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Being a series that brings together many fictional characters from just as much media, Death Battle is bound to have more than a few tributes to their past moments:

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     Recurring 
  • In most fights featuring a Mortal Kombat character, one of the featured combatants will land a particularly nasty attack on the other; the sequence is shown to cause severe internal damage similar to the cinematics used by X-Ray Moves in later Mortal Kombat games.
  • An episode featuring characters from the Batman mythos will find a way to have Boomstick refer to Bruce Wayne as the goddamn Batman.
  • Fights with Mega Man protagonists will start off with a ground-level view of a building that rises up to show one of the characters standing on the roof.
  • In a fight with Shadow, either he or his current foe will use "Sayonara" as a Pre-Mortem One-Liner (or attempt to in Ryuko's case). In Sonic Adventure 2, the term is used after Shadow's apparent death and by Maria before hers.
  • Both Thor vs. Raiden and Shao Kahn vs. M. Bison featured a character teleporting to avoid a thrown hammer; a move familiar to anyone who knows the final battle of Mortal Kombat 9.
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     Season 1 
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Battle Royale
    • Leo gets his sword stuck in a pile of boxes while trying to attack Donnie. Don proceeds to hit him over the head with his staff. This is a reference to a trick from the Ninja Turtles NES game. When fighting against the second boss, Rocksteady, an easy way to defeat him was to stand on the boxes at the right side of the screen and repeatedly use his downward thrust attack. He couldn't hit you, and he'd die in a few hits.
  • Felicia vs Taokaka
    • The butterfly both fighters are enamored by seems to be a reference to the butterflies that appear in Felicia's official artwork.
  • Kratos vs Spawn
    • Kratos is once again hosed when his opponent isn't as dead as he thought it was.
  • Vegeta vs Shadow
    • Early in the fight, Vegeta asks Shadow if "a lab rat like himself experiences fear" after going Super Saiyan on him, the same question he asks Android 19 in the original series.
  • Rainbow Dash vs Starscream
    • Rainbow Dash says "Ohmigosh!" and "It. Is. On!" The first was said by her. The latter was said by her friend, Rarity.
  • Master Chief vs Doomguy
    • Wiz states that Master Chief's knack for finding weapons just about anywhere is attributed to "incredible luck". Dr. Halsey (the creator of the Spartans) states in Halo: The Fall of Reach to Cortana that the core difference between the Master Chief and other Spartans is that "He is the luckiest". Cortana later says the same in Halo 3.
    • Doomguy's analysis features the classic Doom cover art that replaces the generic-looking demons with monsters from Doom 3 and Resurrection of Evil.
    • Master Chief teabags Doomguy at the end of the fight.
  • Link vs. Cloud Strife
    • Link gets the Master Sword knocked away from him and is forced to temporarily duel without it, which also happened in Ocarina of Time. He gets it back by using his Clawshot on it while Cloud is disoriented from his Boomerang.
  • Goku vs Superman

     Season 2 
  • Ryu Hayabusa seems to take great pleasure in destroying Strider's robotic birds, given how much trouble birds have caused him in his home games. And even here, avians still mock the Dragon Ninja, as after his defeat, Strider's remaining birds dispose of Ryu's body (though it has been argued that that was actually an act of respect on Strider's part for a fellow ninja).
    • Also from that Death Battle, there's the allusion to the opening of Ninja Gaiden; two ninjas running towards each other with their blades drawn, then leaping into the air and having a Single-Stroke Battle, with the fallen ninja revealed to have faked his death later on. Ryu matched all these points, except for that very last one.
  • Terminator vs Robocop has several to both of their film series'.
  • After Venusaur's death Charizard and Blastoise lock eyes. A scene-transition plays with Pokeballs rolling across the screen, blacking it out. This is similar to certain transition to trainer battles in the Pokemon series.
  • The arena in Ivy vs Orchid is based on the stages in the early Soul Calibur games.
  • Ryu vs Scorpion has Scorpion dizzying Ryu and making Scorps on the receiving end of an X-Ray Attack.
  • Kirby finishes off Buu with the latter's own Planet Burst, a massive energy ball similar to the Spirit Bomb that kills Buu at the end of Dragon Ball Z.
  • In the analysis, one of Ragna's traits is a 'frequent dine-and-dasher'. This references how many times he ends up bringing someone hungry to a restaurant (Taokaka, Platinum) and how they eat massive amounts of food, then leave him to pay the bill because they don't have the money to do so themselves. Obviously, he doesn't do so and runs out as quick as he can.
  • Sol uses a Dustloop on Ragna at the beginning of his fight. The "Dustloop" is a Fan Nickname for a combo performed by Sol.
  • Two of Superman's attacks against Goku in their rematch are familiar, one being an attack Goku used against Buu in the opening cinematic of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, the other the same as how he hammered Zod through the sky in Man of Steel.
  • Dan Hibiki's canon attempt to use the Raging Demon fails when he trips over Sakura's backpack. This happens again in Hercule Satan vs. Dan Hibiki, except Dan trips on Hercule's jetpack.
  • In Yang vs. Tifa, after Yang tanks Tifa's Limit Break attacks, she confusingly asks "Did I just explode?" Her sister Ruby asked the same question after accidentally setting off some of Weiss' Dust during their first meeting.
  • Also in Yang vs. Tifa, the scene where Yang gets knocked onto the main dance floor by Tifa and gets up bleeding from the right side of her head before getting serious directly mirrors a similar scene with Weiss and the Giant Knight in her "White" trailer, the only difference being Weiss is bleeding from the left side.
  • The entire setup sequence for the Yang vs. Tifa fight is basically a reenactment of the Yellow Trailer in which Yang made her debut as it starts with her heading into a bar, starting a ruckus, saying she's "looking for someone" and ordering a strawberry sunrise.

     Season 3 
  • In Dante vs. Bayonetta, Bayonetta leaps up and wraps her legs around Dante in a similar way that Nero did in Devil May Cry 4. The final part of the fight takes place on a giant falling clock, like in an iconic scene in Bayonetta.
  • Ratchet and Clank VS Jak and Daxter has the fight begin with Ratchet's ship crashing into the village. This is the third time Ratchet has crashed his ship while he and Clank were flying it (one from the first game/remake and another from Tools), four if you include with Qwark from A Crack in Time.
  • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1, the Mutant leader talks Batman into leaving his tank-like Batmobile to personally attack him. The Joker does the same with Needles Kane, then one-shots him with Joker Venom.
  • In Tracer Vs Scout, when Scout loses, a dove flies away from where his body was blown up, which has a rare chance of happening in his own game.

     Season 4 
  • Power Rangers vs Voltron
    • Every time the Rangers take damage, it cuts to the same stock footage of them being thrown around, referencing the same use of constant stock footage due to being an adaptation of Super Sentai.
  • Android 18 vs Captain Marvel
    • Android 18 breaks one of Carol's arms with a wide kick much like what happened with Vegeta.
  • Balrog vs TJ Combo
    • Balrog performs a Gigaton Blow and says "You won't hear the full ten-count! WHY DON'T YOU GO TO HELL?!", just like he does in Street Fighter V.
  • Sephiroth vs Vergil
    • When Sephiroth reveals the Supernova to Vergil, it features the same animation as the game, along with a small profile indicator for Vergil in the same style of Final Fantasy VII, but replacing his mana with the Devil Trigger gauge from Devil May Cry 4.

     Season 5 
  • Black Panther vs Batman
    • Black Panther briefly dukes it out with a rhino, as he did in the opening of his 80s miniseries from Peter B. Gillis.
  • Raven vs Twilight Sparkle
    • When Twilight teleports Raven into her home, the latter is surrounded with pony toys, refering a trait of her character from Teen Titans Go!.
  • Jotaro Kujo vs Kenshiro
    • The finishing blow pays homage to both series. Kenshiro says "You Are Already Dead", his iconic phrase, and Jotaro responds with "NANI?!" before exploding. The sequence is done in the same fashion that Kenshiro usually defeats his opponents. "NANI?!" is alongside something commonly said in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
  • Crash vs Spyro
    • At one point in the battle, Crash is seen frantically running towards the camera as Spyro chases him from behind; this harkens back to a number of levels from the original Crash Bandicoot games with similar chase sequences (e.g. Un-Bearable, Dino Might, Bone Yard).
    • When the Wumpa Fruit projectile misses and hits the cliff, it makes a splatter with purple and orange/yellow parts. Wumpa Fruits in Crash's series have had either purple or orange-yellow juice depending on the game.
  • Sora vs Pit
    • Donald and Goofy not getting involved in the fight mirrors Sora fighting Hercules alone in Kingdom Hearts. The same game also featured several solo versions of the regular Coliseum cups, which might explain why Sora was fighting alone before Pit showed up.
    • At different points, Sora and Pit both attempt to return the others' attacks; rather than devolve into a Tennis Boss situation, the attacks are evaded and/or nullified after the first bounce. This is true to both fighters' home series; Kingdom Hearts bosses with deflectable attacks can't deflect their own attacks, and reflected attacks in Kid Icarus: Uprising actually become entirely different projectiles that cannot be reflected.
    • Sora lands a Sonic Blade sequence followed by an overhead blow, mirroring Riku's signature Dark Aura attack.
    • Pit seems to activate the Power of Flight without Palutena's assistance, but later breaks out the Three Sacred Treasures. In Chapter 9 of Uprising, if Pit goes with a weapon of choice instead of the Treasures, Palutena insists on bringing the Wings of Pegasus so they can use the Power of Flight without a time limit.
    • For a literal mythology gag, both Hercules and the Kid Icarus series take influence from Greek Mythology. Coincidentally, Hercules' damage output is one of the key factors in Sora's victory.
    • The equipment Pit uses in the match consist of the Palutena Bow, Upperdash Arm, Guardian Orbitars, EZ Cannon, Power of Flight, and Three Sacred Treasures; sans EZ Cannon, these are also the same items Pit uses as his special moves in the fourth Super Smash Bros.. The EZ Cannon was also used by Dark Pit in Uprising. Similarly, although the Mirror Shield is present with the Three Sacred Treasures, Pit doesn't actually use it, which mirrors its presence in Smash.
  • Leon Kennedy vs Frank West
    • Leon's boast about having actually fought in wars in comparison to Frank saying that he's covered them is nearly similar to a line Captain America tells the Frank in the Marvel vs. Capcom games.
  • Samurai Jack vs Afro Samurai
    • Samurai Jack's rundown in both his preview and the episodes proper quote large portions of the series' original intro. In addition, his bio sheet mentions how "he's gotta get back to the past." Likewise, the opening of Afro Samurai's introduction is taken verbatim from the 2009 video game adaptation.
    • Jack encounters Afro on a long narrow bridge surrounded by mist and gets into a sword fight with him; hearkening back to the Scotsman's debut episode, where he fought Jack under identical circumstances. Even down to getting his hat split in two in an early clash of blades.
    • While creating Samurai Jack, Genndy Tartakovsky chose to have Jack fight non-human enemies so as to display the levels of intensity and violence in a standard Jidaigeki film while still making it family-friendly. Afro's extremely gory death can thus be seen as a callback to the way Aku's robot mooks are regularly dismembered and leak oil before falling apart or exploding.
    • The way Afro dies is the same way he defeated Justice: having both arms cut off and diced down to multiple pieces. It's also similar to how Aku's robot goons would regularly get dismembered, leak oil, and either fall apart or explode.
    • The match ends with the same eyecatch used at the end of every episode of Samurai Jack.
  • Optimus Prime vs Gundam
    • Optimus uses a axe-handle on Amuro, referencing his final strike against Megatron in the original series movie.
    • At separate points during the episode, Wiz and Boomstick make references to "The Touch".
    • Amuro describes the Autobot Ark as "more than meets the eye".
    • Optimus paraphrases the iconic "One shall stand, one shall fall" quote when he is about to finish Amuro off.
    • In the same episode, Amuro tries to defeat Optimus by grabbing his head. It doesn't work.
  • Mario vs Sonic (2018)
    • Most of Sonic's taunts from the battle stem from his dialogue as a guest fighter in the Super Smash Bros. series.
    • The side-by-side tackling pose Mario and Sonic take during the clash that breaks the moon is a direct allusion to the same pose used in the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games games.
    • Mario performing a hammer throw on his grappled foe is taken straight from the Bowser fights in Super Mario 64, right down to the dialogue ("So long-a, Bowser/hedgehog!").
    • Regarding Death Battle itself, the fight seems to end the same way the original did, with Sonic using a spinning attack on a disoriented Mario. Doesn't work out so well for him this time.
  • Ultron vs Sigma
  • Thanos vs Darkseid
    • Boomstick asks if the Ragnarok in Darkseid's story was the same as Thor: Ragnarok, and Wiz responds "No. Yes... Kind of.", referencing how Jack Kirby's original vision for New Gods was that of a sequel to the original Thor comics.
    • The infamous Thanos-copter makes its appearance as one of the many objects hurtled by Darkseid in the fight.
    • Just to Avengers: Infinity War alone:
      • Thanos, with his tall stature and purple skin is compared to the Grimace; Star-Lord is the one to make the comparison in the film.
      • The Gauntlet's power is said to make Darkseid's physical forms "not feel so good." To further make the reference more obvious, the line is played over Spider-Man/Peter Parker's infamous death scene.
      • While the Infinity Stones keep their original coloration in the comics, in the fight itself, they're arranged in the exact same order as Thanos places them.
      • Thanos throws another moon at someone (this time whole). Sure enough, the target loses it.
      • The final battle of the season opens like the aforementioned film's final battle in Wakanda; with Thanos emerging through a black hole using the Space Stone.
    • During the battle, Darkseid says "You dare strike me!? Beg for the sweet release of death".
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     Season 6 
  • Black Widow vs Widowmaker
    • In the fight, Natasha moves out the way of one of Widowmaker's bullets and barely avoids getting scope sniped, just as Widowmaker did to Ana Amari.
    • Natasha also performs the same kind of hurricanrana on Widowmaker associated with her counterpart in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Wario vs King Dedede
    • After Pop Star has been destroyed by Wario's waft backfiring, King Dedede is shown in his famous crouching pose that originated from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
    • Dedede, at one point, tries to pulls out a Gordo, but gets a Waddle Dee instead, an allusion to the Gordo being randomly pulled from his Waddle Dee Toss in Brawl.
    • When Dedede launches the Gordo at Wario, he does so using the Hammer Flip, a technique that he and Kirby share (His hammer is visibly on fire at this point, an effect of using the Hammer Flip).
  • Ben 10 vs Green Lantern
    • Alien X's presence brings with it plenty of references to his minimal appearances in Ben 10 canon:
      • The way he finger flicks Hal into space reflectis how Atomic-X (A fusion of Alien X and Atomix, two of Ben's most powerful aliens) defeated Vilgax.
      • The multiple clones that swarm Hal is reminiscent on how he defeated the Galactic Gladiator.
      • After Hal non-fatally stabs him, Alien X reverses time the same way he did in Alien X's first appearance.
    • Ben's bio features several lines of the original series' theme quoted verbatim.
  • Weiss Schnee vs Mitsuru Kirijo
  • Johnny Cage vs Captain Falcon
    • Both fighters briefly duke it out on top of the F-Zero machines on the racetrack, as characters do on the recurring Big Blue stage from several Super Smash Bros. games.
  • Aang vs Edward Elric
    • Like with Samurai Jack and Ben 10, several portions of the Opening Monologue from The Last Airbender are quoted during Aang's analysis.
    • Ed's constant goading of Aang isn't the first time someone who can control earth provokes Aang into unleashing the Avatar State: one-off antagonist General Fong did so in the episode The Avatar State trying to weaponize it. And just like Fong, Ed pays the price for it.
    • There's a handful of scenes in the fight featuring a poster of Aang's flying bison Appa; these resemble the missing posters put up around Ba Sing Se when he's kidnapped for most of book two.
  • Dragonzord vs Mechagodzilla
    • Dragonzord cramming a smokestack down Kiryu’s mouth is a nod to its first rampage in which it broke off and ate an identical one.
    • When Mechagodzilla jumps over the Dragonzord's second-to-last attack, the camera angle and its pose are more than a passing resemblance to the poster art of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla.
  • Ganondorf vs Dracula
    Ganondorf: Your castle is lost, vampire. (charges a Warlock Punch) No man can challenge my power!
    Dracula: (laughs) But what is a man? A miserable pile of secrets!
    • The fighters briefly get into a round of dead man's volley, a staple tactic for bosses in the Zelda series, when they reflect Ganondorf's light beams back and forth.
  • Deadpool vs the Mask
    • The first use that Deadpool proposes for the Continuity Gem is stopping Hitler from being born.
    • The actual fight is littered with references to Big Head's big screen classic:
      • After Wade's attempted use of the Continuity Gem results in the animation budget going down the drain and changes the fight to the story boards, Big Head tells him, "Can't make the scene if you don't have the green." In the movie, Stanley as Big Head said the same thing when he prepared to head off for a party, only to realize he didn't had the cash and decided to "make a little stop."
      • The scene where he explodes some balloons into a mishmash of guns is a composite of two gags from the movie: one where he turns a balloon tommy gun into the real deal, while the mishmash is taken from his fight with Dorian Tyrell's henchmen at the end.
      • In addition, the final stage of his battle with Deadpool had him in his Cuban Pete outfit, and the timer on the bomb that he pulls from his coat pocket reads "Chick Chicky Boom", taken from the Cuban Pete number used to distract the cops looking for him.

     Season 7 
  • Miles Morales vs Static
    • One for the show proper: Jizz and Broomstick, the alternate versions of Wiz and Boomstick featured in the episode, were mentioned in Meta vs Carolina when Caboose got Wiz and Boomstick's names wrong.
    • Miles uses the shoulder touch from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on Virgil early in the fight, complete with "'ey."
    • The name of the track used in the fight, Watts Up Danger, is a play on the one used in the "rising" scene from Spider-Verse, What's Up, Danger.
  • Leonardo vs Red Ranger Jason
    • Upon being defeated, Leonardo's body explodes- just like any other Power Rangers Monster of the Week.
  • Genos vs War Machine
  • Goro vs Machamp
    • Goro being fed up with Machamp's Pokémon Speak has a hint of hypocrisy to it: in one of Cassie Cage's fatalities in Mortal Kombat X, she posts a selfie of herself and her dead opponent on a Facebook knock-off; all of Goro's comments are just him saying his own name like a Pokémon.
    • Likewise, Goro getting his arms ripped off references what happened to him in the tie-in comics.
    • At one point, Machamp rips a pair of small boulders out of the ground and breaks them against Goro's body; this is how Charizard and Empoleon use Rock Smash in Super Smash Bros. and Pokkén Tournament, respectively.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi vs Kakashi
    • Just about all of Obi-Wan's lines are some meme from the Prequel Trilogy.
    • Obi-Wan uses the Force to repel Kakashi's fire jutsu, just like he did with Durge's flamethrower in Star Wars: Clone Wars.
  • Zuko vs Shoto Todoroki
    • Shoto finds the motivation to muscle through Zuko's firebending by telling himself to go beyond; the complete motto of U.A. High is "Go beyond, plus ultra!"
  • Winter Soldier vs Red Hood
    • In the climax of Batman: Under the Red Hood, Batman blocks the barrel of Red Hood's gun with a Batarang, causing the gun to explode. Something similar happens in Winter Soldier vs Red Hood: Red Hood picks up Winter Soldier's gun, which then explodes and leaves Red Hood open for the killing blow.
    • Jason's take out bag at the beginning of the fight features the logo of DC fast-food chain Big Belly Burger.
    • As Bucky prepares to leave the hideout, he glances at Jason's corpse; the pose he bears doing so, slightly hunched over with his back to the camera, bears a similarity to his promotional picture from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
  • Red vs Blue
    • Just like in the Season 1 finale, Sheila is blown up by a plasma grenade thrown by Donut. Unlike Tex in that season, however, Caboose is quick enough to eject before the grenade blows.
  • Batgirl vs Spider-Gwen
    • Spider-Gwen replicates Spider-Man's iconic scene of Spider-Man dodging Green Goblin's Pumpkin Bombs in slow motion.
    • The fight begins with Gwen complaining about her multiversal teleporter failing to take her to Miles Morales's home universe in reference to the rapport they developed during Into the Spider-Verse.
  • Sanji vs Rock Lee
  • Hulk vs Broly
    • Hulk subjects Broly to Metronomic Man Mashing like Loki in The Avengers (2012).
    • In a brilliant form that pays homage to both characters, this exchange.
      Broly: You are... monster?
      Hulk: No, the devil!
    • The above line is itself delivered after the Hulk is once-again decapitated by the opposing party ripping off his head, drawing a parallel to show just how far the Hulk's character has evolved since his first bout.
    • Much like in Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan, the combatants destroy every planet in the galaxy they're fighting in.

     Season 8 
  • Yoda vs King Mickey
    • The fight takes place on Mickey's stained-glass Dive to the Heart platform from the Kingdom Hearts III Re+Mind DLC. As the first fight of the season, it also acts as a reference to how the Dive to the Heart is the first thing that happens in Kingdom Hearts and III, serving as a tutorial zone.
    • Yoda quotes his iconic "do or do not" line in response to Mickey claiming he'll try to overcome the Force with his own light magic.
    • After coming back as a Force Ghost, Yoda calls down a bolt of lightning from the sky.
  • Shadow vs. Ryūko Matoi
    • When Ryūko charges at Shadow, he freezes time and kicks her in the back of the head- the exact same way he fought Silver in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
    • Ryūko and Senketsu end up plummeting from orbit after being knocked away by Shadow's Chaos Spears, which brings to mind similar situations from both series (Shadow's fall from orbit at the end of Sonic Adventure 2 and Ryuko's fall from orbit at the end of Kill la Kill).
    • Shadow calls Ryūko a 'faker' when she uses Senketsu Kisaragi in response to Shadow's super form, which may bring back memories of Vegeta's "wow, what a ripoff." comment upon seeing Super Shadow, as well as Sonic and Shadow's interactions throughout Sonic Adventure 2.
    • The post-fight analysis mentions the third Sonic Twitter Takeover, when noting that Shadow killed his favourite anime character.
  • Lex Luthor vs Doctor Doom
    • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Doom's foot dive is infamous for how easily it can be spammed and chained into another foot dive. It sees just as much overuse when he pulls it off in the fight.
    • Ironically enough, Lex uppercutting Doom into the sky, grabbing his head, and diving back to the ground with him brings to mind his enemy Superman's Super Move in Injustice 2.
  • Heihachi Mishima vs Geese Howard

     Other 
  • The Seven Battle Royale
    • The Deep dies in the same way Robin Ward does in The Boys (2019): A-Train runs into him, bursting his body.

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