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Disqualification-Induced Victory

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NASA administrator: Well, Homer, I guess you're the winner by default.
Homer: Default? Woo-hoo! The two sweetest words in the English language!

So you got your typical Underdog story. The protagonist tries to compete in a competition. Sadly, despite his best efforts, he ends up being juuust behind the winning competitors during the first round, and he seems to have lost. With his hopes crushed, he is about to go back home... but what's that? One of the winners is revealed to have been cheating! This results in their disqualification... Since this leaves an empty space among the winners, and the protagonist was the closest behind them, he manages to get in after all! That lucky bastard!

Shortly saying, this trope refers to any situation where a character or a team loses in a competition, but still manages to either win or get to the next round because of the winner or one of the winners getting disqualified. A less frequent variant involves the original winner being unable to compete due to sudden injury or sickness, allowing the protagonist to step in.

A likely outcome of Cheaters Never Prosper. See also Underdogs Never Lose and Second Place Is for Winners. Related to We Win, Because You Didn't. Compare Ring Out, where you could be utterly dominating the match but then lose because you happen to get bonked outside the ring.

As this is a Victory and Defeat Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Booty Royale: Never Go Down Without a Fight!: Two in the Tournament Arc.
  • In Carnival Phantasm, Berserker defeated Caster in a tennis contest when Caster was distracted, yet he was disqualified for swinging too hard and hitting the wall, Illya even called him out for not understanding any rule.
  • Subverted and played straight at the same time in Dragon Ball Super. During the Tournament of Destroyers, after Frost eliminates both Goku and Piccolo, he is found out to have been using a weapon the whole time which is against the rules, disqualifying him and giving Piccolo the win. Goku is also allowed back into the tournament after Beerus finds proof that Frost used the weapon against him too. However, Vegeta insists on letting Frost's disqualification be revoked and Piccolo forfeit so that he gets a chance to fight Frost himself. Not only is this request given the okay, but Vegeta also allows Frost to use his weapon in their fight with no objections from Beerus or Champa.
    Vegeta: I will not let this prideless bastard walk away on some technicality. He will leave because I have knocked! him! out!
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Winged Braves has the results of the Icarus Rally, where Gusuke (an Acrophobic Bird piloting a gyrocopter) and his fiercest rival, Tsubakuro, are both the only ones who passes the finishing line, and at the precise same time. It seems like the Rally will end with two champions, but Seagrid made a last-minute change to the rules; as Gusuke is flying on a gyrocopter instead of his own wings, he is disqualified from the rally and Tsubakuro is the champion. Never mind there are no rules regarding gyrocopters prior to this - the rally have several other gyro-piloting contestants around.
  • Dr. STONE: This is ultimately how Senku ends up winning the Tournament Arc despite being one of the physically weakest contenders; his opponent passes out before the final round due to injuries received in previous fights.
  • In the Gunpla Artistic Cup at the end of Gundam Build Fighters Try, everyone is expecting Minato to win... not without good reason, as it honestly does look like his "Super Fumina" model took a lot of skill to build. However, Yuuma and his Lightning Zeta Gundam are announced as the winners. When Minato demands an explanation, Meijin Kawaguchi explains that Minato had not received Fumina's permission to use her likeness (evident in her reaction of shock/embarrassment/horror when she saw the model), thus he was disqualified.
  • This is a plot point in Kengan Omega in the showdown between Kengan Association vs. Purgatory. The matches are fought under the Purgatory rules, where fighters are disqualified if: 1) They kill their opponents, or 2) They fall out of the ring. Since the Kengan matches had no such rules, this puts their fighters in a disadvantage, and they've lost a number of matches despite overpowering their opponent due to those rules.
  • A variation in My Hero Academia. In the sports festival, Ojiro, Shoda, and Aoyama advance to the third round due to Shinso brainwashing them into joining his team. While Shinso's strategy was allowable, Ojiro and Shoda back out because they won't accept a victory they didn't earn. Midnight offers to allow team Kendo (made of Kendo, Tokage, Komori, and Yanagi) to send two of their members to replace them, as they were the next-place team, but they insist that team Tetsutetsu (made of Tetsutetsu, Shiozaki, Honenuki, and Awase) deserves the place more than they do (team Kendo was incapacitated halfway through the second round and only didn't lose all their points because Todoroki was moving too fast to grab all their headbands, whereas team Tetsutetsu was in third place until Shinso brainwashed them into giving him their points at the very end). Because of the six people ahead of them backing out, Tetsutetsu and Shiozaki advance to the third round.
  • One Piece: This is discussed during the Davy Back Fight. The Straw Hat pirates win the second contest and are entitled to make one member of the Foxy pirates join their. Nami suggests they pick Foxy himself, forcing him to forfeit the third contest (a duel) and give the Straw Hats another win. Luffy quickly rejects the plan because he hates the idea of Foxy being on his crew.
  • Pretty Face: An unintentional example. When Randoh enters an arm-wrestling tournament, he fully intends to forfeit the championship match so he can win 2nd place for the prize of tickets to hakodate, where Rina and her friends were originally intending to vacation. Upon winning the semi-finals, however (and startling/scaring everyone with the strength this "petite high school girl" displayed), he learns that his opponent has forfeited instead, meaning he wins the grand prize. Luckily this works out, though, because the grand prize is an even better trip to Okinawa.
  • In the manga remake of One-Punch Man and its anime adaptation, this is how Suiryu became champion of the Super Fight Tournament, and given that his opponent in the finals was title character Saitama himself, that was the only way he could've won, with the latter getting disqualified when his disguise as Charanko was blown off. He didn't like this to say the least, however.
  • Patlabor: The TV Series: Kanuka Clancy cleanly beats Isao Outa during Division 2's Labor qualifications, consisting of hand-to-hand combat between Labors. Outa is still selected to pilot Unit 2 despite his loss (not to mention being a blindly aggressive dumbass), because Labors use machine learning to adjust to their pilots' patterns in order to become more capable machines. Clancy is only going to be with them for six months (she's an NYPD officer practicing with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police in order to head up the NYPD's nascent Labor crimes squad), and it would be cost-prohibitive to train a Labor on her and then have to reset it and train it all over again for a new pilot when she leaves.
  • Red Line: JP loses the qualification round for the titular Red Line race. However, when multiple qualifiers back out (due to the race being set on a Death World), JP qualifies due to popular vote.
  • During the Cooking Fest arc in Toriko, Setsuno reveals that this is how she won the first ever festival. She was the runner up, but the victor, Joie, was disqualified after it was discovered he had broken several rules.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Jounouchi/Joey both benefited from and fell victim to disqualifying victories during the Battle City Arc. His first finals battle against Rishid/Odion has both of them being knocked out by lightning summoned by Odion's fake Ra card, with Joey only winning because he wakes up first. Then, he actually technically wins his semi-finals duel with Marik, but passes out from the cumulative physical and psychic damage he endured during the match, before he can declare his winning move, causing Marik to be declared winner by default.
    • Zigzagged with Leon Wilsonnote : When Kaiba discovers that Ziegfried Lloyd is actually Ziegfried von Schroeder, he is about to disqualify the latter for entering under a false name, which would have given Leon the victory by default. However, between Kaiba promising his public a duel, and Kaiba wanting a chance to humiliate Ziegfried on camera, Kaiba duels against Ziegfried, and if Kaiba wins, the disqualification holds, but if Ziegfried wins, he can stay in the tournament. Kaiba wins, causing Leon to win the match by default.
    • This almost happens in the Virtual Realm Arc. Noah discovers that Johnson has been cheating in his duel against Joey by manipulating the latter's luck-based cards. At this point, Noah is about to intervene and hand the victory to Joey, but the latter insists on playing out the rest of the duel fairly.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, this happens to IV/Quattro in a flashback duel. When it was revealed that Shark had seen some of Quattro's cards before the finals, Shark is disqualified, given Quattro the win by default.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, this happens to Team Togoro's Karasu posthumously. While Kurama was able to kill Karasu at the end of their match, he wasn't able to break the 10-count before it happened. The result is a ring-out disqualification for Kurama and the match victory going to Karasu.

    Comic Books 
  • Invoked in Asterix and the Olympic Games: Asterix finishes last in the Romans-only 24-stadia dash, but still ends up winning the prize because every one of his Roman competitors illegally imbibed the magic potion (Asterix and Getafix made sure they would). The proof is that they all have blue tongues because of the blue coloring Getafix added to the potion. However, Asterix does give the Romans the trophy at the end of the book, as he felt they needed it more than he.
  • Happened in one Archie Comic where Betty and Big Ethel compete against Veronica and Midge in beach volleyball game. Veronica has hired a scorekeeper, who unfairly calls several fouls on Betty's team, despite those girls playing well. The judge soon states he's ashamed to even give Veronica the trophy, soon Veronica belligerently starts yelling that she is the daughter of the head of Lodge Enterprises. Then the judge states that her father's company is sponsoring the game and is therefore disqualified. Betty and Big Ethel win the game.
  • The second Confessions of a Teenage Vampire graphic novel features a costume party for Halloween. The newly-introduced Talbot, a werewolf, attends as a werewolf while the human Derek goes as a zombie. Talbot wins the costume contest, but sees how crushed Derek is and claims he bought his "costume" at a store. He's disqualified and Derek is crowned the rightful winner.
  • During the space arc in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), issue #129 Sonic is forced to compete in a race for the prize money with his spaceship on the line. Sonic ends up coming in second, but is granted the win when his opponent was found using an illegal rocket booster.
  • Dick Dastardly is the confirmed winner of the Scavenger Scramble (Wacky Races #7, Gold Key) when Penelope Pitstop—who was first to the finish line—is disqualified for misinterpreting one of the items. The first item was a "real gone muffler," a beat-up exhaust pipe, but Penelope brought a crazy-colored scarf.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts: Charlie Brown's baseball team once had a two-game winning streak when the opposing teams could not arrive and had to forfeit.

    Fan Works 
  • Cheating Death: Those That Lived: A rare undesired instance of this trope happens to Platinum as the seventh-ranked District 1 female tribute for the 44th Hunger Games, and she only ranks that high because thirteen girls ahead of her dropped out due to being disgusted by the events of the 43rd Hunger Games. All of the ten highest-ranking tributes are considered to be volunteers and Platinum has no desire to actually compete in the Hunger Games, but she's forced to when the six higher-ranking girls are all hospitalized, arrested, or get pregnant during the weeks leading up to the 44th Hunger Games (which Platinum only wins by a fluke).
  • In The Superheroics of Haruhi Suzumiya, Bakugou grows increasingly angry during the elementary school sports festival as Midoriya and Haruhi continue to upstage him in every event. It gets to the point that during the relay run, he uses his Explosion Quirk to beat Midoriya to the finish line when he realizes he can't catch up to him just by running, but since Quirks aren't allowed during the competition, he's immediately disqualified and victory is awarded to Midoriya's team.

    Films — Animated 
  • Ballerina: Once per day, one of the girls trying to get a role in the opera must leave the tests. Félicie would be out during the first day if not for the fact one of the other girls got stuck while performing a move.
  • During the climactic tiebreaker race in Cars, Chick Hicks pushes The King off the racetrack, heavily damaging him. As a result, Lightning McQueen, who having understood a similar fate Doc Hudson went through when he was a racecar known as the Hudson Hornet, lets Chick cross the finish line first so he can help The King cross the finish line one last time. Chick is still given the Piston Cup, but because of both his dirty trick and Lightning's noble action, he is denied the Dinoco sponsorship, which is offered to Lightning instead, but he too turns it down in favor of learning the movie's moral.
  • Coco: The runners-up at the Battle of the Bands end up taking first place after Miguel leaves after being betrayed last minute. Fortunately, they offer to sneak Miguel into Ernesto's tower so he can perform there after all.
  • Kronk's New Groove: Birdie's team wins the first event of a competition because Kronk's is disqualified for not waiting for their turn to perform.
  • In Monsters University, Mike and Sully join the Scare Games with Oozma Kappa. The first game is a race where you have to avoid poisonous sea urchins. Mike and Sully run ahead of the rest of the team, cross the finish line, and at first it seems that they have made second place... but then they're informed that the entire team has to cross the finish line for it to count, and the rest of Oozma Kappa arrives last. Since each game ends with the worst team getting kicked out, it seems that all is lost... but then it's revealed that one of the teams used a gel that rendered them immune to the urchins, resulting in their disqualification. Hence, Oozma Kappa manages to move on to the next round after all. In a Call-Forward, viewers who watched the original Monsters, Inc. will recognize the member of the disqualified team who gets used as an example as George Sanderson, the monster who continually got in trouble for bringing human items into the monster world by accident.
  • In Disney's Planes, Dusty competes in a test race deciding which planes will get into the big "Wings Around the Globe" race. Dusty manages to get to the sixth place, just below the winner planes. He comes back home depressed, but a day or so later, a guy arrives to tell him that one of the winner planes was using an illegal fuel, and therefore Dusty got in after all.
  • Robbie the Reindeer: Blitzen wins a race but runner-up Robbie is declared the winner once Blitzen is disqualified for racing while under the effect of drugs.
  • In Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1998), Rudolph competes in the Sleigh Race during the Junior Reindeer Games. However Arrow, determined to be chosen to be a Flyer, starts cheating by knocking some of the other competitors off course. He then taunts Rudolph by claiming that Zoey told him that she's only nice to Rudolph because she feels sorry for him, causing Rudolph's nose to light up and make Arrow and his elf driver crash into other competitors. Rudolph, along with his driver Doggle, wins the race, but is disqualified by the Elf Referee who saw what Rudolph's nose caused as cheating and makes Arrow winner instead much to the dismay of Rudolph's parents Blitzen and Mitzi, Zoey, Santa and Mrs. Claus.
  • In Spookley the Square Pumpkin, Big Tom and Little Tom are repeatedly disqualified in the 'Jack-a-Lympics' contest for using their vine to give them an unfair advantage, leaving third-place finisher Bobo, a vain female pumpkin, to win most of the events.
  • In Surf's Up, Chicken Joe wins the surfing contest when antagonist Tank was attempting to push Chicken Joe in an attempt to wipe him out, but Cody interferes, causing both to enter the Boneyard, an out-of-bounds area for disqualification.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Akeelah and the Bee, Akeelah would have been out in the very early stages of the qualifiers to get to the National Spelling Bee if her competitor's mother had not been caught mouthing him words.
  • Played with in Bring It On: the Toros don't score very well in the semi-finals (using a routine that's the exact duplicate of another squad's routine, which is normally grounds for disqualification) but because they're defending champions they get to go to the finals anyway.
  • In the climax of Bad Words, Guy invokes Loophole Abuse in order to give Chaitanya the win. The way he does this (purposely misspelling a word on Chaitanya's turn, fully expecting him to correct the error) ensures that, even if Guy didn't get disqualified, Chaitanya still would have won.
  • The film Cannonball sees one driver in the cross-country road race (the one in the Blazer) cheat by flying across the country. He claims victory, but can't find the bottle of champagne he planned to use to celebrate. His female companion says they must have left it on the plane while surrounded by reporters and race judges. With everybody else in the cast not arriving to the finish line because of accidents, arrests, being assassinated and "Cannonball" Buckman doing a Rage Quit right at the finish line in revenge for his friend Zippo being killed by cheaters, it's Jim and Maryann (the teens in the silver Corvette, dead last because they took Cannonball's fiancée to the hospital after she was caught in an accident) who get the prize.
  • In both the 1971 and 2005 adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this trope gets a lucky twist. Charlie buys chocolate just to eat it after learning all five Golden Tickets have been found, but overhears people discussing the news that one of the winners actually forged his ticket...he promptly opens his chocolate wrap, discovering the real final Golden Ticket inside. Played with in that the final Golden Ticket was always waiting to be found; the "victory" was a result of finding the real ticket (as it was for the other four winners), not because someone was cheating.
  • In Die Another Day, Miranda Frost got an Olympic silver medal for fencing, but was upgraded to gold when her opponent failed a drug test. The Big Bad, knowing Miranda hated the idea of being second best, rigged the drug test in exchange for Miranda becoming his Mole.
  • In DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story:
    • The Average Joe's have to win at least one game to qualify for the championships. However they suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of some evil girlscouts. Fortunately, one of the scouts tests positive for steroids and beaver tranquillisers, so the Joe's win by default. Another scout walks up to the offending scout and shouts, "God damn you, Bernice!” at her for added effect.
    • Near the end of the film, there's a downplayed example; when the main antagonist appears to have managed to hit Vince Vaughn's character and won... but luckily his foot was over the line, so it didn't count. Thus, the finals match goes to a tie-breaker round and Vaughn’s character properly defeats the villain. The DVD comes with an alternative ending where this doesn't happen and there's a Downer Ending.
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous has this happen twice to protagonist Amber Atkins. Amber wins first runner-up in her local beauty pageant, but then gets to advance to the state competition when the winner dies in a fire. She then gets to advance to the national competition after the every other member of the competition gets food poisoning at the rehearsal lunch buffet, leaving her the winner by default.
  • Fast & Furious has a variation. Braga needs another driver for a drug delivery and holds a street race to determine who gets the position. Brian and Dominic both enter to be that other driver with Dominic winning by running Brian off the road. Later, Brian gets one of Braga's regular drivers arrested on a trumped-up drug charge which sidelines him long enough for Braga to require that position to be filled as well. Since Brian finished second in the street race, he's chosen.
  • In the Abbott and Costello film Here Come The Co-Eds, the climactic basketball bout between two dormitories has both sides using Super Ringers. However, while the protagonists' team only has one (Costello's character, who is in Hypno Fool mode), the Opposing Sports Team is made entirely of professional basketball players that the dorm's headmistress lied about being students. The referee, with a deadpan "five ringers are worse than one", hands the victory to the protagonists.
  • A Knight's Tale:
    • William wins the second tournament in part because his archrival Count Adhemar forfeited a joust when he learned his opponent Sir Thomas Colville was really Prince Edward of England incognito. William proceeds to tilt at Edward anyway, winning the prince's respect and ultimately the tournament. However, he's still miffed that he didn't get a rematch against Adhemar, who had beaten him in the first tourney.
    • During the Paris tournament, William starts losing on purpose because his Love Interest Lady Jocelyn told him to lose to prove that he loved her. This would have been a problem, except that none of the other competitors did particularly well, either, so after Jocelyn relents, William is able to win despite losing his first round of jousts.
  • A related phenomenon occurs in the first The Mighty Ducks movie. They lose at least half of the games in the season, but due to a series of extreme coincidences (chief among them an entire team coming down with a serious illness and forfeiting their season) they make it to the playoffs.
  • In Miss Congeniality, it's mentioned that Cathy Morningside, the pageant's director and a former Miss United States herself, was actually the first runner-up the year she competed. It just so happened that the winner "mysteriously" came down with food poisoning shortly thereafter, so the crown passed to her by default. Sure enough, she turns out to be the Big Bad.
  • My Way: Jun-shik wins a marathon against Tatsuo, but the Japanese authorities refuse to allow a Korean to beat their champion, and disqualify Jun-shik by accusing him of cheating. A disgusted Tatsuo refuses the award and walks away, while the Koreans start to riot, ending with Jun-shik and several others being forcibly enlisted in the Japanese army.
  • In Nacho Libre, the winner of a battle royale wrestling match gets a title fight against champ Ramses. Nacho is the last man eliminated, with the victory going to Ramses' goon Silencio. When Silencio is injured the day before the match, Nacho gets to fight Ramses instead.
  • In Pitch Perfect, the girls are able to progress to Nationals because the soloist of one of the qualifying groups is too young. This actually has small plot importance, because one of the Bellas, believing her professional career to be over at this point, went ahead with a throat surgery that altered her voice. Had they won the traditional way, she obviously would have postponed the surgery.
  • In Shaolin Soccer, this was what Team Evil was going for in the title match against the Shaolin monks - rather than try to score goals, they would injure enough players to force them to forfeit by not fielding enough players.
  • This is played with in Slap Shot. In the final game, one of the players for Charlestown starts doing a striptease in the second period of the game. Seeing this, a Syracuse player beings yelling at the head referee in anger, eventually punching the ref. The ref disqualifies Syracuse and gives Charlestown the title. What makes this trope played with is that Charlestown probably could have won the game fairly, seeing as how there were at least two periods left to play- but where would the fun be in that?
  • Space Jam: Attempted by the bad guys. Marvin the Martian warns Michael Jordan that, without a fifth player on the court, they're disqualified. Seeing as the Monstars had just pulverized every last Loony Tune at that point and left only Jordan, Bugs, Lola and Daffy still standing, being disqualified meant everyone gets to be slaves of an intergalactic amusement park. Thankfully, Bill Murray shows up to save the day.
  • In Sunday School Musical, Crossroads is pretty dismal as a choir. Fortunately for them, two of the three choirs will go to State competition and the third team developed food poisoning.
  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Ricky Bobby and The Rival Jean Girard wreck their NASCAR vehicles, and run into the finish line on foot. They are disqualified, and the win was given to the third place Cal Naughton, Jr, who up until that moment was always Bobby's underdog.note 
  • At the end of Those Daring Young Men In Their Jaunty Jalopies, Cuthbert Ware-Armitage wins the Monte Carlo road rally. Then he gets arrested for smuggling when stolen jewels are discovered in one of his spare tires (a rare criminal act that wasn't his fault given how much he had cheated earlier - he had stolen the tire from the actual smugglers to replace one he had lost). So the trophy is then passed to the German team. Then they get arrested when the police recognize them as escaped convicts. So the trophy is then passed to the Italian team, who manage to not be disqualified for anything. This also applies to Thomas Scofeld, who had a bet with Ware-Armitage over who would do better in the race. Scofeld came in fourth, and only completed the race at all because members of the audience pushed his car across the finish line after he fell asleep at the wheel (thanks to having been drugged by Ware-Armitage), but since Ware-Armitage's showing had been downgraded from first to disqualified, Scofeld was upgraded from fourth to second and thus won the bet.
  • Top Gun:
    • Prior to the film, USS Enterprise CAG Captain "Stinger" Johnson was going to send his top pilot Cougar and his RIO Merlin to the Fighter Weapons School, a.k.a. TOPGUN. However, during the opening sequence, Cougar has a panic attack when an opposing MiG-28 locks weapons on him in a mock dogfight. Protagonist Maverick talks him back to the carrier, against Stinger's orders to land due to low fuel. Cougar turns in his wings, and despite Stinger wanting to ground Maverick and Goose permanently, they're now his top crew so they get the TOPGUN slot.
    • Towards the end of the film, Maverick is two points behind Iceman in the competition for the Top Gun trophy and raring to overtake him. Then Goose is killed in an accident, and Maverick hits the Despair Event Horizon and drops out of the program, meaning Iceman wins by default even though Viper allows Mav to graduate.
  • Troop Beverly Hills: When Red Feather leader Velda breaks her ankle, her troop abandons her and finishes the race without her. They finish first, but get disqualified for leaving someone behind. The heroes comes in second, but they're declared the winners.

    Game Shows 
  • Taskmaster:
    • Phil Wang wins his first ever prize task this way, despite bringing in the least creative and interesting thing, when they are tasked with bringing in "the most surprisingly beautiful thing". Phil has the most Literal-Minded interpretation of the task and simply takes a photo of Grace Kelly for the beautiful part, and tapes it over the head of a jack-in-the-box for the surprising part. However, the other entries were Rhod's photo of Greg "looking fat" (for about the third time) which got 1 point, Kerry Godliman's artwork made from a placenta for 2, James Acaster's drawing of himself with "witch's tits and two penises got 3, and Jessica Knappet's sand under a microscope which got 4, Greg begrudgingly gives Phil the win of 5 points purely because he technically had the best "beautiful" and "surprising" thing... by virtue of having the only thing that could reasonably be described as beautiful and surprising:
      Alex: So Phil's got a chance of winning?
      Greg: I think he's got me on a technicality! It has all the elements of a surprisingly beautiful thing! I think it's rubbish, and I think it's a hollow victory, but against all odds, five points to Phil Wang!
    • Jon Richardson takes first prize in "Get this potato into the golf hole" despite his 1 minute 9 seconds of fandangling it around with a croquet mallet not even being remotely as impressive as Joe Wilkinson just swanking on up and casually tossing it into the hole in one shot in only 14 seconds. After letting Joe bask in his presumed victory and do some gloating purely For the Evulz, Greg shows a replay where they zoom in on Joe's toe just barely touching the red (which was against the rules).
      Greg: Guys, sometimes it's hard to be The Taskmaster. Sometimes you gotta crush dreams!

  • A Russian joke goes: Two Olympic sprinters, an American and a Russian, find a genie in a bottle. The genie grants one wish from each. The American says: "I wish to finish first in the next Olympics". The Russian says: "I wish to finish right after the guy who will be disqualified for doping".

  • Apprentice Adept: Intentionally Invoked by the protagonist in the climax of Blue Adept. In the midst of of a dance competition with Red, Stile is losing badly, being unable to keep up with Red's pace due to his bad knees (which she knew about, since she was the one who injured them). With no way to win, Stile threw everything into a desperation Batman Gambit: Using self-hypnosis, he convinced himself he was dancing with his true love, Lady Blue. The shift in attitude from Teeth-Clenched Teamwork to passion and adoration was enough to throw Red (who Stile knew was a devout misandrist on top of wanting him personally dead), who stops dancing and starts attacking Stile, throwing the match.
  • In the children's book Clarence Goes To Town, Clarence, who is a non-anthropomorphic dog, is signed up for a two person quiz-and-stunt contest by a neighbor who thought that the woman he is teamed up with is an expert on dogs. (She's an expert on bogs.) One of the stunts is an obstacle course; one member of the team is supposed to lead the other around while the 2nd is blindfolded. Clarence starts off well leading his teammate but then goes off track, knocking down stuff which is grounds for disqualification. But he was leading her to a small fire which had broken out backstage. The organizers of the contest decide that Clarence and his teammate deserve a prize so they're awarded a duplicate first prize, a trip to Europe.
  • In Beverly Cleary's Dear Mr. Henshaw, Leigh enters a writing contest that allows the winners to have lunch with a children's book writer. Leigh initially got an honorable mention prize, but it was soon revealed that the 2nd place winner had plagiarized her entry so she was removed, and Leigh essentially was bumped up to 3rd place and thus is allowed to go to the lunch.
  • Inverted in the ending of one Encyclopedia Brown story, where Encyclopedia believes that the runner-up in a language contest deliberately threw the last round (the question asked about a word with three pairs of letters in a row, and the girl in question referred to herself as a bookkeeper) because she accidentally broke the prize for first place, so she decided to deliberately try for second or third in order to get a working prize rather than the one she broke. When she's confronted with this, she admits the truth and cedes her own prize to the winner in place of the broken one.
  • In the book Hot Rod Rodeo, protagonist Larry wins the eponymous Rodeo note  after the bad guy, who has a much better car than he does, is disqualified. We (and Larry) never find out what exactly he was disqualified for but he was seen by Larry either cheating or doing things the easy way instead of the responsible way several times, any of which, or some other incident we don't know of, a spotter could have seen too.
  • Hover Car Racer: After Jason loses a race to his rival Barnaby Becker, Sally discovers that Barnaby has placed a microwave emitter next to her supply of magneto drives, draining their power. Barnaby is disqualified, and Jason is declared the winner.
  • In Lords and Ladies, Granny Weatherwax and Diamanda Tockley are engaging in a public contest of magic in which the object is to outstare the Sun, to determine which of them is the better witch. Granny, weakened by thinking that she is suffering from Sanity Slippage, is losing, when a toddler runs into the magic circle and is knocked down by the magic. Granny immediately goes to see if he is harmed while Diamanda takes no notice. To Diamanda's chagrin, the townsfolk declare Granny the winner because a true witch would not ignore a child in distress. Narration makes it clear this is an Invoked Trope...Nanny Ogg LURED the child into doing that.
  • In the Myth Adventures short story "Myth Congeniality", Bunny enters an all-dimensions beauty pageant to win a prize her uncle wants. She's picked last out of all the contestants, but still wins because she's the only entry who wasn't caught cheating.
  • Jeeves once again saves the day in the Jeeves and Wooster short story "The Purity of the Turf" by bribing everyone in a race who might do better than the contestant his boss bet on to cheat to win and then tipping off the referee so they'll be disqualified.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Played for Drama in volume 9. At the climax of their match against Team Andrews, after her teammates Stacy and Fay are knocked out, Chela turns into elf form in desperation to winnote  and defeats Rossi in nothing flat, only for her father to interrupt the match and order her to transform back, since he had previously ordered her not to use her Super Mode as a condition of letting her join her half-sister's team (because he's one of the judges and wants to avoid the appearance of favoritism). Chela tries to attack him in a rage and he knocks her out cold with an Offhand Backhand. Team Andrews are declared the winners by default, to the pleasure of nobody present, including the audience and themselves.
  • Slugfest:
    • Mrs. Finerty once won an Olympic swim race despite being ranked forty-ninth among the competitors. She credits much of her success to the original favorite getting sick and wearing a borrowed swimsuit that was two sizes too small and made her swim faster so she could get out of the tight garment faster.
    • The Slugfest team loses the flag football tournament's final game by two points but get the trophy anyway after the rival team's quarterback confesses to being an ineligible player who lives outside of town limits.
  • X-Wing Series:: Competition towards the end of the Wraith selection process in Wraith Squadron is fierce. Jesmin Ackbar is initially signed up just as the unit's non-flying communications specialist (much to her dismay, having originally signed up in desperation to get a job that didn't involve being tied to a desk on account of nobody wanting to get Admiral Ackbar's niece killed), but then a competing Quarren candidate slaps her in a racially motivated incident.note  He's washed out of the unit and she's tapped to replace him on the flying roster.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens all the time on The Amazing Race, where teams who come in last are saved from elimination due to another team incurring a penalty due to breaking a race rule. The only time this has affected a finale was in the second season of the Vietnam edition, where the team who checked in first received three ten-minute penalties, giving the win to the ladies who checked in second.
  • Bunk'd: In "Sore Lou-ser", Camp Kikiwaka is competing against rival Camp Champion in the Sportsmanship Game, which Kikiwaka always loses. When the two are tied for the final event, Matteo ends up forgoing the victory to save a bird's egg falling out of the tree; at first it seems Kikiwaka lost again, but when Barb tosses her egg down, it does not break, revealing she used a hard boiled one. Thus, Champion is disqualified and Kikiwaka wins for the first time.
  • Drake & Josh: In "Peruvian Puff Pepper", Drake and Josh steal a secret salsa ingredient from Megan to use in their recipe for Salsa Fest; they win first, but then Megan asks what their secret is, causing them to reveal they used said pepper in the salsa. This soon results in them disqualified because the pepper is illegal in North America due to causing side effects like kidney failure and chapped lips, leaving Megan, who was in second, to win by default. Of course, this was her plan the whole time.
  • The B Plot of one Empty Nest episode has Carol and Charlie entering a chili-cooking contest. Charlie wins with Carol taking second. During his victory speech, Charlie thanks the folks at Hormell. After revealing that he was using store bought chili instead of making it himself, Charlie's disqualified and Carol wins.
  • On Forged in Fire one contestant is eliminated at the end of each challenge based on the quality of their work. However, each challenge has a set of parameters (usually blade length and width) that have to be adhered to avoid disqualification. So a bad quality blade that followed parameters will advance if one of the better quality blades did not follow parameters and was disqualified. If multiple blades are disqualified, a tiebreaker is used so only one person is eliminated each round. Blades can also be disqualified if during testing they have a 'catastrophic blade failure' ie. the blade breaks and it is unsafe to continue testing. In this situation the only thing that can save you from elimination is if another blade fails even worse. In one throwing knife challenge, a contestant had his knife break on the fifth throw. He was ready to leave the competition but then another contestant's blade broke after three throws. Then the last contestant's blade broke on the first throw and he was the one eliminated.
  • Glee: In the season 4 episode "Thanksgiving", Marley passes out during the performance at Sectionals because of her eating disorder. Because the rest of the glee club left the stage to check on her when she fainted, they are disqualified, allowing the Warblers to win (though, honestly, they probably would have lost anyway). However, in the season 4 episode "Sadie Hawkins", members of the New Directions discover that the Warblers (the team that had won at Sectionals) were using steroids, leading to their disqualification. This allows the New Directions to take their place at Regionals. (It should be noted that a third team competed at Sectionals and wasn't disqualified, so logically it should've been them and not New Directions advancing to Regionals. When this was brought up on Twitter, the writers responded with the MST3K Mantra.)
  • The Great British Bake Off: During Series 9, one baker messed up all three challenges during Danish Week, but advanced anyway because another baker blew off the theme and did French bakes for the signature and showstopper challenges.
  • In the tie-in book for Parks and Recreation, it was stated that Pawnee won a game against Eagleton due to the players on Eagleton side were on steroids.
  • Power Rangers Ninja Steel: In "Monkey Business", Calvin and Hayley are running for School Council President and the rules say that, as the position's current holder, Victor will keep it if both candidates are disqualified. He tries to make it seem like each candidate is sabotaging the other. It doesn't work but the two candidates leave the run and he gets to keep his presidency.
  • Happened once or twice on Robot Wars:
    • In a heat final between Pussycat and Scutter's Revenge, Pussycat hit the arena wall and its blade shattered on impact because it was a hardened steel one which was not allowed by the rules (the team had previously been using a different blade which had been having limited success, and had swapped it for an off-the-shelf one before the battle). Although Scutter's Revenge broke down shortly after, the judges intervened after the battle and ruled that Pussycat was disqualified for the breach of health and safety regulations, meaning Scutter's Revenge went through anyway.
    • In the First World Championship, one of the American entrants, Mauler, was disqualified before it even got into the arena, because the producers realised too late that the British arena was not built for its flailing weapon and there was no way to contain it safely. There was no substitute available, so the other robot (Cerberus, representing Cyprus) went through automatically.
  • Shining Time Station: In "Dan's Big Race", the kids of the station participate in a bicycle race for charity. Before the race begins, Schemee loosens the bolts to Dan's bicycle, causing it to get damaged and Dan to hurt his leg, disqualifying him. Near the end of the episode, Schemee appears to have won the race, but when he celebrates his victory, a lug wrench falls out of his pocket, revealing to everyone in the station that he cheated to win. Schemee gets disqualified and Kara, who was in second place, ends up winning the race by default.
  • A tragic version in Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Lower Decks". Best friends Lavelle and Sito are up for the same promotion. It goes to Lavelle, because Sito is killed in the line of duty. Unsurprisingly, he's less than thrilled.
  • Drag races on Street Outlaws have about a ten percent chance of ending this way. The two most common ways to get disqualified are to take off before the race master signals the start or to cross the line separating the drivers.
  • Something similar happened once in the 2020 revival of Supermarket Sweep in the US, where not one but two of the teams took more than the number of items allowed (some extra-expensive items such as Yeti coolers and Keurig machines only allowed one to a customer rather than the standard five). This caused both teams some hefty score penalties (host Leslie Jones didn’t say how much), and while we don’t know how it would have ended up had the teams concerned followed the rules, Leslie did note to the winning team that they were the only ones who did follow the rules.
  • One challenge on Top Gear (US) had the guys buy cars from The '80s on a budget of five thousand dollars. Adam gets a Buick Grand National which normally commands fifteen thousand dollars. He wins the challenge, but is disqualified when Rutledge tells the judge that Adam cheated.
  • Used in Tru Calling to save Tru's brother from the mob boss he owes a favor. The brother was working as a judge for a beauty pageant that the mobster's daughter was entered into and had to get the daughter to win, but his attempts were so obvious that he was fired, and she doesn't win until disqualification. He's only saved because the girl who won was the murderer of that episode.
  • Manchester University were named champions of the 2008-9 series of University Challenge after the winners of the final match, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player. This atracted a lot of controversy, with accusations that at least two previous winning teams had also fielded ineligible players and the producers had known this at the time, that the rules were ambiguous at best, and that the player involved had questioned his own eligibility only for the producers to decide it was fine before changing their mind after the show aired. Even the Manchester team came out in support of their rivals, saying it was all a fuss over nothing and Corpus Christi's win should stand. Nevertheless the official record shows Manchester as champions for that series, giving them the joint record for most titles with four.
  • Wishbone season one ep, "Bone of Arc," featured Sam joining on as a replacement for the local soccer team when one of their own is injured before a championship game and managing to score the winning point. However because she wasn't properly registered as a teammate, the head coach of the other team contests it and unfortunately the judges, while impressed at Sam's ability, are forced to disqualify her team and give the victory to their opponents. The protagonists are bummed for a bit but find solace in the fact that they did beat them fair and square through ability, that the opposing side only won through a technicality and will be more then ready for them next year.
  • In The Weird Al Show episode "The Competition", Al is nominated for "best children's show host", but he and another nominated host spend the episode sabotaging each others show, and they both lose to, as the award presenter says, "the only one who played by the rules", though it's never said what the rules are or what constitutes "playing fair".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Unlike most examples this is commonly used to screw over the Faces, either by removing their victory or by giving them the victory but not the belt (belts don't transfer on a DQ in most leagues). In some circles it is known as the Dusty Finish because he booked so many matches that way. In its original conception a Dusty Finish is reversed at a later date, so the fans go home happy thinking they saw a title change.
  • In 1983 Victor Jovica defeated Ric Flair for the NWA Title, but this was reversed three days later because Jovica had his legs on the ropes when he pinned Flair. Flair was meant to win the match initially but called an audible in the ring, fearing a riot if Jovica didn’t leave with the belt.
  • Zig-Zagged in the 1991 WCW\New Japan Supershow where Tatsumi Fujinami defeated Ric Flair for the NWA Heavyweight Title. In Japan the WCW and NWA Titles were considered separate but WCW considered the NWA belt as representative of the same title. In the US rebroadcast WCW said that Fujinami won the bout but didn't win the title because he threw Flair over the top rope, a disqualification under WCW rules.
  • A rare instance of an inverted Dusty Finish (the heel wins the title rather than simply not losing it) occurred in mid-1998 WCW — Chris Jericho and Dean Malenko wrestled for the vacant WCW Cruiserweight title at the Great American Bash, with Jericho winning by disqualification. While under normal rules titles aren't won by disqualification, the next night on Nitro, James J Dillon ruled that Jericho now held the title because a) the match was made to crown a new champion, and b) Jericho technically won the match.
  • In Chris Benoit's final WCW match, he beat Sid Vicious for the vacant WCW title when Vicious tapped out to the Crossface; the next day Benoit quit WCW and less than a week later he showed up on WWE Raw. The official WCW position was that Benoit shouldn't have won because Vicious's leg was under the bottom rope when he tapped, so the hold should have been broken; ergo, Benoit's win was vacated. A week later Vicious beat Kevin Nash for the title.
  • Almost a Running Gag between Sara Del Rey and Ashley Lane is the latter being whipped like she stole something, but somehow winning by disqualification. The most notable was Del Rey and Amazing Kong flattening Ashley and Nevaeh in SHIMMER but the most comical was when Lane injured Mickie James, who was scheduled to wrestle Del Rey at a Remix Pro show and found herself called as a replacement. She provoked James, who was still there signing autographs to get Del Rey DQed. James was too smart for this but the referee still decided Del Rey had used a foreign object.
  • At the tail end of August in 2014, Luscious Latasha ended "Brittany"'s two-year SCW Florida Women's title reign. Few people were happy with the ending due to Latasha's cheating, so when it was clear next year that Brittany wouldn't be staying with a now Spike TV lacking TNA, Southern Championship Wrestling declared the match a draw and put the belt back on Santana Garrett.

    Puppet Shows 
  • This becomes a Running Gag in the Sesame Street episode, "Cast Iron Cook". Alan and Elmo get into a cooking competition on the titular Show Within a Show. While the opposing team is much more experienced at making the recipes than Alan and Elmo are, one of the members of the opposing team keeps accidentally dropping his items into whatever recipe they were making, thus disqualifying them each round and giving Alan and Elmo the points they need to win.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons module OA6 Ronin Challenge. The first part of the adventure is the Komite, a martial arts tournament in which one or more PCs will participate. One possible opponent for the PCs is the NPC Awang Sophir. If Sophir defeats a PC, the Komite officials will discover that he was wearing an illegal magical earring that gave him an unfair advantage. Sophir will be ejected from the Komite and the PC will win by disqualification, allowing him to advance to the Championship rounds.

    Video Games 
  • In Day of the Tentacle, it is impossible to get Dead Cousin Ted to win the beauty contest unless you arrange for the defending champion to be disqualified for illness.
  • In the Main Story of Ensemble Stars!, Trickstar know that fine is superior to them in raw talent, so they try to win through a Victory by Endurance, teaming up with the other units to tire out the chronically ill Eichi until he can't perform at his best. Despite all of this, after they finally face off against him, fine are initially announced the winner - but shortly after, it's revealed that the two units actually received exactly the same number of votes. In the case of a tie, the rules state that the winner is decided by sudden death, but due to all of the performing he's done at this point, Eichi can barely stand. Physically incapable of continuing further, he forfeits, granting Trickstar the win.
  • Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker: During the Monster Scout Tournament, Solitaire loses her temper after being called by her real name and attacks the Incarnus, causing Dr. Snap to disqualify her for hitting a monster. And since this was the final match, the Hero becomes the Champion by default.
  • The player can do this in Hitman 2 in the mission "The Finish Line". One of the targets you must eliminate is a race car driver during her big race, and you can manipulate events to get her or her main rival disqualified, resulting in the other person's victory (both outcomes will open up new opportunities to assassinate her post-race). Notably, if the racers are left to their own devices, the rival will eventually win on his own, which means that disqualifying him is the only way your target can win the race.
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, Dart is required by the story to make it to the final round of The Hero Competition. Should the player lose any of the matches, his opponent gets taken out of the competition for either cheating (i.e using poison) or something completely contrived (falling over or getting sick and being unable to fight).
  • One potential option for the third round in a competition in Pitax in Pathfinder: Kingmaker (where cheating is expected, and thus partially overlooked) is to play fair for your own part...but rig every other player so they go beyond the acceptable amount of cheating, leaving you to win by default. Notably, this is the hardest outcome of the three choices, as it involves a Trickery 50 check.
  • A legal variant happens in Pillars of Eternity — once you've claimed your Player Headquarters, Caed Nua, and built it up enough a Lord Gathbin shows up and tries to claim by right of inheritance, leading to magistrates judging the case. They judge in favour of Lord Gathbin, which would force you to vacate Caed Nua or become an outlaw... except Gathbin throws a fit when the presiding magistrate mention a clause requesting you be fairly compensated for your work clearing out monsters and repairing the place and storms out of the office, forfeiting the judgement.
  • This can happen to you in Quest for Glory III. During the Fighter (or Paladin)'s Initiation Ceremony with the Simbani, there will be a point in which your rival Yesufu gets his leg stuck in a trap, allowing you the decision to help him up or ignore him. Doing the former will likely make you lose the contest, but despite you losing, Yesufu will give you the Drums of Magic anyway as the true test is really about supporting your friends and tribe. But if you ignore him, you appear to win the contest at first, but the Simbani will disqualify you (and make Yesufu the winner) in the end, as winning at the expense of another tribe member is not really winning.
  • Invoked in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 1, where the goal during the first part of the game is to win a race disguised as Homestar. However, Pom Pom is much faster than Strong Bad, so you must get him disqualified by putting some performance-enhancing powder in his locker, making it seem like he won only because of it. (Even though Strong Bad himself is the who actually cheats — he's not athletic enough to get a qualifying time without doing so, even after disqualifying Pom Pom. He just never gets caught.)
  • The WipEout series has this happen at the end of the 2206 FX300 League Championship featured in Wipeout Pure, when Australian-based racing team Triakis is stripped of their victory by the Anti-Gravity Racing Commission over their use of the reverse-inertia deceleration system—a technology that let their Lightning Bruiser of a craft go through corners more quickly than any other team. Instead, the AGRC awarded the victory to the second-place team, Japan's AG Systems.

    Web Animation 

  • Played for laughs in 8-Bit Theater when Fighter comes last in a drownball tournament (due to not drowning) but is still given first prize (due to being the only surviving participant).
  • Happened the other way in Kevin & Kell. The school won the finals, thanks to Rudy getting the elk's shed antlers to make everyone think he got the elk. But they were stripped of their title when it was found out that their teammate Vin Vulpin used steroids.
  • Rusty and Co.: In a game of gnomish baseball*, Stabs Doogan engineers a victory by inciting a general melee, which leaves her team penalized up the yin-yang but the other team disqualified due to heavy casualties. It also gets her incarcerated, but that's neither here nor there.

    Web Original 
  • Downplayed in Atop the Fourth Wall's "Contest Of Champions" Grand Finale. Linksano is able to reveal that Bandit Chief has been cheating the entire contest during his finals match with Linkara, thus Bandit Chief is disqualified. However, not only does Linkara want to give the audience a show, he doesn't want any doubt in Bandit Chief's mind that Linkara could beat him in a match, so he goads him back to finish their fight... er... Duel Monsters match.
  • Subverted in this Not Always Friendly story. A chess tournament ends with the winner resorting to Unsportsmanlike Gloating towards his opponent who's a Graceful Loser. The winner repeatedly makes fun of him until the officials disqualify him for unsportsmanlike conduct. The subversion occurs when the opponent declines the title of champion, saying it would be better if there were no champion that year than to have one who didn't earn it.
  • During a poll voting for the best ships in 2017, Team Kara & Lena won because both teams for Klance and Victuuri were disqualified after they were caught continuously cheating through creating thousands of bots and fake accounts to vote with.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Action League NOW! episode, "Danger Society", The Action League challenge the Danger Society to see who can save the most victims when a school bus teeters over a TV antenna. The winners will officially become the town's newest superheroes, and the losers will have to leave town for good. Naturally, The Action League cower out when they see the situation. When they are waiting at a bus stop afterwards, the Danger Society land their helicopter in front of them to taunt them. However, they have landed their helicopter right in the path of an oncoming bus. The bus flattens them, and by technicality, the League is back in business.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius:
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In a "Sonic Sez" segment about wearing seatbelts, Sonic holds a race between Scratch and Edgar Eagle to determine who is the real Edgar Eagle. Scratch wins the race but gets disqualified for not wearing his seat belt, leaving the real Edgar Eagle, who does, the winner by default.
    • Another "Sonic Sez" segment about cheating involves Dr. Robotnik and Dr. Quark racing each other. Sonic disqualifies them both for cheating; the former for throwing a Banana Peel in the latter's path, and the latter for tying the former's shoelaces together.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "The Millie-Churian Candidate", Henry Haber wins the election for class president by manipulating the other students. First, he convinces Millie Frock to enter, which leads to Louise trying (and failing) to help Jimmy Pesto Jr.'s campaign, causing him to drop out. Then Louise gets Millie disqualified by exposing her as crazy in front of the whole school, but gets herself disqualified in the process, leaving Henry as the only remaining candidate.
  • By the end of the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: E.L.E.C.T.I.O.N.S.", it seems that Nigel (Numbuh 1) won the election for fourth grade president until Wilson Woodrow tells him that he lied about him winning in order to escape detention hence disqualifying him, and that Eggbert Eggleston is the true winner.
  • One episode of Gravedale High had Frankentyke befriend a racehorse whose owner is desperate for a victory. However, they are unaware the owner's assistant is secretly working for the villains. During the deciding race, the horse starts to take victory with Frankentyke riding it. Then, the traitorous assistant reveals his duplicity by knocking another rider off of his horse and riding it to victory. As he's gloating over his win, Sid informs him that he's been disqualified for changing riders during a race.
  • Gravity Falls: "The Stanchurian Candidate" episode centers on Grunkle Stan, Bud Gleeful and a number of other people being candidates for the new mayor of Gravity Falls. After a long and troubled election, Grunkle Stan manages to win due to impressing people with his heroic rescue of Mabel and Dipper (his great-niece and great-nephew)... but then loses when many of his past crimes are discovered, and the position is instead given to Tyler Cutebiker, aka "the only candidate who bothered to fill out the paperwork".
  • The Hair Bear Bunch: Botch wins a wrestling contest when the adversary who defeated him is disqualified for being a gorilla (the zoo's main gorilla Bananas).
  • Inspector Gadget once had to enter an auto race to stop Dr. Claw from cheating his way to victory. Gadget's about to win when Claw converts the Madmobile into a jet and passes him that way. The announcer initially names Dr. Claw the winner, only to announce seconds later that Claw has been disqualified for leaving the ground and Gadget has won. Then, it's revealed that Gadget was taking part as part of the investigation and could not claim the prize. The official winner is someone else.
  • MAD: In "Malcolm in the Middle Earth", Malcolm wins a science fair because he's the only entrant using actual science instead of magic.
  • In the Martha Speaks episode, "Wagstaff Races", the neighborhood kids enter a green go-kart race. T.D. and Alice's wind-powered go-kart places just behind Ronald and Reginald, whose go-kart appears to be powered by a swimming goldfish, and who have been sabotaging the other racers' go-karts. This isn't what disqualifies them, though. What does disqualify them is that their car is revealed to be a disguised gas-powered lawnmower when they crash into a lamp post after arguing over who gets to drive the victory lap. T.D. and Alice win the trophy as a result.
  • Miss Moon: Jules and Lola are declared the winners of a pedal boat tournament when the judge finds the motor on Kevin's boat.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic season five episode, "Brotherhooves Social". Due to Applejack having to go out of town on a Friendship Mission, Big Mac offers to compete with Apple Bloom for the Sisterhooves Social...dressed in drag as cousin "Orchard Blossom". Eventually, it comes down to the final event, a simple race, and Big Mac and Apple Bloom manage to win. However they're disqualified, not because Big Mac was disguised (In fact, the judge even mentions that it wasn't necessary and would've allowed him to compete regardless of gender. Didn't help that pretty much nopony was falling for the ruse anyway) but because of generally poor sportsmanship on Mac's part due to getting a bit too competitive and practically rampaging through the track, which is not something they endorse. Thus Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo, who came in second, end up winning.
  • In the Peanuts special You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown, Marcie wins the last leg of the decathlon this way. Charlie Brown gets disqualified for running off the track while Freddie Fabulous and the Masked Marvel are both ejected for fighting.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Robot Rodeo", Doofenshmirtz and the rest of the members of L.O.V.E.M.U.F.F.I.N. participate in an inator building contest. After struggling to come up with an idea, Doofenshmirtz clouds the contest with a fog machine and releases the O.W.C.A. agents from their trap, causing them to destroy every inator except Doof's and his rival, Rodney's. Rodney clears the smoke with his inator, a giant fan, but Doofenshmirtz's inator is designed to destroy Rodney's inator, leaving him as the default winner.
    Host: Doofenshmirtz wins by default!
    Doofenshmirtz: By default! My favorite way to win!
  • The Raccoons: In "The Evergreen Election!", Bert Raccoon competes against Cyril Sneer to become mayor of the Evergreen Forest. When the votes are tallied up, it seems as if Bert has won. However, Mr. Willow, who was in charge of tallying up the votes, finds out that Bert received 5,001 fake votes and disqualifies him as a result, leaving Cyril as the winner by default. The trope is subverted, however, when Cyril finds out it was the Pigs who rigged the votes and drops out of the election feeling it was an unfair victory.
  • In the Rocket Power movie "Race Across New Zealand", Theodore McGill gets his win revoked after confessing to taking an out-of-bounds shortcut in the final race. His dad's win over Raymundo in the very first competition was also revoked for the same reason.
    • In "New Squid on the Block", Maurice (who's still "The Squid" at the time) gets the puck stuck inside the Stimpletons' new mailbox and Lars, who's playing for the other team, tries to claim victory by forfeiture, claiming that, according to international rules, whoever loses the puck loses the game. Sam (who still didn't become the new Squid at the time) averts this by recovering the puck.
    • In "The Great Sandcastle Race", a little girl wins a sandcastle contest for being the only entrant whose entry looks like a castle.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Gutter Balls", Ed's team gets their trophy revoked after he's caught disguising himself as his wife Beverly, causing the trophy to go to Rocko's team instead.
  • In the Rugrats (1991) episode, "Beauty Contest", in order to win the Kingfisher 9000 sports boat, Stu and Grandpa Lou dress Tommy as a girl and enter him in a beauty contest, where Tommy's cousin, Angelica is also competing. Tommy wins, until Didi reveals to the judges that Tommy is actually a boy by removing his wig. The judges disqualify Tommy and Angelica wins. Grandpa Lou doesn't mind when he remembers that Angelica is his granddaughter.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Deep Space Homer" has NASA look for ordinary people to become astronauts, ending up with Homer and Barney. Barney by far outperforms Homer, but as soon as he drinks (what he thinks is) alcohol, he reverts to his previous state, leaving Homer the winner by default.
    • We see the other side of the coin in "Lisa the Beauty Queen" where Lisa is crowned Little Miss Springfield note . The pageant's sponsor (Laramie Cigarettes) doesn't like her speaking out against smoking so they find a loophole: on the entry form where it says "Do not write in this space" Homer wrote "O.K." Lisa is disqualified and the title goes back to the original winner.
    • Another episode has Duffman retire due to injury, so Duff Brewery runs a reality show where the winner becomes the new Duffman. At the end, it's down to Homer and a guy we've never seen before. The guy we've never seen before wins...until he takes off his shirt to change into the Duffman costume. It turns out that he has the logo of a rival brewery tattooed on his lower back and is disqualified. Homer is then crowned the winner.
    • "Saddlesore Galactica" has Lisa and her school's band lose to the Ogdenville band because they use glowsticks to create an image of the American flag note . She thus starts to file complaints to increasingly higher levels, eventually reaching the President of the United States Bill Clinton himself, who shows up and says that their glowsticks were visual aids that were forbidden, resulting in the Ogdenville band being disqualified and Springfield Elementary winning. The lesson Lisa says this situation gave her is that if you whine and complain long and loud enough, someone will eventually get on your side.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the episode, "Slimy Dancing", Squidward fails the audition for the Bikini Bottom dance contest, and thus goes in disguise by going inside SpongeBob and having his arms and legs stick out of him. Squidward has a cramp during his dance, but actually does manage to win, until SpongeBob blows his cover and it is revealed that the contest states that all dancers are not allowed to be assisted by a partner. It is also revealed that every other dancer in the contest is assisted by a partner, except for Patrick, who also has a cramp during his dance, thus Patrick wins the contest by default.
    • "The Great Snail Race" also does this. After Gary crashes into a wall (due to overexertion caused by Spongebob's Training from Hell), Spongebob runs to his aid, automatically disqualifying him. Squidward's snail, Snelly stops just shy of the finish line and leaves the track to comfort Gary, disqualifying her. Therefore, the remaining racer, and winner, is Rocky, Patrick's pet rock (somehow crossing the finish line, no less). However, Patrick acknowledges Squidward's desire to win, so he gives him the trophy... which is engraved to Squidward Tortellini.
  • In the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "The Stars at Night", the Cerritos and the new Texas-class automated ship Aledo are in a "Second Contact race" to see which of them can do the job faster. Despite all the efforts of the crew, the Aledo wins due to a delay caused by Tandi having to rescan a barren planet for possible microbial life forms, as per the Prime Directive. While Captain Freeman is dejected at the loss and the likely decommissioning of the entire California class in favor of the Texas class, she realizes that the Aledo didn't pause to perform the same scan, which means there must be a flaw in its programming and that, given how important the Prime Directive is, this flaw makes the class unfit for duty.
  • In the short, "Bleacher Bummer" from the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "The Wacko World of Sports", Perfecto Prep's baseball team clobbers Acme Looniversity's in a game that Dizzy and Furrball are trying to sneak into. When Dizzy and Furrball get chased by Arnold, who is working as a security guard, they break the Perfectos' baseball bat, revealing they have been cheating using the "Magnet-in-the-bat" scam, resulting in them getting disqualified and Acme Looniversity's team winning the game by default.
  • The one time that Dick Dastardly actually won in Wacky Races, he was disqualified because he'd extended the front of his car over the finish line artificially. Oddly enough, a different competitor did the same thing in a different episode, and they were not disqualified for it. So it seems it was only against the rules when Dick Dastardly did it.
  • Wander over Yonder: "The Time Bomb" has Sylvia and Wander competing in the Galactic Conjunction 6000. Wander has to help Sylvia keep calm due to her competitive nature causing her to lose her temper, which earned her the nickname "Time Bomb". She gets second place but is glad that she was able to finish the race thanks to Wander's help. Until it's revealed that the winner got disqualified for cheating, giving Sylvia and Wander first place.
  • The Wild Thornberrys episode, "On The Right Track" has Eliza Thornberry enter a reindeer sled race to stop Kip O'Donnell from winning knowing his intention to cheat. Eliza manages to catch up to Kip and comes close to beating him. Kip's reindeer crosses the finish line first. However, as Kip is being awarded the first place medal and grand prize, Eliza notices that Kip's reindeer has solid round hooves instead of cloved hooves. She exposes Kip as a cheat by removing the antlers from his reindeer revealing it to be a racehorse. Kip is ultimately disqualified and the medal goes to Eliza.

    Real Life 
  • In some sports leagues, if a championship winner is found to have been using steroids or other kinds of drugs, then the second place competitor will get the award. This happened in the 2006 and 2010 Tour de France; the winners (Floyd Landis and Alberto Contador, respectively) were caught using PEDs, and the title ended up going to the second-place rider (Óscar Pereiro and Andy Schleck, respectively). Averted for the 1999-2005 Tours, where no riders were awarded the win in place of the disqualified Lance Armstrong, as almost all the top cyclists were doping at the time. As they couldn't be sure which cyclists, if any, were playing fair, they didn't reassign the titles.
  • The Denmark national football team, the eventual winners of the 1992 European Championship, only qualified after Yugoslavia was disqualified due to political issues.
  • On December 6, 1925, the Pottsville Maroons, one of the many small-city teams in the early National Football League, defeated the Chicago Cardinals 21 to 7 to take the lead in the league standings. Six days later note , they played an unauthorized exhibition game against the Notre Dame All-Stars in Philadelphianote . The NFL revoked their league membership with a week left in the season, leaving the Maroons one win short and giving the Cardinals the league championship by default, though not without controversy, as the Cardinals had hastily scheduled additional games against teams that had already ended their seasonsnote , and one of their opponents used high-school players to fill out its roster. To his credit, Cards owner Chris O'Brien refused to accept the championship, but his successor, Charles Bidwill, claimed the title after he took ownership of the team in 1933.
  • There are multiple cases in the Little League World Series of teams being posthumously stripped of any wins and titles they earned because it was discovered afterwards that one or more players on the team were ineligible (either too old or living outside the proscribed geographic area). This has included forfeiting regional titles (2001), US titles (2014), and World Series titles (1992).
  • In the history of the Olympic Games, 154 medals have been stripped due to cheating (all but seven were drug violations); it's a tiny fraction of the total number of medals given out, but it's certainly not unheard of (and when it does happen, it's often an international headline, which can create the impression that it's more common than it is). Individuals or teams found to have cheated can be stripped of their medal or placement, which often, though not always (see below) results in moving whoever was behind them up to their place, no matter how long ago the fraud occurred.note 
    • In the 1904 St Louis Olympics, Fred Lorz won the marathon, but was stripped of his medal and given a lifetime competition ban after it was revealed that he had hitchhiked for a third of the race. A century later, this was turned into a joke when Mr Bean did the same thing in a sketch during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics.
    • One of the most famous examples in the 100 meter finals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson and American sprinter Carl Lewis were bitter rivals and the top two contenders to win the gold medal. During the race Ben Johnson won the gold medal, beating his rival for the first time, but 24 hours later, he tested positive for performace enhancing drugs. He was immediately stripped of his gold medal and Lewis who finished second got the gold in his place. What makes this case still debated to this day, however, is that future investigations revealed 80 percent of athletes at the Seoul Olympics, with most being from Track and Field, tested positive for steroids, including Carl Lewis, but their test were cleared and only Ben Johnson was not cleared, which many found suspicious.
    • In 2010, the US women's Olympic gymnastics team from 2000 was awarded the bronze medal from those Olympics after it was discovered that one of the gymnasts on the third-place Chinese team was underage.
    • In a more controversial case, Andreea Raducan, the original winner of the 2000 women's gymnastics individual all-around, was disqualified after testing positive for a banned substance, even though she did not take it knowingly and despite the fact that the performance-enhancing abilities of the substance in question (an over-the-counter cold medication) were highly dubiousnote . Despite acknowledging these facts, the Olympic Committee refused to reinstate Raducan's medal, and the medals were re-awarded in keeping with her disqualification. (All three medal winners have stated that they consider Raducan the real champion despite her disqualification, as do almost all fans.)
    • This trope is subverted in some cases, when the IOC chooses to leave the spot open instead of re-awarding the medals. Most instances of this occur in cases where it's a drug offense and someone who would be moved up wasn't drug-tested after the event; this is also the precedent in the rare event that an athlete is disqualified for a reason other than cheating, such as for undisciplined behavior at a medal ceremony.
    • Steven Bradbury, the first man from Australia and the Southern Hemisphere to win a Winter Olympics gold medal. He managed to win his heat, but was put against two favorites to win the Men's Speed skating over all in a quarter final. He came third when only the first two finishers would win. But the top finisher was disqualified for interfering with another skater. In the semi-finals, he was dead last until everyone crashed and piled up, leaving him able to get first place. Then in the finals, everyone except Bradbury crashed on the final turn of the last lap, leaving Bradbury to win the gold. No one cheated; it was just amazingly good luck on Bradbury's part. To this day, Australia has "to pull a Bradbury" as an expression which means "to succeed in spite of overwhelmingly bad odds".
  • Averted when Tonya Harding won the 1994 US Women's Figure Skating Championship, then several months later pled guilty to hindering prosecution regarding the attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan. The USFSA (United States Figure Skating Association) stripped her of the title but opted to leave the spot blank rather than advance everyone who finished behind her.
  • Former NFL Quarterback Tony Romo entered a qualifier for the Golf Tour, a developmental tour for the Professional Golfers Association. He and 3 others originally missed the cut by 1 position, but a golfer who would have otherwise made the cut signed an erronous scorecard and was disqualified, allowing Romo and those 3 others to advance to the next stage.
  • Has happened several times in Formula One, but most notably in the infamous 1989 Japanese Grand Prix, where the disqualification affected both the outcome of the race and the Driver's Championship. Brazilian world champion and McLaren driver Ayrton Senna needed to win this race and the Australian Grand Prix to win the championshipnote . Several laps before the end of the race, both Prost and Senna came together at the final chicane with Prost deciding to call it a day and Senna frantically trying to get the marshalls to push-start him away from his dangerous position. Senna would take the chequered ahead of Benetton's Alessandro Nannini, but would be disqualified before the podium proceedings for having driven down the escape road and missed the chicanenote . Thus Alain Prost won the Driver's Championship while Alessandro Nannini won his first and only Grand Prix win, before his F1 career was cut short by a helicopter accident that nearly cost him his right arm.
  • NASCAR had a very infamous example in the 2013 Federated Auto Parts 400 known as Spingate or the Singapore Sling. To elaborate:
    • Under the Chase system at the time, 12 drivers were eligible to make the Chase: the top 10 in points, with two additional Wild Card spots for drivers positioned 11th-20th in the points with race wins. Entering the race, Kasey Kahne had already locked up the first Wild Card spot as he was the only repeat winner in the field outside of the top 10 in points, with his two race wins from earlier in the year (Bristol in March, and Pocono in August). Ryan Newman entered the race trailing Martin Truex, Jr. for the final wild card. In order to guarantee a Chase position, Newman needed to either win the race, or be five points ahead of Truex and not have Joey Logano or Greg Biffle fall out of the top ten (as if either Logano or Biffle dropped out of the top ten at the end of the race, the other Wild Card spot would go to one of them). Jeff Gordon trailed Logano by 16 points for 10th place, the final Chase spot based on points position.
    • On Lap 393, Gordon was ahead of Logano by a large enough margin that Gordon led Logano by two points for the final guaranteed Chase position. Newman was the leader, and would have bumped out both Logano and Truex (one win each) had the race ended at that point. It was on that lap that Truex's teammate Clint Bowyer spun out in Turn 4. From the various angles captured of the spin, it initially appeared that Bowyer had either been tapped from behind by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or he had cut a right front tire. The field pitted under the resulting caution flag, including Bowyer, Truex's other teammate Brian Vickers, Newman and the rest of the field. A slow pit stop for Newman dropped him to third, behind Carl Edwards, Paul Menard, with Kurt Busch starting next to him in 4th. As a result of the pit stops, Truex gained multiple positions. Logano, who was two laps behind the leader (while Gordon was on the lead lap), used a wavearound to move up to one lap behind the leaders, where he could race other cars one lap behind in an attempt to gain more positions and overtake Gordon. Edwards went on to win, albeit with controversy as it appeared he jumped Paul Menard on the restart, with Kurt Busch and Newman finishing behind Edwards. However, Edwards was not penalized (as had happened to Jimmie Johnson at Dover in June) as NASCAR ruled that Menard had spun his tires and was slow getting up to speed. End result, Newman and Truex finished tied for the final wildcard spot on both wins, and the first tie-breaker, points. However, since Truex had an extra second-place finish at Texas, he entered the Chase. Logano, who overtook Gordon on the final restart, clinched the final non-wild card spot by one point over Gordon.
    • Immediately after the race, many in the garage suspected that Bowyer had spun out deliberately in an attempt to manipulate the finish of the race so that Truex would gain a Chase spot. This led to the incident's second nickname as the Singapore Sling because it was compared heavily to the 2008 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix in Formula One, where Nelson Piquet, Jr. intentionally caused a caution to give an advantage to teammate Fernando Alonso, who would win the race. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who was directly behind Bowyer at the moment of the spin, said afterwards that the way Bowyer's car spun was "one of the craziest things he's ever seen", and noticed the car being "jerked around" to make it lose control out of turn 4. While Bowyer claimed it was a flat tire that caused him to spin out, and indeed the right front was down after the spin, Dale Jr.'s version of events and video replay showed Bowyer's car behaving inconsistent with the normal behavior of a car that had cut a tire: normally, when a car cuts a tire in the corners, it washes up the track without steering and slams the outside wall on its right side, then comes back down onto the track, rather than spinning onto the apron. In addition, the popping noise normally associated with a flat tire only happened after the spin. Further suspicion arose during the video replays, as the radio communications between Bowyer and crew chief Brian Pattie showed they were openly worried about the possibility of Newman winning and eliminating Truex from the Chase on lap 391, two laps before Bowyer spun. Another suspicious conversation was revealed between Vickers and his spotter, team general manager and vice president Ty Norris, where Norris ordered a completely oblivious Vickers to make a green-flag pit stop after the restart on lap 398 in order to give Truex another position to tie Newman in points. These conversations seemed to provide evidence of some kind of manipulation going on via team orders. In order for the scheme to work, Gordon, who was in 10th place, had to be overtaken by Logano in order to guarantee Truex a wild card.
    • End result, NASCAR penalized Michael Waltrip Racing by fining the team $300,000—the highest fine imposed on a team in NASCAR's 67-year history. It also indefinitely suspended Ty Norris, placed all three of MWR crew chiefs on probation until December 31, and docked Bowyer and Truex 50 driver points. The penalty was retroactively applied to their point totals before the reset for the Chase, which effectively dropped Truex's point finish to 17th, causing him to be knocked out of the Chase and replaced with Newman.
    • After this issue, rumors surfaced that Logano had received assistance from David Gilliland. Penske and Front Row were considered technical partners, as they both used Ford cars and Roush Fenway Racing powertrains. Radio communications seemed to suggest to NASCAR that Front Row officials asked Gilliland to slow down and give up a position to Logano in order to help Logano race his way into the Chase, in exchange for an undisclosed form of compensation.
    • Between these two cases of team orders, NASCAR CEO Brian France made the decision right before the opening Chase race at Chicagoland to add Gordon to the Chase field, expanding the field to 13 drivers, "based on the totality of events that were outside" Gordon's control, and the team orders of MWR and Penske being meant to give Gordon an "unfair disadvantage", coupled with the fact that if Bowyer hadn't spun and the caution hadn't come out at any point between lap 393 and the white flag, Gordon would have qualified for the Chase on points based on his running position. The next year, an entirely new Chase (later simply renamed the playoffs after Sprint was replaced by Monster Energy as title sponsor for the Cup Series in 2017) format was introduced in which 16 drivers would compete for the championship, and every three races, the four drivers lowest in the Chase standings would be eliminated from contention; drivers would automatically be eligible for the new format simply by winning. The new system, in addition to trying to create more "drama", was designed in response to Spingate, as now the outcome couldn't be manipulated as easily.
    • The effects of Spingate lasted many years. NAPA Auto Parts withdrew their sponsorship of Truex's #56 at the end of the season, signing new partnerships with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports to become Chase Elliott's primary sponsor, which they've been ever since; with NAPA's departure being one of the events that helped set the stage for Michael Waltrip Racing's ultimate demise after the 2015 seasonnote . They sponsored Elliott's ride at JR Motorsports in the Nationwide / Xfinity Series for 2014 and 2015, then followed him to the Cup series when he became a full-time driver for Hendrick Motorsports in 2016 to replace the retired Jeff Gordon. Meanwhile, without a ride, Truex and his entire team got picked up by Furniture Row Racing for 2014, and after a dud year, brought that team a 4th place finish in the points in 2015, then a Monster Energy Cup championship in 2017, and a runner-up finish in the points to Logano for 2018 before the team folded and Truex ended up at Joe Gibbs Racing for 2019. Meanwhile; Clint Bowyer had a clause in his contract stating that even if MWR went under; he could take his sponsor, 5 Hour Energy, with him to whatever team he drove for. Unfortunately for Bowyer, the only ride available for 2016 was with also-ran H. Scott Motorsports; with Bowyer spending a forgettable 2016 there before closing his career with four seasons with Stewart-Hass Racing before going to the FOX broadcast booth.
  • Another NASCAR example came during the 2022 season when Denny Hamlin won the 2022 M&M's Fan Appreciation 400 race at Pocono (the sponsor name for the race was in relation to M&M's - longtime sponsor of Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch - leaving NASCAR after 2022); only for both Hamlin and Busch - who had a 1-2 finish - to be disqualified due to both cars failing post-race inspection due to a violation involving the front fascia of the cars; resulting in Chase Elliott being declared the official winner. Making the situation particularly noteworthy is that Hamlin became the first NASCAR driver since way back in 1960 to win the race only to be disqualified following post-race inspection; while Elliott became the first driver to be declared the winner after both the original first and second place drivers were disqualified since 1955.
  • The animated television series Undergrads was created from a pitch creator Pete Williams made as part of a contest MTV held, which he only won because, of the 15 competitors who entered, Williams was the only one who bothered to follow the instructions.
  • The bizarre Sirengate controversy in the 2006 Australian Football League season. The Fremantle Dockers and St Kilda Saints squared off in a match at York Park in Tasmania (in the city of Launceston), a stadium that had been notorious for having a hard-to-hear siren. Down by seven points with less than a minute remaining in the match, St Kilda kicked a goal that cut Fremantle's lead to 1 (14.10.94 to 13.15.93), then as the clock ran out St Kilda seemed to be in a position to score again. The usual procedure is that the clock runs out, the siren immediately sounds, and the umpires declare the match finished. In this case, the clock ran out and the siren went off, but the low-volume siren mixed with swelling crowd noise wasn't heard by the umpires, who kept the ball in play. Fremantle's players did hear the siren and started celebrating. St Kilda's Steven Baker took advantage of Fremantle not being in a defensive setup and kicked a behind that appeared to tie the game at 94. While the ball was in the air, the siren was sounded a second time, but this time an umpire heard it and ended the match. However, one Fremantle player, realizing the match wasn't actually over, bumped Baker in a desperate attempt to stop the St Kilda score. This led to total chaos, with the competing issues of when the siren sounded and how to handle the Fremantle bump, with a third major issue resulting when Fremantle coach Chris Connolly ran onto the ground to try to sort out what was going on (coaches aren't allowed on the grounds during matches). The umpires decided to give Baker the option to rekick the ball from the same position, and once again he scored a behind, with the game ending in 94-94 draw, making it a We Win, Because You Didn't situation for St Kilda. Fremantle lodged a protest, and a few days later the AFL ruled that the match ended on the first siren, the timekeepers and umpires wrongly allowed the match to continue, and St Kilda's behind didn't count, so Fremantle was declared the victor by a final score of 94-93, marking the first time in 106 years that a match result was overturned.
  • In regards to the Smash Ballot, Bayonetta was declared as the winner, but this was due to a rule of "realizable candidates". What this meant isn't exactly clear, as Nintendo has never clarified the rule, but the most general interpretation was this being characters who debuted in works other than video games, or third-party characters whose creators could not be negotiated with in a reasonable time period. While the exact results have never been made public, Masahiro Sakurai eventually revealed that the final DLC fighter for Ultimate, Sora, actually got the most votes in the ballot, but the developers needed much more time to negotiate the rights for him than for Bayonetta. It was also due to the ballot that three heavily requested characters, Simon Belmont, Ridley, and King K. Rool, were implemented at launch.


Video Example(s):


Dusty's in!

The day after the qualifying rounds for the Wings Around the Globe, Dusty learns the plane he placed behind in the top 5 had been disqualified due to using an illegal fuel substance; thus, Dusty gets to compete.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / DisqualificationInducedVictory

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