Whether it be to save the world or to benefit themselves, every warrior has a different reason for fighting. But when they're also a kickass celebrity, all that matters is they bring the hype.
The eighth outing in season six offers unto the ring bombastic celebrities acclaimed the world over, both for their pursuits in the field of entertainment as well as their conquests against whatever forces may threaten the safety of their homes. As punches of the falcon and nut variety meet, a legacy of blood is pit against a legacy of title, for Johnny Cage and Captain Falcon are now fated to meet in that most gruesome of arenas; a death battle.
To begin the episode is to begin with a profile on Johnny Cage, one of the Earth's many champions in the trans-dimensional Mortal Kombat tournament. This parade of bloodshed and slaughter, created by the Elder Gods of the universe in a bid to protect other dimensions from the forces of the Outworld realm, see various dimensions pit their greatest warriors against one another to gauge whom among them is permitted to invade or fend off other realms. To win ten consecutive Mortal Kombat tournaments is to allow the triumphant dimension to run rampant across its foes; at the beginning of the first Mortal Kombat, Outrealm was one victory away from letting its forces loose on Earth. Though the ranks of Earthrealm's fighters include the likes of martial arts masters and special ops commandos, it is Johnny Cage who stands out due to his lineage and personal history is entwined with the tournament. Born as Johnathan Carlton, he is a descendant to a Mediterranean cult who for generations bred and honed some of the noblest mortals to have fought for Earthrealm's protection; Cage, without knowing this secret of his past, instead got his start as a Hollywood icon with several lauded action movies to his name. However, audiences grew tired of the over-the-top nature of his films, many of whom came to see Cage as but a mere charlatan dependent on special effects. In order to prove naysayers wrong, the action star joined Earthrealm's forces in the Mortal Kombat tournament to demonstrate his prowess as a fighter was though his own merit.
Indeed, Cage is more of a fighter than his silver screen performances may have one believe. The man is skilled in no less than four martial disciplines, including Jeet Kune Do, the creation of the real world martial arts legend Bruce Lee. Alongside karate and the Okinawan arts of Shorin and Shinto Ryu, swiftness and agility are clearly made to be his preferred fighting style. While he does have a smattering of weaponry, such as brass knuckles, nunchaku, and a tremendously large bowie knife with a blade more befitting a scimitar, it is his ancestry that provides some of his greatest power. The cult which Johnny hails from is the inheritor of a power crafted by the gods, traditionally manifested as a green energy. Through this energy, Cage can fire balls comprised of it, perform sliding kicks well beyond running speed, and manifest itself as a protective barrier, among other uses; even his signature tactic, a simple punch to the foe's genitals, is amplified by this divine power to such an extent that can also rip the victim in half. This force can even stand up to Shinnok, a traitorous Elder God comparable to Raiden, another Elder God and the leader of Earthrealm's fighters; as Raiden once destroyed a Buddhist temple with a blast equivalent to about 270 tons of TNT, it is a fair assumption that Shinnok could do the same, making it more impressive that Johnny was able to defeat him.
Although Johnny is dependent on the powers of his ancestral cult, it is a force that has served him well an immeasurable number of times. Aided by them, he has shown he can smash through a brick composed of solid diamond; to destroy such a brick in a single blow means the force of Cage's strikes possesses nearly 50 million joules behind them. The movie star has additionally survived fighting Elder Gods and the menagerie of superpowered creatures that populate the Mortal Kombat tournaments, many of whom bear their own talents that would otherwise be instantly fatal. For all of its might, however, the ancestral powers are fallible. Defeating Elder Gods, impressive as it may seem, loses some grandeur when considering that their powers are restricted during a tournament for fairness' sake, thus meaning Johnny has yet to fight one at full strength. In addition, these powers do not put Johnny on par with Elder Gods proper; beings weaker than them were able to kill him, even if temporarily. Compounding these issues is the fact that the man was arrogant and flippant for a time, unaware or otherwise unwilling to take matters seriously; in fact, it was not until he was partway into his debut upon the Mortal Kombat stage that he realized the tournament was more than the green screen and stuntwork extravaganza he was accused of indulging in himself. Thankfully, Cage matured, pulling his weight in protecting Earthrealm and eventually taking the mantle of Earthrealm's champion in the tournament. His life benefitted further from his position as a protector, as the films he produced inspired by his trials in Mortal Kombat led him to the status of Hollywood darling once more; he even wed fellow warrior Sonya Blade, with whom he bore a daughter that thrived in the Mortal Kombat arena as well as he. What started as the tale of an egotist seeking to prove his worth became the growth of a man greater than the responsibilities he has burdened himself with, and Earthrealm has become all the better for it.
- Johnny Cage: (after seeing Goro destroy a pair of his sunglasses) Those were $500 sunglasses, asshole. (performs the Nut Breaker on Goro, who then doubles over)
From one combatant to the other the episode goes, and with it, the focus shifts to Captain Falcon, the celebrated yet mysterious racer of the F-Zero Grand Prix. In the midst of the 26th century, mankind's advances in technology have enabled them to travel to other planets, wherein they met the myriad other alien species that populate the galaxy. A golden age ensued for humanity, with scientific and cultural developments unfolding at a rate unseen by its eyes. As a part of this development, the F-Zero Grand Prix was founded, a series of high-octane races scattered across countless planets where contestants pilot anti-gravity vehicles through tracks fraught with peril. To win the top slot in the F-Zero circuit is to be one of the most famous individuals in the cosmos, and perhaps none hold a greater claim to this honor than Captain Falcon. The helmet-clad racer is something of an enigma; the closest thing he has to an origin being that he hails from the futuristic commerce hub of Port Town and had in the past served in the intergalactic police corps. This secrecy, in fact, serves as part of the man's appeal, being one of the most accomplished racers in the F-Zero circuit. In addition to being the reigning champion of the Grand Prix, Falcon has a side career as a bounty hunter, and here too does he display excellence in his craft as an accomplished hunter, with praise and enemies alike to his name. These two facets of his life often meet in the Grand Prix; his nemeses off the track, such as rival bounty hunter Samurai Goroh and the feared crime lord Black Shadow, have also made it a hobby to traverse the cosmos in search of the next F-Zero race. It is telling, then, that Falcon continues to lead his double life proudly and courageously, facing off against his rivals and evil wherever it may surface.
The good captain is so much of an enigma, that little has been shown of his exploits and potential outside of F-Zero; thankfully, there is enough known to paint a general picture. His preference for speed and precision is most likely an element honed from years in the F-Zero Grand Prix where he pilots his personal vessel, the Blue Falcon. Weighing about a ton and a half, the Blue Falcon is equipped with bleeding-edge technology that lets Falcon steer it at speeds of 1600 kmh; should he somehow require a further burst of energy, Falcon can tap into the Falcon's boost fire, fueled by the Reactor Might hidden within the racecar's engine. A Reactor Might, one of six generators formed by the Big Bang, can amplify the power of anything exposed to it; in the Blue Falcon's case, this allows it to rotate at such speeds that it develops a buzzsaw-like property to its momentum and lets Falcon summon it to his position. Due to prolonged exposure to the Reactor Might when in a race, it is speculated that it also enables the Captain some degree of control over fire, put to good use when outside of his craft. Falcon is an accomplished martial artist, and like his soon to be foe, is a more agile combatant. His fighting style of choice, while unspecified, relies heavily on swift motions through concentrated impact points such as fists and knees, supplemented by a number of iconic special moves. The Raptor Boost, a sliding tackle into an uppercut, and the lunging Falcon Kick are among some of these moves, but there is none more associated with the Captain than the Falcon Punch. After charging and sending energy into a wound-up fist, Falcon unleashes that energy in the form of a falcon surrounding a straight jab.
On the track and off, Captain Falcon has proven his admiration is well earned. The racing bounty hunter can move faster than the eye can perceive and even surpass the speed of sound, while his reflexes can detect snipers and their incoming fire from several miles away. It would be fair to assume his strength is of a comparable level, and the Falcon Punch, in particular, adds some veracity to the claim by being able to incapacitate Black Shadow, who himself once survived a point-blank explosion with megatons of force. With the number of talents and showings of skill to his name, it acts as a symbol of pride on humanity's behalf that one among their numbers could perform such fantastic feats, but the legacy of the Falcon does not stop there. Indeed, Captain Falcon is not a single person, but an identity passed from hero to hero, each intending to surpass the previous bearer; thus, the feats covered in the rundown, performed by prior holders Douglas Jay and Andy Summers, can, in theory, be matched and even outclassed by the current holder of the title, Ryu Suzaku. Though Suzaku inherited the title from Andy, it should be noted that he did so due to Summers perishing alongside Black Shadow by using the Falcon Punch to keep him within the blast radius of a reverse-engineered Reactor Might; as good a reminder as any that the good captain is still mortal, and has his own limits as such. Though the men behind the title can die like any among his kin, the racer, the bounty hunter, the scope of the falcon's legacy and the symbol of bravery that he stands for is eternal, backed by the accomplishments man can achieve, even amidst a galaxy full of uncertainty.
- Captain Falcon: Falcon Punch! (leaps out of the Blue Falcon and hits Black Shadow with the punch right into the explosion of the Dark Matter Reactor)
The two fighters have been given their due, each iteration and incarnation as well. One advertisement for the ExpressVPN data encryption service later, and now, it's time for a death battle!
Over the nigh-infinite oceans of the planet Big Blue, the tireless sounds of racecars flood the atmosphere. Watching safely from the race stands, Johnny Cage, premiere action star, narrates to the cameraman recording the underway competition; the defender of Earthrealm has been tasked with portraying the fabled F-Zero racer Captain Falcon in his latest film and has ventured to the racetracks of the F-Zero Grand Prix to further research the role. The Port Town pilot, provoked by the actor's choice of words describing the role, insists that Cage show Falcon his moves; to bear the honor of even pretending to be the Falcon, he must first defeat the real deal.
From the rapid storm of fisticuffs that follow, it becomes clear how serious Falcon takes this demand. Johnny, to his credit, matches his intensity as he sheds his tuxedo and getting into a fighter's stance to beckon Falcon onward. The kombatant sidesteps Falcon's lunging body tackle before knocking him away with a sweeping kick to the back. As Cage channels his ancestral energy, he pushes the attack, catching the good captain with a series of punches and kicks before slamming the bounty hunter into the stands. Falcon rolls backward and meets Johnny's assault with one of his own, punches and knee strikes that lead into a final roundhouse that sends the action star well away from the stands. Surrounding himself with the glow of fire, the F-Zero champion pushes the assault with a Falcon Kick. Johnny recovers from his landing only to be met with a plume of flame that temporarily scorches him; this, however, seems to leave no lasting damage. An ensuing Raptor Boost proves to fare better as the uppercut sends Cage careening towards the bright azure skies. Even in midair does Captain Falcon refuse to relent, a second Falcon Kick giving him the opening to pummel his way into an aerial grapple. Another condensed explosion later, and the Falcon Dive separates the two fighters once again. Cage plummets back onto solid ground, and his disorientation gives the Captain the opportunity to play his ace. Falcon cocks a fist backward, but as he bellows aloud his signature move, Johnny comes to his senses and barely ducks under the Falcon Punch.
Now it becomes Johnny's turn to show off his trademark attack, and show it off he shamelessly does. A fierce punch aimed at Falcon's netherregions lands perfectly; ears graced with sharp hearing can, unfortunately, pick up a nauseating squishing noise upon impact. The good captain's bravado fails him as he backs away from Johnny, too crippled by the agonizing pain coursing through him to formulate any sound other than incomprehensible whimpering. Earthrealm's premier defender shifts the match back into his favor through a rapid volley of hooks and kicks that Falcon can only shield himself against. A final Shadow Kick sends both celebrities tumbling onto the raceway below, their fall broken by a passing machine. Cage vaults towards Falcon, but receives a dropkick to the face for his trouble, the impact of which sends Johnny directly atop the hood of another racecar. The kombatant recovers and sends a volley of Green Fireballs towards the Captain; the White Cat, Black Bull, and Golden Fox are among the casualties, but Falcon himself is unscathed as he leaps from ride to ride. Closing the distance, Falcon catches Johnny with another kick before they engage in close-quarters melee. What begins as a defensive match, each fighter backing away from his foe's advances, takes a sharp turn in the opposite as Cage and Falcon pummel at each others' fists with blinding speed. Ultimately, the fight goes back into Johnny's favor as an energy-laden hook to the midsection leads to a leaping elbow strike that sends the Falcon skyward.
The bounty hunter realigns himself and skids as he touches back down onto the track. For a second, the F-Zero champion is stationary, letting the Blood Hawk carry his foe towards him; once Johnny is in striking range, however, the Captain takes initiative. Time slows down as Falcon lunges forward with a knee outstretched. Even in the face of the impending blow, the kombatant can only admire the majesty by which Captain Falcon composes himself. The knee smash makes direct contact with Cage's chin, aligning perfectly to knock the action star off the vehicle and sliding helplessly along the road. Fortune smiles upon Cage as he skids to a halt, making direct contact with one of the many boost pads littering the racetrack. The surge in momentum slingshots Johnny directly back towards Cap. Touching each pad as he reaches the F-Zero veteran, the additional speed is enough for Cage to bypass another Raptor Boost and toss Falcon onto a nearby boost pad. Another high-speed beating ensues as Cage juggles Falcon in midair before throwing an uppercut at the Captain's vulnerable frame; so intense is the force behind it that shatters his jaw. The fighters' speed dies down as Johnny taps into his ancestral power once more, a straight punch that sends the Captain soaring down the track followed by a Shadow Kick to close the distance and launch the racer further. Just inches before colliding with the track, Falcon rebounds and gains a steady footing; however, the spray of blood bursts from his broken maw demonstrates the toll this fight takes on him.
Johnny marches forward in arrogance, certain he has thoroughly impressed the real Captain. Such a belief is shattered as Falcon beckons forward, calling his trademark vessel into the skirmish. The Blue Falcon opens its cockpit as it barrels down the track, Falcon leaping into it just in time to plow the machine directly into Johnny. It takes no time for the action star to furiously hammer at the windshield, but Falcon is undaunted even by the numerous cracks and dents littering the frame of the car. With the Reactor Might inside the Blue Falcon active, the good captain demonstrates his car's own special move. Cyan brilliance floods the area around the Blue Falcon as it engages its Boost Fire technique. The light that surrounds Falcon's ride becomes a swirling blade of energy that shears its way through Johnny's flesh, punctuated by his terrified shrieking as he remains caught in the attack. Both Falcon and Cage are launched into the heavens, but whereas the kombatant plummets amidst a shower of his own sanguineous making, Falcon leaps out of the sapphire racecar with elegance. The power of the Reactor Might that surges within him courses through the Captain's frame as he rears a final fist back. During his descent, the good captain races towards Cage and lands a Falcon Punch with such a force that shakes their very surroundings. The ensuing explosion can be seen from miles across the planet, briefly smothering the area below with its brightness. Falcon lands down on the track, directly in front of Cage's severed arm, what little of him remains after the final, fatal blow. It is ultimately with pride that Falcon undoes the golden scarf that adorns his neck, tossing it into the wind in satisfaction at this impostor having been done away with.
Boomstick is trapped in ecstatic euphoria over the sheer intensity of the fight; quite rightly so with the spectacle, it unfolded into. Naturally, it falls upon Wiz to lay out the elements of the fight's outcome, namely, Johnny could keep up with Falcon in speed and had greater martial arts prowess, but those were his only boons. Comparing the fighters' best strength feats, it is reiterated that Johnny can break diamond blocks with a force equivalent to 50 million joules of energy. Impressive, to be sure, but the Falcon Punch that incapacitated Black Shadow was powerful enough to create a dome of electricity around both men; calculating the energy behind this punch puts it at 151 billion joules, over 3000 times greater than Cage's diamond shattering. In durability, Falcon proved to be Johnny's better once again, having survived point-blank rocket explosions and even faring better against Black Shadow than superpowered aliens like Zoda, who has himself withstood with 100 tons worth of energy. It is fair to say that Falcon, who is Zoda's better in strength, would also have a similarly higher level of toughness. Even the powers of Johnny's cult ancestors were meant to counter the workings of Elder Gods, so the effectiveness of his genealogical powers would be dubious against a non-Elder God-like Falcon. Even by comparing him to Elder Gods that Johnny has triumphed against such as Shinnok and Raiden, their greatest feats pale in comparison to the cosmic scale of the Reactor Might that powers the Blue Falcon. Worst of all for Johnny, the man himself, despite his powers, is still human. In other timelines, Johnny has been taken down and even killed by more mundane means, things that would be of minimal concern to the Captain. It is for these reasons that Johnny was ultimately the inferior in many ways and by extension, the loser of the match.
- Boomstick: In the end, Johnny just couldn't finish the race.
Wiz: The winner is Captain Falcon!
Johnny Cage vs. Captain Falcon contains examples of:
- Balls of Steel: Wiz has them (or is at least equipped to have the same effect on the attacker), as Boomstick learns the hard way emulating Cage's nut punch.
- Broken Win/Loss Streak: For the first time in several years since Fulgore vs. Sektor, a Mortal Kombat character loses a match in Death Battle.
- Composite Character: Thanks to the F-Zero anime throwing Legacy Character into the mix, Captain Falcon is portrayed using a combination of the games' Douglas Jay with the anime's Andy Summer. The show also gives him his Super Smash Bros. moveset as a basis for his on-foot skill set.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Downplayed, but still a major reason for Cage's loss. While Cage's war cult powers are capable of hurting non-divine foes, their defensive properties have only ever activated while facing off against divine attacks. Falcon, in spite of his incredible powers, is still a man, and thus wouldn't have his attacks affected nearly as much as gods like Raiden or Shinnok.
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe: The prevalence of this trope, plus its usage in Mortal Kombat, are directly called out by Boomstick."Okay, seriously, why does everyone target Earth!? I live here, it's not that great!"
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: Boomstick asks if Black Shadow's name is a heavy metal band.Wiz: No.
Boomstick: Well then dibs.
- Magic Versus Science: On team Magic, we have Johnny Cage whose mystical powers are stemmed from a Mediterranean War cult. On team Science, we have Captain Falcon whose powers are theorized by the hosts to have been obtained from exposure to the Reactor Might. Thanks to Johnny losing out in raw stats and his war cult powers only protecting against divine forces which the Captain is not, Science wins this round.
- Mythology Gag:
- At one point in the fight, Johnny catches Falcon with an uppercut and a sequence is shown of the impact damaging Falcon's skeleton; similar to the cinematics used by X-Ray Moves in later Mortal Kombat games.
- 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 Smash games.
- Shout-Out: When discussing the Falcon Punch that finished Black Shadow, Boomstick compares it to dropping a dozen elephants on the victim. The elephant that is shown is one of Shantae's dance-induced transformations.