"Anybody can beat anybody."
I used to frequent the Dwayne McDuffie message boards a few years back. Before he passed away he would respond to different questions people would ask about his works. I think he made that point when someone asked him about who would win between Ben 10 and Generator Rex. His point is true for fictional fights, and it rings true for Death Battle. Anybody can beat anybody, as long as things stand in their favor. The difference is which character requires the least factors in their favor.
Here I'll apply this point to a few Death Battles where I'm familiar with the characters.
If you disagree or agree and wish to add a few matches in the comment section then be my guest.
The best example of this is in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles battle royal. These are four brothers who are around the same age and are used to fighting in harmony with each other. They all technically had a close chance of being the last one standing depending on how things could have gone. Leo won because he's the one usually known for strategy (he's the leader with less preoccupations as his brothers) with no significant weaknesses. However Raph is stronger than all of the other turtles and Donny isn't a slouch when it comes to building a strategy himself. Mikey shouldn't be underestimated, often times he's described as being the fastest of the turtles and a total wildcard. It's easy to think of ways the other turtles could have won but Leo is the one who requires the least circumstances in his favor. Unlike the other turtles Leo has no significant weaknesses (Raph's anger, Donny's focus on technology, Mikey's... distracted mind). Keep in mind that this is also based on generalized continuities as well. In the original story the turtles are even more equal with similar personalities.
Mario vs. Sonic:
This one's personal. If you look at the Mario vs. Sonic discussion board my posts easily make up at least a third of the total number of responses. Yet I even acknowledge that McDuffie's rule applies here. Mario has more power-ups than Sonic, for one thing, one wrong move could have ended the fight early in Mario's favor. Mario is pretty fast himself and has super strength on top of his abilities and athleticism. Combine his number of power-ups, super strength, speed, and athleticism Mario is a tough opponent. However Sonic won because of his natural speed and reflexes. Even if we give Mario lightning fast reflexes like his fans theorize, Sonic's speed alone is at a level that basically broken (especially since Death Battle included the archie comics). The Archie comics and the SAT am cartoon give Sonic stealth combat skills and the ability to bury underground. Point being Sonic isn't super ostentatious all the time. On top of that, Sonic rivals Mario in his athleticism and in his own power-up arsenal (albeit not as numerous). He was basically created to be a super fast "response" to Nintendo, that's the biggest point to remember. In order for Mario to win the biggest circumstance is to ignore or disregard Sonic's own experience. Mario has been around for a longer time but after Sonic's 21st birthday and number of non-game appearances, it fair to say his experience also rivals Mario's. Sonic can do almost anything Mario can do, only faster.
Batman vs Spider-Man:
They actually explained this in the Death Battle video. Both guys are experts with prep. If one is given some wiggle room with prep, then they both should be treated accordingly. Batman winning requires Spider-Man be a bit more predictable. People compare this fight to Batman defeating Amazo in the Red Hood film. Batman has plans to defeat the entire justice league, an android with the justice league's power shouldn't be too difficult for him to combat. Spider-Man uses unpredictability in his fights, and this is a random encounter. As seen with Batman's arch nemesis, the Joker, unpredictability has proven effective against Batman. On top of that Death Battle didn't really explain the way of the Spider that thoroughly. Before the recent Spider-Island story arc, Spider-Man had lost his Spider-sense. He received Martial Arts training from Shang Chi who told him that his Spider-sense was a crutch (spider-man's fighting style, while unpredictable, was mainly reactive rather than proactive) Way of the Spider was his martial art form that compensated for his lack of Spider-sense by being more proactive in his style. After he had his Spider-sense reactivated his compensated martial arts worked in harmony with his spider sense.
Goku vs. Superman:
As the tag picture suggests, I made this blogpost in light of Goku vs. Superman. Superman won because he outclasses Goku in speed, strength, durability.
Check out the blog by Heart of Steel andLast Son of Krypton for details. However, Death Battle seems to admit the fight could have ended in Goku's favor. Superman was losing energy and when he was trying to recharge in the Earth's atmosphere Goku blasted him into the Sun. In theory Goku could have won the death battle version of Superman if he restricted the fight to Earth. Although Superman would have just gotten into his "healing coma", I think that would have counted as a win for Goku. On that note its also agreed that Goku (manga only) beats most versions of animated Superman who most people in this generation is familiar with. Although some versions of Superman have deeper energy reserves (depending on the writer), than what Superman demonstrated here. Superman in Post Crisis (pre new 52) could have beaten Goku without Sundipping. Most of his best feats weren't the result of him being super charged.
Kakorot88's blog help's reinforce my point and Death Battle's presentation. Goku could beat Superman IFGT is considered AND the fight isn't prolonged too much. Things are actually closer than they appear if all the canon are considered.
Last words and preview topics:
While Superman should have beaten Goku, I disagree that Ki and Magic are totally distinct.
Anybody can beat anybody, the difference is who requires less help. Though Yoshi vs. Riptor did the opposite (unfairly). As well as Wonder Woman vs. Rogue.
Here I was defending Death Battle next time I'll challenge them.