Each iteration of the highly popular Tekken franchise sees a new King of Iron Fist Tournament. This tournament is only entered by the world’s very best fighters who compete in brutal combat in order to become champion. The recent reveal of Tekken 8 should mark the announcement of the 8th King of Iron Fist Tournament, with fighters from across the globe flocking to the event in hopes of taking away the top prize and proving themselves to be the very best.

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Exactly how the King of Iron Fist Tournament will take shape this time around is unknown. With Heihachi Mishima presumed dead following events in the last game, Tekken could be breaking a long-standing tradition by not including the Mishima family patriarch for the first time in its history. This would throw the whole tournament into doubt, as Heihachi himself has sponsored four of the seven previous tournaments. Although both Jin Kazama and his father Kazuya Mishima have also sponsored a tournament previously, it is hard to know at this stage what circumstances will arise that could result in one of them seizing the opportunity to sponsor and announce the King of Iron Fist Tournament 8.

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The First 3 King of Iron Fist Tournaments

The first King of Iron Fist Tournament was sponsored by Heihachi Mishima, and each tournament’s sponsor is automatically the boss, or sub-boss, of the game by proxy. Heihachi’s son, Kazuya Mishima, entered the tournament in the hope of facing his father in the final. Kazuya was seeking revenge for being thrown off a cliff as a child, an act that Heihachi claimed was intended to make sure Kazuya was strong enough to carry the Mishima name. Kazuya barely survived the fall, and years later enters the tournament in the hopes of gaining revenge on his father. Kazuya successfully defeated his father during Tekken‘s climax in the tournament final, subsequently dropping him off a cliff in a final act of vengeance, giving birth to one of the most dysfunctional families in video games.

Events in Tekken 2 saw roles reversed, with Kazuya himself this time sponsoring the tournament. Believing Heihachi to be dead, Kazuya began to embrace his devil gene, eager to see who would progress to meet him in the final. In a surprise twist though, Heihachi was alive and entered the tournament, eventually meeting and defeating Kazuya to be crowned champion, before throwing his son’s body into a volcano.

Tekken 3‘s plot, and the King of Iron Fist Tournament 3’s events, were loosely covered in the recent Tekken: Bloodline Netflix series. Jin Kazama, son of Kazuya Mishima enters the tournament at the behest of his grandfather and sponsor Heihachi. Hungry to gain revenge on the powerful demon Ogre who is responsible for his mother’s death, Jin fights viciously throughout the tournament before defeating Ogre’s final form to win it and become champion. However, unbeknownst to Jin, the tournament was a ruse to lure Ogre out into the open, and Jin was subsequently executed by his grandfather, with a bullet to the head. Jin’s devil gene emerged at the end, resurrecting him and allowing him to escape.

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The King of Iron Fist Tournaments 4 and 5

The fourth King of Iron Fist Tournament was once again announced and sponsored by Heihachi Mishima in Tekken 4. This edition of the tournament finally sees Jin and Kazuya scheduled to face off, but Jin is captured by Heihachi’s troops before the fight can start, enabling Kazuya to proceed to the final by default. In another epic rematch, Heihachi defeated Kazuya to once again become champion, before Jin, struggling to contain his devil form, finally met his father.

The sponsor of the fifth King of Iron Fist Tournament was not made clear during the opening events of Tekken 5, but it was eventually revealed that Jinpachi Mishima, Heihachi’s father, was the one who called for the tournament. Jinpachi, who was being controlled by an evil entity, was hoping someone would be able to defeat him and destroy this entity before it was able to wreak havoc. Jin was happy to oblige, defeating his great-grandfather in the final to once again be crowned champion. It’s worth noting that Jin actually lost to Hwoarang, one of Tekken‘s most beloved characters, during the tournament. This loss triggered Jin’s devil gene, and he badly injured Hwoarang, leaving him unable to fight. Jin continued in his place as a result, going on to win the tournament.

The 6th and 7th King of Iron Fist Tournaments

Tekken 6 kicked off with Jin Kazama announcing the 6th King of Iron Fist Tournament. Jin, now the CEO of the Mishima Zaibatsu and its powerful Tekken Force legion of troops, did this in order to lure out his father Kazuya, the only man standing in the way of Jin’s tyrannical ambitions. Jin’s real motivations were soon revealed, though. He hoped to give corporeal form to the demon Azazel, so he could defeat the beast in combat and save the world from certain destruction. After the two face off in battle, Jin and Azazel fell deep below the ground into the ruins of a temple. With Jin seemingly gone, the tournament was called off, and no winner was declared.

Heihachi Mishima once again sponsored the tournament during Tekken 7. Having retaken command of his company, Heihachi hoped that this tournament would expose Kazuya’s devil gene to the world, swaying public opinion against Kazuya’s G Corporation, the only force strong enough to oppose his Mishima Zaibatsu. The emergence of Street Fighter‘s Akuma forced Heihachi to alter his plans, and he subsequently declared himself dead to bring an end to the tournament prematurely with no winner announced. This allowed Akuma and Kazuya’s fight to take center stage. Ironically, after the fight saw Kazuya defeat Akuma, the vengeful son finally ended his father’s tyranny, dropping Heihachi directly into a river of lava to his death.

The last two King of Iron Fist Tournaments have therefore ended without a champion. If, as history suggests, Tekken 8 signals the 8th iteration of the fighting tournament, it could well be time for a new champion to emerge.

Tekken 8 is currently in development.

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