Dozens of Dragon Ball characters have competed in tournaments, but only some have taken home the glory. Here’s every Z-Warrior to win it all.
Goku and the Z-Warriors have been competing in martial arts tournaments throughout the history of the Dragon Ball anime. The heroes have participated in multiple fighting contests across the original Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball Super.
- Android 17
The Tournament of Power, a battle between teams of ten across eight universes, called for Goku to unite the strongest of the Z-Warriors to save their world from being erased. Goku, Vegeta, Frieza, Gohan, and Android 17 survived up until the final battle with Universe 11’s last three competitors, Jiren, Dyspo, and Top. Remarkably, 17 persevered even when Vegeta and Gohan went down, and fought side-by-side with Frieza and a depleted Goku against Jiren. Seeing that there was no other way to win, Goku and Frieza knocked both themselves and Jiren off the ring, leaving Android 17 as the last man standing. As the sole winner of the Tournament of Power, 17 was awarded the Super Dragon Balls, which he then used to resurrect the restore the seven erased universes. 17’s role in the story essentially made him the breakout star of the Universal Survival Saga.
2. Kid Trunks
Goten and Kid Trunks weren’t old enough to join Gohan, Piccolo, Goku, and Vegeta at the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament, but they did qualify for the event’s Junior Division. As the only characters with powers, getting to the final round was no problem for either of them. The two half-Saiyans engaged in a tough fight that resulted in both going Super Saiyan. For Vegeta, it was important to him that his son beat Goku’s. Ultimately, he got what he wanted when Kid Trunks knocked Goten out of the ring and won the Junior Division. Still disappointed about not being able to compete in the main event, the two disguised themselves as one adult fighter until their ruse was exposed by Android 18.
3. Master Roshi
Master Roshi has won two tournaments in the Dragon Ball franchise. The first happened off-screen, several years before the series even started. His second victory happened in the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, which was the anime’s first version of the event. Disguised as “Jackie Chun”, Master Roshi entered the contest to keep the Z-Warriors from winning and becoming complacent with their skills.
Before becoming a hero, Tien served as an antagonist to Goku in Dragon Ball. As students of Master Shen, he and Chiaotzu entered the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament. The two battled their way to the semifinals, with Chiaotzu falling to Krillin and Tien getting a hard-fought win over Yamcha. Tien squared off against Goku in the final round, with the two fighters appearing to be evenly matched. Master Shen tried to fix the match in Tien’s favor, but his efforts were thwarted, thus allowing Goku and Tien to battle it out in a fair fight. In the end, the two were knocked into the air by a Kamehameha from Goku. Both landed outside the ring, but Goku happened to touch down first. For this reason, Tien was declared the winner. Tien returned in the next year’s tournament as the defending champion but lost in a rematch with Goku.
Goku almost got a second tournament win in Other World. Years after being killed by Cell, Goku joined a contest of dead fighters in Universe 7’s afterlife. For the most part, the event was a breeze, as Goku faced minimal difficulties in the path to the finals. That changed when he was pushed into going Super Saiyan by Pikkon. Eventually, Goku beat Pikkon, but was denied the title of winner by Grand Kai, who said that both fighters disqualified themselves when they touched the ceiling. Later on, Goku came close to beating Hit and Jiren in the Universe 6 contest and the Tournament of Power respectively, but fell short on both occasions.
The Cell Games was a special kind of tournament put together by Perfect Cell in Dragon Ball Z. He intended to bring together the world’s strongest fighters and give them each a chance to fight him. Humorously, the current martial arts champion – Mr. Satan – was effortlessly defeated by him in the first round. This was followed by a challenge from Goku, the character who Cell always expected had the best chance of beating him. To everyone’s surprise (including Cell’s), Goku forfeited before a winner could be decided.