The Dragon Ball franchise has enjoyed a return to greatness in recent years thanks to the surprisingly good sequel series Dragon Ball Super and some excellent video games in the form of Dragon Ball Xenoverse and especially Dragon Ball FighterZ. However, for many fans, it all goes back to the 1990s and Dragon Ball Z, which remains arguably one of the best animes ever made (or at the very least, one of the most popular). Though DBZ had some great storytelling and characters, it’s the series’ epic fights that would become its hallmark.
While it’s easy to poke fun at DBZ for its obsession with power levels (there’s a reason “Over 9000?!” has become such a popular meme) and ridiculous filler content that could extend a single fight into half a season’s worth of episodes, the epic clashes featuring Goku, Vegeta, and the rest of the Z-Fighters were often wondrous to behold thanks to the inventive action and character drama behind them. With a staggering 291 episodes, there are almost too many battles in Dragon Ball Z to count but if we had to narrow the series down to its 15 greatest bouts, these would be it.
NOTE: In the interest of simplicity, we’ve decided to just include battles from the main series. In other words, we’re just pulling from the beginning of the Saiyan Saga to the end of the Majin Buu Saga, so you won’t find any battles from the Dragon Ball Z movies on here (and to be honest, you could probably do a whole list just based on those). That also means you won’t find any mention of Broly here but if we were including the movies, you can bet that his incredible fight with Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Gohan, and Future Trunks from The Legendary Super Saiyan would rank in the top 5, easy. Okay, that all make sense? Then let’s proceed!