The All-Valley Tournament is the ultimate test of martial skill, strength and speed across the franchise. Many of the best martial artists train day and night for the chance to step onto the mat and prove themselves to be karate masters in their own right.
However, some champions are far more memorable than others. Some champions get their entire stories presented to the public, while others are just stepping stones for developed characters to overcome. Either way, they are some of the strongest fighters in Cobra Kai. It’s just a question of who among them will finish on top.
seven Alex’s stone
Xander Stone only had a brief but admittedly entertaining stint as All-Valley Champion. When the audience first sees him, they are introduced to a rather pompous teenager, with lofty speeches that annoy both Daniel and Johnny. Despite his pomp, however, Xander Stone was still an All-Valley champion, a fact his mother would tell anyone nearby. Miguel found himself battling this high-flying martial artist, but in the end, Miguel’s practical style won out.
Xander Stone is a bit of a mirror image of another All-Valley champion, Darryl Vidal. Both were incredibly talented defending champions who used flashy footwork and were defeated by a Cobra Kai prodigy. Unfortunately, Darryl wins over Xander because Xander lost to a newcomer. Not to mention that Darryl may have been flashy, but he was a lot more practical than Alex and actually beat Johnny to the All-Valley title the year before. Miguel is a good fighter, no doubt, but he was far less experienced than Johnny in 1982.
6 Daryl Vidal
Darryl Vidal is a name most casual fans of the show have probably forgotten by now. It’s understandable because he had the unenviable task of existing to make Johnny Lawrence look strong in the narrative. That said, that’s not to say his match wasn’t a treat to watch. Darryl Vidal, played by, surprise, Darryl Vidal, was essentially portraying an overconfident version of himself. His sophisticated footwork meant that Johnny’s practical and ruthless style overcame his flashy moveset. Of course, Johnny still respected him enough to shake his hand, which is a feat in itself.
Darryl Vidal may not be as memorable as other All-Valley champions, but it’s important to remember that he was still a champion. Johnny Lawrence actually lost to him in the 1981 All-Valley Tournament, according to what Kreese told Robby. If a martial artist is impressive enough to warrant Kreese remembering their name, then they must be doing something right. Darryl Vidal is actually a legit martial artist and since 2012 he is a tenth degree black belt. For context, he was already a first degree black belt in 1982.
5 Curator Nichols
Tory is the first-ever female All-Valley Tournament champion, and few would argue she doesn’t deserve the title. Tory’s brash style has earned him many victories in matches and street fights against other skilled martial artists. After showing up in Season 2, Tory’s training throughout Season 4 to temper her aggression with real techniques only made her even more dangerous than ever. Pair Tory’s growing martial skills and superior physiques against the hot-headed Sam of Season 4 and his victory was definitely deserved.
Despite his best efforts, the public can’t know for sure what a clean tournament match between Sam and Tory would have looked like, thanks to Terry Silver’s dirty tactics. If the referee can’t be trusted, his first win is unfortunately marred by his sneaky nature. That said, while the ref means the game wasn’t inherently fair, Tory beat Sam out of sheer skill on the last point, and that shouldn’t be discredited.
4 Eli Moskowitz
Hawk is the most complete All-Valley champion in modern times due to his background. Hawk went through three different senses, which gave him an advantage in technique and training. Johnny taught him to strike first, Kreese taught him to show no mercy, and Daniel considered him an incredible defense. Eli grew up as a fighter in a similar path to Robby, but unlike him, Eli managed to find his inner peace. The ability to stay grounded won him the All-Valley Tournament.
There’s a little asterisk next to Eli’s wins because he couldn’t fight a Miguel who was at his peak. Miguel had more wins over Eli both on the mat and in street fights. Miguel’s match with an Eli who was much more in tune with himself showed him struggling, and back injury or not, putting Miguel on the back foot is an impressive feat. That said, it’s not easy to say who would have won their match had they continued, but there’s no doubt that Eli deserves his win over Robby.
3 Miguel Diaz
Miguel Diaz was the series’ first All-Valley champion, and few can say he doesn’t deserve it. He put up a good fight against Robby, and his superior martial skills won out over Robby, who himself is a prodigy. Not to mention that Miguel has never been beaten in a clean fight both on the mat and on the street. His reputation is such that when Eli faces him in the final, Demetri reminds him. However, Miguel’s back injury severely affected his ability to fight.
There’s no doubt that in his heyday, Miguel was probably on his way to becoming one of the greatest martial artists in the entire Valley. Most would say he’s already one of the greats. He beat Robby and Eli several times before and they were both All-Valley finalists. However, his injury prevented him from showing his best. It’s honestly a toss-up between who is stronger between Eli and Miguel, but until he recovers both physically and mentally, there’s nothing to be said for sure.
2 Johnny Lawrence
Johnny Lawrence is a two-time All-Valley champion, the only other person named to be one besides Daniel LaRusso, his karate rival. As a teenager, he showed great dedication to training and was praised by Kreese, a hard-to-please sensei. In many ways, Johnny is Kreese’s top student. In fact, Johnny was directly responsible for nurturing two All-Valley Champions for a considerable time, Eli Moskowitz and Miguel Diaz. However, there are a few things that keep him from being the greatest champion.
For starters, fans don’t quite see Johnny Lawrence’s two wins in the franchise. While viewers can trust Kreese and Tommy’s words on this, it’s another to see it in action. The audience has no real idea how the fights went, how close Johnny was, and how experienced his unknown opponent was. That being said, winning the title twice in a row is a feat that only the greatest martial artists in the Valley can boast of.
1 Daniel La Russo
The Karate Kid himself, Daniel LaRusso is All-Valley’s greatest champion for several reasons. Although he only coached one champion, his own victories are not only well documented, but far more dangerous than any of the other matches in the championship tournament. Daniel LaRusso is a prodigy, with a slightly more impressive record of beaten martial artists than any other All-Valley champion.
Daniel won against a two-time All-Valley champion (Johnny Lawrence), a brutal and sneaky fighter who is much more physically imposing (Mike Barnes), and a martial artist who aimed to really to kill him (Chozen). In all three cases, he won thanks to his technique and a surprising amount of courage. While he can be stubborn in his methods of teaching Miyagi-do-only self-defense, there’s no denying how effective it has been for Daniel throughout the franchise.
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