battle, he'll join them in their fight against the Dark Overlord Clonar. And maybe become their friend, as well, but that might be pushing it.
- Parodied in Girl Chan In Paradise, where Kenstar just skips the "defeat" part and asks Yusuke (after his revelation as The Mole) to rejoin the team after about a minute's worth of building up to a fight that never happens, to which Yusuke agrees for no real reason.
- On The Guild, Codex manages to defeat Fawkes, leader of the Axis of Anarchy. He invites her to drinks, and she wakes up next to him in the morning.
- Appropriately enough, given Stinkoman's clichéd shonen personality, in the Homestar Runner cartoon "20X6 vs. 1936", Stinkoman befriends The 1936 Homestar Runner soon after being defeated with a pea shooter.
- Played straight in The Leet World with Cortez and the Domination Guy, who is hired by Cortez's insane brother Mendoza to kill him. However, Cortez earns his respect when he beats him in single combat. While the Domination Guy doesn't join Cortez's side, he does return later in the series to save Cortez's life during the final confrontation with Ahmad.
- Beating V'Kai in a battle impresses him and makes him much friendlier towards the player's king. In fact, to continue very far into the Brotherhood of Zeal storyline you have to beat him so that he'll open up to you.
- To befriend Vash, you need to accept his challenge to a Hopeless Boss Fight and lose- once you do he grows to consider you a Worthy Opponent and offers to train with you.
- In Misfiled Dreams, Jenny loses everything she has/is to Ash. Emily and Ash eventually bring Jenny through a Heel–Face Turn.
- The gas mask wearing man in One Hundred Yard Stare becomes friends with the heroines in this manner after a short altercation.
- RWBY: During the Tournament Arc in Season 3, Weiss and Yang face off against a pair of students from another academy, one of whom has a personal grudge against Weiss's familynote while the other spends most of the fight using childish insults to rile up Yang (which works). The girls still manage to win thanks to Weiss pulling a non-fatal Heroic Sacrifice; at first it looks like the roller girl is going to throw a tantrum, but instead she starts gushing about how awesome they were, while Weiss's opponent shows genuine respect for her act.
- The second part of The Salvation War after their defeat and conquest in the first has demons fighting alongside humans against Heaven, with human weapons. Some of them are also thriving in human society, having for example bankrupted Fed Ex.
- This is brought up by the Game Grumps during their Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) play-through.
- Many enemies of Team Avolition, such as the Doridian server, have since reconciled with them and become friends.
- There is no GATE; we did not fight there: In the interlude *Meet the Neighbors*, Kytheus befriends Cardin Brutus, an heir to one of the neighboring provinces, by beating him thoroughly in a spar.
- Tactical Cupcakes: A mainstay of the series based on Friday Night Funkin', with almost everyone she beats in a rap battle becoming a friend in future videos.
- The short video To The Death features a student and his teacher dueling (multiple times) before the student can graduate from a futuristic sword fighting school. When the student finally defeats the teacher, as soon as the teacher recovers he comes over to embrace and congratulate the student while the two share some relieved laughter. Just seconds earlier the two had been trying to kill and mutilate each other.
- The Adventures of Puss in Boots: After defeating the Sphinx, who wasn't too fond of her job guarding a magical hourglass to begin with, Puss offers her a more rewarding job as the guardian of San Lorenzo.
- Played with on Adventure Time: Finn doesn't defeat Marceline in her One-Winged Angel form, but he does wound her, which impresses her enough that she calls off their fight and returns the house that she had taken from him and Jake. The next episode has him outwit her plans to prank him, and after that they become increasingly friendly.
- Happens a lot in The Backyardigans everytime there's a villain. Since it's a kid's show, nobody gets killed off or arrested, so this is the only way. Also likely because they are using their imaginations and are all friends anyway.
- Subverted and played straight in Ben 10, where Ben, feeling some sympathy for Kevin 11 due to his Freudian Excuse, offered him this after defeating him. Kevin appeared to consider the offer, but only used the opportunity to attempt to backstab Ben. In a later episode, they did have an Enemy Mine following their capture in Gladiator Games, but Kevin attempted once again to kill Ben at the first opportunity. The trope eventually is played straight in the sequel Ben 10: Alien Force, where Kevin is once again forced to team up with Ben for a longer time, leading them to actually befriend each other, but it took a 5-year Time Skip for such a thing to happen, and later episodes reveal Kevin had to recover from his psychosis during those five years.
- Gwen says she knows this can now be true of her and her nemesis Charmcaster at the end of their final episode in Ben 10: Omniverse, since Charmcaster's now powerless and trapped in Gwen's custody, able to recover from her psychosis. Given the similarities between Ben and Kevin's rivalry plus the additional Magical Girl / Dark Magical Girl elements here, Gwen's probably right on the money (Word of God later confirmed that yes, she was.◊)
- In Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Monterey Jack only joins the team after a fight with the titular chipmunks.
- Garfield and Friends: in the first episode with the singing ants, Garfield joins their ranks at the end after they ruin his picnic.
- Hero: 108: Most episodes of Season 1 start with an animal species oppressing humans, but after First Squad defeat them in a fight or competition, they overcome their hatred for humans and their kings join the Big Green, where they receive a special task.
- Jonny Quest TOS episode "Calcutta Adventure". When Jonny and Hadji first meet, Jonny thinks Hadji is threatening Dr. Quest (he actually just saved Dr. Quest's life). Jonny attacks Hadji, but Hadji uses a judo move to throw Jonny away and Jonny lands in a heap. After the misunderstanding is explained, Jonny praises Hadji's judo skill and they become friends.
- Kaeloo: In Episode 148, Stumpy starts to hate Eugly (who until this point was merely an acquaintance) due to a Friend Versus Lover situation, so she asks to play video games with him. When she beats him, he decides that she's cool and wants to befriend her, which she gladly accepts.
- In Kung Fu Panda: Secret of the Furious Five, a short feature that explores the backstory of Kung Fu Panda, we learn that Monkey was once a mischievous trickster, and only become good after being defeated by Oogway.
- This usually is how Lilo and Stitch tame Jumba's other experiments. Stitch fights them and, once they're subdued, Lilo finds their "one true place". Some of them, like Splodyhead (Experiment 619), even help Stitch befriend other cousins.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Nightmare Moon is defeated and purified by the Elements of Harmony.
- Discord is defeated the same way as Nightmare Moon—he even dares the Mane Six to "Friend me" just before the attack — but the Elements deem him to be undeserving (or incapable) of redemption and instead stick him right back in the Fate Worse than Death he crawled out of. Word of God states that the reason behind the different effect is that Nightmare Moon was under the influence of The Corruption while Discord was himself a corrupting force. In "Keep Calm and Flutter On," Discord returns and the trope is inverted. Fluttershy becomes the first friend he's had in untold years, and Discord is surprised to realize how much he values her friendship. When Fluttershy finally puts her hoof down and tells Discord that he'll lose her friendship if he keeps being a jerk, Discord concedes and undergoes a Heel–Face Turn. Thus, Friendship Equals Defeat.
- Happens to Trixie in "Magic Duel". In this case, Twilight Sparkle defeats her by tricking her into removing the Alicorn Amulet which had boosted her powers. When Trixie realizes how much the Amulet had been corrupting her mind, she lets go of her prior grudge against Twilight and asks for forgiveness.
- Happens quite literally in "The Cutie Remark", as Season 5 Big Bad Starlight Glimmer accepts defeat and becomes Twilight Sparkle's student in the study of friendship, becoming a new addition to the Mane Six.
- Denied in "To Where And Back Again" with Chrysalis. Starlight offers her the chance to be good like Twilight did with her, but Chrysalis instead declares that she'll exact her revenge on Starlight, the aesop being that some people are beyond redemption.
- In a Popeye short, Popeye gets roped into being a matador despite his belief that bullfighting is cruel and barbaric, and finds himself facing a typical raging bull. After some cartoon hijinks and the devouring of spinach, Popeye manages to defeat the bull but refuses to kill it, earning the bull's respect, and it carries him and Olive Oyl off as Popeye sings about how he doesn't like bullfighting.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964): Yukon Cornelius reforms a Bumble.
- While their fight was a draw, Samurai Jack and the Scotsman become good friends after fighting one another and then teaming up to fight off some bounty hunters that had been chasing them. The Scotsman goes on to become one of Jack's dearest allies, not only saving Jack's life on one occasion but also being instrumental in the final battle against Aku.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, Groundskeeper Willie defends the school from a savage wolf, fighting the beast with his bare hands. A later scene shows the two of them battered and bruised and sharing a drink.
- A very rare Space Ghost example in the episode "The Time Machine". After Space Ghost defeats him, the 12th Century Viking Tarko invites him back to his lodge as his guest.
- Steven Universe:
- After the Crystal Gems finally caught Peridot, she began warming up to Steven during their Enemy Mine to defeat the Cluster, which eventually leads to her doing a Heel–Face Turn.
- Bismuth acknowledges Steven as being better than his mother when he defeats her, although it's more because he agrees to tell the other Crystal Gems the whole story instead of keeping it secret like Rose Quartz. When told the whole story about Rose's background, she drops her enmity to Steven completely.
- The Movie deconstructs this by pointing out that friendships can’t work without trust and work between both parties. Steven tries to befriend Spinel and seemingly succeeds, only for a misunderstanding to make her turn on him again because her Start of Darkness made her extremely paranoid. And even when they ultimately make peace, she refuses his offer to stay on Earth with the Crystal Gems because she feels that her evil actions have been too alienating for her staying to be a healthy situation for anybody. It doesn't stop a trio of Steven's enemies-turned-friends from joking about it, though.
Lapis: Wow, fast turnaround.
Peridot: No kidding. It took me months to stop trying to kill Steven.
Bismuth: Took me like a day? Day and a half?
Lapis: I'm still on the fence.
- Another deconstruction shows up in "Why So Blue"; Lapis tries to talk two other Lapis Lazulis into stopping their attack on another world. In the end, they double-team her, and it looks like she might be in trouble... until she loses her temper. One TOTAL Curb-Stomp Battle later, they've gone from smug, to terrified, to quickly becoming her biggest fans, so impressed that they cheerfully do whatever she says. However, she'd wanted them to truly make a Heel–Face Turn and is disgusted that they decided to befriend her because they believe in Might Makes Right and saw Lapis as "the strongest side".
- Dinobot, of Transformers: Beast Wars, joins the Maximals after a heated swordfight with Optimus Primal (which they didn't finish since the Predacons interfered and tried killing them both), impressed by the Maximal leader's honor. (Initially the plan was to kill Optimus and take over. That he thought the other Maximals would fall in line after that says a lot about the Predacons.) Early in the second season, it is this honor and respect that brings Dinobot back from the verge of betrayal when he thinks the Predacons are on the cusp of ultimate victory.
- Lockdown in Transformers: Animated was both surprised and pleased that Prowl was able to "get the drop on him", and immediately set about trying to get him as a bounty hunting partner. And possibly some other kind of partner.
- After Jim defeats Draal in combat in Trollhunters, but refuses to kill him, Draal becomes disgraced and unable to show his face in Trollmarket (up until the second half of the season). He decides to live with Jim as his bodyguard instead, and the two form a friendship.