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Removing the Rival

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"With Sportacus out of the way... I think the town needs a new hero!"
Robbie Rotten, LazyTown

A character (usually a Prima Donna-type) is in direct competition with another for some sort of goal, and resorts to nefarious methods in order to somehow dispose of the competition, whether it be through physical violence, some form of trickery or locking the rival up somewhere they canít interfere (which may include keeping them Bound and Gagged).

This is a Super-Trope to the following Sub-Trope examples:

May overlap with Mugged for Disguise and an Anti-Interference Lock Up, or in some particularly grim situations, Dead Person Impersonation or Kill and Replace.


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    Anime and Manga  
  • In Futaba-kun Change!, Takane Hiroin makes her way through a massive Martial Arts and Crafts tournament through various underhanded means. She blackmails one competitor into conceding, and later clears the field with a mass Laxative Prank that sends nearly everyone scrambling for the bathrooms.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • During Shirogane's reelection, Kaguya gets Hayato to drop out of the race with a Breaking Speech. She tries to do so with Iino as well, trying to convince her to abandon her current campaign in exchange for help with the election next year, but a well timed Insult Backfire on Iino's part causes her momentum to fall apart.
    • Chapter 192 implies that this was Osaragi's motivation for going out with Kazeno (despite him not really being her type), with her trying to get him out of the way on Ishigami's behalf so he could ask out Tsubame. It would also explain why she broke up with him so quickly over a rather trivial reason.
  • In the episode "Zenigata Getcha into My Life" of Lupin III: Part II, Lupin does this to Fujiko who has fainted after seeing a frog. Lupin then poses as her while the real Fujiko is kept Bound and Gagged by his gang, with the only tell being the new "Fujiko"'s very hairy legs.
  • In an early episode of Naruto, the titular ninja kidnaps his rival Sasuke, and then impersonates him in order to convince Sakura that Sasuke is a massive Jerkass. Unfortunately for him, the plan doesn't go as he'd anticipated. Before he can get to the part of the plan in which he drives a wedge between Sakura and Sasuke, he suffers stomach cramps from the spoiled milk he drank that morning and has to run to the bathroom. While he's in the bathroom, Sasuke meets up with Sakura and tells her that she's annoying.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, it is suggested that NERV sabotaged Jet Alone, an Angel-fighting Humongous Mecha developed by their rival company, Japan Heavy Chemical Industries. Both groups were vying for funding from the United Nations, which meant Jet Alone's poor performance netted NERV a ton of cash.
  • In an episode of Ranma Ĺ, Ranma's female form leaves Akane Bound and Gagged backstage in order to steal her role in the school's production of Romeo and Juliet.
  • In Episode 2 of Sabagebu!, Urara tries to get rid of Momoka by injuring her during warm-up exercises and tossing her into a pile of garbage. It's mentioned by the narrator that she's done similar things to other girls that she viewed as rivals for Miou's attention.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • In the first season, Zoisite was so threatened by the idea of Nephrite's potential success that he sent a trio of monsters after him to kill him. (And likely would have even without "Nephrite is a traitor" as an excuse.)
    • During the final season of , Sailor Lead Crow poses as a judge at an idol competition in order to steal the Star Seed of one of the panelists. When the competition starts, Sailor Tin Nyanko appears in her place, and states that she unexpectedly had to fill in for her friend. The scene then shifts backstage where Sailor Lead Crow is shown Bound and Gagged behind some props, with it later being revealed that Nyanko wanted her out of the way in order to take sole credit for stealing the Star Seed.
  • Being a harem anime, this happens quite frequently in Tenchi Muyo! and its various spin-offs. Ryoko and Ayeka in particular often try to use all manner of underhanded tricks to dispose of one another and get Tenchi to themselves.
  • In Yume no Shizuku, Kin no Torikago, Gulbahar uses assassins and servants in her favor to kidnap and murder any concubine that becomes pregnant by Suleiman, to ensure that her son Mustafa will be the only child the sultan will ever have and make him the successor by default. She fails when it comes to Hurrem.

    Comic Books 
  • One Captain N comic turned this into a What You Are in the Dark moment for Samus Aran. After she and Lana are arrested on false charges and throw in prison, Samus plots a breakout and figures that she could leave Lana there and win over Kevin easily. Instead, she saves Lana, figuring that winning Kevin over in such a way would be too easy and would rather earn his heart fairly.
  • The Yancy Street Gang does this in FF by hacking into an online database so that they win free concert tickets that were meant to go to winners of a contest. By replacing the real winners, they end up in a prime position to heckle Darla Deering, the singer performing at the show (who they hate).
  • Count Carl, an actor and foe of the Golden Age Green Arrow who used his mooks to sabotage his rival performers.
  • Laff-A-Lympics: "Take Me Out To The Brawl Game" had an elimination-style baseball tournament between the three teams. The Really Rottens kidnap the Scoobies' star hitter, Captain Caveman and then use a remote-controlled baseball during the contest.

    Fan Works 

    Films - Animation 
  • In Cats Don't Dance, The Prima Donna Darla causes a flood in order to get cats banned from the studio, resulting in her feline rival becoming a pariah.
  • Cinderella's Wicked Stepmother locks her in her room so she can't try on the glass slipper and stand in the way of one of her daughters marrying the prince. Which turns out to be useless anyway since neither stepsister fits the slipper.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • In The Axe, a jobless paper mill engineer finds a new opportunity in another paper mill and sets out to kill other appliants so he'll be the only one left to get the much coveted job.
  • In Bruce Almighty, the title character gets rid of his rival news anchor Evan Baxter by magically having him act out on live television, getting him fired.
  • Cats: Macavity abducts multiple members of the Jellicle tribe because it's either them or his only shot for a whole year at entering the Heaviside Layer - and of course less Jellicles means it's more likely he'll be picked.
  • In Curtains, Patti decides to murder the other five auditioning actresses in order to ensure she wins the role of a mentally unstable woman in a film called Audra.
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous: Gladys Leeman goes through desperate lengths to make sure her daughter Becky wins the Mount Rose American Teen Princess pageant and goes to state (something Gladys never got to do when she won the pageant when she was seventeen), that she resorts to murdering her daughter's two biggest competitors. She succeeds with Tammy Curry, but fails with the protagonist Amber Atkins. After that, she blatantly rigs the competition against Amber, and when Amber manages to overcome every obstacle thrown at her, it's implied she bribes the judges to score Becky higher anyway. Ironically, Amber still ends up winning the pageant — during the celebratory parade, Becky is killed when the swan float she was on blows up, defaulting the crown to Amber, who was the first runner-up.
  • Love Before Breakfast has Scott buy an oil company to get rid of Bill, Kay's fiance. He transfers Bill to their Japan division in order to put the moves on Kay. She's not impressed.
  • In Midnight, Tibor pays a man to hail a taxi to get rid of all the cab drivers who are cutting in on his dance with Eve Peabody. They rush out to find out that the man didn't want a taxi, and instead of coming back to dance with Eve, they beat up the poor guy. A nice trick by Tibor.
  • Grand Moff Tarkin combines this with There's No Kill like Overkill when he uses the Death Star's superlaser to blow up the base his rival Orson Krennic is on (and practically hitting the guy in the face with it) at the end of Rogue One.

  • In All for the Game, Riko Moriyama breaks Kevin's hand to remove him from the game of Exy.
  • In Dragon Bones, this is the normal modus operandi of backstabbing nobles (if they don't literally stab backs, that is). The king locked his younger brother up in an asylum for insane nobles, to prevent competition.
  • In Heart of Steel, Alistair Mechanus offers to repair the boyfriend of his love interest, but does so by turning his mangled form into a clunky, misshapen cyborg out of jealousy as the perceived relationship between the two.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Pete & Pete episode "Pinned" in which Big Pete joined the wrestling team—and Endless Mike was so determined to wrestle him that he took to murdering the other wrestlers to make sure it happened. (Well, implicitly, anyway. The Pete and Pete universe never specifies what happens to folks who get sucked into hand driers.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In Season 5, Spike, having developed a crush on Buffy, discovers her current boyfriend Riley has been trying to make himself Darker and Edgier because it's what she likes, and has been visiting a vampire bite den to this end. After discovering this, Spike personally takes Buffy to the den to show her Riley being fed on; this proves instrumental in Buffy and Riley's breakup.
  • A girl who claims to want to be just like Cher in Clueless locks her in a closet to steal her part in the school's production of Grease.
  • The A Different World episode "Three Girls Three" involves Jalessa and Whitley partnering with a classmate named Angela in order to win a contest to sing with Gladys Knight. Angela ends up stabbing them in the back and wins with another group. The episode then ends with a Fantasy Sequence where the girls imagine what would have happened if they had won, and the last shot reveals Angela Bound and Gagged backstage.
  • Ezel: Cengiz's envy and desire for Eyşan is enough for him to conspire against his best friend Ömer, who is Eyşan's fiancé, landing him in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
  • One of the dance segments from In Living Color! had the actresses from the show dancing in place of the Fly Girls, the show's dance troupe. At the end of the skit, the real Fly Girls were revealed to be Bound and Gagged in a closet.
  • In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Goes to the Theater", an actress frames a rival for murder in order to get her part in a play.
  • Our Miss Brooks: On several occasions, Miss Enright schemes to put Miss Brooks out of the running for Mr. Boynton's affections:
    • In "First Aid Course", Miss Enright threatens to move away to nurse her sick order to convince Mr. Conklin to tie up Miss Brooks during the evenings teaching the eponymous course.
    • In "Four Fiances" Miss Enright corresponds with four men, and proposes marriage to each of Miss Brooks' name.
    • In "Mr. Boynton's Barbeque", Miss Enright transfers a sick student to Miss Brooks' class so Miss Brooks would catch a cold. That left Miss Enright a clear field with Mr. Boynton.
    • In "Teacher's Convention", Miss Enight relays a message to Walter Denton that Mr. Boynton was "laid up" and wouldn't be attending the convention with Miss Brooks. Walter tells Miss Brooks, leading her to cancel. Mr. Boynton wasn't the least bit sick.
  • One of the "Mathnet" segments from Square One TV involved an aging diva who framed a younger actress for a kidnapping scheme so that she wouldn't be in competition for the same part.

  • The music video for Sophie Ellis-Bextor's song "Murder On the Dance Floor" has her entering a dance competition in order to win a pair of golden shoes. She sabotages her competition in various ways, including tripping people, poisoning their drinks, and even chloroforming the lone female judge so that she can seduce the male judges.
  • Reel Big Fish's music video for "She Has a Girlfriend Now" revolves around a creep who wants to be high high school's homecoming king, so he has his inept henchmen kidnap and imprison his competitors in a broom closet.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon's Crown, a later-game quest involves investigating a lake on behalf of a man who is being plagued by dream-visions of a beautiful woman calling him there, though his wife refuses to let him go. It turns out the woman is a witch and the woman in the dream visions is a mermaid she transformed into a hideous monster, because the mermaid asked for her help in winning the heart of the man who sets the players on the quest; the witch fell in love with him herself and so trapped her mermaid rival in a hideous form and in the lake before running away with and marrying the man.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: A series of ten in-game books titled "Crafting Motifs 1-10" tells the story of how a researcher named Morian Zenas, who was performing experiments on interdimensional travel, won the heart of a certain Doctor Alfidia Lupus. Unfortunately, Morian's assistant in his transliminal research, Divayth Fyr, was rejected by Alfidia in favor of Morian. Thus, when Morian was finally able to travel to the planes of Oblivion, it is heavily implied that Divayth Fyr sabotaged his efforts so that Morian would be driven insane by all the forbidden and forgotten knowledge he could accrue in the plane of Apocrypha. Divayth's gamble succeeds, and Morian mysteriously never returns to Mundus.
  • While the example from Cinderella still plays out as such, the retelling in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is even worse. After Cinderella tries on the glass slipper and wins her freedom and Prince Charming's hand in marriage, her stepfamily snaps from hatred and jealousy and summons the Cursed Coach to murder her and deny her happy ending, as well as grandchildren for the King. It leads to their imminent damnation when the coach drops a firebomb on them, causing either their deaths or transformation into Heartless.
  • Sly Cooper:
    • In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, The Black Baron (actually Penelope) operates on this principal. He enforces a strict no-cheating policy during the competition for two-fold reasoning: one so he can disqualify his competition as they inevitably do cheat, allowing him to ensure both competitors aren't able to compete, and two so he can gain a much better edge in the competition by being the only one able to cheat.
    • In Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Penelope is at it again, though much worse, by plotting to remove Sly and Murray from the equation so that she can have Bentley, or rather, his skills, to herself. Bentley is offended that she doesn't truly care about his feelings, and dumps her, citing while she's right about his potentials, Sly and Murray are pretty much his family.
  • Strong Bad plants Pom Pom's locker with an energy substance in one part of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, in order to cheat in a race.
  • The main objective of Yandere Simulator is to remove any potential rivals for Senpai's affection. While the most obvious solution is to simply Murder the Hypotenuse, the game is set to have non-lethal options such as social sabotage, befriending the rival and simply asking them to step aside, and setting them up with other guys.

    Visual Novels 
  • Attempted multiple times in Double Homework:
    • Tamara tries to demoralize Johanna into withdrawing sexually from the protagonist in order to get him for herself.
    • Dennis offers his yacht for the protagonist's "appreciation party", and then arranges for him to miss the boat launch so he himself could be alone with five pretty girls.
    • Dennis's idea to try to bed all the girls is to blackmail Dr. Mosely/Zeta into planning a class trip to Barbarossa, a place associated with great trauma for the protagonist, so he won't be able to follow them there.
  • Upon realizing that the protagonist and title character of Melody are in a romantic relationship, Bethany tries to force them apart by stealing Melody's prize guitar and refusing to give it back unless the protagonist resigns as her manager. Played straight if the protagonist mishandles the situation, causing Steve to smash the guitar; otherwise subverted when Bethany has a change of heart, gives the guitar back, and wishes the couple luck together.

    Web Animation 
  • Camp Camp: The Flower Scouts kidnap Nikki and leave her strung up from the stage lights because Tabii wanted to steal her role as Juliet so she could kiss Neil, who is playing Romeo.


    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of the Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon, the Chipmunks and Chipettes perform a Snow White stage adaptation. The director's daughter, angry that Brittany was given the starring role instead of her, manages to lock her in a storage closet for a large portion of the show so she can take her place.
  • An episode of Batman Beyond entitled "Hidden Agenda" features a villain named "Terminal". In truth, he is a regular high school student with very promising grades, but when his mother learns that he scored second out of thousands of students on the statewide standardized test, he tries to remedy this by killing Maxine Gibson, the student that got the highest score.
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Where No Duck Has Gone Before", Courage kicks Launchpad, toppling him down a staircase, so that he can have the boys' attention and adoration all to himself. He's notably displeased when Launchpad comes back to warn the others that they've actually been launched into space and any danger they encounter can kill them.
  • In the Dude, That's My Ghost! episode "The Candidate", Shanilla says that Lolo is insanely competitive, and asks if anyone remembers when they were both up for the same part in the school musical. The scene cuts to a Flash Back of Lolo taking a bow in front of a cheering crowd while Shanilla hangs Bound and Gagged from the rafters backstage.
  • Done by Stewie in an episode of Family Guy where he kidnaps his babysitter's boyfriend. This is forgotten about until the end of the episode, when he realizes that the boyfriend is still in Brian's trunk and has likely suffocated.
  • Several episodes of Jem and the Holograms involved the Misfits trying to somehow dispose of the Holograms in order to get the spotlight to themselves.
  • In the Kim Possible episode "Team Impossible", the titular team tries to force Kim out of the world-saving business, because for them it is literally a business, and Kim's willingness to help people free of charge is undercutting their bottom line.
  • In the Grand Finale of King of the Hill, Bobby's meat-judging team is left stranded in a creek after fans from a rival school replace their driver and hijack their bus.
  • Total Drama World Tour: Stuck playing second fiddle to Geoff and Bridgette because her old job doesn't want her back, Blaineley takes drastic measures to make sure she stays relevant, culminating in kidnapping Bridgette and sending her to the Siberian wilderness without a passport, leaving Blainely to reclaim the role of the female co-host.
  • Winx Club:
    • In the episode Miss Magix, the senior witches sabotage a number of the contestants at the titular beauty pageant.
    • Diaspora has made new attempts of getting rid of Bloom so she can have Sky.

    Real Life 
  • The notorious case of figure skater Tonya Harding. In 1994, she, her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, and her bodyguard Shawn Eckardt plotted to take out Nancy Kerrigan, Harding's main rival at the upcoming United States Figure Skating Championships and Winter Olympics, by hiring two guys to bash her leg in after practice. While Harding won the US Championship, the following year she would be stripped of her gold medal, banned from competitive figure skating for life, and sentenced to three years of probation, 500 hours of community service, and a $100,000 fine once it became clear that she was behind the attack. The kicker: Kerrigan still went on to win silver at the Olympics after recovering from her injury (and it came down to the wire between her and the gold medal winner Oksana Baiul), while Harding only placed eighth. The affair would later be dramatized in the film I, Tonya.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Remove The Rival


Blaineley kidnaps Bridgette

Blaineley sends Bridgette to Sibera to steal her co-host job.

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