9 Bad Guys You Can Defeat in One Punch

Fighting the bad guy can be an exciting climactic experience, but there are moments when you’re just hoping for a quick tussle and a cutscene to the next important part of your quest. Thankfully, there are some baddies who fit that bill! Here is a helpful list of nasty minions and villains who can be knocked in one precise blow.

Sontarans—Doctor Who

Doctor Who, Sontarans, General Stal getting struck by a squash ball

Screenshot: BBC

Plenty of nasties in Doctor Who can be rendered less effective with a well-aimed hit, but none so well as the Sontarans. A race of clones who are nourished via feeding tubes at the back of their necks, the Sontarans maintain that vent for feeding into their adulthoods. This means that a quick smack will quickly render them unconscious. This is supposed to be billed as a positive aspect, however—the fact that Sontaran anatomy works this way means that they are required to always face their opponents in battle. Turning their back would result in easy and immediate defeat, making it an unlikely choice for the intergalactic baked potatoes. For the glory of Sontar—HAH!


Vampires—Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy staking vamp

Screenshot: 20th Century Fox

In every generation there is a chosen one… and she’s pretty lucky because vampires disintegrate to dust if you stake them in the heart with sharp wooden sticks. Granted, some of these fanged monsters are a little speedier than others, but they cannot stand up to a nice pointy stake. Which is good because there are lots of them? And because this battle is basically never-ending, so Buffy deserves any breaks she can get. It’s a good thing that vampires come with so many rules, is really the point here. Obviously, Buffyverse vamps don’t have all of them, but most of the basic rules still apply, including the avoidance of sunlight and un-fondness for crucifixes, and so on. That aversion to pointy stakes makes it a lot easier for the Slayer to do her job.


Goombas—Super Mario Bros.  

Screenshot: Nintendo

Goombas are fanged shitake mushrooms who aren’t terribly threatening unless you get cornered by one—or have terrible hand-eye coordination. They tend to walk back and forth in a fairly predictable way, making it a simple task for a heroic plumber to jump on them, crushing these sentient anti-Italian slurs beneath his mighty boots. So, they’re a one-jump villain rather than a one-punch villain, but the spirit is the same—and don’t spend too much time thinking about the Goombas from the Super Mario Bros. movie because while it may have its charms (those charms being Yoshi and John Leguizamo’s world-shattering smile) those shambling behemoths are NOT True Goombas.


Putties—Power Rangers

Power Rangers, Z Putty fighting

Screenshot: Fox Kids

If you watched the original show, you know that it used to take a few kicks to get the putties to disperse… but that eventually stops being the case. Later iterations of these faceless clay minions gave them funny power packs at the center of their chests—strike those and they instantly fall to pieces. That’s right, it got easier to defeat these Level One threats because Lord Zedd just couldn’t resist a branded chestplate. Of course, it’s hard to call Power Rangers out for this when basically every monster Rita ever made could be immediately defeated by one sword strike from the Megazord. It’s only irritating because if that’s all it ever took, you’d think the Power Rangers would start from the Megazord? No? Just us? Gotta watch the dino versions get smacked around a little, we suppose.


The Death Star—Star Wars

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Vader and the Emperor watch the construction of the Death Star

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

It’s supposed to be the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, but as long as you can get close enough? Yeah, you’re good. Both Death Stars (that’s right, both, because the Empire decided that the answer to the first one getting blown up was to just make another one almost exactly the same way) are capable of being destroyed with one (or two) precise hits to the main reactor, making their ability to blow up planets far less impressive than it should be. The same proves true for Starkiller Base, even though it takes little more coordination. And also the Emperor’s fleet of planet-killing Star Destroyers… which is sad because the cheese wedge ships were finally about to live up to their name before the entire Resistance happened to them. Point is, the Empire isn’t great with technology.


Zombies—Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead, group of zombies

Screenshot: Universal Pictures

There are different rules in different zombie narratives, but most of them work similarly: in order to kill zombie, you have to decapitate them, or destroy their brains, usually through one massive blow to the head. This is true for Shaun of the Dead, leading to the use of axes, vinyl records, cricket bats, and even pool cues in the destruction of the undead. When there are too many of them, this method of destruction stops being quite so effective, but as long as you don’t let a hoard of them into the pub where you’re hiding out, you’re in pretty good shape. You just need to make sure your swinging arm is good to go, and get some Queen ready on the jukebox.


The Chitauri—The Avengers

The Avengers, the Chitauri screaming

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Look, there are plenty of hive minds in SF that you can ruin by blowing up some central hub, but the Chitauri are special because destroying the hub doesn’t just leave them rudderless—it actually destroys their ability to function at all. Tony Stark sends a nuke from New York City to their mothership in another galaxy, it detonates, and every Chitauri soldier just crumples to the ground. That’s… one heck of a design flaw. It’s not like Independence Day, where you give the aliens a computer virus and mess up all their ships, but still have to deal with the leftover aliens inside those ships. This is a one-and-done scenario, provided you can find a nuclear bomb and a fancy portal machine to chuck it through.


Anyone Who Goes Up Against A.D. Walter Skinner—The X-Files

Screenshot: 20th Century Fox Television

While Mulder was busy dropping his gun and Scully was being the greatest character of all time, Walter Skinner spent his time on The X-Files perfecting the art of The Punch. Villains? Punch. Superiors at the office who have betrayed him? Punch. Monsters? Punch. Aliens? Punch. Mulder? Punch. Disturbingly hot double agent Alex Krycek? Punch, then HANDCUFF. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you cross Skinner, or so much as glance threateningly in the direction of his pain-in-the-ass underling/precious baby Fox Mulder, Skinner will PUNCH and you will go down.

And don’t even think about glancing at Scully—she’s the one he respects.


Achilles—The Iliad

Troy, Achilles giving speech to troops on a boat

Screenshot: Warner Bros.

“But he’s not a bad guy,” we hear you say. Well, if you’re a Trojan he’s sure not your buddy, so he counts.

The OG of this issue, you might say, Achilles is supposed to be the greatest hero the world has ever seen. He’s just got one problem—his mom, who dipped him in the fancy god-power river, didn’t dunk the heel she was holding him by, resulting in his truly embarrassing weak spot. Sure, Achilles can do feats that most mortal men could never dream of, but if you tap his heel? Game over. We can’t even blame this one on being played by Brad Pitt that one time; he’s like having some super high-powered computer that crashes after coming into contact with a lil bitty virus. The only thing we can say on Achilles’s behalf is that particular tendon named after him is kind of the worst. It does give up on you if you overwork it even a little bit, so… maybe this isn’t really Achilles’s fault? Maybe his tendons just needed a better warm up that day. Even superfolx need to get their gentle stretches in before the big fights.


These are just a few of our favorites—what about you? Who are your favorite villains to TKO with ease?


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