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Trash Talk

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Shadow: Faker? I think you're the fake hedgehog around here. You're comparing yourself to me? Ha! You're not even good enough to be my fake.

Intimidation and distraction are perfectly valid strategies to win a game, duel, or fight. It might not be classy or "sportsmanlike", but every edge helps. Then again, there are some duelists who are so arrogant and smug that they'll trash talk a blue streak across the arena out of sheer pride.

During the course of a sporting event, Serious Business duel, or an armed fight, one, both or all present will start trash talking their opponents to psych them out. They'll say their two year old ADD niece is more competent, that their equipment is liable to explode before the fight starts, and they are blessed to fight someone so Magnificent that this Tuesday will be the single greatest day of their (doomed) opponent's life.

Don't expect the trash talker to lose time over it, either.

It's worth noting that like in Real Life, Trash Talk can be either harmless fun or spiteful. How Worthy an antagonist is can usually be determined by what kind of trash talk they use. If they say proud or hurtful things, they're usually bad guys, while if they 'just' say overly self confident things, like "Don't Hold Back!" or matter of factly and humbly state they are simply more powerful than an opponent, they're usually Defeat Means Friendship material, or at least an enthusiastic competitor. In especially satisfying reversals, the trash talking antagonist will say "This Cannot Be!" when the hero shows how truly powerful and/or competent he is.

Staple of Shōnen, Real Life sporting events, and series and shows that deal with a lot of fighting or dueling.

Compare "The Reason You Suck" Speech and Evil Gloating. If there's a sense of moral outrage involved, may overlap with Kirk Summation. Frequently paired with I Am Not Left-Handed. See also Pre-Asskicking One-Liner, Badass Boast, Blasé Boast, I Shall Taunt You, Taunt Button, You Fight Like a Cow, Volleying Insults, and Years Too Early. Contrast Combat Compliment. If words are enough to stop the fight all by themselves, that's Talking the Monster to Death.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Breakshot, which is about billiards, The Stoic and closet Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy (he simply manages to mask the fact that he thinks he's better than everyone else) Ryoji taunts main character Chinmi in their match in the finals of a big tournament, telling him that when they played for kicks earlier he let Chinmi win.
  • Hellsing has this more than once.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto's battle with Neji is almost half composed of this, before Naruto gets mad.
    • The Sound Four/Five enjoy hurling insults (mostly "trash") at their enemies. Tayuya in particular extends this to her own teammates.
    • Madara loves this trope. It's worth noting that he can also offer praise or acknowledgement of an opponent's abilities, but talking trash or making slights about a person's ancestors (namely, the Senju) is one of his premier battle strategies. Note that he backs up almost everything he says.
  • Saint Seiya. Even the good guys will get overconfident on the strength of their attacks.
  • One Piece:
    • Roronoa Zoro is the Straw-Hat Pirates' resident trash talker in a fight (or, given Usopp, the resident trash talker who can also back it up). For example, Zoro's reply to Mr. 1's comments that nobody has ever broken through his Made of Steel body is assure him that's because Mr. 1 hadn't met him yet. There's also his vowing to defeat a fiercely powerful zombie samurai and take his sword as his own and constantly mocking a Top-Heavy Guy who's sensitive about his high pitched voice.
    • Mr. 1 also turns it back on Zoro with an Ironic Echo. When Zoro remarks that no one had ever been able to take his ultimate attack unharmed, Mr. 1 just calmly responds "That is because you have never met me before".
    • While not one of the greats, Luffy has occasionally indulged in Trash Talk. One of the best examples being when he faces Arlong, he makes a list of all the things his crew can do that he can't (use swords, sail, lie, cook). When Arlong's response is to mockingly ask Luffy what he can do, Luffy replies "I can beat you." This encourages everyone watching the fight and infuriates Arlong.
    • There are also cases of Luffy just being Luffy being seen as trash talking. One shining example of this is in the first fight against Crocodile, where, after Crocodile talks down on Luffy for standing by his comrades and claims to "have left hundreds like him in the dust", Luffy replies with "Well, then I guess that makes you pretty stupid". Croc was not amused.
    • This gets played with in the Dressrosa arc when Baby 5 consistently misinterprets Sai's trash talk as declarations of romantic intent ("I'll take your heart" for example). Sai also inadvertently triggers Baby 5's pathological need to be useful by telling her to just die already. He's shocked when Baby 5 begins to do just that, prompting him to try and stop her despite being enemies.
  • This is common practice for Ranma from Ranma ½.
  • The all-time king of this trope has to be Bleach. With the possible exception of Chad, Orihime and Shunsui, every single character—good or bad—in every single fight spends most of the encounter bragging about how great they are and how utterly worthless their opponent is.
    • Before going up against a gang of delinquents, Ichigo calls for an ambulance right in front of them… and counts each of the punks outloud to let the medics know how many people they’ll be tending to.
    • Ulquiorra gets bonus points for actually calling his foes “trash.”
    • Kyoraku and Ukitake do something else, though, to get under an opponent's skin. When they fight Starrk their words are nice enough, but it's the tone which suggests otherwise. Kyoraku also makes seemingly harmless comments and queries in an attempt to distract Starrk.
  • Seto Kaiba of Yu-Gi-Oh! is this trope personified. A lot of the cruder villains are good at it, and so are a few of the heroes too, including Jonouchi. (Who used to run with a gang of hoods before cleaning up his act.
  • Kaiba's good, but Eyeshield 21's Kongo Agon easily annihilates him in this category. He even uses the word "trash," but unlike the above-stated Ulquiorra, every other sentence that comes out of his mouth contains it (calling someone trash is actually his version of Hiruma's F-Bombing).
  • In Gintama episode 79, Gintoki, Kondou, Binbokusai, and Tojou took a restroom break from fighting, but got stranded in the restroom without tissues. Unable to continue fighting without first finding tissues to wipe their butts, they spent an entire episode trash talking and mind gaming.
    Kondou: I never imagined that the enemy captain is an old man. But we won't go easy on you. Let's settle this!
    Binbokusai: What are you blabbering about? You don't stand a chance against me. I guarantee it.
    Gintoki: Right back at you, old man. Don't you see? You're already trapped like a rat.
    Tojou: No need to rush. We'll slaughter you later. But first thing first...
    Everyone: Someone, please bring us toilet paper!
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Vegeta loves trash-talking his opponents. He isn't always able to fully back up what he says, but it does result in some of the series' best lines.
    • DBZ characters in general spend ages trash-talking their opponents before they even start fighting. In the anime, at least. Everyone except maybe Piccolo and Android 16. They just stare down their opponent thinking about when they will shut up and fight.
  • Justified in Tiger Mask, as it's a manga on Professional Wrestling. Even El Sicodelico took time to deliver some trash talk, and he's not the guy who you'd expect doing it. The best ones come from Tiger Mask and the other Tiger's Cave wrestlers, with such gems as Tiger Mask in his heel phase calling his foe a pig for the entire match and then, noticing he was covered in the wood of the broken ring ladder, asking for matches so he could cook and eat the pig (this got Giant Baba pissed, as it wasn't something to say even as a joke) and Miracle 3, as the challenger to Tiger Mask's NWA Maskmen World Champion title, complimenting his ability worth or the former champion (he then proceeded to deliver).
  • In Brave10, Hanzo teases Saizo continuously on the gap between his fame and his actual skill during their first fight.
  • The main character Yusuke Urameshi in YuYu Hakusho lives for this, and outright admits it after coming back from the dead in the beginning of the series.
    "Are you guys talking to me? I mean you see me? I can talk trash to people and even touch them. To be alive is a wonderful thing!"
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable: It's a sign of significant Character Development that the normally-meek Koichi actually trash-talks the Yandere Yukako soon after his Stand Echoes upgrades to Act II. After she gets burned by one of Koichi's new traps and curses, Koichi delivers a "sick burn" (and burn it was; she was pissed):
    "When you said you were gonna get a little rough, I didn't think you meant your vulgar mouth!"
  • My Hero Academia: In the Final Battle, All Might and All For One do this pretty much non stop. All For One thinks All Might is old to be fighting him, armored or not and All Might is trash and he’ll defeat him with minimal effort. All Might mocks said “minimal effort” and is actually using the trash talk as a strategy to prevent All For One from thinking as clearly as he could be.

    Comic Books 
  • The Mighty Thor, as outlined here.
  • Namor the Sub-Mariner's penchant for high-falutin' trash talk is very similar.
  • Spider-Man vs. any of his opponents, ever. Unless they get him really furious. Then it hurts.
  • Deadpool has been known to try this. It rarely stays there.
  • Superman:
    • In Pre-Crisis days, friendly Vartox would begin any scuffle with Superman by pointing out that Supes shouldn't even pursue the fight, because they both knew Vartox was more powerful — which was, in fact, true. Supes didn't win every fight, but he always came out on top in the end, or at least managed to talk Vartox down to end the fight. Helped of course by the fact that they were friends and there was always some external reason for the fight.
    • When facing a significantly less powerful opponent, Superman himself will often do the polite version of this, along the lines of, "Come on, you know who I am. Do you really want to do this?"
    • In Superman vs. Shazam!, both titular heroes engage in exchanging insults and taunts before their brawl, another clear sign that something has made them deranged.
      Superman: Captain Marvel! This time I won't give you the chance to harm innocent bystanders! This time you're fighting me alone— and I'm going to smash you like the insect you are!
      Captain Marvel: Superman! You wanted a fight, mister— and now you've got it! But if there's any smashing to be done, I'm the guy who'll do it— starting right now!
  • The Incredible Hulk would like to remind you that "Hulk is strongest one there is!!!!!"
  • An early 1950s Mighty Mouse comic drawn by Jim Tyer featured alien beasties Oil Can Harry had cultivated, and they have Pearl Pureheart in their clutches. One of them laughs as Mighty Mouse flies to the rescue. Pearl says "Mighty Mouse will make you eat that laugh, sir!" And sure enough, the hero wins and presents a bowl of H's and A's for the alien to eat.
    Alien: Believe me, I'll never laugh at Mighty Mouse again. The points in the A's stick into my gums.

    Comic Strips 
  • Big Nate: Trash talking opponents is one of the true skills of the titular character.
  • Parodied in one Foxtrot comic where Peter and Jason are playing basketball, and Jason is standing in front of Peter saying: "Banana peels. Fish heads. A crumpled milk carton. Coffee grounds. Chicken bones. An empty cereal box." Peter exasperatedly tells Jason: "That's not how you talk trash, doofus."

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): San and Vivienne Graham exchange some of this with Alan Jonah during their fight against the Many's Mind Hive which Jonah is linked to, in Chapter 13.
  • The Bugger Anthology: The Daleks and Cybermen diss each other in "The Bitch Fight of Canary Wharf" by mocking aspects of the other party's appearance.
    Cyberman: Said the dustbin wearing a skirt covered in disco balls!
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
  • Kara of Rokyn: Routinely used by Kara and her opponents during her professional wrestler tenure.
    Jasmine: I'm gonna knock you outta your panties, babe.
    Kara: Glad somebody reminded you to wear yours.
  • It happens in Soul Eater Zeta, especially during moments of competition. Here’s this gem during the dodgeball game.
    Ramses: You guys had better hurry up. Ten minutes are left in class, and you still need to shower and change.
    Rosalind: We'll finish this in 2 minutes. Not a second over.
    (Later, after Claude is eliminated)
    Claude: It appears you didn't finish this in two minutes, Miss Waldo.
  • Harry Potter and the Deadly Heller: After Harry defeats Voldemort, Buffy is supportive, but unimpressed by his lackluster quips. She's sure that he'll improve, though.
    Willow: Yeah, it's always important to be good at talking smack to the Big Bads.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl taunts her evil duplicate, telling she's nothing but a weak, pathetic copy who can't
    Satan Girl: It'll blow us both to bits if we touch any substance there without force-shields or matter-conversion. I can just wait you out. You'll come back, or you'll be atomized. Either way, I win.
    Supergirl: Oh, will you? I thought for certain that you wanted to tear me apart with your own hands. Except it hasn't been that easy, has it? Maybe you're just not up to it, after all... since you're just a pretty pathetic copy of me.
    Satan Girl: YOU...
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: Wulfrik the Wanderer being the Villain Protagonist, this trope is unavoidable. Every opponent he faces gets covered with abuse regarding their questionable parentage, fighting ability (or lack thereof), and being a general disappointment to a Challenge Seeker like himself. The problem is that he can't seem to stop and is equally as insulting (if unintentionally) toward the people who are theoretically his allies.
  • In The Night Unfurls, several of Kyril's opponents do this. He doesn't care.
    • Original version:
    • Remastered version:
      • Chapter 3: Vault's duel with Kyril starts off with Vault boasting that he would draw first blood, hoping that the Hunter would be prepared to eat dirt. His jab is ignored.
      • Chapter 13: Alicia's narration indicates that she intends to hurl an insult right after the beginning of Kyril's Trial by Combat. Alas, the advancing Kyril does not give her the chance to do so.
  • After their sparring match in Cadet Scrap, Kate and Sophie do a bit of this, each bragging about how they'll beat the other at the next Brigade Boxing Open.
  • With this Ring... (Green Lantern): John Stewart and Guy Gardner taunt each other several times during their fight.
    Hal Jordan: "Come on, Gardner, if you think you can do it."
    John Stewart: "Back off, Hal. Mr. Moe Howard Haircut 'n' me started this fight. And we're gonna be the ones to finish it."
    Guy Gardner: "Wrong, boy. I'm gonna be the one to finish it."
  • In Shazam! fanfiction Here There Be Monsters, Mary Marvel and villain duo Black Beauty and Illyria exchange insults and taunts at the beginning of their battle.
    Mary Marvel: "Two superwomen. Fine. I've hardly ever encountered girls I can duke it out with. What'll it be, honeys, two out of three falls?"
    Black Beauty: "Don't be so smartmouthed before the fight, honey. Save it till after... if you're alive!"
    Illyria: "And after the first fall, weakling girl, there will be no need for another."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • This is a common Sith technique known as dun moch. It's used to psychologically damage the opponent during combat, in order to gain victory over them. If your opponent is distracted or upset, he's easier to kill. And as an added bonus, if your opponent snaps, it makes him easy prey for The Dark Side. However, it should be used with some caution; successfully talking an opponent into giving in to their anger can be a bad idea, as Count Dooku finds out.
    • A similar technique used by Jedi is used to similar effect, but without utilizing normal trash talk techniques. Notably Luke utilized this to turn Darth Vader back to the light and in one EU game this must be utilized to sever a Sith's connection to the force to actually be killed.
  • An official part of the titular sport in BASEketball, the purpose is to make the thrower miss their throw.
  • In The Big Lebowski, rival bowler Jesus Quintana is a veritable font of this. Made even funnier by the Dude's Lame Comeback.
    Jesus: You ready to be fucked, man? I see you rolled your way into the semis. Dios mio, man. Liam and me, we're gonna fuck you up.
    The Dude: Yeah, well, you know that's just, like, your opinion, man.
  • In Ip Man 2 the Arrogant Boxer frequently mouths out at his Chinese opponents.
  • Clubber Lang from Rocky III is constantly shit-talking everyone in the film, whether it's Rocky, Mick, or Apollo Creed. He certainly has reason to be angry with Rocky, having been wrongly denied a shot at him because of Mick, but his overall Jerkass attitude makes him easy to root against.
  • Yan Ti San/Thunderleg, the villain of the first Drunken Master film, is a master of this. When Fei Hung demands that Yan stop insulting his father's kung fu, Yan replies with "Judging by you, your old man's kung fu stinks. I wouldn't ask him to wipe the shit from my damned asshole!" And he just keeps on going from there, folks.
  • The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz uses a G-rated form of this.
    Scarecrow: Come along Dorothy, we don't want any of those apples.
    Apple Tree: Are you hinting my apples aren't what they ought to be?
    Scarecrow: [tauntingly] Oh, no. It's just that she doesn't like little green worms!
  • The French knight of Monty Python and the Holy Grail does this because, well, he's a douchebag.
    French knight: You don't frighten us, English pig dogs. Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called M'seiur Arthur King, you and all your silly English Kuh-nnnnnniggets! (blows raspberries)
    King Arthur: Now look here, my good man...
    French knight: I don't wanna talk to you no more, you cheesy empty-headed animal food trough wipers! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!
  • Optimus Prime of all people (or more accurately giant, alien robots) does this in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen during the forest battle.

  • A British officer and a Pathan tribesman do this to each other in Rudyard Kipling s Ballad of East and West. Truth in Television for the Indian Northwest Frontier, did have a little of that.
  • In The Chosen, the baseball game at the beginning actually takes this to the point of being a Holy War between the Hasidic team and the other Jewish team. After all Jews Love to Argue.
  • In The Hot Gate, "Comet" Parker takes advantage of a tense cease-fire in a warzone to trash talk a shuttle pilot for the other side, who's also something of a Point of View character for them. When his own insults aren't up to snuff, she comes up with a standard military procedure for trash talk on the spot, at which point he admits defeat.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: During a race at an evil Wizarding School, a witch named Lucille disables another and then slows down to taunt her rival Megumi. Unfortunately, she lets her guard down while taunting and Megumi is able to make a comeback.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Benson has an episode where a "duel" is fought where Benson decides he and Clayton would "play the dozens" to settle it. Meaning a topic is given and they have to make insults at their opponent while hoping the opponent runs out of time to reply. The last round has Clayton "punch-drunk" while Benson shows his mastery.
  • Bones Hodgins and Oliver during “The Head in the Abutment”. There’s a lot of science talk mixed in:
    Dr. Oliver Wells : Your face is so big that it creates non-Euclidian triangles of over 180 degrees around it
    Jack Hodgins: Is that right? Really?
    Dr. Oliver Wells: Yeah, really
    Jack Hodgins: Okay, well your face is so expansive that the lensing effect is such that a light passing within one Austronautic Unit has a radius of curvature of 6e-9 meter
  • The "Hater's Ball" sketch on Chappelle's Show is about a convention of haters who are hating on each other on a proffesional level and are competing for "Hater of the Year" award. It's seven minutes of nonstop trash talking.
  • The Colbert Report: Stephen loves to trash talk and he is good at it.
  • Part of the amusement of Cutthroat Kitchen is listening to the chefs trash-talking each other, on topics ranging from age to size to cooking abilities, etc.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Battlefield": Ancelyn and Mordred spend some time exchanging insults before charging at each other, even though they're in the middle of a battle.
    • "Doomsday": The Daleks and Cybermen are known as two of the most humour-challenged races in the universe, but when they finally interact on-screen, they prove to be pretty good at trash-talking each other, which they do in a truly amazing exchange that Mickey describes as being "like Stephen Hawking versus the speaking clock".
  • iCarly: Carly badly, then Sam quite well, during iFight Shelby Marx, Aruthor (Spencer) and Aspartamay's taunt war in iStart a Fan War.
  • Letterkenny lives and breathes this trope, especially in any subplot featuring the hockey team. Shoresey is particularly adept in the art of "chirping", as the show calls it, unloading a barrage of Your Mom jokes at a moment's notice.
    Reilly: Fuck you, Shoresy, do you hear yourself!?
    Shoresy: Fuck you, Reilly, shoulda heard your mom last night; she sounded like a window closing on a Tonkinese cat's tail. Sounded like "aaaaaaaahhhhhhh".
    Jonesy: Fuck you, Shoresy.
    Shoresy: Fuck you, Jonesy, shoulda heard your mom last night; she sounded like my great-aunt whenever I pay her a surprise visit. She was like "ooooooohhhhhh".
    Reilly: Fuck you, Shoresy!
    Shoresy: Fuck you, Reilly, your mom sneaky-gushed so hard, she bucked me off the waterbed last night. Don't tell her I was thinkin' about Jonesy's mom the entire time.
    Jonesy: Fuck you, Shoresy!
    Shoresy: Fuck you, Jonesy, your mom ugly cried 'cuz she left the lens cap on the camcorder last night. It's fuckin' amateur hour over there.
    Jonesy and Reilly: FUCK YOU, SHORESY!
  • A MOTD in Power Rangers Time Force had some pretty good trash-talk; the Blue Ranger had just said that no one was too tough for the Power Rangers, prompting the monster to yell, "Well, let me introduce myself. I'm No One, and I'm too tough for the Power Rangers."
    • In general, Power Rangers has a lot of this simply because both the rangers and the monsters just won't. Shut. UP!

  • In Bowling King, Doufu Ma does this to Tz'how, stealing a reporter's microphone to tell him, over television, that the only reason he's in the God's Hand Cup tournament is to defeat him with his Eagle Dive. Normally, this would make him look tough, but his stammering just makes it creepy.

  • A fair amount of rap has this, where it's commonly known as a "diss track". Same with punk rock.
    • A freestyle rap battle is essentially a trash-talking contest.
  • Pretty much this entire song about Final Fantasy
    • "Your defense is weak; Fartin's tougher than you!/ Good Knight turned bad Knight? Goodnight for you!/ Surrender the Princess or Surrender your Life/I'm light speeds ahead of you, now bleed on my knife!/That was a critical hit; Critics are thumbin' in awe/Garland you look like shit, go home and cry to your ma!" It only gets better from there.
    • "Destroyed Lich with fire, wrecked Kary with might, sockin' Kraken blockin' knockin' as we Nuke Tiamat tonight! A-na-na, I got the Crystals, time to go back to the past, as I put this motherfucking sword in Chaos' ass!"
    • "I got a thousand volts of lightning runnin' through my veins; three feet of steel in my hand, and it's flavor is pain! You've been playin' with fire, now you gonna get burned; you're in over your head, another lesson to be learned! I'm gonna run you through! You gonna pay for your crime! (fucker) I just cast Haste, and now you're running out of time!"
    • Chaos himself uses it: "Who do you think you are boy, the Light Warriors? Don't make me laugh, although you ARE glorious. How do you get your hair to match your armor so well? I bet your manicurist has a DOZEN stories to tell!"
  • Every sentence of every other song by The Adventures Of Duane And Brando as well, crossing over with Cluster F-Bomb.
    • Mega Man: "You fucking meanie, you ten-pound weenie, to get the world, you'll have to go through me! My name is Mega Man, but you can call be Rock, 'cuz I'll be rockin' yo shit, up and down the block!"
    • Bomberman: I'm T-N-T, I'm dynamite! I'm here representin', yeah I'm down for life; You can't fuck with the man with the master plan! Bitches don't think that I'm comin', you can bet that I am!"
    • Simon Belmont: "Armed with a whip and a fucking stake, I'm gonna find Count Dracula and seal his fate! With a one, two three (ha ha ha!) annihilatin' zombies on my way to the gate. I'm Simon Belmont! The vampire slaughterer! Equipped with holy water and I got enough for all 'a ya'll. I'm callin' ya out! I'm takin' ya down! Killin' you again and puttin' ya back in the ground!"
  • All About the Pentiums by "Weird Al" Yankovic, when he's not bragging about how great his own PC is.
    Your motherboard melts when you try to send a fax, where'd you get your CPU? In a box of Cracker Jacks?
  • Arschgesicht (ass face), by Knorkator is nothing but trash talk and taunting. Played for laughs, as the vocals are done by one of the band members 10 year old son. In the video, he is playing a board game with a man looking like a heavily muscled hooligan.
  • "Knife Fight" by Lemon Demon has several instances of this, as the two knife fighters threaten and insult each other before the fight begins.
    "Let me tell you something: I can't be beat."
    "Oh yeah?"
    "Yeah. 'Cuz I'm the king of the street!"
    "Well guess what, man - I'll pin you to the wall!"
    "Oh yeah?"
    "Yeah, your knife is way too small!"
    "Hey! My knife is super sharp and that's what counts! I'm gonna make you bleed copious amounts!"
    "Yeah, well I'll be sure to thank you right after I shank you!"
  • "Wappin'" by Darrell Hammond and Christopher Snell is a Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd confrontation done to rap, as produced by Sylvester the Cat.

    Myths & Religion 

    Pro Wrestling 
  • All the time in Professional Wrestling. In the ring, outside the ring, before, during and after the matches, to the opponent, to the powers that be, to the audience... You name a form of trash talk, wrestling delivers. Examples are not needed; this folder would collapse into a Word-Hole under its own weight and consume the rest of the page.


  • Truth in Television in cricket, oddly enough, where it is known as "sledging". And as has been asserted by anyone they play (particularly Pakistan), the Australians are the best at it.
  • Muhammad Ali, to the point of being a Warrior Poet at times. Boxer Ernie Terrell refused to call Ali by his Muslim name, always referring to him by his birth name of Cassius Clay during the run-up to their fight in 1967. Ali then humiliated Terrell, toying with him while bellowing "What's my name? What's my name?"
  • Basketball:
    • Part of Michael Jordan's overall mystique was his penchant for backing up his trash talk. Over and over again.
    • And Yao Ming somehow picked this up in between his English lessons.
    • Jordan's teammate Scottie Pippen was no slouch either. At the tail end of Game 1 of the 1997 NBA Finals with the game tied at 82, he famously told Karl "The Mailman" Malone "Just remember, The Mailman doesn't deliver on Sunday, Karl," just before the Utah Jazz star went to the free throw line. Malone clanked both shots off the rim. Jordan then buried the winning shot at the buzzer.
    • Gary Payton was also very fond of trash talking, to the point where he would trash talk imaginary opponents while he was practicing.
    • Reggie Miller, besides his endless taunting that the New York Knicks were "choke artists", made the choke sign and crotch grab gesture famous due to his fourth quarter scoring outburst versus the Knicks in the 1994 playoffs.
    • Larry Bird, former NBA player for the Boston Celtics and patron saint of this trope.
      • During the three-point shooting contest on All-Star Weekend 1986, Bird entered the locker room, looked around without saying a word, then finally said, "I want all of you to know I am winning this thing. I'm just looking around to see who's gonna finish up second." He won the shooting contest.
      • During one game on Christmas Day against the Indiana Pacers, before the game Bird told Chuck Person that he had a Christmas present waiting for him. During the game, when Person was on the bench, Bird shot a three-pointer on the baseline right in front of Person. Immediately after releasing the ball, Bird said to Person, "Merry fuckin' Christmas!", and then the shot went in. This was no doubt inspired by Person (nicknamed the "Rifleman") stating prior to the game that "The Rifleman is Coming, and He's Going Bird Hunting."
      • Reggie Miller recalled his encounter with Larry Bird's legendary trash talking ability in his book "I Love Being The Enemy". Reggie tried to disrupt Larry's concentration when he was shooting free throws late in a game. Larry glared at him, made the first free throw and said, "Rook, I am the best fucking shooter in the league. In the league, understand? And you're up here trying to fucking tell me something?" Then Larry buried the second free throw.
      • Late in a tied game against the Seattle SuperSonics, Bird told Sonics forward Xavier McDaniel, who was guarding him, exactly where he would hit the game winning shot. After a timeout, Bird made two baseline cuts, then posted in the exact spot he had indicated to McDaniel, paused, turned, and hit the shot in his face.
      • After Bird made four straight baskets with Rodman guarding him, he ran over to Chuck Daly and asked "Who's guarding me, Chuck? Is anyone guarding me? You better get someone on me or I'm gonna go for 60." Then he'd continue the banter the next time he got the ball with Rodman inches away.
      • After Craig Hodges won the NBA All-Star Game Three-Point contest in Bird's absence, Hodges was asked if the victory was tainted because Bird hadn't participated. "He knows where he can find me," was Hodges retort. Told of Hodges' challenge, Bird replied, "Yeah, at the end of the Bulls bench."
      • Knicks' forward Charles Smith remembers when Bird barked "Sorry, Charlie," as he released a long, last-second shot to win a game. "That kind of a thing makes you want to jump on a guy," said Smith.
      • Bird even precipitated a fight with Julius Erving by repeating a single phrase over and over. The phrase? 42-5, or the number of points each had scored during an easy Boston victory.
      • When Bird was scoring at will on the Utah Jazz during a game, he went by the Jazz bench and asked then coach Frank Layden "Hey, Frank, haven’t you got anyone on the bench who can guard me? Because nobody out here can." Frank looks down the bench and replies "No."
  • This is basically the job of Pests in hockey. Easily identified by the way they line up next to the other team's star players and immediately start yabbering in their ear while said player does their best to look like they haven't noticed anything is amiss, the Pest will use Trash Talk and other dirty plays to try and annoy the other team's stars into taking a penalty just to shut them up (or, even better, get into a fight). This both removes a star player from the ice for a few minutes and potentially gives the Pest's team a powerplay. Pests aren't as common today as they were in the 80s and 90s, but there are still a few of them around.
    • The now-retired Sean Avery may have been the king of this trope. He not only annoyed virtually everyone on the ice he came in contact with, including his own teammates, but he took the trash talk off the ice as well, waging wars in the media. Extra notable for when he got suspended by his own team, and subsequently traded a short while later, for saying that Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf enjoyed his sloppy seconds (since Phaneuf's fiancée happened to be Avery's former girlfriend).
    • Special mention goes to Esa Tikkanen who, not content to simply insult opponents in English, actually made up his own language just to annoy people (referred to as Tikkanese or Tik-Talk, or Tiki-Talky by fans and media). Tikkanen was Finnish and everyone originally assumed he was speaking his native tongue, but teammate and fellow Finn Jari Kurri confirmed that he couldn't understand a word Tikkanen said either.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Mage: The Awakening, Wizard Duels traditionally determine who goes first (as well as getting a slight attack bonus) by having the combatants trash talk each other, although some choose to forgo this in favour of a simple Death Glare. The magical field which the duel takes place in measures which duelist is the most intimidated, which is how the order of attack is chosen.
  • The Jester class in 3.5 edition Dungeons & Dragons lives and breathes this trope; with magical augmentations to their cutting wit Jesters can goad their enemies into making mistakes, insult them into losing confidence, frighten them into fleeing, and even deal damage at higher levels.
  • The Ridicule skill in Deadlands. There's even an edge (the voice: grating) that gives you a bonus to it.
  • A Magic card, Mother of Goons, from a joke set (punning on the "real" card "Mother of Runes"), leaves play unless you insult your opponents' creatures whenever those creatures die.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: Wulfrik the Wanderer is a Chaos champion granted the ability to understand and speak every language ever (including animals), for the sole purpose of baiting them into fighting him so he can prove himself the better warrior. It ever gives him insults he has no prior knowledge of, such as insinuating he'd banged a Crazy Jealous Guy's wife (when he'd never seen the wife in question or the man). In terms of rules, his "Gift of Tongues" ability means that any character he challenges to a duel must accept.

    Video Games 
  • Borderlands, the majority of Vault Hunters' dialogue during combat are reveling in how awesome they are and dead their enemies are/going to be.
  • Final Fantasy XVI: Hugo Kupka initially trash talks Clive during the start of their first confrontation, insulting him for the fall of the Grand Duchy of Rosaria and now having nothing to his name. Clive then responds by telling Hugo that it was he who slew Hugo's lover Benedikta Harman, rather than Clive's late mentor, Cid, which is enough to send Hugo into a vengeance-induced fury.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas CJ often trash talks his enemies while in combat.
  • The Legend of Spyro:
  • Star Control 2: The Pkunk can only regain battery points by insulting their foes. ("Worm, idiot, fool!") If you ask them about this, they explain that, as a highly pacifistic society, aggression and combat doesn't come easily to them, so they must whip themselves up into an emotional frenzy in order to be effective.
  • In Kenka Banchō, this is the proper way to start a fight after staring down your opponent.
  • Common in tri-Ace games, notable Valkyrie Profile (nearly every character can be a cocky bastard) and the Star Ocean series. Reasonably common in other RPGs with voice acting.
    • Valkyrie Profile plays with this in a few ways. To start, Lenneth's quotes change depending on her Seal level; high, she's gung ho and thirsting for battle. Low, and she's questioning her mission. Some characters parody others' quotes, and in the sequel, going into battle with certain combinations of Einherjar will have them talking to each other instead of taunting enemies.
  • Star Wars Episode I: Racer has a programmable Taunt Button on the joystick/keyboard that has the sole function of screaming insults at your opponents. It really doesn't do anything in a race but it certainly makes the player feel better. Unfortunately, since most of the racers are aliens, the only character you can actually understand is Anakin (such gems as "Eat fumes, wormo!")... and half the time his are in Huttese anyway.
  • Happens before, during, and after races in the first two Midnight Club games. Due to the character tripping over his words, one example backfires:
    Larry: You reckon you got a chance against the Queen of Ki-I mean the King of Queens?
  • In both Eternal Champions and Art of Fighting, taunting your enemy reduces the energy they need for their special moves. Sadly, this only matters in the latter; in the former, the computer doesn't care about its meter.
  • A key tactic in the Wing Commander games is using your comm system to shout insults at your Kilrathi opponents. Being the Proud Warrior Race Guys they are, this will often provoke them into ignoring their mission objectives (like, say, the ships you're protecting) in favor of chasing after you specifically.
  • Kirby enjoys doing this to his opponents in Kirby's Avalanche, insulting them in full sentences while sometimes also throwing in a pun.
  • Suikoden V has Logg, Lun, and Subala do this in the Fishing Minigame. Pretty amusing to look at while the Prince is minding his own business.
  • Everybody except the Pyro (who could be trash-talking but could also just as likely be discussing the weather or reciting T. S. Eliot) in Team Fortress 2, especially with their domination quotes. Highlights include:
    Sniper: Too slow, medicine woman!
    Spy: So your deadly skill is jogging? Mine is murdering people!
    Soldier: Scotland is not a real country! You are an Englishman in a dress!
    Scout: Dude, you get a closed casket at the ugly cemetery!
    Demoman: Ya great lactating wet nurse!
    Engineer: Shoot, son, you all slow as molasses.
    Medic: Would you like a second opinion? You are also ugly!
    • More domination lines!
    Sniper: I'm runnin' out of places to put holes in ya!
    Spy: I'm looking at your x-ray and I'm afraid you suck!
    Soldier: Your mouth wrote checks, my gun has cashed them.
    Heavy: The burning you feel? It is shame.
    Scout: You're like a car crash in slow motion. It's like I'm watchin' ya fly through a windshield!
    Demoman: That's a right pretty bra-washer ya built, you big ugly girl!
    Engineer: Didn't your mama ever teach you not to play with matches?
    Medic: Oops, zat was not medicine!
  • Every character in Mortal Kombat trash talks their opponent to an extent, but Shao Kahn mocks not only his opponent, but the player as well:
    "It's official... you suck!"
    "You're still trying to win?"
    "That was pathetic!"
    • Johnny Cage is also quite the trash talker. In Mortal Kombat 9 he trash talks everybody, to the point where even his teammates turn on him.
    Johnny: "I'm taking you down. I'm taking you down. I'm taking you out." (turns to Sonya) "And I'm taking you dinner."
  • All the opposing generals in Command & Conquer: Generals's General Challenge love filling the air time with insults and boasts.
  • The Monkey Island series sports Trash Talk as the normal form in sword fights. Basically who is better at trash talk wins.
    • In the third game, it's trash talk swordfighting... with rhymes!
  • Enemy generals always say something just before Destiny of an Emperor's nonrandom battles, and about half of them are trash talk.
  • Asura's Wrath has this during the fight between Asura and Augus.
    Augus: You need to enjoy this a bit more!
  • In lieu of fisticuffs, this is one of the forms of combat/information-gathering in Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble!.
  • Trash talk is apparently a time-honored tradition in Tamriel - in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, everyone from bandits to DRAGONS will taunt you when you get into a fight with them (albeit in their own language, in the case of the dragons). The leaders on both sides of the Skyrim Civil War in particular have some priceless fight dialogue.
  • Mass Effect 3: in the Citadel DLC, you can brush off the Mysterious Figure trying to trash-talk you by pointing out that the last guy to try it was about 2km tall. Later in that same DLC, Traynor takes on her arch-rival, the asari Polgara T'Suzsa, at Kepesh-Yakshi, an asari strategy game. T'Suzsa's opening gambit is to mock and belittle Traynor. You get a Renegade interrupt to respond in style.
    "Trash talking. That's another strategy that doesn't work on the Reapers. It didn't work on the krogan, either. Or the rachni. Have the asari ever won a war?"
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Kett Ascendants love this. Any fight with a named one tends to have them ranting about how pathetic and feeble their enemies are, and how they should just give up now, usually ignoring Ryder and co. are handing them their ass.
  • Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS and WiiU have the casts of Fire Emblem and Kid Icarus do this upon winning against opponents from their own franchises, though these statements are quite Out of Character for the Fire Emblem fighters.
    Lucina vs. Marth: This is the Hero-King?
    Lucina vs. Ike: And they call you the Radiant Hero?
    Female Robin vs. Lucina: How can you protect Chrom when you can't even protect yourself?
    Dark Pit vs. Pit: Where's your goddess now?
    Palutena vs. Dark Pit: Poor little Pittoo!
  • Heroes of the Storm typically has the hero you're playing taking shots at their victims if they were involved in a kill in the match. Many heroes actually have specific quotes for certain victims, usually their antagonist/rival/friend (EG: Any Major Diablo III character versus Diablo himself). The most notable quotes among these are from character in the Diablo or Warcraft series.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum, Yami Yugi and his opponents will do this depending on who's winning.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, characters who are antagonistic to one another will deal this out in spades.
  • Touhou: Before a Spell Card duel, it seems to be tradition to hype up your own power and threaten to maim/kill/eat your opponent, regardless of your actual intentions (in fact, the rules are explicitly nonlethal). This is justified as the system is primarily used by Youkai, who need to maintain some sense of the fear and conflict they were born from.
  • Love Nikki - Dress Up Queen: When Nikki's opponents in a styling contest use the skill Critical Eye (which lowers the player's score), they pair it with an insult.
    Toto: Now I know why you have no boyfriend!
  • In Slipstream 5000, the other competitors can send you insults via radio. This can actually be useful, because what they say often tells you their relative position (e.g. coming up behind you) without you having to take your attention away from the track.
  • In Speed Kills, screens before or after races show comments from your fellow racers, many of which are insulting (although a few of them will gracefully acknowledge your wins).
  • Happens before each match in the single player mode of the first Puyo Puyo arcade game. The English version dials this up a notch, though not to the level of Mean Bean Machine's Hurricane of Puns.
  • Mutant Football League gives every opportunity for a player to throw out the insults after the outcomes of certain plays. Scoring a touchdown usually results in gloating, unless a special dirty play resulted in said player becoming nigh-invulnerable as the defense tries and fails to take him down. Quarterback sacks will always result in insults flying. Pass Interceptions will often call out the other team's QB being unable to find their teammates.
    (Sacks the quarterback) Man, you went down faster than your mama at the Christmas party!

    Web Animation 
  • The Ninja Action series is dialog-less, but that doesn't stop some trash talk to happen in "Ninja Action 1", when the protagonist faces a Dark Action Girl, under the form of stick figures animated in speech bubbles. She promises she'll rip off his head and uses it as a ball; he retorts that he's going to subject her to a Metronomic Man Mashing by grabbing her long hair. And then he delivers.

  • Xykon from The Order of the Stick is a master at this, coming up with the nastiest lectures to completely crush his opponents' spirit and destroy any measure of confidence they have. It backfires on him once when a lecture of his ends up having a much-needed therapeutic effect on his opponent.
  • 8-Bit Theater: The Light Warriors do a lot more trash talking than fighting. Without an opponent present, they use this on each other.
  • Rowasu of Juathuur loves this and Bring It.
  • Afro from Every Button Hurts the Other Guy spouts a constant stream of the spiteful variety during his fight with Russel.

    Web Original 
  • Sockbaby.
    Ronnie Cordova: Go forth and tell your alien brothers... THAT RONNIE CORDOVA SAYS THEY'RE GAY!
  • The Freelance Astronauts tend to do this. Most notably was the Tetris Smackdown, which largely consisted of pipes! engaging in some epic level trash talk.
  • Chaka of the Whateley Universe. If she's in a superhero battle, it's nonstop, including smart-alecky comments to teammates over their subspace communication system. She's done it to ninjas, supervillains, zombies, you name it.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Commonly used in the Earth Rumble matches, but for both the ring and the entire series, Toph is the master.
  • Terry from Batman Beyond is fond of this strategy, which in fact is instrumental in helping him take down a resurrected Joker.
  • The Boondocks:
    • Colonel H. Stinkmeaner speaks nothing but trash talk when he isn't using the N-word like it's going out of style:
      Stinkmeaner: Who in the hell parked in my space?! That's like calling 1-800-Collect-An-Ass-Whoopin'! And no, that ain't no toll-free call, PARTNAH!
      Stinkmeaner: You scared? Yeah. You scared ain't you, bitch nigga? I can smell the bitch in ya. *sniffs twice* Ooh, that's vintage bitch!
      Stinkmeaner: Oh yeah! Look at you! You were talkin' all that good shit a second ago, then you got kicked in your chest! You eat a d***, nigga! YOU eat a d*** !"
    • Of course, Riley is no novice in the art of trash-talk either: "Hey, ''Bitch'' Magnus! I called you a bitch 'cause you's a bitch! What, you thought I wasn't gonna come see you? You thought you wasn't gonna get the taste smacked out your mouth for trying to jack Young Reezy? You better fall back, nigga!"
  • In the Hey Arnold! episode "The Pig War," the war begins with a customary exchange of insults.
    Rex: Your costumes are atrocious.
    Rex III: Your so-called pig looks malnourished. What do you feed the little runt?
    Gerald: You walk like you've got an umbrella in your pants!
    Phil: You couldn't catch this pig if your life depended on it, you broken-down old fossil!
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes featured a Creepy Doll that did nothing but this, thanks to Jimmy.
  • Kim Possible villain Shego's cutesy nicknames for "Kimmie" carry the implicit suggestion that she's just a little girl who should run along home instead of trying to fight with the grownups.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch has a match between Don Rickles and Rodney Dangerfield. Rodney got Rickles to run out of material (Johnny said Rodney played "rope-a-dope" with Rickles) before going into a flurry of fists as each seven punches helped Rodney teach Rickles about "respect." "Here's an R!" It ends with Rodney punching Rickles to pieces that get cooked on a grill.
    Rodney: Don Rickles is so dead...
    Audience: How Dead is He?
    Rodney: He's so dead the vultures are making reservations! [uses a BBQ fork to get one of Rickles' legs] Now who wants a drumstick?
  • The school in ¡Mucha Lucha! actually has a class that teaches this. (Justified, because the school in general is for Masked Luchadors.
  • In the Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "Log Rollers," where the birds invade Powerful Pierre's lumberyard, Heckle trash-talks at Pierre.
    Heckle: Ah, you're not so tough, chum. You're musclebound. Why, you couldn't punch your way out of paper bag! (Pierre punches Heckle right in the face) Ha! What'd I tell ya? I didn't even feel it! (He suddenly goes catatonic and falls on his back cold)
  • A Cool McCool cartoon has Cool trying to pull this on the Owl while in airborne pursuit of him:
    Cool: Owl, you licken-chivered, er, chicken-livered, bird-brained feather duster!
    Owl: Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me!
    Cool: Oh, no? Your mother eats Polly seeds!
    Owl: (stops and pulls a gun) Now that's asking for it!!
  • Violet tries to do this to Huey when they compete for the position of Senior Woodchuck in DuckTales (2017) since Lena told her that smack-talk is something you're supposed to do in friendly competitions. Given the fact that she is by her own admission the resident Stoic of the cast, it fails to have any real intimidation factor.
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: The Joker loves to hear himself laugh at jokes others probably won't find funny, but when told that he's not interesting, he has a spectacular Villainous Breakdown as shown during his climatic fight with Terry.
  • In the Molly of Denali episode "Ice Sculpture," the competitors for the ice sculpture contest engage in friendly rounds of this while stocking up on supplies.
    Mr. Patak: I guess we're all stocking up for the big contest.
    Layla: Hope you're bringing your A-game!
    Connie: Ha! I only have an A-game!
    Mr. Patak: Things are really heatin' up, eh, Rowley?
    Mr. Rowley: You betcha! Hope you don't get cold feet, Patak!
    (they all laugh)
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "Fresh Hare," Bugs Bunny trash talks at a snowman effigy of mountie Elmer Fudd. The real Elmer is standing behind him:
    Bugs: So you call yourself a mountie? You can't catch me...why, you couldn't even catch a cold! You know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna punch you right in the nose! (Rears back then turns and punches the real Elmer)
    • In "Awful Orphan," Charlie Dog takes a phone call in Porky's apartment from a neighbor irritated with their noise under the threat of physical injury.
    Charlie: Oh yeah? Well, listen ya overgrown palooka...I'll save you the trouble and come up and see you! So say your prayers, chowder head, 'cause here I come!

    Real Life 
  • According to stories, Samurai stopped to give the names of their glorious ancestors before falling on in a Duel to the Death.
  • Pick any online game with any form of free communication between players. Most of this communication will be either people gloating and telling you that you suck because they beat you, or people accusing you of cheating or using cheap tactics because you beat them. The rule of thumb for trash talk is that, if anyone is better than you, they have no life. If anyone is worse than you, they are a noob. It can actually work pretty well with text-based chat. If they're busy typing they probably won't notice the column of tanks you're about to shove up their ass.
  • John Romero all but invented FPS trash talking with Doom deathmatch.
  • Once during World War II, shortly after Italy surrendered to the Allies:
    German soldier: How do you like your new ally?
    American soldier: You can have 'em back.
    German soldier: Swine!
    American soldier: You horse's rear!
  • Often used in poker. Mike "The Mouth" Matusow is a master of it, but Tony G is the absolute king.
  • Many games just wouldn't be the same without trash talk; Hearts, Spades, Dominoes, know you're among trusted friends when you can verbally abuse them without fear while they're flinging sharp pointed objects.
  • This story from Not Always Right. Also qualifies as Oh, Crap! moment for the trash talker.
  • In Vietnam ARVN and VC would occasionally trash talk over the radio.
  • One time during The American Civil War a group of pickets were shooting at each other while trash talking each other. One Rebel and one Yankee got so angry with each other that everyone agreed that guns were too impersonal, and so they called a truce to settle the manner with Good Old Fisticuffs. Once that was done, they had a rest. Then they went back to shooting at each other.
  • Subversion, during The Napoleonic Wars British preferred to remain silent while the French were approaching to make sure that there was as much tension begging to be released when the order to fire and charge came.
  • In one time during the Battle of Waterloo, Cavalie Mercer, commanding a battery of British Horse Artillery cheered his men's morale by exchanging insults with a French skirmisher.
  • If you think of it, some of Winston Churchill's most famous speeches were to some degree a high-class form of trash-talk.
  • During the truce before the Battle of Poitiers, the great English knight Sir John Chandos rode out to look at the French army, and met the French Lord of Clermont coming the other way — and the two of them realized that, despite not being connected in any way, they were both wearing the same heraldric device. The resultant conversation can be summarized as: "You're a thief." "No, you're the thief." "Boy, you are so lucky that there is a truce on." "Yeah, well, there won't be a truce on tomorrow, so you'd better watch it!"
  • Do not try this at chess tournaments, lest the arbiter will throw the book at you. Blitz chess in your club is an entirely other matter and no fun without this trope.
  • Reported by Herodotus (and 300):
    Persian General: "Our arrows will darken the sun!"
    Greek General: "Cool, then we can fight in the shade!"
See here for details how it really happened.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Smack Talk


Cricket's "trash talk"

Cricket tries to trash talk Skids, but it doesn't turn out good.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / TrashTalk

Media sources: