Batman and the Joker. Ash and Gary. Ketchup and mustard. All three of these pairings come to mind when anyone brings up the term “rivals.” While those three examples are all legendary rivalries in their own right, there’s one that stands, nay, towers above them all, and it’s Dragon Ball’s Goku and Vegeta.
Starting off as two Saiyans on drastically different ends of the morality spectrum, they would later begrudgingly become allies and then eventually form an uneasy (and kind of odd) friendship, but at no point do they ever stop being rivals.
Almost even in terms of skills and powers, they’re constantly one-upping one another (although Goku certainly seems to do it the most) and no matter what situation they find themselves in, even if it’s a battle for the fate of the universe, somewhere in the back of their minds they’re still focused on their rivalry.
As two of the Dragon Ball franchise’s main (and most popular) characters, you might think you know everything there is to know about this decades-long perpetual showdown between the two, but you might be surprised.
In fact, you might end up learning a thing or two with our list, Dragon Ball: 25 Wild Revelations About Goku And Vegeta's Rivalry.
When compiling these entries, we decided to approach the rivalry from as many different angles as possible, including the real world, and we pulled our info from as many different sources as we could.
If you think you’re a pro regarding Goku, Vegeta, and the rivalry they share, get ready for some surprises!
25 Vegeta Was Mercifully Not In Dragonball Evolution
If there’s one thing that can be said in the ever-present debate of “who’s better? Goku or Vegeta?,” it’s that Vegeta wasn’t anywhere near the atrocity that was Dragonball Evolution.
Easily one of the worst movies ever made, and probably the worst “adaptation” of source material, this film belongs in the bowels of the underworld.
It’s an impressive feat for Vegeta to have his legacy unspoiled by this dumpster fire of a motion picture… and Goku can’t claim the same.
24 Vegeta And Goku Have Both Run Into Evil Duplicates Of Themselves
The rivalry between Goku and Vegeta focuses a lot on who does what better or worse than the other, but every now and then, we have to acknowledge moments where they are truly equal, and this is one of those times.
Both Vegeta and Goku have encountered evil duplicates of themselves, such as Goku Black or Copy Vegeta. Heck, if we incorporate other source material, like FighterZ, they’ve both encountered multiple evil copies of themselves.
When it comes to villainous twins, Goku and Vegeta are one and the same.
23 They’ve Starred In KFC Commercials
Despite the rival status between Goku and Vegeta, and all the endless bickering that comes with it, there’s at least one thing that the two can agree on: their love for Kentucky Fried Chicken.
In a Japanese commercial for the fast food chain, Goku and Vegeta are seen exclaiming the glories of the Colonel’s secret recipe without a hint of animosity between the two of them.
It appears that the key to tranquility and peace is merely an order of Kentucky Fried Chicken. This is a lesson we must all remember.
22 Goku Will Never Be Royalty
Vegeta may always be one step behind Goku when it comes to power or transformations (at least for the most part) but there’s an area where Goku will NEVER be able to top Vegeta… and it’s royalty.
No matter how strong Goku becomes, and no matter what transformations he develops, he will never be able to rightfully claim that he is the Prince and/or King of the Saiyans.
That honor will always be reserved for Vegeta and his bloodline (which includes Tarble, Trunks, and Bulla.)
21 Vegeta Skipped Super Saiyan 3 (Or Did He?)
Ever since Dragon Ball GT, fans have had a good laugh at Vegeta’s inability to achieve the Super Saiyan 3 transformation, opting instead to go straight to Super Saiyan 4 (with the help of a machine, no less! Pathetic!)
While that might seem like a win for Goku, Vegeta was able to go Super Saiyan 3… just not in the main series. Instead, players of Dragon Ball Heroes or Dokkan Battle get to see SSJ3 Vegeta in action any time they wish.
20 Toriyama’s Daughter Allegedly Had Direct Influence On One Of Them
Dragon Ball GT had a lot of potential, but most of it was squandered due to an overall weak direction. That said, the show’s most notorious element wasn’t just the ill-advised limiting of Goku to his child form. No, the biggest problem of all was Vegeta’s mustache.
For some reason, the Prince of All Saiyans decided he needed a mustache but, thankfully, rumor suggests that Akira Toriyama’s own daughter demanded that the mustache be shaved.
Now where was she in the meeting where they decided Goku was going to turn back into a kid!?
19 Both Have Broken Continuity And Canon
Dragon Ball’s canon is… pretty questionable at some points. A lot of the inconsistencies and retcons can be attributed to Akira Toriyama, who often changes things on a whim to better suit whatever he wants to do. That or he just forgets a lot. Either way, “canon” and rules are tenuous at best.
Perhaps that’s why Vegeta and Goku have both broken in-universe laws like they were no big deal.
One that comes to mind is Vegeta retaining his body in Fusion Reborn, but that’s only one of a hundred instances of rule-breaking.
18 Vegeta Has Chivalrous Qualities
Goku isn’t exactly a socially conscious individual, nor does he appear to be much of a lover to his wife. The guy doesn’t even know what kissing is, apparently.
Then there’s Vegeta.
Although he’s got a rough demeanor and a past that’s filled with ruthless planetary genocide, he’s apparently got a well-developed sense of chivalry, as seen when he defends Bulma from anything and everything, be it Gods of Destruction or peeping-Gokus.
Yeah, Goku’s gotten mad about Chi-Chi being hurt before, but he never goes out of his way to make it right like Vegeta.
17 They’re Both Prone To Self-Sacrifice
In another case where the supposed rivals have more things in common than they’d like to admit, it seems that Goku and Vegeta both have a selfless affinity towards self-sacrifice if the situations calls for it.
The obvious moments are Goku using Instant Transmission on Cell or Vegeta self-destructing against Buu, but both of them have also demonstrated that they’re more than willing to fight losing (even lethal) battles to protect the Earth and those they care about.
It’s good to know that these rivals both share such an admirable quality.
16 Goku Has More Transformations And Forms Than Vegeta… But Barely
Dragon Ball Z is culturally synonymous with a lot of things: lengthy stare downs, constant screaming, fire erupting from hands, power-ups for literally days and, of course, elaborate transformations.
It comes as no surprise that both Goku and Vegeta have an enormous list of transformations and forms to their name, being the main characters and all, but Goku is the winner when it comes to transformation totals.
Vegeta has a combined total of twenty four transformations, some of which Goku has never had, while the low-class warrior himself has twenty six.
15 Both Of Their Fathers Had A Rebellious Nature
Aside from their abnormally high power levels and their Saiyan heritage, Goku and Vegeta have very little in common, especially when it comes to their upbringing and life experiences.
That said, there is one element that the two share, and it’s the rebellious natures of their parents, specifically their fathers.
Despite Bardock being a low-class warrior and King Vegeta being royalty, both had a desire to eliminate Frieza and both went so far as to actually attempt it.
Alas, the truly definitive battle against Frieza would be fought by their sons.
14 They Haven’t Beaten Each Other In Number Of Demises
One of the big jokes about Dragon Ball Z is that every character is repeatedly sent to the Other World and then brought back to life like it was no big deal.
While that’s true to an extent, it’s also not as constant or widespread as it’s made out to be, especially when it comes to Vegeta and Goku.
Both seem to have met their makers three times each, including their fates in Trunks’ dismal future.
Goku perished against Raditz, the heart disease, and Cell, while Vegeta lost against Frieza, Buu, and the Androids.
13 Vegeta Is The One Who Always Messes Up The Fusion Dance
Vegeta has a lot going for him, but he can’t seem to nail down the precision required to successfully perform the Fusion Dance. In both Dragon Ball Super: Broly and the Dragon Ball Z movie Fusion Reborn, Vegeta always messes up the dance.
What makes this so weird is that we KNOW Vegeta is capable of exquisite dancing… the beauty of the Bingo Dance mustn’t be denied!
At least by the time GT rolls around Vegeta is well-versed in the technique, pulling it off without a hitch.
12 Vegito Has Vegeta’s Personality...
So what if Vegeta can’t dance? At least he can wield a Potara Earring properly. Not only that, he wields it so well that his personality seems to be the dominant one when he and Goku fuse to become Vegito.
Endlessly cocky and filled with rage-inducing taunts, Vegito is an ultra-confident jerk… but one who has the power to back it all up.
Vegito typically edges out Gogeta when it comes to the popularity of the fusions, so that’s just another win for Vegeta.
11 ... While Gogeta Is Closer To Goku
While the Potara-induced Vegito seemingly has Vegeta’s personality at the forefront, the Fusion Dance-triggered Gogeta is the opposite.
Gogeta is extremely confident, but never boastful. He doesn’t show off, either; he gets right down to business.
In Fusion Reborn, he doesn’t even speak as he delivers the brief-but-effective beatdown against Janemba. In Broly, he shows a little more personality, but Goku’s personality still rules the day.
Heck, Gogeta in Dragon Ball GT is certainly prideful and boastful, but he pulls pranks… something Vegeta would never do.
10 Vegeta Is Better At “Normal Life”
One of Goku’s chief issues with his wife, Chi-Chi, is that all he ever does is train. She repeatedly begs him to get a job, or driver’s license, and even when he tries to do as she wishes, he fails.
In short, Goku just doesn’t seem to be made for the typical life. He’s a country boy at heart.
Vegeta, on the other hand, seems well-acquainted with the “normal life.” He goes to social events, takes his family shopping or to amusement parks, and basically behaves like a regular person.
That’s impressive, considering he’s a reformed space pirate.
9 Vegeta Is The Better Parent
All jokes aside regarding Piccolo being Gohan’s true father, Goku really does care about Gohan and Goten, and has numerous tender moments with both of them.
We’ll admit that that’s pretty nice but, on the other hand, it pales in comparison to the active parenting that Vegeta clearly demonstrates.
He’s hard on Trunks for sure, but at least he raises him. We also see how strong the silent-but-understood bond is with Future Trunks, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how good he is with babies or how quick he is to bond with Bulla in GT.
8 Vegeta’s FighterZ Tier Is Higher Than Goku (More Than Once)
FighterZ isn’t just an awesome Dragon Ball game, it’s a fantastic fighting game, period.
While almost all tier lists are purely speculative, and FighterZ’s cast seems superbly balanced when wielded by the right players (except for Android 17), there is a slight discrepancy when it comes to Goku and Vegeta’s rankings.
To start, Base Vegeta ranks well above Base Goku, but both SSB Goku and Vegeta are in the same tier, as are SSJ Goku and Vegeta.
That said, SSJ Vegeta beats out his counterpart due to his assist move, which is considered the best in the entire game!
7 Neither One Is Afraid To Shed Man-Tears
It’s no secret that Goku cares deeply about his friends, family, innocents and the Earth itself.
On the other hand, Vegeta clearly feels the same emotions about basically the same things… he just hides it really well.
That said, neither one of them are afraid to cry when necessary.
Vegeta openly wept at his inadequacy against Frieza, and as he begged Goku to destroy the tyrant in the name of the Saiyans. Likewise, Goku teared up when Master Roshi was believed to have lost his life in the Tournament of Power (we joined in, too… and rightfully so.)
6 The Galick Gun and Kamehameha Are Similar Techniques
During the iconic beam struggle between Goku’s Kamehameha and Vegeta’s Galick Gun, the Prince of all Saiyans exclaimed (in shock and awe) that Goku’s technique was extremely similar to his own.
Truthfully, that doesn’t really seem to mean all that much, at least on the surface, but think about it for a second: somehow, with light years between them, and vastly different training and experiences, both character’s signature techniques were surprisingly similar. What are the chances of that?
It’s like they were destined to be rivals by the cosmos itself.
5 Neither One Can Beat Arale
For a pair of rivals who are pre-occupied with which one of them is more powerful than the other, it might be better for them to focus on which one of them is capable of beating an almighty child named Arale.
In the first-and-last (or so Vegeta hopes) gag episode of Dragon Ball Super, the series crosses over with Toriyama’s Dr. Slump, and both of the main Saiyans spar with Arale.
Despite their divine might, neither could stand against her surprising strength!
4 Goku Doesn’t Know How To Reach SSB Evolution
We’ve already discussed how Vegeta was never able to reach Super Saiyan 3 in the main canon (as far as we know), but he isn’t the only one to be incapable of mastering a rival’s technique.
Goku, as of Broly and the end of Super, doesn’t seem to be able to reach Super Saiyan Blue Shinka (or “Evolved”), which is the form Vegeta achieved during the Tournament of Power.
Sure, we could argue that Vegeta doesn’t know how to use Ultra Instinct, but neither does Goku, so there’s that.
3 Toriyama Hates Vegeta
We admit that we worded the title of this entry pretty strongly, but that doesn’t mean that the thought isn’t without merit.
There’s a reason that it’s always Goku who saves the day, or why Dragon Ball GT was nicknamed “Goku Time.” Heck, Vegeta wasn’t even given the opportunity to get revenge on Frieza during Resurrection F despite the perfect set-up.
Here’s the thing: Toriyama just doesn’t care that much for Vegeta. He was quoted in Daizenshuu saying that he “doesn’t like [Vegeta] all that much, but he was helpful to have around.”
That’s… pretty harsh, honestly.
2 Vegeta Is Legitimately Stronger Than Goku In Super
With Super Saiyan Blue Evolution under his belt by the end of Dragon Ball Super, Vegeta has a transformation that Goku hasn’t been able to achieve.
Some might say that Ultra Instinct is greater than SSB Evolution, and that would certainly be true… but Goku can’t use that form at will and, frankly, doesn’t even know how he used it in the first place.
For all those Vegeta fans out there, this means that, once and for all (or at least for now) Vegeta is the winner in his rivalry with Goku.
Savor this moment.
1 Goku Has Never Technically Beaten Vegeta
This came as a shock to us, and it will come as a shock to you, whether you are a Vegeta or Goku fan: Goku has never cleanly defeated Vegeta.
“But what about the Saiyan Saga!? Their fateful duel for the Earth!??!” Nope, Goku and Vegeta beat the tar out of each other, but Goku was in far worse shape than Vegeta, who only “lost” because of Gohan, Krillin, and Yajirobe.
“What a bout the battle between Majin Vegeta and Goku!?” Nope, Goku lost that one too… but only because he didn’t use SSJ3. It still counts, though.