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The Bad Guy Wins
aka: The Bad Guys Win

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"They say, 'Evil prevails when good men fail to act.' What they ought to say is, 'Evil prevails.'"
Yuri Orlov, Lord of War

We're all used to heroes winning out over the bad guys. The bad guys get theirs, justice is done, and the heroes walk away happy. Sometimes things are a little more bittersweet, but we at least expect the villain to lose in the end. One can even get away with a Downer Ending where it ends badly for the heroes, but many of these kinds of endings are "nobody wins" affairs where everybody pays the price (fatally or not). Even if the villain wins in these kinds of endings, it's usually at great enough personal cost to the villain that they are utterly ruined as a result.

Not so with this ultimate of Downer Endings. The Bad Guy Wins is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: complete and ultimate triumph for the villain, and complete and utter devastation (frequently with death or worse) for the hero or heroes who dared to oppose them. A bad guy who wins is a Karma Houdini by definition, and such endings can frequently be depressing as hell itself — even more so than your regular Downer Ending. When this trope is parodied, it is the happy ending stuck on for the villain instead which is despairingly from the hero's perspective.

History has plenty of examples of this trope, especially in stories of failed rebellions against a powerful empire or recountings of real life tragedies. But in Fictionland, when this kind of ending shows up, it's often used either as a hook for a sequel that will give the hero (or a new hero) the chance to succeed where they failed in the first one, or as a way of showing how much of an utter, hopeless Crapsack World that the characters live in — particularly in the case of Dystopias, where it serves as a warning to those living in the here and now not to let this kind of thing happen for real. There can be any number of other reasons for the bad guy winning: simply for the sake of a twist ending (especially in horror stories, which are often most effective if they leave the audience with a hugely emotionally negative final shock); out of the writer's desire to be original or to throw in a new twist to keep things fresh or unpredictable; because the writer is really pessimistic and/or believes that True Art Is Angsty; because the villain is a Well-Intentioned Extremist and in this case The Extremist Was Right; or just because the writer couldn't find any other way to end the story which suited them. Sometimes it may all just be part of a Black Comedy anyway.

Doomed by Canon often requires this trope. If the Big Bad's Backstory involves the Big Bad attaining all kinds of success to get him or her into the position that started the story, the Prequel requires them to win — and kill off any major characters, no matter how sympathetic, who do not make it to the original story, especially when the original story mentions the villain killing them. More generally, Villain Protagonists will benefit from this trope, particularly in video games where the player takes on the role of a bad guy.

Some stories may attempt to use this trope, yet still try to soften the blow. Perhaps the villain's goal is ultimately a good thing. Or the heroes aren't really that different after all and their loutish behavior keeps us from feeling too sorry for them. Another variant is for the villain to create a Villain World that the heroes must topple in a future story. In the case of video games with Multiple Endings, it is common for at least one ending to have the villain succeed in whatever their plan is, but this is rarely the true/canon ending, which is typically a Golden Ending instead.

In cases when the hero was particularly well-liked and/or the villain particularly hated, the audience may call for a sequel in which the villain gets a proper comeuppance. Or lacking that, they may decide to write their own.

The sixth form of You Are Too Late is one technique to bring this about. Another technique to invoke this is to form a Xanatos Gambit: the villain wins something regardless of whether the heroes foil their Evil Plan or not. A Last Stand commonly features them.

May be considered a form of You Can't Thwart Stage One if it happens in a serial work. This would overlap with Hate Sink, likely the Audience and Moral Guardians would likely increase their wrath and would despise the villains a lot more. Doing this too often or having this happen almost inevitably will result in Invincible Villain.

Compare Team Rocket Wins, when the bad guys in question are usually so ineffectual the audience may actually be happy for them to catch a break. Compare also to Villain Has a Point, in which the villain may not personally win but does win the hero over on some critical point. Also compare Meaningless Villain Victory, in which The Bad Guy Wins, but the victory is rendered hollow or meaningless or actually becomes a defeat due to some technicality or unforeseen chance.

Contrast The Good Guys Always Win. Near-Villain Victory is a typical subversion of the trope in which the bad guy does win for a time, only for the good guys to rebound and take that victory away. Compare Pyrrhic Victory when the villain's victory came at a great cost. This is NOT necessarily the same with Karma Houdini and Downer Ending, as there are plenty of happy endings where villains escape unscathed and a plenty of instances where the villains suffer as much as everyone.

See also: Downer Ending, Karma Houdini, Industrialized Evil, and Shoot the Shaggy Dog. Can overlap with Godwin's Law of Time Travel. Dystopias often end this way.

If the story lacks a villain, nature (or the heroes' own flaws) might defeat them instead.

Warning: This is a Spoilered Rotten trope, that means that EVERY SINGLE EXAMPLE on this list is a spoiler by default and most of them will be unmarked. This is your last warning, only proceed if you really believe you can handle this list.

noreallife

Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • A Toon Boom commercial has a movie shoot where this trope is supposed to happen, but one of the actors is distracted with his game.
  • This Weetabix ad revolves around the classic story of The Three Little Pigs... except that this Big Bad Wolf starts his day with Weetabix, which gives him the strength to blow down the brick house and devour the pigs.

    Audio Play 
  • Jan Tenner:
    • The second arc of Die neue Dimension (engl. "The new dimension") sees Big Bad Zweistein succeeding in taking over Westland while the heroes are away.
    • In Der Neue Superheld (engl. "The new superhero"), the Void succeeds in devouring Logar's universe and starts its attack on the main universe.

    Card Games 
  • A special promotional set was released for Legend of the Five Rings called "Thousand Years of Darkness", showing what would have happened if a Shadowlands player had succeeded in winning the final tournament for the Distant Thunder story arc (which very nearly came to pass). The set's storyline ends with Rokugan overrun with monsters and the undead, and the last surviving heroes sailing for another land.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The brains behind the game ran a several month-long Publicity Stunt involving a conflict between two factions, the native Mirrans, and the invasive Phyrexians. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the unquestionably evil, parasitic, the invasive side won and renamed the realm of Mirrodin into New Phyrexia.
    • And in the Shards of Alara block, the dragon planeswalker Nicol Bolas succeeds in bringing about the Conflux and merging the five shards of the plane. And immediately after that, in the Zendikar block, Bolas manages to get the Eldrazi released from their prison. And he was instrumental in bringing about the rise of Phyrexia as well.
    • In the most recent return for Bolas has him creating an army of zombies that have all the skills that they had when alive, select warriors gain new and powerful abilities, warping an entire plane of reality to suit his whims before destroying most of it and defeating the Gatewatch, who had just defeated two of the Eldrazi titans and sealed the final one into a moon, with insane ease and scattering them to the far corners of the multi-verse just to have a chance to survive.
      • How bad was it? Well, Nicol Bolas erases part of Jace's mind, nearly kills the indestructible Gideon, puts out Chandra's flame, turns nature itself against Nissa (who can command Nature with a thought), and easily overwhelms Liliana, the strongest Necromancer ever, with such ease you would think he was swatting flies.
    • Hell, Nicol Bolas pretty much wins every time he appears up until he's finally defeated in War of the Spark.
  • In Magician, part one ends like this with Janus achieving all his goals: taking Natasha, defeating Edermask, and uniting the continent through conquest with him in the ultimate position of power.

    Comic Books 
  • Both The DCU and Marvel Universe have their own pages.
  • Bloom County:
  • This happens all the time in Chaos! Comics. In fact, Word of God states that the whole idea of designing Evil Ernie was over the question, "Why does the bad guy have to lose?" (Maybe it is a rather interesting question when you think of it...)
  • Halloween: Nightdance: Long story short Michael Myers ends up killing all of the characters in the story including the main character Lisa who ends up getting Buried Alive. Ryan who attempted to help save the day is framed for Michael's crimes and is shot to death.
  • In Brazilian comics Holy Avenger:
    • Sszzaas, the god of betrayal, manages to get his place back as a major god by manipulating all the other 19 gods plus all the characters in the story, thus regaining all the powers he had lost upon his banishment. With this, all of his cultists also get their full powers back, including Nekapeth, the high priest of Sszzaas, who had been working with Arsenal the whole time for this end.
    • Arsenal, high priest of the god of war, and manipulative father of the female lead manages to get the world's Infinity +1 Sword, which is capable of killing anything with just one slash, this sword being his main objective since years before the story even begins.
    • Lampshaded by Sszzaas in the final chapter:
      Sszzaas: Why do you look at me like that? Can't a major god be in a good mood? After all, it's not always that a great adventure ends with the victory of the villains!
      Sckhar: Speak for yourselves! I only got screwed in this story!
  • Robot takes over Earth in Invincible and eventually changes the planet to such an extent that it becomes unrecognizable. The last issue reveals it to be a Pyrrhic Victory — Invincible destroys his body, and allows his Brain in a Jar to keep existing as an advisor to the Immortal, though still unable to control any device he could use to escape — and his ex-wife grows to hate him, leaving him to an eternity of loneliness. If you read the bonus material on the collected editions, you'll learn that he eventually drove the Immortal to madness to seize power once again. Though to not make it too depressive, things work out in the end since Invincible travels to that time thanks to a pair of teenage bystanders to stop Immortal and kill him.
  • Judge Dredd: "Dark Judges: Dominion" is a pretty depressing example. It's told in the form of an Apocalyptic Log by a woman whose space colony was attacked by the Dark Judges, omnicidal monsters who believe all life to be a crime. After starting a Zombie Apocalypse they kill everyone on the planet with the last survivor knowing that they'll find her eventually and pledging to save her last bullet for herself.
  • Khaal: The Chronicles of a Galactic Emperor: The Villain Protagonist gets everything he wants: absolute power, uncontested control and all his rivals dead. He traps his brothers (whose lifeforce is tied to his own) in a And I Must Scream state to prevent them from ever being harmed and bringing an end to his own life. The comic ends with him invading Earth and ruling it as a God-Emperor.
  • Micronauts (IDW) ends with Baron Karza successfully dispelling the Entropy Cloud and escaping back to Microspace before the heroes, setting himself up as the dimension's savior and ruler, while branding the Micronauts traitors.
  • Jonathan Hickman's The Nightly News has this. The group responsible has just got away with orchestrating the mass murder of people connected with the news media by manipulating people damaged by media lies and framing an undercover journalist. The next thing they plan to do is to kill all the lawyers.
  • Mojo Jojo wins in the final DC Comics story of The Powerpuff Girls, "Smart And Smarter" (issue #59, Cartoon Network Block Party). Blossom lets her ego swell after being admitted to a school for exceptionally smart children to the point where she alienates her sisters and Mojo. In a mano-a-mano battle, Blossom shoots her ice breath at Mojo, who counters with a heat shield. The trail of melted ice reaches Blossom's foot (which she doesn't see) as she emits static electricity from her hands. The result: Blossom gets fried to a frazzle from electrocution. The story ends with Mojo and Buttercup shaking hands.
  • Rick and Morty (Oni): Rick once abandoned his workers on a dinosaur island for twenty years. After they catch him, instead of killing him, they just demand a way off (even going so far as to chastise the one survivor who keeps threatening torture). By the end, they are all eaten by dinosaurs, and Rick, Summer and Morty get off the island scot-free.
    Rick: G-Good work, kids. You just saved me a ton in likely workplace lawsuits. Y-y-y-you want to see some real bloodthirsty carnivores? Get tied up with some labor attorneys.
  • Sin City short stories often end with the bad guys winning. The most well-known example of this is in "Daddy's Little Girl" where an incestuous father-daughter couple kill the protagonist as a means of foreplay. The main stories play with this trope. Even when the heroes die or their lives are destroyed, the villains suffer great losses as a result or even die themselves.
  • "Endangered Species", the final major storyline for Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) prior to Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide, ends with Thrash the Devil successfully banishing all echidnas except for Knuckles into another dimension.
  • Superlópez: Thanks to an ironic twist ending. The unnamed Mad Scientist in Chiclón Attacks wants to get rid of all the noise of the big city... by attacking the city with a giant robot and forcing everyone out. For his troubles, he gets put in a prison cell... where he can finally enjoy some peace and quiet.
  • Minor example in a Transformers: Energon toy pack-in comic. Normally mini-comics packaged with toys are a page or two to advertise the rest of the line. Good guys are minding their own business when the bad guys show. Good guys show off their features while driving bad guys back. The end. In this case, though: Inferno, Prowl, and Landmine find some energon. Megatron shows up. Inferno dramatically combines with Prowl to form... Powerlinx Inferno! Landmine dramatically combines with the parts of his vehicle mode that aren't normally part of his robot mode and becomes... Landmine Brute Mode! And together they... get curbstomped by Megs and his new Terrorcons and are sent scurrying away with their tailpipes between their legs while Megatron laughs at them. The Decepticons take all the energon. The end!
  • Dick Dastardly actually wins in three Wacky Races stories, but there were catches to them. In "The Scavenger Scramble" (Gold Key #7), a big purse (normally a largesse of cash) is at stake, and what Dick wins is a big flowery ladies' purse. In "Trek to Tanzania" (Archie Comics #1), Penelope Pitstop helps Dick win but only because she was recruited as a special agent to an outfit investigating a crooked ruler of whom Dick is in cahoots. In "Hanna-Barbera Fun-In" (Gold Key #5) had a one-pager of Dastardly pushing the Mean Machine across the finish line after Muttley bails on him, and he uses the trophy, filled with hot water, to soak his feet.
  • The backstory of Wanted is that this happened 20 years ago. Also, the outcome of the series itself no matter which side wins.

    Fairy Tales 
  • Chicken Little: All of our heroes, including the title character, are tricked and eaten by the cunning Foxy Loxy.
  • Kolobok: The titular character — a little round bun — is tricked and eaten by a cunning fox.

    Fan Works 
  • Always Visible: The open ending leaves no doubt that doctor Baselard has fooled Galbraith after all.
  • In Ambition, Nightmare Moon, merged with Luna no longer, takes over Equestria. She has her hooves full though: creatures from another dimension are converging on her new kingdom, and the Princesses, Twilight, and her friends aren't out of the fight yet.
  • In Another Form Of Power and its sequel All for Power, the Greater-Scope Villain All for One wins despite dying at the climax of the first story. He ages Izuku and trains him in business, law and politics, guiding the "teen" into becoming a politician instead of an average villain. Not only did Izuku succeed in legally dismantling the Japanese Hero Society, spreading its success to the rest of the world, while ruling the Underworld as the League of Villains secret leader, but he easily kills off his enemies and loose ends to keep his power, which includes Shigaraki, All Might, Bakugou Katsuki ... and All for One himself. Izuku ultimately comes out unscathed as the most powerful, well-liked politician in Japan.
  • The Better Bones AU includes the book Sol's Game, which centers around Harry joining SkyClan in hopes of finding a third kitten to sacrifice in order to become the vessel of the god Sol. He ultimately succeeds at killing one of Leafstar and Billystorm's kits for this purpose.
  • By the Fire's Light ends with the Slender Man taking control of the Earth.
  • By the end of the Hansel and Gretel fanfic Captives of a Candy Shack, the Witch's son has married Gretel and keeps Hansel locked up forever For the Evulz. Gretel has technically agreed to the marriage but only thanks to her developing severe Stockholm Syndrome after prolonged Mind Rape, Hansel barely retains his sapience, let alone sound mind, after years of solitary confinement, and the Witch's son continues to successfully impersonate his own mother, who used to be The Dreaded, and frighten off anyone who could attempt to attack him.
  • In The CATverse, Batman isn't always around to save civilians from Gotham's supercriminals. This is played for Black Comedy in Tourist Trap and seriously in Small World. In both stories Crane abducts and tortures a victim into insanity without Batman or anyone else intervening or the victim getting away, and in the latter the victim is his younger sister.
  • Character Championship Wrestling: In the Massive Multiplayer Crossover wrestling promotion, heels have won their fair share of rivalries. The biggest examples are Ben & Gwen Tennyson, who are The CCW Magnus Champion and CCW Female's Champion respectively. The former, after losing his Title to Autolycus, stole his Title Belt that night and then ran him over with his car the next week... all setting up for him to win it all back at the next Pay-Per-View. The latter traded The Female's Belt back and forth with Emmy, and then challenged her to an all in I Quit Match where if Emmy lost, her reigns would be erased and everything would be counted as one Gwen reign. Emmy would accept...and then get subsequently screwed by a random run-in from Zoe Payne and then get her face repeatedly curb-stomped into thumbtacks by Gwen. In a very solemn moment, Emmy uttered "I Quit", and Gwen, through all her terrible actions and bad attitude, was able to walk away with The Belt while a poor girl was sent to the hospital for three months. And to this day Gwen still has The Belt...
  • Cheerilee's Garden: Sure, Cheerilee dies in the end, but she's never connected to the murders at all. In fact, she's seen as one of Twilight's victims, as the people blame Twilight for everything.
  • Chrysalis Wins starts out with just that: Chrysalis winning during the events of "A Canterlot Wedding". The rest of the story deals with her dealing with the consequences of her actions.
  • Code Prime: The ending of R1 has the Decepticons come out on top over the Black Knights and Autobots. By orchestrating the SAZ Massacre, they reveal the true evils of Britannia to the world while also ruining Euphemia's reputation. Then, they attack and destroy Pendragon, kill Emperor Charles, and take the royal family members present prisoner, effectively destroying the Britannian Empire. Finally, they launch an assault on the Tokyo Settlement. The Autobots and Black Knights, who were already exhausted from fighting Britannian forces just moments ago, lose half their forces and are forced to retreat and go underground for six months. During this time, the Decepticons mop up what's left of Britannia, establishing themselves as the new rulers of Earth.
  • Common Sense: Team Rocket gets quite a few victories against Ash, such as successfully stealing the Moon Stone, a majority of the Pokémon at Pokémon Tech, the Squirtle Squad and a number of Pokémon from the passengers of the St. Anne.
  • The ending of the first series of Conversations with a Cryptid: All for One successfully escapes prison, restores himself to his past glory, evades suspicion for himself and Izuku, rescues his son, slaughters most of his son's enemies, forces Izuku into compliance and reunites with his family.
  • Several of the stories in The Conversion Bureau: Worlds Where It Wouldn't Work end with another villain from one of the worlds Xlestia invades turning the tables on her. Special note goes to Boss Rush, which involves every cannon villain coming back to beat Xlestia, one after the other.
  • Crazy Irken and ?, an Invader Zim-based crossover fic anthology by D_rissing and nightmaster000.note , tends to end each chapter with Zim successfully claiming victory of some sort through whichever girl has ended up in his clutches:
    • In the Teen Titans (2003) chapter, Zim breaks Starfire to his will and uses her to conquer his city, kill Dib, and also enslave Gaz, leaving him in prime position to Take Over the World. GIR, meanwhile, has somehow taken over Jump City by himself in the meantime.
    • In the Total Drama chapter, Zim and Courtney's team-up has resulted in them conquering Earth, crushing Dib's La Résistance and now preparing to overthrow the Tallest as well.
    • In the Atomic Betty chapter, a thoroughly broken Betty gives Zim all of the Galactic Guardians' secrets, allowing him to undermine them while usurping Maximus as leader of the criminal underworld and ending the chapter by destroying their HQ with her knowledge of their self-destruct codes.
    • Downplayed in the fourth chapter, as the only victory Zim claims is winning the science fair and potentially having access to Professor Membrane's experiments to use in his schemes as part of the prize. On a more personal level, he's now in a genuinely loving relationship with Zita, who encourages him to not only take over Earth but also overthrow the Tallest.
    • Also downplayed in the The Proud Family chapter, where Zim's only personal victory is claiming Penny as a willing pleasure slave, though his actions also indirectly lead to a victory for the Irken Empire as a whole by unintentionally exposing the Resisty's hideout and allowing the Armada to destroy them.
  • Cupcakes (Sergeant Sprinkles) started a trend for "grimdark as fuck" FiM fanfics where an innocuous character is made into a villain and slaughters some other characters with extreme prejudice. 99% of the time, this villain is successful and receives no retribution, also in the vein of Cupcakes. In Cupcakes itself, not only does Pinkie get away with murdering Rainbow Dash, but she also takes Apple Bloom on as an apprentice and they work on Silver Spoon together; note, however, others have written alternate endings, some where she does get her comeuppance after all.
  • Dad Villain AU:
    • The whole alternate universe was created by Gabriel succeeding in his plan to get his hands on the Ladybug Earrings and Black Cat Ring, combining them to make a reality-altering Wish. He proceeded to use this power to spitefully ensure that Ladybug and her loved ones would suffer for how she'd fought against him for so long, Wishing that they would suffer the magical backlash from Emelie using the broken Peacock Pin. This eventually results in Tom Dupain-Cheng using the Butterfly Brooch to become Viceroy, hunting for the bastard who killed his beloved Sabine...
    • Chloé's constant harassment and bullying of Marinette culminated in her convincing Kim to give the poor girl a box full of spiders on what turned out to be the day that Sabine's health took a turn for the worst. This heavily contributed to Marinette deciding to dial back her attendence of Francoise Dupont as much as possible so she could help out at the bakery. When she learned about this, Chloé gloated that she'd gotten her to drop out, declaring "Finally! She should have known better than to stand up to me!"
  • In The Devil and the Detective, Michio Yuki successfully causes Ran Mouri to discover that Conan Edogawa is actually Shinichi Kudo.
    Michio: You know, Shinichi. There are times the good guys win, but there are also times when the bad guys win. In this case, I win. The bad guy has won this round.
  • The Evil Scientist, the Big Bad from Peter Chimaera's DIGIMON SAVEZ THE WROLD!!1111, successfully destroyed the road connecting an island to the mainland, essentially trapping people on the island. The narrative depressingly says that Digimon, the main character, couldn't do anything to solve this situation, causing him to go home and cry.
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: In response to Ran wondering whether an all-out assault against Megas would be a plausible idea, Yukari warns that if the mech were to be destroyed, Gensokyo wouldn't be around much longer. The epilogue elaborates on this, stating that if Megas were to ever fall "and not get back up", the world would be ripe for conquest by the Glorft and Gensokyo would cease to exist; this outcome is referred to outright as a Bad Ending.
  • In Game Theory, although this isn't actually a bad thing, due to the nature of the story. Precia succeeds in reviving Alicia and dupes the TSAB into believing she is dead.
  • Several issues of Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams and its companion series Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change with the Light ends with the title heroes being defeated by the Villain of the Week, who accomplishes their goal. Notably, the Sorting Algorithm of Evil and Villain Decay do not apply here, as the Rogues Gallery in both series often keeps pace with the heroes in their competence.
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters has several examples of this in Chapter 9, as Hak Foo gets an Oni mask, Wong gets the Pig talisman, and Nerissa nabs the Dragon talisman, while the heroes walk away with nothing.
    • In Chapter 19, the Dark Hand succeeds in manipulating Section 13 and various governments to start weaponizing magic, which helps with their long-term plans, while also tricking them into thinking that Harold is their mole, when he's really been a Dark Hand leader all along.
    • In Chapter 22, Tarakudo successfully distracts the heroes, enabling him to steal the Hana Fuda cards. While they manage to remove the two masks he sends after them to do this, this means they'll be defenseless against the three masks still loose.
  • The Halloween Unspectacular anthology series will sometimes have villains coming out on top in its various individual stories. Happens in a big way at the end of HU7's Story Arc, when PURITY successfully wipe out large numbers of superpowered and nonhuman people (including several established heroes) and taking over America, forcing all resistance to hide out in Wakanda. And at the end of HU9's arc, The Bus Driver succeeds in ruining E350's life.
  • How to Sex Vol. 4–58 is set in the aftermath of an alternate universe where Dream wins and gets what he wants at the end of Season 2 of the Dream SMP, with Tubbo dead and Tommy imprisoned in the local Hellhole Prison he commissioned.
  • Human Curiosity largely takes place about a hundred years after the villains win. The secretive HCS kidnapped most of the Nations, subjecting them over time to increasingly atrocious experiments. Many of the remaining Nations had given them up for dead.
  • Inverted Fate starts off in a timeline where Frisk wasn't able to beat Flowey once he became Asriel in the True Pacifist Route, so he was able to reset the timeline, but botched it and ended up in a different timeline with certain characters in different roles with the memories of the original timeline.
  • J-WITCH Series:
    • The Season 2 midpoint chapter "Return" ends with Nerissa and Drago succeeding in their goals of both stealing Elyon's powers and freeing Shendu from his imprisonment.
    • A few chapters later in "In and Out of Balance", the villains succeed in not only destroying Section 13, but also stealing the Talismans, the mask of Tarakudo, and the Pan'ku Box, which they intend to use to free the Demon Sorcerers.
  • Left Beyond technically ends like this, in that Yahweh is able to defeat both Satan and humanity's freedom fighters and enact the Judgement. It turns out to be an example of Pyrrhic Victory though since the Omega ensures that the Judgement gets stuck in a processing loop which gives the human astronaut corps a chance of survival in another world.
  • The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time (DragonRand100):
    • As far as Link and many in Hyrule are concerned, Ganondorf won by the time he woke up from his seven years of absence. Many in Hyrule are incredibly demoralized by all that occurred and it takes massive strives to undo all that was committed with heavy costs inflicted including the death of Princess Zelda herself.
    • This still applies in the sense that Ganon cannot be fully killed but instead sealed away thanks due a seal created by the seven sages, implying Ganon could return. As a meta point, by the time of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Ganon does return. Despite this, Link and the heroes are convinced that they will be prepared for such a return and that they can save the world again if necessary.
  • Lex Luthor grants Lois Lane an interview in Lex Luthor Triumphant 8 months after Superman vanished without a trace. We're told in 12 agonizing chapters how Superman is being dissected for science and profit, how his Fortress of Solitude is breached and seized, how Batman miscalculated Luthor's genius, how Wonder Woman and the JLA are duped into fatal scenarios, and how, in the end, Lex Luthor ushers humanity into a golden age thanks to all the magic and science he took from the heroes.
  • Mischief (MHA): Twofold. Despite the heroes and students best efforts, this is how the I-Island arc ends: While all his physical bodies are destroyed, Ultron successfully uploads his consciousness into the I-Island computers, destroys the last evacuation ship, leaving Izuku and his friends stuck on the island just as the military launches a bombardeament to destroy the place and prevent Ultron's escape. And even that fails, because Loki arrives in the last moments to help the AI escape and promises to provide him a more powerful body in exhcange for his help with his plans, making all their efforts, as well a Izuku exposing his secret as an alien All for Nothing.
  • My Little Avengers: Although Loki dies at the end, he notes that his death will release a wave of magical energy that will mutate every living thing in the world within a few generations, creating the world ruled by magic that he always wanted.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: Season 1 Episode 16, the Halloween Episode, ends with Zim getting his hands on the Meekrob crystals enabling him to find the way to Project Domination.
  • One step backwards and Three forwards opens with Hawkmoth successfully obtaining the Miraculouses he needs to make his Wish thanks to Lila convincing Alya and Nino to betray the other heroes. He also grants his supporters the chance to make their own Wishes, heedless of the fact that they are making these requests from a pair of vengeful kwami. The story goes on to detail how their their deepest desires are twisted and turned against them, ultimately leading to their downfall.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, so far the Flood has won — kicking the heroes out of their galaxy with a second one virtually fallen.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has quite a few examples:
    • The main story has Belladonna Tyrian, who is introduced with the goal to kill Tokiomi Borealis. She succeeds, albeit while (unknowingly) going against the same wishes she was trying to fulfill. However, she does also gain something else during the act: the revelation of a possible half-brother in Ash Ketchum.
    • Twenty Gyarados Bill Gaiden ends with the title character fatally wounded along with his Mega-Gyarados, but smiling in triumph, since with all the destruction he caused, he succeeded in ensuring that nobody will ever laugh at him again.
    • Sabrina Gaiden ends with the title character not only getting away scot-free with all the things she did in her hometown, but happily knowing that she was proven right on her theory, thus putting her on the road to make her ideal world by forcing people to work on their potential and removing those she considers mediocre or unremarkable.
  • The Pony POV Series has the Alternate Universe "Epilogue", which shows what would have happened had Discord succeeded in defeating the Mane Six. To say that it's a Crapsack World would be a vast understatement. It's explored in more detail during the Dark World Arc of Season 6.
    • It turns out that Nightmare Eclipse wrenched control from Discord a long time ago and has been defeating the heroes and destroying the universe repeatedly ever since. Ultimately subverted, however, since the heroes ultimately win.
  • Queen of All Oni:
    • This is the case regarding the subplot about the search for the Teachings of Eternal Shadow, as Jade succeeds in recovering all three tablets containing them.
    • While Jade and Tarakudo are defeated in the Final Battle, the epilogue shows that Blankman was successful in his own goals, stealing ten of the talismans to take over the Magisters with, as well as ensuring Jade remains too corrupted to ever become The Chosen One.
  • The Raven's Plan: The story actually opens with the Night King succeeding in destroying Westeros, with the prologue being built around the Last Stand against his forces. The entire plot is driven by the heroes going back in time to prevent this from happening.
  • In Roller Brawl: The Mega Cyborg as part of the Downer Beginning, the Darkness and Kaos succeed in eating the sky, and unlike what Glumshanks feared, Skylands was not destroyed: the Darkness, empowered by all the magic he consumed, was able to remake Skylands in his own image.
  • Shinra High SOLDIER: Hojo kills Sephiroth's wife and son, effectively breaking his spirit, and continues undisturbed to inject him with more Jenova cells.
  • Sins of the Past opens with Lila Rossi successfully turning all of Marinette's friends and classmates against her. Including Adrien, who blames Marinette for trying to expose Lila's deceptive nature in the first place, claiming that makes her a bully. Then one of Hawkmoth's akumatizing butterflies finds her... Fifteen years later, Lila Rossi is now the Mayor of Paris, with an adult Team Miraculous at her beck and call and no Ladybug in sight. Not until Kamala Lavillant-Couffaine finds herself with a pair of blackened earrings which cause her to start seeing a ghostly apparition calling herself Marinette Dupain-Cheng.
  • In Part 1 of Spiderverse The Movie - Edge of Time, Kang the Conqueror succeeded in acquiring Kurumi Tokisaki's powers and he used them to destroy his variants and the entire Multiverse. Thankfully, this was undone in Part 2, where the Spider-Men travelled back in time and rescued Kurumi from Kang's clutches.
  • Star Wars Vs Warhammer 40 K: Season 1 sees both the Sith and the Imperium of Man come out on top. Palpatine's False Flag Operation successfully sabotages First Contact between the Republic and the Imperium, provoking the Imperials into declaring war. Unprepared for the sheer level of brutality that the Imperium fights their wars with, the Jedi and their clone troopers suffer a series of curb-stomp battles. By the end of the season, dozens of Jedi have been killed while the Republic loses two of their founding planets, their primary fleet base, their most prestigious naval academy, and the shipyards which they need to build their reserve fleets.
  • In the Game Mod of Stardew Valley Expanded, if the player sides with JojaCorp and restores the Community Center with their route, they will greatly expand their activities in Pelican Town, driving Pierre out of business, and Morris will become the new mayor of the town.
  • Super RWBY Sisters:
    • K. Rool won thrice against Yang in DK 64. One for getting rid of her aura, humiliating her in Gloomy Galleon and blowing her up along with DK Isle. Yang comes back after that one though.
    • Bowser won against Mario and RWBY at the start of Paper RWBY, leading to the entire adventure and the group having to make their way back to the castle.
    • Adam and Seryu won their fight against Weiss and Blake in RWBY: The Crown Tundra.
    • Dimentio succeeds in mentally breaking Paper Ruby despite his plans with the Chaos Heart failing.
    • Despite being the Anti-Hero of the story, Bowser still won at the end of RWBY: Bowser's Inside Story.
    • Despite not being an active villain in the Burning of Rome, Eggman was able to succeed in exposing Cinder, as well as exposing the shadow war that's been going on between Salem and Ozpin to the entire world. Ensuring that Remnant would be in a state of fear and distrust.
  • There and Back Again:
    • The fic the end of Game of Thrones into this when Jon Snow is informed by The Stranger that all the events of the series were the result of the manipulations of the Evil Sorcerer Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers (aka the Three-Eyed Raven) to escape from Beyond the Wall, seize power in King's Landing as an Immortal Ruler (via hijacking Bran Stark's body in a Body Surf), and exile the last Targaryen. The gods, displeased with this outcome, thus decide to pool their resources to Peggy Sue Jon and several other important players and allies back in time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong and make it so the Prince Who Was Promised truly fulfills his destiny.
    • To a lesser extent, Littlefinger successfully killing Jon Arryn and kicking off the War of the Five Kings was one of his big victories in the original timeline, as well as passing off Sweet Robin, who is actually the product of the long-standing affair between Baelish and Lysa, as Jon Arryn's legitimate son and heir. Varys, who is one of those sent back by the gods to assist Jon Snow, thus prevents this by exposing Littlefinger's treachery, which keeps him from causing the same old troubles as before.
  • To Fall From Grace is a major example, as it ends with XANA killing the Lyoko Warriors (who by this point has already lost their families, homes, and everything else) and taking over the world.
  • In one of the most shocking twists in the entire story, the winner of Total Drama Stranded is none other than local Jerkass Calvin, though he is considered the better option when two of his fellow finalists are Keith and Chelsea.
  • Twilight Revised: Nightmare Moon imprisons Twilight in the sun alongside Celestia, and it's implied that eventually, her eternal night will kill everything back on the planet proper.
  • Even though he gets killed in the end of The Virtue of Revenge, it's made clear that the Joker won. He completely broke Jason into becoming a murderer, tormented Batman with the boy's demise, and dies knowing that Batman will carry this guilt with him forever. This is shown by him going out the only way he knows how: laughing at his enemy's misfortune.
  • The Bad Ending of Viva La Vida has Olive completing her Face–Heel Turn and succeeding in the theft of Precinct 13579's power cantaloupe, with the power shutting off for good and everyone in a panic and with Otto's final effort to make her have a Heel Realization a failure.
  • Witching Hour ends with the reveal that Zim was the one who was framing Gaz for witchcraft, which he was successful in to the point that she ends up burned at the stake. Worse, this is just part of a larger plan to destabilize the kingdom in order for him to conquer it down the line, which is implied will ultimately be a success.
  • Yognapped:

    Films — Animation 

    Music 
  • Billy Preston references this trope in his song "Will It Go Round in Circles":
    "I got a story, it ain't got no moral,
    Let the bad guy win every once in a while."
  • In the song "Take the Money and Run", Billy Joe and Bobby Sue get away with robbery and escape to Mexico.
  • Played for Laughs in Sophie Ellis-Bextor's "Murder on the Dance Floor." The Bitch in Sheep's Clothing sabotages all the other dancers for a competition and bribes the judge. She looks really happy when she wins.
  • The theme of rapper Common's single "Testify": The man on trial is a petty drug dealer accused of a shooting. His wife is extremely distraught and disruptive in the courtroom and when he is found guilty she seems to break down.... until it is revealed she is a criminal "queenpin" who set her husband up to take the fall for the murder she committed. The dramatic outbursts in the courtroom were entirely for show.
  • In The Protomen 's rock opera based on the Mega Man video games, Dr. Wily is on top in both acts, the heroes dying out or just plain giving up. Joe is dead in Act II, Protoman defected to Wily's side and is killed, and Megaman abandons the city at the end of Act I. Only Act III will tell if he truly wins his battle.
  • In Dave Alvin's "Mary Brown", the titular Bad Gal convinces the protagonist to kill her abusive husband, lets him take the rap by lying in court, and ends up marrying her dead husband's best friend. At the end of the song, the still-lovestruck dope complains that even though she never returns his letters, he still loves her.
  • 3OH!3's "Bad Guy" tells the story of good guys getting shot dead. The chorus goes "Gather up your loved ones, gather up your friends, 'cause this is when the bad guy, the bad guy wins!", actually name-dropping the trope.
  • Granite by drum and bass band Pendulum sounds almost like if the Aliens won in XCOM:
    "You can hide your eyes you can dim the lights but they are watching!
    This is a new time with a different kind they are the future
    The only one!
    This is the final call for the setting sun when they get closer.
    And with a fall from grace thy will be done the show is over.
    It's a new dawn!
    Just leave this place behind
    I'll clear your bloodshot mind.
    They only wanted your love on demand.
    This is a better way!
    We are standing by no time to hide no meeting half way.
    You were sucking life through the needles eye this is a new day.
    They have won!
    We will surrender now or be outdone left in the open.
    It's the cooling of horizon they are the future.
    The future!
    When all your fears combined the manifest was refined
    And I know you really tried to understand.
    This is a new way!"
  • Kids Praise: In the ninth album, Risky Rat manages to reach a volcano in Africa and hurl every copy of the stolen album in before Psalty and the kids can catch up to him and stop him. Subverted when they accidentally manage to record songs and experiences they went through while trying to catch Risky that provide the same kind of lessons that were on the album that Risky stole, providing a replacement for the stolen album!
  • Niru Kajitsu's "Shama" concerns a lovestruck prison guard, Claypool, trying to reconcile her feelings for a Femme Fatale prisoner and doing her duty. The prisoner appeals to her insecurities and Gayngst and asks her to help her escape prison, and they swap clothes, allowing Claypool to serve as a distraction while the prisoner makes off in a prison truck. It's only after Claypool is shot that she realizes that she was made a fool for love, and the prisoner gets away scot-free.
  • Slayer's "Hell Awaits" describes literally what seems to be Satan and his hosts overwhelming God's angels in an attack on Heaven, or figuratively the impossibility of redemption.
  • Rob Cantor: In "Christian Bale is at Your Party", despite Christian Bale's inconsiderate attitude, rampant swearing, and running naked through your neighborhood, he still manages to evade the police and get away with it at the end of the song.
  • In My Chemical Romance's "Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back". In fact, this how the whole story of the Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys album ends. While The Girl ultimately lives, all the Killjoys are killed by Better Living Industries, whose corruption they were fighting against.
    I'll tell you all how the story ends,
    Where the good guys die and the bad guys win (Who cares?!).
  • Alter Bridge's "Silver Tongue"- The POV character manages to turn the tables on those who have come to stop them and their misdeeds, bragging "When this is all said and done, I will have my way and you will take the blame."
    I swear to God I'll find a way
    To prove I still belong
    I'd rather watch it burn away
    Than say that I was wrong

    Pinball 
  • It is possible to make this happen in WHO dunnit (1995) if the player fails to catch the killer, either by failing the Taxi Chase or not completing the Roof chase.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Ric Flair was a 16-time* NWA\WCW\WWF champion, more often than not winning and/or holding his title during his heel runs. With the exception of his matches with Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat, the vast majority of his title wins and many of his successful defenses required cheating to win — but he still won. The tables turned after he left the comfortable confines of Georgia and started working for rival companies...
  • WCW had a bad habit of this. Most shows that took place between July 1996 and mid-1999 ended with the New World Order outnumbering the babyfaces and leaving them all laying, though as noted in the example above this was a thing well before the nWo and even before Turner bought the company. One of the biggest differences between JCP/WCW and the WWF was that the WWF was usually built around a superhero babyface who would vanquish every Monster Heel that challenged him,note  while the wrasslin' company was usually based around a plucky babyface chasing a dastardly heel champion.
  • The angle involving André the Giant winning the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from Hulk Hogan during the WWF's Main Event in 1988, via a referee paid to count the pin on Hogan despite his left shoulder being off the mat shortly before the three count, was a double example. As this was part of an ongoing storyline involving Ted DiBiase's quest to buy the Heavyweight Championship, he too became a bad guy who won when Andre, per an earlier agreement, handed DiBiase the title. DiBiase was introduced as the WWF Champion at two televised house shows (from Boston and Philadelphia) the evening after the Main Event aired, and several matches against Bam Bam Bigelow the following week — including a televised match from the Los Angeles Sports Arena — were recognized as title bouts (with DiBiase cheating to win each of those matches) until the weekend of February 13, 1988, wherein the WWF's syndicated programs that weekend advanced the storyline with WWF President Jack Tunney stripping DiBiase of the title and declaring the championship vacant. A draft storyline involving a 16-man elimination tournament for the World Championship initially had the heel DiBiase winning, but this was later changed to avert The Bad Guy Wins trope with Randy Savage defeating DiBiase in the title match.
  • WrestleMania 2000 was the first time in the history of the WWE that a heel won the main event at WrestleMania (which culminates and, so far as is possible for such an ongoing melodrama, finalizes the plotlines of the whole year leading up to it) and didn't immediately lose the title. Furthermore, the heel in question (Triple H) won over THREE OTHER top contenders in the biz (Mick Foley, The Rock, and The Big Show). In fact, Triple H has had long, extended victories over fan favorites as champion time and again, despite frequently being a heel during many of these periods. For example, he once won a "six-pack" championship match over FIVE OTHER opponents, all of whom were either faces at the time, or effectively faces by the circumstance of being current enemies of his.
  • Even when he is in heel mode, The Undertaker never loses at WrestleMania. (As a matter of fact, most of the time he doesn't lose much at all, regardless of whether or not he's a heel.)
    • Until Wrestlemania XXX, where he lost to Brock Lesnar.
    • Which is also an example of this trope. See below.
  • It's a common tradition in professional wrestling to have a new superstar of whom great things are expected get off to a great and usually long unbroken winning streak, and this is at least as common for heels as it is for faces. To cite the Undertaker again, he was a heel for a long time after joining up at the WWE/WWF, yet had a starting undefeated streak for something like his first year-and-a-half during which he beat such legends as Jimmy Snuka and Hulk Hogan. It didn't end until Hogan was able to beat him — only in a rematch and only by cheating. And given that Hogan's own gimmick involved practically never losing, the fact that he needed to cheat just made 'Taker look even stronger.
  • One from WrestleMania XIX - Triple H was due to defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Booker T. The central arc of the feud centered around the fact that Booker is black - Trips would say things like that people like Booker aren't good enough to be champions and do things like offer to pay Booker to carry his bags, he showed Booker's mugshot from when he was younger and robbed a Wendy's, and things of that nature. In a promo before the match, Trips went for an Author's Saving Throw by saying that when he said all of those things about Booker, he wasn't talking about him being black, but that didn't do much to deter the implications. When the match ultimately came around, Hunter won fairly easily, including waiting about a full minute after hitting his finisher to pin Booker (although that was a result of Triple H botching the finish, resulting in Booker legitimately being injured).
  • The Age of The Fall were victorious at Ring of Honor's Final Battle 2007 while Roderick Strong won at Final Battle 2010. Final Battle 2013 was a subversion as SCUM lost as a group and though Kevin Steen retained the world title, it was the start of this Heel–Face Turn. Adam Cole at War Of The Worlds 2014 when Ring Of Honor hosted New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Technically a double dose of it if you were a New Japan fan as AJ Styles and Bullet Club were both successful too. Ironically Styles losing at Final Battle 2015 would fulfill the trope for The House Of Truth and Jay Lethal in 2015.
  • Theme of CMLL's Torneo Gran Alternativa is that all of the teams involved are made up of an established veteran and a younger potential breakout star. In 2009, one of those teams was Camorra who had earlier wrestled in IWRG and Yujiro Takahashi, on an "excursion" from New Japan. Shigeo "Anti-Mexico" Okumura opposed this, for obvious reasons and attacked Camorra, leaving Takahashi's No Limit partner Tetsuya Naito to fill, and the two ended up winning the whole thing. While Okumura and La Ola Amarilla would eventually face similar humiliation, No Limit went back to Japan before they could get the comeuppance they deserved. Texano Jr. and El Terrible did send them back bald, but that was to get back at No Limit shaving Black Warrior and Toscano at two separate events.
  • At TNA Bound For Glory "10.10.10.", Abyss's prophecy of "They" coming to take over TNA came true in the form of "Immortal." Immortal were led by Hulk Hogan, who ended up with complete control of TNA.
  • World Wrestling All-Stars, an 2001-2003 Australian-based touring promotion featuring all the WCW name talent WWE hadn't snapped up, had 5 televised shows total. All 5 had their World Title main events won by the heels. Being written by Jeremy Borash (in his only stint as head booker, and clearly a student of the Vince Russo School of Overbooking), and featuring Jeff Jarrett as a primary talent, perhaps this was inevitable. Additionally, every time the top babyface won back the title happened on an untelevised tour, making all those heel wins feel pointless.
  • Vince McMahon in 2003. While a few of the examples above refer to simply PPVs (e.g. after WrestleMania 2000, the storyline continued, ending with Rock pinning Vince at King of the Ring to win the title), Vince not only won an overall feud in 2003, but all of them. He lost to Hogan at WrestleMania XIX, but ultimately fired Hogan, defeated a one legged wrestler he had a grudge against, manipulated Brock Lesnar into turning against Kurt Angle which led to Lesnar winning the WWE title (and throwing said one legged wrestler down the stairs), beat up his own daughter on PPV which resulted in her losing her job, and later buried The Undertaker alive with help from Kane. The entire year was setting up his comeuppance, but Vince never got his and simply pulled a Heel–Face Turn at WrestleMania XX.
  • Vince pulled a real life one with the Montreal Screwjob. Vince screwed over a popular longtime wrestler and managed to spin it into a renewed surge of popularity.
  • Happened at WrestleMania X-7 where Stone Cold Steve Austin turned heel and sided with Vince McMahon in order to beat the Rock for the championship.
  • WrestleMania XXVII brought the long awaited showdown between Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole. Cole had previously been both a Smug Snake Karma Houdini, so most fans were looking forward to him finally getting his ass kicked. While he did get a beat down, the Raw GM reversed the decision of the match, and Cole won by technicality. You could argue that Cole won the entire feud. While he did lose the final match of the feud he still owned a 2-1 record over Jerry and seemed to always have an edge. Jerry forgiving him the next night could have been a silent acceptance that forgiving Cole was easier than continuing to fight him.
  • (Heel) CM Punk at Money In The Bank 2011 defeats John Cena for the WWE title and leaves the company with it, the way he promised he would. When Alberto Del Rio comes down to try to cash in the briefcase, Punk just kicks him in the head and leaves the building, and the company, through the crowd with the title. Then again, he was massively popular, and the PPV was in his hometown of Chicago, so many were happy with the result anyway.
  • At King of the Ring 1993, Yokozuna was out for revenge after he lost the WWF Championship at WrestleMania IX to Hulk Hogan the same night he won it. This culminated in a match where Yokozuna won after a photographer (who was actually Harvey Wippleman in disguise) shot a fireball out of his camera at Hogan, allowing Yokozuna to use the atomic leg drop on Hogan for the win. After the match, Yokozuna used the Banzai Drop on Hogan. This turned out to be Hogan's last appearance in the WWF until 2002. "Hulkamania is dead" indeed.
  • One of the many problems in WCW was that the faces rarely won, especially when the New World Order was involved. In fact, this was cited as one of many, many reasons WCW went under. Fans stopped caring because they figured the heel was going to win anyway, and with a pretty good alternative out there for people to watch things went downhill for the company pretty quickly. It's telling that no iteration of the nWo was ever soundly "killed off" by the babyfaces (even the WWE version), they all just kind of petered out because of injuries or "That doesn't work for me, brother."
  • Dragon Gate is a very factionalized wrestling promotion, with most angles being stable vs stable feuds. And the heel stables almost invariably win these feuds. Generally, the heel stable wins the feud and then either the heel stable's leader or second in command breaks up with the stable and starts a new stable. The most recent example (as of October 2013) would be the feud between Mad Blankey (heel) and Akatsuki (face), which ended with Akatsuki losing and then YAMATO usurping leadership of Mad Blankey from Akira Tozawa and kicking him out of the stable.
    • It happened again in October 2016, with VerserK (heel) winning a stable disbands match with Monster Express (face), and immediately kicking Naruki Doi out.
  • Kane has won a fair share of big time feuds. Back when he had to first unmask in 2003 and tombstoned Linda McMahon, he got into a feud with her son Shane. After a 3-4 month feud and beating Shane in a "Last Man Standing" match at Unforgiven, it was their final match at Survivor Series. Kane won their "Ambulance Match" and sent Shane to the hospital and won their feud. In 2004 he beat Matt Hardy at SummerSlam in in a "Till Death do us Part" match in order to marry Lita and tombstoned him at the actual wedding. In 2010 he entered what looks like the final chapter of his feud with his brother The Undertaker. Once it was revealed that it was Kane who put UT in his "near vegetative" state they feuded. Kane shockingly defeated Undertaker at Night of Champions in a "No Holds Barred" match cleanly. Then at Hell in a Cell with the timely turning of Paul Bear he defeated Taker in the cell. Finally at Bragging Rights he once again defeated Undertaker in a "Buried Alive" match with unexpected help from The Nexus stable. This would be the last time the two faced off and possibly the ending of their legendary feud. Kane winning 3 straight PPV matches (of which are Taker specialties) could be seen as winning their entire feud instead of just this chapter. Regardless Kane, for the first time ever, beat taker in every one of their matches for the year. This doubles as a CMOA for him as well.
  • In 2015, Suzuki-gun gained all of the Global Honored Crown title belts of Pro Wrestling NOAH, Taichi, El Desperado and TAKA Michinoku in the Junior Heavyweight divisions, Minoru Suzuki and The Killer Elite Squad in the heavyweights. Not even(incidental) aid from other promotions could stop Suzuki-gun roll through NOAH.
  • In Alpha-1 Wrestling, after a long build-up where she got betrayed and attacked by him multiple times, Jade Chung finally got to wrestle Alessandro Del Bruno to get her revenge on him. Unfortunately, after a tough match where Del Bruno cheated multiple times, he was able to get the win over her, ending the feud on a sour note for Chung.
  • Brock Lesnar in the year 2014-2015. He ended The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania, delivered a Curb-Stomp Battle to John Cena at SummerSlam and defeated both John Cena and Seth Rollins at Royal Rumble. His hot streak didn't end until Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract during his match against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 31, and even then Rollins pinned Reigns. With his victory over The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell as well as the curbstomp beating he gave to both Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton, Lesnar was no doubt an Invincible Villain. However, his 'streak' finally ended once he suffered a rather humiliating defeat at the hands of a returning Goldberg.
  • The Undisputed Era won the first WarGames match in WWE history at NXT TakeOver: WarGames.
    • Also, in NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, not only did Adam Cole become the inaugural NXT North American Champion after winning a grueling ladder match, but also replaced an injured Fish to team with O'Reilly and defend their Tag Team titles with the aid of Roderick Strong's betrayal of challenging partner Pete Dunne. The latter also allowed them to both win the Dusty Rhodes Tag-Team Classic despite not being formal participants in it and turn their tag team title reign from a standard reign of Fish and O'Reilly into a Freebird reign involving all four members.

    Radio 

    Roleplay 
  • Destroy the Godmodder: Be the godmodder, rather than fighting the godmodder, you are acting almost as his lackeys. As Mojang is almost portrayed as villains, no matter which way it goes, the bad guy wins.
  • In Survival of the Fittest v3 local Ax-Crazy J.R. Rizzolo is the one student remaining, aside from the people still currently alive in the escape attempt, which as of right now is on a Cliffhanger.
    • It all balances out in the end, though. Riz's family moves away and disowns him, and though he manages to make a decent living off of his fame, one of the escapees eventually tracks him down and kills him in his own home.
    • In SOTF-TV, Karen Ruiz goes home safe and sound after killing 10 people.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is par for the course if the players end up getting killed or otherwise failing in their mission...unless they're playing evil characters themselves, in which case this trope may result from the players succeeding.
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill: After the haunt begins, one player becomes the Traitor and it is very common for that player to win depending on the setup of the game till that point. Each haunt has winner flavor text in the good guys' "Secrets of Survival" or the bad guy's "Traitor's Tome".
  • Deadlands features an Evil Plan by a quartet of malevolent beings known as the Reckoners, who gain power — and sustenance — from negative emotions, especially fear. Their ultimate goal is to bring about The End of the World as We Know It, thereby transforming most of the world into one huge Deadland (that is, a place that is saturated with fear to the point of becoming warped into something straight out of a nightmare), and becoming able to manifest physically on Earth to finish what they'd tricked humanity into starting. The Deadlands sister campaign setting, Hell On Earth, is set in a future where the Reckoners have succeeded. However, the sidebar notes in the HoE rulebook make it clear that it's merely a possible future; ergo, PCs in the original Deadlands game aren't necessarily Doomed by Canon.
  • The 4chan project Disney Villains Victorious creates a setting where each of the Disney Villains succeeds in their goals, and conquered the world years ago. The bad guys won the first time around, but hope still remains.
    • Similar events happen in the expansions and spinoffs of Disney Villains Victorious though replacing Disney Villains with Nintendo, Cartoon Network, and Saturday Morning Cartoon villains.
  • This happens in two Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings:
    • In Midnight (2003) campaign is often described as What if Sauron won?. The Dark God Izrador, who was expelled from the heavens, took over the lands of Eredne by first sowing discords amongst the kingdoms of men and fey. La Résistance is largely engaged on a Hopeless War, as Izrador has successfully cut off the world of Aryth from the heavens, preveting prayers from being answered. He has also installed Black Mirrors to suck all the magic in the world in order to break the veil binding him so that he can enact a Hell Invades Heaven that will also allow him to do a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • In the classic Against The Giants module series, which first introduced the world to the dark elves, AKA the drow. Originally hired to stop a series of organized giant raids, the PCs are also tasked with discovering who is actually behind the attacks. In their investigations, the PCs can find that a group of drow led by a priestess named Eclavdra organized the raids. The second set of modules traces the PCs' following the drow back to their underground city, and possibly leading them to attack the temple of Lolth, the demoness who is apparently behind the raids. However, what most people don't realize is that Lolth is not responsible for the raids. The giant raids were actually organized by a rogue drow house who were seeking to use the giants to create a puppet kingdom on the surface world, and then use the power they gained from it to challenge the priesthood of Lolth for rulership of the entire drow vault. It's implied that the means for the PCs to follow the drow back to their homeland was in fact done by Eclavdra, head of the rogue drow house, to fool them into thinking that the priestesses of Lolth were responsible for the attacks and hopefully lead them to retaliate. The beauty of this backup plan is that Eclavdra really has nothing to lose either way — even if the PCs decide not to follow her back to the drow vault, or are slaughtered in their attack, then she's lost nothing. But if they succeed in banishing Lolth and destroying her temple, they've set up the perfect conditions for her rogue house to seize power over the entire vault, thus accomplishing what she'd initially hoped to do in setting up the giant raids to begin with...
  • The GURPS Reign of Steel supplement features a setting where AIs Turned Against Their Masters and won decisively, leaving the last remnants of humanity as rats within their walls to be exterminated at their leisure. Most of the remaining conflict is between the A.I.s themselves, each of which has claimed its own territory and has different ideas of what to do with it.
  • The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring has an after-battle report in White Dwarf, wherein the staffers reenacted the Battle of Minas Tirith. Things went decidedly different from the book and movie — Éowyn and Merry died fighting the Witch King, who in turn fell to Théoden, while Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas fell afoul of the most fortunate Orc archers in the history of Middle-Earth. At the battle's end, trolls had broken into the city gates, the forces of Good were in shambles, only two out of a starting twelve Good Heroes were still alive, and although Théoden had managed to destroy several more Nazgul, he couldn't win the fight alone and was forced to retreat. To quote the magazine itself:
    "Sauron may have lost the Witch-King, but the Pelennor is his. More than nine Good Heroes have fallen, and with them, all hope..."
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The Shards of Alara and Zendikar blocks. Everything goes almost as Nicol Bolas plans: in Alara, he absorbs the maelstrom and is restored to his previous godlike state. In Zendikar, he succeeds in releasing the Eldrazi without any of the protagonists even realizing that he did it.
    • The final set of Scars of Mirrodin is called "New Phyrexia". From the title alone, this is really bad news for everyone living on Mirrodin and a lot of other people elsewhere. The plot goes one step further: New Phyrexia utterly demolishes the Mirran resistance. Elspeth and Karn barely make it out alive, while almost all of their allies aren't so lucky.
    • Nicol Bolas does it again on Amonkhet. He is able to summon an army of Eternals to his service after his decades-spanning plan goes off successfully and he delivers an absolute Curb-Stomp Battle to the Gatewatch in the process.
    • The big twist in the Kaldheim set is the return of New Phyrexia. Vorinclex makes it onto the plane somehow, takes advantage of all the chaos to break into Esika's sanctum, leaves the goddess dying, and returns to New Phyrexia with a sample of tyrite, completely unstopped and unopposed. Not a great day to be a good guy.
    • And somehow it gets worse in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. Tamiyo is captured and compleated by New Phyrexia. New Phyrexia now has something it's never had, even when Yawgmoth was in control: a Planeswalker.
    • New Phyrexia is now officially the most successful villainous faction in Magic, with their roster of victories in Dominaria United being as follows: Karn is in Phyrexian hands again, the Weatherlight is compleated, Jaya Ballard is dead, and her killer was a compleated Ajani Goldmane.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Any of the factions winning would be this. Let's run through the list. (And no, none of them are good in any way.)
    • Humanity will have to defeat the unimaginably vast and powerful forces of the Orks, Tyranids, Necrons & Chaos, defeat the Eldar & Dark Eldar, crush the Tau and then seal off the Warp for good. And without the Warp, their interstellar travel system— and therefore the Imperium— falls apart. They're barely holding their ground as it is. Oh, and they're fascists & religious zealots.
    • Orks care only about violence, but on the other hand like a good piss up too. They're one of the closest options to a "good" ending.
    • Eldar:
      • The Eldar will die out anyway. Ditto for the Dark Eldar. On the other hand, when they all die, they release their new God of the Dead, Ynnead, and it will destroy Slaanesh. If Ynnead will stop with the Chaos Gods, however, is not really known.
      • However, if the Dark Eldar win without dying out, the setting would be similar to how it is now. The differences are the Dark Eldar wouldn't be confined to Commorragh, the Necrons and Chaos would be no more and the Imperium would be weaker; the Dark Eldar still need and want to prey on everyone else.
      • In that case, a possible Eldar victory would be the Eldar somehow breaking Slaanesh's hold on their souls, destroying the Necrons, humbling the Imperium and reclaiming rulership of the galaxy.
    • The 'Nids scarf down everything in sight and just make billions more of themselves before moving on to another galaxy.
    • Chaos merges the Immaterium with the real and rape/torment/destroy the entirety of existence for all of time.
    • The Tau become a beacon of progress, but employ methods like genocide & mass sterilisation to control the unruly, non-Tau masses.
    • The Necrons seal off the warp by preventing any emotions from existing (read: killing every living thing), and turn the universe into a smorgasbord of souls for their masters, the C'tan.
    • That being said, whenever Games Workshop starts a campaign (series of tabletop battles, reported in the White Dwarf magazine), you know right from the start the Imperium (Imperial Guard, Space Marines, Demon Hunters, Witch Hunters and so on) will ALWAYS win the overall plot, even if they get absolutely thrashed in every single battle (Space Marine players being roughly 60% of all WH40K players, they couldn't make them lose without affecting cash flow, can they?).
    • To make things even worse: Tzeentch, Chaos god of change, mutation, and hope, exists only to plot incredibly complex plans that all go against each other, one failing means another succeds. So, he's basically already won, and passes the time trolling other factions.
      • Quite the opposite, he will never win, because he is always making plans over the previous plans, so no plan ever gets to work and give him the final victory. Why? Because if he ever truly wins (IE. destroying completely the Imperium and establishing hell in the Immaterium), in that moment he will die. In a sense, he is keeping that incredibly insane net of plans over plans as a risky and entertaining game, manipulating everything, even his chosen ones (some of the worst victims of Tzeentch are known to be his greater daemons, the lords of change and Magnus the red, the daemon primarch), so chaos is always there, never winning and never truly losing.
    • Khorne, the god of war, is in the same situation: he is powered by blood spilled in battle, be it those of his followers or their enemies, and his throne sits on an ever-growing pile of skulls, again, from Worthy Opponents or his defeated champions. The only way to truly defeat Khorne would be to stop everyone from fighting forever — see Necrons above.
    • Although the scary thing is, that arguably, the Orks have already won. The Universe of Warhammer 40,000 is subsumed by constant war. To every race other than the Orks, it's a bitter fight for survival whilst trying to even edge towards their own endgames. For the Orks, it's paradise. So even if the 40k fluff is never resolved, arguably, this trope is still in effect.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle ended with Chaos winning. No weird twists, no heroic last stands (there technically was one but they lost), Chaos wins with overwhelming force and utterly consumes that universe, with the gods moving on to another world they can pillage. The only saving grace was that Sigmar managed to endure the apocalypse and create a new world in Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, and even that world is down to the final war for survival by the time we rejoin the story.

    Theatre 
  • In The Black Rider, the bookish Wilhelm makes a deal with Peg Leg, a forest-dwelling hermit, to obtain magic bullets that never miss. He uses them to impress the Kaatchen's father (an avid huntsman) and win his permission to marry her. But on their wedding day, during a ceremony in which the groom shoots a wooden bird out of a tree, the bullet arcs and hits Kaatchen in the heart, killing her.
  • The evil sorceress of Dido and Aeneas successfully engineers the separation of the titular lovers and the destruction of Dido.
  • Hatchetfield:
  • Unlike in the film version of the musical, Little Shop of Horrors has the hero, his girlfriend, his boss, and his rival eaten by an alien plant with plans for world domination. The story ends with a sales executive taking cuttings from the plant to sell in stores across the world as the narrators warn you not to feed the plants, no matter what they offer you.
  • Pagliacci: Tonio plots revenge on his co-actor Nedda after his sexual harassment of her backfires spectacularly. He poisons the mind of Nedda's husband, Canio, driving him to homicidal insanity with the revelation Nedda is unfaithful to him, before sitting back and watching with grim satisfaction as the mad Canio murders both Nedda and her lover on stage. In several recordings and productions, it is Tonio, instead of Canio, who ends the opera with the line "the comedy is finished!", as he was the one to engineer the fall of all three of the principals, without ever getting his own hands dirty.
  • In The Soldiers Tale, after the Soldier defeats the Devil to Save the Princess, the Devil leaves him with a warning that his victory will be undone if he ever leaves the kingdom. At the Princess's insistence, the Soldier decides to go back to his home village in search of his mother. Cue the final number: "Triumphal March of the Devil."
  • Arguably Tosca. After her lover Mario is arrested for harboring a political fugitive, renowned singer Floria Tosca makes a terrible bargain with the corrupt chief of police Baron Scarpia to secure his safety. Tosca murders Scarpia before he can have his way with her, only to discover that he'd had no intention of upholding his bargain. Mario is executed by firing squad and the now-wanted Tosca leaps from the parapet of the fortress in despair before Scarpia's men can arrest her for his murder.
  • Veronica's Room ends with the trio planning more murders so Veronica can experience the catharsis of killing 'herself' over and over.
  • The Visit is about an elderly billionairess who returns to her struggling hometown and offers to save them from financial destruction. The only condition is that the villagers must murder her former lover, one of the foremost citizens of the town who wronged her many years before. Although the villagers initially scorn her suggestion, the temptation is too much and they do away with the man.

    Theme Parks 
  • "Villains Unite the Night", Magic Kingdom's 2019 castle show that's exclusive to the "Disney Villains After Hours" event, centers on Hades as he plots to fulfill a prophecy that will grant him unlimited power when "the five planets align", allowing him to rule the entire universe. However, when Jafar, the Evil Queen, Dr. Facilier, and Maleficent butt in to reap the reward for themselves, the five villains eventually agree to split the power evenly amongst each other. At the end, the newfound Legion of Doom ultimately takes over Cinderella Castle, decorating the famous landmark with banners bearing their images. It's probably the only time where a Disney Park show ends with the villains outright taking over the universe.
    Jafar: I have all the power of the cosmos!
    Evil Queen: Now I am the most powerful of them all!
    Dr. Facilier: Finally, my friends on the other side can't touch me.

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE:
    • The Big Bad, Makuta Teridax, ended up becoming the universe itself and enslaving everyone in it at the end of the "Mask of Life" saga, which also marked the end of the original major Myth Arc. So yes, while the Toa managed to fulfill their mission set up eight real-world years before, namely to awaken the Great Spirit Mata Nui and thus save the universe, Makuta possessed Mata Nui's body in the nick of time. Also counts as a Sudden Downer Ending, because this was all revealed in the final chapter of a novel and on the last pages of a comic, while everyone was celebrating.
    • To a lesser extent, the Barraki. Their main goal during the 2007 storyline was to get the Mask of Life so they could reverse their mutations, escape the Pit, and return to land to start reconquering their territories. While the mask eluded them and they were re-imprisoned, they were all later paroled by the Order of Mata Nui for more manpower to fight the Brotherhood. While Caparar died, the others survived both the war and Teridax's reign over the Matoran Universe, escaping to Spherus Magna and, thanks to Mata Nui using the Ignika's energy to restore the planet, also had their mutations cured as a side-effect with the perk of becoming amphibious on the side. Before the storyline ended, they were looking to set up shop on Spherus Magna with their new armies and carve out some territories for themselves, and looked to be ready to become part of a new Big Bad Ensemble. Unlike nearly every other villain, they actually ended the story much better off than when they started.
  • Ninjago:
    • In the pilot episodes, Lord Garmadon manipulates the Skulkin king Samukai into bringing all the Golden Weapons to the Underworld; when Samukai tried to betray him by taking all the Golden Weapons for himself, their power disintegrated him, opening a vortex through space and time that Garmadon uses to escape the Underworld.
    • The Big Bad of the Sons of Garmadon arc successfully revives Garmadon as an Evil Overlord and conquers Ninjago by his side.

    Web Animation 
  • DEATH BATTLE! has several instances of villains winning their battles, with at least six instances of villains triumphing over heroes (though some are played with as a few of the "villains" are more of particularly violent Anti-Heros than true villains, and for the most part villains are pitted against other villains).
    • Played with in "Godzilla vs. Gamera" * has Godzilla destroy Gamera during an attack on a city.
    • "Ryu vs. Scorpion" *has Scorpion incinerating Ryu in the netherworld.
    • "Joker vs. Sweet Tooth" * has the Joker, after being impaled on a pipe, tricking Needles Kane, the driver of Sweet Tooth, into getting out of the vehicle to kill him up close and in person. The Joker, however, then sprays gaseous Joker Venom into Needles' face, causing him to die laughing.
    • "Hulk vs. Doomsday" * has Doomsday stabbing Hulk with several poisonous spikes before delivering a savage No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to the Hulk before ripping his head off, to which Doomsday does a roar of victory, leaving the implication that Doomsday will continue his rampage with no one to stop him.
    • "Sephiroth vs Vergil" * has the former using Supernova to burn Vergil, causing the latter`s Healing Factor to be overridden. While Vergil is initially successful in using his sword to escape the attack, his wounds leave him vulnerable to being stabbed and bisected by Sephrioth.
    • "Gray vs Esdeath" * has Esdeath successfully freezing Gray to death, leaving Fiore (which she earlier buried in a massive snowstorm by the use of the Ice Storm Commander-in-Chief) ripe for her to conquer even if she lost an arm and used all her trump cards in the process.
    • "Shadow vs Ryuko" * has Ryuko try to crush Shadow with her scissor blades in Alumni Mode, only for Shadow to remove his Inhibitor Rings to gain the power to shatter them. Shadow then sends Ryuko crashing back to Earth, then finishes her off with a Chaos Blast, completely vaporizing her.
    • "DIO vs Alucard" * has DIO destroy Alucard's soul army, thus taking away the source of his regeneration, crush Alucard's heart, and splatter his body into a blood rain.
    • "Black Adam vs Apocalypse" * has Apocalypse stomp Black Adam's face into a bloody mush before hoisting him into the sky to get a good long look at the destruction of Adam's home country of Kahndaq by Apocalypse's forces, right before he fries Adam to death with his own Living Lightning for good measure and laughs over the devastation.
  • Dorkly Originals: In "Robotnik Finally Wins", Dr. Robotnik wins and transforms every animal on the planet, including Sonic and Tails into a robot, he comes to this predicament realizing that he's been distracted by Sonic for so long he forgot why he wanted to do so in the first place. He eventually remembers; it was to start an orchestra.
  • Foxy Gets Hooked: Freddy wins the fight that he started against Foxy. However, it's Played for Laughs, as Foxy gets comically turned into a flip top trash can.
  • Happy Tree Friends:
    • The Ants always successfully kill Sniffles in ways which are horrific even for the series.
    • Fliqpy (Flippy's evil side) usually succeeds in killing everyone around him, though he's died a handful of times.
  • By the end of Madness Combat 11: Expurgation, Hank and Sanford are dead and The Auditor is free to continue his reign over Nevada unopposed.
  • Mappy: Episode 12 ends with Mappy and Dig Dug getting thrown into jail with Goro, who is pleased to have caused the downfall of his nemesis.
  • Meta Runner: Season 1 ends with Lucks landing a massive blow against the heroes: He shoots Masa's Meta Runner arm clean off, forces Sofia to surrender the incriminating info against TASCorp in exchange for Masa's life, rattles MD-5 by letting Belle reveal Lucina's demise and Tari's mysterious involvement with it to them, gets Tari to surrender and join his company in exchange for MD-5's freedom, and crushes Theo's cartridge, holding him hostage within his own microchip and using him as collateral, threatening to permanently erase him if Tari or MD-5 try resisting him again. Tari and MD-5 share one more hopeful exchange before being taken away, and a device containing a backup of the incriminating data ends up in the hands of Belle, who keeps it for herself, but Lucks has totally won, as far as he's concerned. He would, however, get his just deserts in a VERY Karmic Death at the end of Season 2, being shot down by his own gun via Masa's new arm. Still downplays the trope somewhat, as this would end up with MD-5 becoming wanted by the authorities.
  • The Most Epic Story Ever Told in All of Human History: The second episode begins with Ridiculously Epic stating that he took over the world. However, his bragging about this fact includes details about how to take the world back from him.
  • RWBY:
    • While more of a You Can't Thwart Stage One situation, Volume 3 ends with a major victory for the villains. Cinder Fall kills Pyrrha by shooting her through the heart, Beacon Academy is in ruins and crawling with Grimm, and the four kingdoms are wary of each other. Team RWBY is scattered, with Weiss being forcibly returned home by her father, Blake on the Run and Yang at home, traumatised from losing her arm. As Ruby, Jaune, Ren and Nora set off for Haven to try and learn more about the villains, Salem announces that her grand scheme is just beginning and implies that, while Ruby may have hope right now, her plan involves destroying it.
    • Volume 8 ends with a big villain victory. The heroes spend the Atlas Arc trying to save both Atlas and Mantle while also preventing Salem from obtaining the two Relics and the Winter Maiden's power. The villains obtain both Relics, Penny is forced to sacrifice her life to protect the Maiden power, and the heroes rescue the kingdom's citizens only by destroying both cities and losing Team RWBY and Jaune to the Void Between the Worlds. The refugees are transported to Vacuo, arriving in the middle of a sandstorm where they're quickly attacked by a horde of Grimm. Although Salem loses the Maiden power and Jinn's third question, the Relics are her priority and so she is very pleased with the results.
  • Sonic for Hire: Near the end of Season 3, Tails attempts to take over the mob business from Sonic after getting fed up with him. When at a stalemate, Tails succeeds in destroying all of Sonic's money, leaving him broke while Tails becomes a multi-millionaire for the duration of Season 4.
  • In Underverse, this is more common than the good guys winning.
    • The XTALE series has XTale Chara and XTale Frisk attempting to stop XGaster's repeated attempts to create a perfect universe. They fail in the end and XGaster succeeds at getting his chance of obtaining his perfect universe, and both of them end up unstable.
    • In Underverse 0.0, half of Sans' soul is taken by X-Event Chara and they escape.
    • In Underverse 0.2, despite being beaten back and losing control of Underfell Sans, Cross still manages to escape with Underfell's Snowdin.
    • Underverse 0.3 really gives the cast a beating. Ink starts losing his emotions after X-Event Chara is brought back to life, X-Event Chara escapes with the Underswap cast, and the Underswap timeline is destroyed, with Underswap Papyrus staying behind with Underswap Chara until the very end.
    • The nail in the coffin is Underverse 0.4. A good chunk of the cast is killed, including Underfell Sans and Underswap Sans, XGaster is revived, and the Doodle Sphere is gone, leaving behind a destroyed multiverse without alternate realities and thus leaving Error the "winner" of the truce. Had it not been for the revelation that CORE Frisk managed to save a good amount of people as well as Cross and Dream safely escaping to the Omega Timeline, it could've been worse.
  • Fazbear and Friends (ZAMination):
    • Subverted in the Squid Game shorts, as Bendy tries to cheat to win the prize, but ends up being killed for being a cheater.
    • Purple Guy manages to trick the animatronics, giving them cookies with raisins instead of chocolate chips.
    • In "Among Us vs F Na F!" Bon Bon, being the impostor, manages to trick the crew into believing that Funtime Freddy is the impostor, but risks being trapped next to him because it was still in his hand.
    • The characters from Bendy and the Dark Revival manage to kill to the original characters, gaining the popularity of the second game, even The Meatly starts dancing in victory.

    Web Comics 
  • Dracula: Ruler of the Night: Dracula does this posthumously. Sure, the hunters kill him and his brides and save Mina; but Dracula lived to see that his vampirism could thrive on foreign soil thanks turning the Westenras (Lucy and her mother, Minerva) which he considers a rousing success when the two become his first non-Transylvania brides, just as devoted to him as his original three. Even better, he manged to turn the wife of Van Helsing, Milly, in the process. By the end, Lucy and Minerva are still on the loose along with several kids that were bitten playing around near Dracula's hideout, ensuring the vampirism will continue into the modern day. What's more and unbeknownst to the heroes, Quincy is reborn as a vampire himself when his body is shipped home to Texas for burial, allowing the curse to be introduced to America as well. It's not a complete Downer Ending since Helsing and the others stay vigilant, record their knowledge for future generations, and since the vampires are leaderless they can be dealt with easier.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse: The villains taking part in the tournament are all from universes where they won.
  • In Drowtales, a huge civil war between the ruling class, the Val'Sharens and the Nidraa'chal ended in the complete destruction of the Nidraa'chal... Is what is written in history books. In truth, the Nidraa'chal all but took over the Val'Sharen, as three of its founding members are the current leaders of the now Vel'Sharen. They were able to successfully kill their mother, the Val'Sharessnote , while also hiding her death, allowing them to rule from the background through lies and body doubles. Now the Nidraa'chal are all but the most powerful force in the world. Due to this, a few 'villains' end up leading and controlling countless conspiracies and plots to disrupt and manipulate the world to their favour, while very few are in the know of their actions and even less survive long enough for it to matter.
  • Homestuck: Doc Scratch's goal is to die and release his master Lord English, having provided numerous means to serve him. English's success does not matter, but Doc Scratch successfully manipulates events that lead to his death and Lord English's rise to power, his farewell is a quite apt: Suckers.
  • Neko: The Cat: At the end of the comic, Michiko's father is dead and it's heavily implied that not only will the stepmother kill again, but that she's indoctrinated Michiko into following in her footsteps.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The prequel "The Order of the Stick: Start of Darkness" ends with Xykon's victory over Dorukan.
    • And the third book, "The Order of the Stick: War and XPs", Xykon kills Roy, wipes out nearly all of the Sapphire Guard, conquers Azure City, and scatters the rest of the Order of the Stick.
    • Later, Tarquin claims that he has ensured this, as he's already accepted that some hero will throw down his empire and kill him, but considers that fair trade for getting to rule like a god for however long it takes that to happen, and for his legend outliving him.
  • Sabrina "Ultragirl" Mancini of Rival Angels joins a successful wrestling promotion (with real competition) and very shortly after qualifies to be in a tournament to crown a new champion. She advances all the way to the finals despite Chloe De Sade (the series' Big Bad) doing her best to ensure that she not only doesn't make it, but that she's injured too badly to ever wrestle again. In the last match, she's up against one of Chloe's Dragons. This Dragon, Kat Smith by name, had seemed like nothing more than a cheater and a Dirty Coward on prior occasions. Sabrina gives it everything she's got, and looks like she might win a number of times. However, Kat turns out to be more of a badass than Sabrina thought; Sabrina is just not able to put her away, and after the two women beat one another for a long time Kat finally gains and keeps the upper hand, hits her Finishing Move, and beats Sabrina to win the title. Up until then Sabrina seemed to be something of an Invincible Hero, so it comes as quite a shock.

    Web Original 
  • Buster Girls features several aptly named "Bad End" chapters that are either alternate versions of canon stories or non-canon bonus scenarios of a villain miraculously returning and all end with said villains beating the heroines and turning them into their minions.
  • Pen Pal is about Dathan, a man whose early life was riddled with tragedies thanks to the relentless pursuit of a horrible pedophile who happened to find a kindergarten project. For over a decade, he pursues Dathan from afar, takes up residence in the crawl space under his old house, and even kills people who he thinks are too close to him. These include Dathan's neighbor, his best friend's sister and potential girlfriend, his cat, and eventually his best friend Josh. So how does this psycho ultimately meet his end? After kidnapping Josh and forcing him to pretend to be Dathan, doing lord knows what to him for years, he traps the two of them in a box that he pays Josh's father to unwittingly bury. After it's excavated, the stalker's body is found with a peaceful smile on his face. He got exactly what he wanted in the end and died without ever paying for his crimes.
    In fact, most Creepypastas have the villain win, or the hero will get a Bittersweet Ending at best; it's usually done to make the stories all the scarier. What made Pen Pal even worse than most examples is that it could happen in real life.
  • The Quintessential Mary-Sue ends with Mary-Sue escaping Hell just by willing a portal to appear, gaining so much power that every sapient being on Earth falls down and worships her with no resistance, consuming one-third of the Universe, and then cordoning off Heaven and making it into Hell by divine fiat. Neither God nor Mary-Sue's good half are anywhere to be seen, implying that she surpassed them off page.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • Due to the dozens of SCP that spell absolutely certain doom for the Foundation, civilization, the human race, Earth, the galaxy, or reality itself, this is eventually going to happen despite the Foundation's best efforts to avert it.
    • On a more microcosmic level, a handful of SCPs have evaded any attempt the Foundation has made to contain them:
  • The Slender Man ends up killing, enslaving, or inducing madness in almost every person he encounters. It's in his nature. Slender bloggers are Doomed by Canon. The best you can hope for is delaying him long enough to run and spending the rest of your days looking over your shoulder, waiting for him to catch up. The tradition was probably started by Just Another Fool, in which the Slender Man killed every single character involved in the blog.
    Of course, it is debatable how infallible this is. Marble Hornets allows Tim to survive and leave (probably) unharmed. Everyman HYBRID looks like it's headed this way, considering how much of the cast has been killed off.
  • The Undersiders in Worm manage, through a combination of coincidence and competence, to take over the city over the course of the first nineteen character arcs.
    • Heavily mitigated by the fact that the Undersiders are the protagonists, at most barely as evil as the government, more interested in the safety of the citizenry than the local government leaders, by far superior to all of the villains they dispose of, and at the hands of the Undersiders, Brockton Bay's quality of life drastically improves after several catastrophic events. And the protagonist joins the government, greatly improving it's efficiency as a crime-fighting organisation, and the Undersiders go on to being instrumental in saving the world.
    • Though he is consigned to a Fate Worse than Death, Jack Slash still manages to convince Scion to destroy humanity. Jack is removed from the picture for good, but he got exactly what he wanted, and literally billions of people die before Scion is stopped.

    Web Videos 
  • The Flipbook Studio short film "Bogeyman" ends with the Bogeyman succeeded stealing The Child's soul.
  • Tellygunge's very NSFW original story, The Crow's Nest, ends with Lucinda Crow, along with her partner, Rachel, performing a massive Humiliation Conga upon Amanda and Helvetica that ends with the latter 2 getting a Traumatic Haircut, then put into an Unwinnable Joke Game where in theory the loser won't be humiliated on-stage. That humiliation is attempting to get the other to orgasm in a very messy state, but both go out on stage anyway (where the entrance is a giant vagina), where they climax while glue and black feathers cover the victims. Only for the story to end on a non-lethal Bolivian Army Ending for Lucinda where Rachel gets her drunk and plans to humiliate her herself.
  • DEATH BATTLE!:
    • Can and will happen when you have Evil Versus Evil episodes; "Shao Kahn vs. M. Bison" ends with Kahn killing M. Bison by ripping him in half and then absorbing his soul, and "Joker vs. Sweet Tooth" ends with the Joker, while badly injured from being impaled on a pipe, tricks Needles Kane (the driver of Sweet Tooth) into getting out of his vehicle to try to kill the Joker close and personal, only for the Joker to spray gaseous Joker Venom into Needles' face, causing him to die laughing.
    • This can even happen in episodes where both combatants are heroic, such as Gaara vs Toph, which has Toph intruding upon sacred ground and attacking Gaara when he asks her to leave, culminating in her crushing him to death in his own sand armour, Yang vs Tifa, which has Yang attacking a bouncer, damaging the property, scaring away the customers and attacking the bartender for trying to have her removed from the premises, culminating in her snapping Tifa's neck, and Mob vs Tatsumaki, in which Tatsumaki throws a childish temper tantrum over Mob mistaking her for a middle schooler, ending with her killing Mob by crushing him with a meteor. They may be heroes in their own series, but in these episodes, they are most definitely anything but heroic.
    • And of course, there are those times when genuinely villainous characters defeat heroes or Anti-Heroes, such as "Hulk vs. Doomsday" when Doomsday pummels and kills Hulk when the latter was sent to prevent the former from destroying the world, and "DIO vs Alucard" when Alucard attacks a rampaging DIO and pays for it with his life.
  • In Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv) where Near and his Shinigami legions conquer the Earth. Also in one alternate ending Light succeeds at killing the rest of the taskforce and the SPK and then goes out for frozen yoghurt to celebrate afterwards. Then, in a second alternate ending, Mikami kills the SPK, the taskforce AND Light and takes his place as God of the New World.
  • Tom Collins, the leader of SWAG, got his wish for Demo Reel productions to be destroyed and Donnie to die miserable and alone.
  • At the end of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Villain Protagonist Dr. Horrible's Death Ray explodes, defeating his Arch-Enemy Captain Hammer... but killing Penny, thus fulfilling the criteria (committing murder) for his entry into the Evil League of Evil and establishing him as a bonafide supervillain. As the final montage makes clear, the price he paid was high... maybe too high.
  • Einsteinian Roulette ends with the Lurker and the Eater of Stars converging on humanity, and the very laws of physics changing to make life impossible. In the words of Steve, "WE HAVE LOST."
  • Epic Storytime: Nearly every time in his "Awkward moments", Zane succeeds, unpunished, in his Roaring Rampage Of Disproportionate Retribution over whatever tiny little thing that set him off.
  • Hitler Rants has Hitler finally succeed at the wake of the World Cup 2014 finals, where Germany defeats Brazil, to the Führer's delight.
  • Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Abridged: Played for Laughs in the omake epilogue episode of the OVA, where DIO decides to show Jotaro and the audience "the ultimate reality in which I, DIO, defeat the Joestars!" It's a Pyrrhic Victory because while his alternate self does kill Jotaro via oil-tanker-explosion, he dies in the same explosion too. DIO is left gobsmacked at how anti-climatic his "victory" was while Jotaro muses on how even when DIO wins he still loses.
  • The Nostalgia Critic's 2008 Halloween Special had Teddy Ruxpin come back from being beheaded, put a gun in the Critic's mouth, force him to do a positive review, and kill him when he screams for help.
  • The 2006 flash animation World 2-4: Retaliation has Bowser waging war on the Mushroom Kingdom as revenge for Mario killing him in World 1-4: Mario Vs. Bowser. He bursts through every door and effortlessly swats away any Toad that impeded his progress. With Princess Peach backed into a corner, Luigi charges straight at Bowser, only to eventually be held down by two Koopa Troopas he incapacitated during the fray. He's then forced to watch as Bowser kills the princess with one fierce hit and retreats. The movie ends with Mario and Luigi burying the princess while her remaining subjects look on.
  • Unwanted Houseguest: Several episodes of "TRUE Scary Stories" features human villains who are never identified, and thus never punished.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    • In Episode 49, Crumbs surprisingly defeats Tea and takes control of her body, despite it being a sharp deviation from the original source material, which the series rarely defies.
    • In the second season finale, "Melvin'd", while the heroes are busy partying, Melvin defeats Marik and Florence (who can only sit back and sing "Stand By Me") and cancels the series.

Alternative Title(s): The Bad Guys Win, The Villain Wins

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The Third Chime

While the first two bell tolls are scripted, there is a finite amount of time to defeat the enemies in the last room before facing Vaati. If Link runs out of time, Vaati actually successfully completes his ceremony to steak all the light force in Zelda, who was turned into a statue in the beginning, leaving her to be a permanent bird toilet for the rest of her life, essentially killing her.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ItsAWonderfulFailure

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