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The Worf Effect / Western Animation

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  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Rainbow Dash never tires of recklessly charging straight at big scary monsters and getting swatted out of the sky. Applejack and Rarity often find themselves on the wrong end of this too; all three were soundly thrashed by the Manticore and Trixie in just the first few episodes.
      • "Over a Barrel" had a hilariously straight playing of this, when new character Little Strongheart shows up. How is she introduced? By instantly running rings around Rainbow Dash and tricking her into plowing into a railway sign.
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    • Twilight Sparkle gets a lot of this, too, in order to prevent her immense magical power from being story breaking. Her powers will function correctly when and only when they are needed in the plot. Otherwise, her spells will end up making things even worse.
    • Celestia, despite (or perhaps, per this trope, due to) being one of the most powerful major characters in the series, to the point where she is treated as a deity (whether she likes it or not), receives this treatment multiple times:
      • The entire series kicks off when Nightmare Moon kidnaps/incarceratesnote  her, leading the Mane Six sets out to find the Elements of Harmony.
      • In the backstory, Celestia has been Worfed at least once before that, possibly twice. When Discord is released from his prison, Celestia admits there is not a thing she can do against him, and he completely outmatches her, even stealing the Elements of Harmony from a secure cell right under her nose only she can supposedly access.
      • In the season 2 finale, she gets defeated by Queen Chrysalis fueled by Shining Armor's love, making it a double Worf Effect, since it was used to show how strong Shining's magical power and love were as well.
      • At the start of Season 4, both she and Luna are easily taken out by... vines? Justified, because those vines are the creation of the aforementioned Discord.
      • In the Season 5 episode "Make New Friends but Keep Discord", she is drenched by the magic resistant Smooze. It blocks the tip of her horn, seemingly blocking her magic, and she claims that she is unable to get rid of the ooze. Possibly subverted, as it turns out she was actually enjoying the Smooze and Discord's attendance to the Gala.
      • In the Season 6 finale, "To Where and Back Again", Celestia, along with Luna, Cadance, Shining Armor, Flurry Heart, and the Mane Six, are kidnapped by the Changelings. We don't even see how it was done in the time Trixie and Starlight were away visiting Starlight's old village. However, in Part 2, we're shown Chrysalis' throne generates an Anti-Magic field, which would have allowed her to kidnap the Royal Family and Elements of Harmony with little resistance as they would have been unable to fight back, and prevent any attempt on their part to escape from their cocoons or Chrysalis' hive itself.
      • This trope is used so often with Celestia that it's actually brought up in Season 7 "A Royal Problem" by Celestia's dark manifestation Daybreaker, who hints that Celestia is much stronger than she's shown, but she always holds back out of fear of what cutting loose could do.
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    • Shining Armor himself gets one in the Crystal Empire storyline when King Sombra disabled his horn with a black magic.
    • The Wonderbolts swoop in to save the day both in "Secret of My Excess" and "Twilight's Kingdom". So far their "achievement" amounts to cutting a couple of Spike's spikes in the former.
    • In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, just to demonstrate how absurdly strong he has become, Lord Tirek drains Discord's chaos magic once he no longer requires his help.
    • In Part 1 of "The Cutie Map", Twilight and the rest of the Mane Six get Worfed when Starlight Glimmer takes them by surprise and strips them of their Cutie Marks. Then Starlight has the tables turned on her when the ponies' marks are restored at the end of Part 2, but pulls a Villain: Exit, Stage Left before she suffers any repercussions.
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    • In "The Cutie Re-Mark", Starlight has mastered self-levitation and shows that her magical abilities rival Twilight's by fighting her to a standstill in magic. Neither combatant is able to truly defeat the other, however. Twilight acknowledges her magical talent, and notes that if they were to continue fighting in the time loop, they could keep on going for an eternity.
    • In My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), Tempest Shadow, for a powerful unicorn with a broken horn, suffers from this when she gets blasted by the Storm King to be sucked into a tornado.
  • Used in the Justice League cartoon, with all the times Superman gets beaten up, particularly in the first season. The writers admitted to doing it when called on, and toned it down.
    • It's worth noting that even in his fight in the finale, the one with the whole "World of Cardboard" Speech, he was interrupted by The Worf Effect.
    • In one DVD commentary, the creators described why this happened: They copied the frequency of Superman getting beaten up that they used before in Superman: The Animated Series. The creators said their mistake lay in following up these beatdowns with some other hero jumping in to rescue Supes—whereas in his own series, Superman would get knocked down, get back on his feet, and beat up his assailant himself.
    • Similarly, in the first season of Justice League, J'onn J'onnz seemed to be the love child of Worf and Deanna Troi. He only got to show off his telepathy when the writers wanted to show what utterly impressive mental abilities the Guest Villain of the Week had. Like Commander Troi, the erstwhile Martian Manhunter spent much of his time dropping to his knees clutching his temples. When he finally got to show off his shape-shifting abilities against Metamorpho (who, after his Heel–Face Turn, by contrast is allowed to use his ridiculously overpowered version of Voluntary Shapeshifting creatively), he got his ass handed to him again, just to show that This Week's Guest Star Was Tougher. He got much cooler as time went on and the writers figured out ways to challenge him and allow him to use his powers without being unstoppable.
    • The episode "The Return" out-Worfs them all, when the whole Green Lantern Corps, the Guardians of the Universe, and their ancient planet Oa are destroyed in the first three minutes because they're in the way on Amazo's trip to Earth. Then it's the entire Justice League Unlimited's turn. He didn't really kill the Corps and the Oans, just moved them into another dimension. So John Stewart asked him to move them back.
  • Iron Man in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!. The poor guy just can not win a fight. It gets particularly bad when he shows up in specialized armors, supposedly beefed up to fight a specific opponent - his Hulkbuster armor goes down without even getting in a hit on the Hulk, and the Thorbuster armor suffers similarly against Loki.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Mercy Graves was usually presented as the Badass Normal dragon for Lex Luthor. She spent "World's Finest" getting knocked around, mostly by Harley Quinn, and ended up Bound and Gagged and strapped to one of Lex's robot as a Human Shield against Superman. She gets the last laugh, though; Harley goes to the slammer, and Mercy just has to heal...while watching Harley being dragged to the slammer.
  • Superboy is sometimes given this treatment in Young Justice to establish how powerful the new villain of the week is. For instance, to show how much deadlier Aqualad has become since his Face–Heel Turn, we're treated to a scene of him easily throwing Superboy to the floor and then violently electrocuting him until he's incapacitated.
    • Likewise, Black Beetle's entrance into the show has him curbstomping Batgirl, Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl, Lagoon Boy, Bumblebee, and Miss Martian. Of course, it's subverted a moment later when Blue Beetle shows up and gives him an even fight.
    • Ironically enough, Superboy inverts this in his first Day in the Limelight while fighting Amazo. The entire team is getting their asses handed to them (obviously, since Amazo has already copied the powers of the entire Justice League), until Superboy thinks for a few seconds. When Amazo accesses Martian Manhunter's intangibility to dodge a robin-rang, Superboy sticks his fist in his head as he turns back to normal with the obvious result.
    • When Mammoth is introduced in "Drop-Zone", his first act is a Curb-Stomp Battle where he wipes the floor with Bane.
  • In the Grand Finale of the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Thanagarians, Hawkgirl's fellow Proud Warrior Race Guys, take on Brainiac en masse. They get digitized in under ten seconds. That's after he brutally slaughtered the Big Bad of the whole season in a serious Darker and Edgier moment.
  • Happened to Thor in Fantastic Four to bring the threat of Ego The Living Planet. Sue Richards even makes a point to label Thor "the most powerful being on Earth", much to Ben's consternation. This example is an odd one because it was Thor's first appearance on the show — viewers who were already Marvel fans knew what a big deal he was, but everyone else needed Sue to tell them.
  • In Ben 10: Alien Force, you can always rely on Kevin, the physically strongest member on the team, to take the most damage in battle.
    • The Worfness went Up to Eleven with the third season. Since he becomes "Colossus Kevin" he gets stronger, but at the same time everyone gets way stronger! Most of the episodes, he will easily defeat some mooks and then charge onto the Big Bad, just to get easily defeated.
    • The best example the series has to offer is in the last episode of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, where Ultimate Way Big was taken down quite easily by Diagon.
  • Happens to Prince Zuko on Avatar: The Last Airbender. He is the front row victim when Aang first taps into his Avatar State, he's taken down by the deadly Yu Yan archers with one single hit, and during the season one finale, he struggles to a victory in combat with Katara, whose abilities had risen to master levels offscreen. Later on that night, during their rematch under a full moon (which augments a Waterbender's power) Katara is able to abruptly neutralize Zuko's attack and KO him in a single stride. In the season two premiere, Zuko takes on his newly introduced sister, but is unable to land a single hit on her and has to be saved from certain death by his uncle.
    • Zuko gets stronger as he approaches his Heel–Face Turn, and is one of the world's greatest benders by the series' end, though. The aftermath of his battle with Katara seemed to show that they were actually evenly matched; she beats him under the full moon, augmenting her powers, but he beats her when the sun is out, augmenting his. To add to this, he had recently been heavily injured in an explosion, and just BEFORE the fight, he had swam through freezing cold waters. He went into this fight heavily disadvantaged.
    • The Kyoshi Warriors have elements of this too, easily defeated by Zuko in the first season, then by Azula and her Quirky Miniboss Squad.
    • Averted versus Zhao. After the fight, the viewer knows that Zhao is less capable than Zuko by himself, while he is a greater threat because of his vast resources. But definitely a Worf effect in evilness, as we see that Zhao is a complete jerk, while Zuko is honorable.
    • Toph is introduced when she fights The Boulder, who had just put up a minor sweat taking out five other professional earthbenders. This short, blind girl effortlessly curb stomps him before he can even take two complete steps.
  • This was pretty typical in Transformers: Beast Wars on both factions. Typically, when a new character would show up they would whoop some serious ass and be portrayed as an unstoppable force. This is notable in "Feral Scream", where first Dinobot gets cloned and made into a new Transmetal II Predacon and schools everything, then in the same episode Cheetor gets an upgrade and takes out the new Dinobot. In the next episode Cheetor resumed his typical, post-upgrade role and Dinobot's status was lowered to a more typical enemy.
    • Special mention must go to Rampage. As a rule, he's almost unbeatable in any episode, as long as he's important to that episode's plot. After Blackarachnea got her upgrade, she beats him without even using a GUN. TWICE. To put in perspective, every robot character in the show (except Transmutate) had some kind of gun, and rarely was there a fight where they didn't use it.
  • Transformers Animated lays it out with this dialogue from "Sari, No One's Home":
    Bulkhead: He always shoots at me first!
    Blitzwing: Let's see how tough you are without your big bolt-brained bruiser!
    (fires a blast that knocks Bulkhead over)
    Bulkhead: Called it...
    • The Worf Effect is applied in a layering effect in Animated. There is a special tier of villains Bumblebee can take out by himself (the human villains, sad as that sounds), then a higher tier for the Robot Ninja Prowl and The Big Guy Bulkhead (The Brutes, Sixth Ranger Traitor and random Cons), then a tier that only Optimus has a chance against with the below serving as mere decoys. Starscream and Megatron cement their status as a tier by themselves by Starscream fatally wounding Optimus in the pilot and beating Optimus' superior with one shot...and then Megatron beating Screamer with one shot. Despite this very clear hierarchy, Bumblebee has charged head first at Starscream and Megatron by himself several times. They usually pick him up by the neck and fling him.
    • The Autobots themselves have a tendency to end up as victims. In the pilot episode, Starscream easily defeats all five of them, twice, which turned out to be the only fighting he did during the season. They also get thrashed by Blitzwing and Lugnut, and Megatron at the end of the 1st season. The irony is that the debut fights for all of the above, except Megatron, was the only time they are shown are how tough they are. In subsequent appearances, Starscream rarely ever did any fighting, and half the time it was getting thrashed by Megatron.
      • By themselves, the Dinobots have been beaten by Optimus' team, Meltdown and now Jetstorm and Jetfire.
    • Sentinel Prime is also victim of this. When he assists the Autobots, he has beaten the Headmaster and most of the Decepticons. At the same time he has lost to Headmaster, Blackarachnia and Blitzwing when he had to fight them himself. He also was beaten by the Dinobots when he tried to bully them.
  • In Transformers: Prime, Shockwave's new creation Predaking, establishes its creds by taking on both Bulkhead and Wheeljack, two of the most combat savvy bots in the whole show, and easily shrugging everything tossed at it as an annoyance. The thing barely notices Wheeljack's trusty grenades and the cannons from Ultra Magnus' ship, much larger than Wheeljack's that killed Hardshell, just throw it for a loop for a second.
    • Bulkhead tended to get hit with this trope quite a bit, particularly in the first season. The biggest and strongest of the Autobots after Optimus, and with far more combat experience than Bumblebee or Arcee. Still didn't stop him from getting tossed by pretty much every named enemy on show.
    • Airachnid spends most of the first season being treated as The Dreaded by Arcee, and proves her credentials taking on Arcee, the other Autobots aside from Optimus, and even fellow Decepticon Breakdown (who's often equaled Bulkhead in brute strength) and coming off rather well. Megatron is impressed enough with her fighting ability that he makes her an officer. And then in the season finale she attempts to abandon Megatron to die and usurp command of the 'Cons, at which point the always-silent-and-unassuming Soundwave puts his foot down. When Airachnid attempts to force him to obey her, Soundwave literally wipes the floor with her skid-plates without even moving from his spot, establishing just why Starscream always seemed terrified of Soundwave learning about his more overt attempts to take over the Decepticons.
  • In The Transformers, we've the example of the Decepticon Devastator. At first it was a formidable adversary for the Autobots... until later Bruticus appeared courtesy of Starscream and mopped up the floor with it. You know, they had to sell toys.
    • Predaking, who is supposed to be significantly stronger than Devastator, is even less lucky in combat. He certainly looks impressive, as giant orange-and-gold winged robots with cannons for feet tend to do, which makes it more obvious when he gets beaten 'round the block by Sky Lynx for the eighth time.
    • Shockwave is often Worfed. Despite being touted as being in the same league as Optimus Prime and Megatron, he always gets beaten.
    • In the episode "War Dawn", the recently introduced Aerialbots defeat all three Decepticon jets. The Aerialbots would get the tables turned on them two seasons later, in "The Rebirth Part 1", where Sixshot shows up and wipes out the entire five-man squad in the space of a minute. What's particularly notable about this one is that this was Sixshot's first and last appearance, meaning that the only purpose of the sequence was to show how cool Sixshot's toy was.
  • Splinter from the 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon was portrayed as a master of ninjitsu, but he got himself captured on a regular basis and had to be rescued by the Turtles as often as April O'Neil herself.
    • In the season six episode of the 2k3 cartoon, "Timing Is Everything" the show did this to the Utrom Shredder from season one. Directly after the events of "The Shredder Strikes, Part 2", he breaks out of the wreckage of the water tower, only to notice Leonardo and young, red-headed boy (Cody). As they begin fighting, Shredder notices that Leonardo is... different. Not long after, the turtle disappears into a portal with his companion. The Shredder soon follows him, ending up in the future with a small group of foot ninja... and gets his ass kicked by the turtles, Splinter, and Sh'Okanabo. Raph put it best as to why this happened.
    Raphael: "Dude, we put the kabosh on you a long time ago! You're history!"
    • In the 2k12 version of TMNT, Season 4's character Zog is introduced by beating Slash, one of the biggest and strongest characters, unconscious.
  • If the Gargoyles are fighting as a group, expect this to happen to Goliath. He usually recovers in time to get the final blow in on the antagonist, though.
  • X-Men:
    • X-Men the Animated Series:
      • It had a rare 3x combo in "The Phoenix Saga Part 2" : First, Wolverine plays his typical role by getting easily taken out by the Juggernaut. Then Juggernaut is easily tossed away by Gladiator (with the "what chance do we have?" line delivered by Jubilee). Finally, Phoenix shows up and Curb Stomps Gladiator. The Phoenix part mirrors the comics, where Phoenix takes out Firelord who had just taken out all of the X-Men.
      • In the first season there are a lot of moments where enemies take Storm out with a shock response from the other characters.
      • Most plot lines in X-Men: The Animated Series went as thus: A. Arrival of enemy of the week. B. Wolverine snarling, declaring intentions of harm upon enemy, and deploying claws. C. Wolverine is seen tumbling through the air in such a fashion that the viewer could believe there was some kind of Pan-Galactic Wolverine toss competition and every bad guy was trying to out do the previous. If Wolverine isn't available, substitute Rogue.
    • X-Men: Evolution:
      • Magneto gets it from Apocalypse when he uses his powers to seize control of and hurl army vehicles, weapon emplacements, and drags satellites down from orbit to throw at his opponent. Apocalypse shrugs it off like it's nothing and (apparently) vaporizes Magneto before the X-Men's horrified eyes.
      • In series four, Jean and Scott both get smacked around by Legion, with Jean's powers unaccountably being nerfed back to series one levels.
      • And in her introductory episode everyone is this to X23 to show that she is the biggest badass of the series.
    • Wolverine and the X-Men:
      • Wolverine, despite having his name in the title, is not slacking on his indestructible punching bag duties. Against anyone with a name he either loses, stalemates, or gets a beatdown before winning. The hazards of having blades as your main offense when you aren't allowed to cut anyone.
      • The entire X-Men team gets kidnapped by ninjas just so Wolverine can rescue them. Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen...
      • And, to complete the trio, a little mutant girl is released from a stasis box by Juggernaut. The first (apart from the manner of keeping her in stasis) way of demonstrating her powers? She flings said Unstoppable Juggernaut a few miles away, knocking him out cold. This is commented upon in his first appearance when he gets launched halfway across a city and knocked out cold.
    Wolverine: Yeah. Juggernaut.
    Iceman: Wait a minute! Juggernaut as in The Unstoppable Juggernaut? The totally invulnerable Juggernaut!?
    Beast: That'd be the one.
    Shadowcat: So what could do this to him?
    (Giant red energy Kaiju-looking thing roars and bursts out of a building)
    Shadowcat: ...Never mind.
  • In Kung Fu Panda, the Furious Five are apparently the strongest Kung Fu practitioners around, and we hear loads of stories about awesome things they've done in the past. The only time we actually see them unleash their full skills in combat, they lose handily to Tai Lung.
    • Its even worse in Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. Even Shifu gets pwned too many times to count, leaving the arguably least skilled member-Po to fight the baddie all on his own. Taken to insane amounts against Dodai's Iron Claws of Doom V2, the Five and Shifu are taken out in less than a minute. Po stalemates him. Despite having less training. Despite being the least skilled member. They want to make Po awesome and all...but throw the Five a bone! Throw Shifu a bone! Shifu has yet to beat his evil counterparts in a one on one fight! While Po's been able to do that every episode.
    • Although Po has been called the strongest of them by Shifu himself, so the trope isn't played much.
  • Mighty Max Had Norman who skirted this trope. While he did get tossed around a bit more than one would think considering that he had centuries of experience. note  He did have plenty of achievements under his belt note  but he would get beaten a surprising amount. Of course Norman could'nt just solve all the problems of the show and sometimes the defeats were believable, no one is going to win every fight no matter how good they are and all manner of creatures appear in this show, other times it could be a little eye raising.
  • Teen Titans
    • Raven tends to be on the receiving end of this. Despite that she's probably the most powerful member, episodes which don't focus on her tend to feature her getting knocked out in one hit after she throws a few nearby objects at the Monster of the Week. Cyborg, since he's the biggest member of the group, also gets Worfed a lot. However, Raven's a bit of a Squishy Wizard (she's got some martial arts moves, but is physically the weakest of the team, since Beast Boy doesn't fight in his true form) and her powers can be a bit...finicky, to say the least. Taking her down is less a question of overpowering her, and more about exploiting her weaknesses. Plus, she doesn't actually actually use her telekinesis directly on people. Something about demonic heritage and the possibility of that leading her to sliding into evil.
    • Cyborg is supposed to be the tank of the team yet seems to always get knocked around on the show. Although he can take a hit we seldom see him dish them.
  • Teen Titans Go!
    • Lampshaded in the episode In and Out, during which Mammoth is taken down repeatedly as the Teen Titans, one-by-one, infiltrate the H.I.V.E.
  • Huey Freeman from The Boondocks subtly takes on this role. Though his fight sequences are somewhat lengthy and he shows much martial knowledge, anytime he has fought anyone with some sort of training, he has ended up on his back and bleeding.
  • In The Venture Bros. the neighbor happens to be a powerful necromancer who can summarily handle most threats as if they were farcical or annoying diversions from his everyday dad routine. A couple of monsters of the week do manage to utterly wreck him when they appear on the scene, for instance 'Mother' and 'Dr. Henry Killinger'.
    • Bodyguard Brock Sampson also manages to run over every opponent he faces (except for an ambush of mooks on a few occasions) but Molotov Cocktease proves her power by sparring with him successfully. Molotov is also Brock's recurring love interest - he has no interest in killing her, their fights are almost sadomasochistic in nature.
  • In the Animaniacs segment "The GoodFeathers" Pesto was the toughest fighter; they knew that their opponent was a threat if he took down Pesto which happened often.
  • Done in Kim Possible where Alien Invader Warmonga easily took on both Shego and Kim, the latter of which was wearing her Story-Breaker Power battlesuit. Only a miracle allowed them to survive. Then in the Grand Finale, Warmonga returned with the more powerful Warhak who was able to knock both females out with a single punch. It was then reversed to show just how awesome Ron was by taking both aliens down with his Mystical Monkey Power.
  • In W.I.T.C.H.'s second season, if you weren't the Guardians, the Regents or Caleb, you were going to get Worfed. Elyon, Kadma and the Oracle end up getting captured by Nerissa due to her wonderful skills at The Plan.
  • Legend of Korra has the Lieutenant. In the episode he's introduced in, he beats both Mako and Bolin in a fight, only defeated by Korra's surprise earthbending attack. The next time, he gets owned by Asami and electrocuted with his own kali sticks. The next time, he gets the drop on Lin Beifong... and then promptly gets thrown over the roof by Jinora, a ten year old girl. He comes back later though, and Naga takes him out. By this time, him getting owned is practically comedy. Until the series finale that is, when he discovers Amon is a bloodbender, and Amon most likely kills him by crushing his organs with bloodbending. Ow.
    • Also happens to Korra herself at various points throughout the 1st season. She's quite powerful, but the Metalbending police, Equalist mooks (twice), the Wolfbats, Hiroshi Sato in a Mini Mecha, Tarrlok, and Amon all manage to defeat her at one point or another. Though you could argue that in some of these cases she was at an unfair disadvantage.
    • Happens to Tonraq, Korra's father. In Book 2 they established him as a competent and skilled water bender, yet he gets beaten by both Unalaq and Zaheer.
    • Similar to Tonraq, Zuko suffers this when he's defeated by The Red Lotus, despite having been able to take them on in the past, before they had spent 13 years in prisons designed to nullify their powers. Sure, he may be in his eighties, but the series has shown that being old clearly doesn't matter.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series:
    • When they want to show how dangerous something is, they have it beat up Kilowog.
    • The Big Bad of season 2 the Anti-Monitor was killed by Aya and had its corpse taken over by her to establish that whatever she's going to do its going to be worse.
  • Garu from Pucca gets hits with this at times. Despite being a ninja who dedicates a lot of his time to training, he often gets defeated by the Villain Of The Week so that Pucca can save the day.
  • The Gumball Guardians in Adventure Time. Their function is to shout "Evil Detected!" and then get beat up. At their most useful, they might buy Finn some time to defeat the bad guy. Most notable against The Lich.
    • The Lich actually demonstrates this trope several times. First he takes out (and then wears the corpse of) Billy, one of the greatest heroes in Ooo. The Lich then manages to murder Prismo the Wishmaster, a being so powerful that his wishes create entire new universes. Then, when taken to the Citadel for committing a cosmic crime (murdering Prismo), The Lich manages to escape, subsequently freeing every other prisoner and murdering the guardians.
  • Killer Croc in Batman: The Animated Series, is established as a super-strong badass just like in the comics. When Bane makes his debut on the show, he gets in a fight with Croc. The result? Killer Croc ends up in traction afterwards.
  • Early in Season 1 of "Ultimate Spider-Man", Taskmaster debuts, gives Spidey and White Tiger a difficult fight throughout the episode and escapes at the end, vowing revenge. He doesn't appear again until near the end of Season 2, when Deadpool makes his debut. Deadpool all but curb stomps him in seconds.
    • Somewhat Justified in that Deadpool is said to be one of the few, if not the only person that Taskmaster cannot predict.
    • In the episode "Lizards", our group of heroes are trying to avoid being bit by giant lizards. Power Man explains that he has unbreakable skin, thus he can't be defea - cue giant lizard striking Power Man with his tail and sending him flying out of the building.
  • In the Batman Beyond episode "Meltdown", Mr. Freeze reappears halfway through the episode decked out in a new set of bulletproof Powered Armor, and displays a more powerful Freeze Gun built into the suit. However, he gets one-shotted by new villain Blight in order to demonstrate the strength of the new Big Bad.
  • The LEGO Movie has shown how dangerous Lord Business' henchmen are when even Superman gets captured without Kryptonite.
  • Avengers, Assemble! - Thor - Worf Effect: Despite being around the Hulk's strength and with weather powers Thor gets his butt kicked and needs saving a disturbing number of times compared to other characters. Attuma dismissed him with nary a thought in the latter's debate episode and he had to be saved by Iron Man from Ulik, a foe from his own rogue's gallery. His lighting attacks are often treated as prime examples of The Worf Barrage.
  • Hulk Vs.. - The Thor segment preaches Thor is Asgard's strongest warrior capable of crushing entire armies and as strong as the Hulk. His fight against the Hulk is entirely one-sided with Thor often just laying their letting the Hulk hit him and forgets how to fight. The excuse is that this Hulk has Banner removed and so is stronger than usual without Banner to limit his rage. Except Thor fought Hulk when the Hulk was being controlled/limited by Loki and still lost big time. Compare that to the Wolverine segment where the Hulk grossly overpowers Wolverine, but the fight was more or less even.
  • Gravity Falls - Shortly after Bill Cipher starts Weirdmageddon, Time Baby, previously established as having enough power to take over the world and control time in the future, appears with a large force of Time Cops to try to stop him. Seconds after they arrive, Bill disintegrates all of them.
  • Wander over Yonder - Lord Hater, the Big Bad during the entirety of Season 1, gets hit with this in the Season 2 Premiere. Here we are introduced to Lord Dominantor, the new Big Bad of the show. She proves herself worthy of this title not only by shrugging off Sylvia's attacks (she never even got to touch Dominator), but also by ignoring Wander's insistent attempts to become friends, which always led to Hater's defeat due to how annoying they would be, to the point that Wander believes Dominator might not be worth befriending. However, the point that truly cements this, is her brief battle with Lord Hater. An angry Lord Hater, furious over Dominator's resemblance to him in name and appearance (at least according to him) added to the fact that she was extremely close to killing Wander, Hater finally snaps, smashes her with one of her own robots and reclaims his superiority. Only for Dominator to emerge from the machine, launch Hater against a wall, and flush with a continuous stream of lava that ends the fight. The only reason he even survives is because Commander Peepers distracts her by disabling her army, which allowed Wander, Sylvia, Hater and Peepers to escape.
    • Fortunately, on their second battle (on the episode "The Battle Royale") Hater does much better, fighting Dominator to a standstill, probably due to the fact that his power comes from, well, hate, and he has had time to become angrier and angrier at Dominator. Every time he appears to be defeated, someone does or say something to enrage him (usually reminding him Dominator is better than him as a Galactic Conqueror), thus increasing his power and restarting the fight. However, ironically enough, once Hater discovers Dominator is female, he is smitten by her beauty and she promptly defeat him; not that he really cared by then.
  • In the Steven Universe episode "The Return", we meet Jasper, a Homeworld Gem who wants to take the Gems back and punish them for the rebellion. When she makes a move for Steven, Garnet attacks her, only to be knocked back. She charges again, only for Jasper to pull out a Gem Distabiliser and hit her in the abdomen. Garnet breaks apart in the most horrific way possible, before poofing. Considering Garnet is the leader of the Crystal Gems and an absolute tank, this moment is EXTREMELY jarring. Here it is.
    • A much later episode, "Reunited," does this to demonstrate the combat power of Blue and Yellow Diamond, the sixty-foot tall leaders of Homeworld. Blue Diamond is the first one fought; to prepare, Pearl, Garnet, and Amethyst fuse into the massive Alexandrite...and a single blast of Blue Diamond's "grief wave" (she has the ability to force every Gem in range to feel her emotions) takes them apart and leaves them completely helpless. Connie next tries to join the fray with Rose Quartz's legendary BFS, which can effortlessly cut down even Diamonds—and Blue snaps it between her fingers like a twig. Finally, Connie, Lion, and every single Crystal Gem—including the veteran warrior Bismuth and water-controlling Lapis Lazuli—combine their attacks into a single onslaught. By using all of their strength, they're able to briefly stun Blue Diamond...and even then, she's back up in about a minute with nothing more than mussed hair. When Yellow, who's the leader of the military, gets involved, things get even worse, and it's only because of Steven's own status and powers as the child of Pink Diamond, his mother, plus a last-ditch psychic effort on his part, that the battle ceases.
  • Dragons: Riders of Berk: Astrid is described and shown as one of the toughest and most competent of the Viking Dragon Riders - and is often in trouble one way or another, be it via being taken down in battle over water, being blinded, or catching a plague. It's usually done either for this reason, or because of the emotional effect it has on Hiccup.
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar Rico is frequently the first to be taken down by a threat, sometimes in ambush and other times because they don't yet know the threat such as in "Untouchable" when Barry the Poison Dart Frog completely immobilises him with a touch. In "Otter Gone Wild" the feral Marlene overwhelms Rico and he has to walk her back to the zoo, tied up with his own tongue. If Rico wasn't the first to be taken down, he'd beat every threat easily with his Stomach of Holding.
  • In Total Drama, this is the explicit purpose of Team Victory during the third season, World Tour. Every single member of the team, excluding Ezekiel, was a very strong competitor in the previous two seasons, making it past the merge and lasting until near the end of the season at least once before. Cue Alejandro, who steps in as the new Big Bad and knocks every single one of them out of the game way before the merge. As Laser-Guided Karma, he ends up on the receiving end of The Worf Effect to new Big Bad Mal during All-Stars, although his situation in that season was more a case of Make Way for the New Villains.
    • Eva was a minor version of this during the first season, Total Drama Island. Although she only lasted three episodes, she was established as VERY strong physically and seemed like she would be a huge help to her team, but she fell very quickly to establish just how great of a manipulator Heather was.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: In the season one finale "You're In Control", Lord Boxman unleashes his most powerful robot, Boxman Jr., who makes short work of Rad, Enid, and K.O. He even takes out K.O's mom Carol and Mr. Gar, who happen to be the two most powerful heroes in Lakewood Plaza Turbo! It's this that convinces K.O. he needs to tap into his Super-Powered Evil Side T.K.O., against the concerns of his friends and family.

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