Dragon Ball Z: Would Nail Have Defeated Vegeta If They’d Fought on Namek?

Dragon Ball's Vegeta is not only a fan-favorite character but also a staple of the franchise. Since his introduction as a key antagonist, Vegeta has grown to rival the globally recognized Son Goku in both strength and heroism. However, Vegeta wasn't always a powerhouse of the series.

Like Goku, much of Vegeta's character development is centered around training, fighting and recovering. As such, the Saiyan prince's journey has been fraught with close calls and humbling defeats. One of Vegeta's greatest periods of development took place during the "Frieza" arc, the overwhelming majority of which was set on Planet Namek, the home world of Piccolo, his evil progenitor of the same name, and the guardian Kami. While searching for the Namekian Dragon Balls for the purpose of granting himself immortality, Vegeta came into contact with a slew of fighters, most of whom worked for the now-infamous antagonist Frieza. However, one of his most interesting battles is one that never actually took place.

While tracking Gohan and Krillin to the Elder Guru's house, Vegeta came face to face with a Namekian warrior known as Nail. In addition to being Guru's bodyguard, Nail was a remarkably skilled warrior. In Episode 70, "Frieza Approaches," Guru stated that Nail was unlike other Namekian warriors, his pure heart and training in the ancient ways granting him uniquely tremendous strength. However, just as the seemingly inevitable battle between the two was about to begin, the company sensed the power levels of Frieza's Ginyu Force.

Although the arrival of the Ginyu Force interrupted the fight, fans haven't stopped wondering if newcomer Nail would have overpowered the Prince of Saiyans. After all, Vegeta had already proven himself more than a match for Goku, and he'd only gotten stronger while searching for Namek's dragon balls. However, not all of Vegeta's fights ended in victory. In Episode 53, "Zarbon's Surprise," Vegeta was brutally beaten by Zarbon, one of Frieza's underling lieutenants. Indeed, it wasn't until Episode 57 that Vegeta finally claimed victory over Zarbon, and even then he had to resort to throwing dirt in Zarbon's eyes.

Nail from Dragon Ball Z

Additionally, when Nail faced off against Frieza outside of Guru's house, he noted that Nail's maximum power level was around 42,000. When Vegeta was facing the monstrous Recoome, his power level was recorded at around 30,000. Recoome soundly pummeled Vegeta (as well as both Krillin and Gohan), and -- although he ultimately lost -- Nail was able to effectively challenge Frieza, distracting him long enough for the young Namekian Dende to convey the Namekian Dragon Balls' password to Krillin and Gohan.

Of the two, Vegeta certainly had greater combat knowledge than Nail. Up until his arrival on Earth, Vegeta was under the command of Frieza -- invading planets and clearing them of their natural inhabitants -- while Nail was studying under the eldest Namekian Guru. However, the numbers aren't in Vegeta's favor. Nail's own training -- while perhaps not so brutal as Vegeta's own -- as well as his goodness of character put him in a position of empirically greater strength.

Nail challenges Frieza in Dragon Ball Z

Of course, power levels aren't the be-all and end-all of victory and defeat. While Vegeta may not have been able to overpower the Namekian hero, it seems equally unlikely that Nail would have ended the Saiyan prince's life, as such a course of action would likely be a contraction of his training. However, as Frieza experienced firsthand, sparing Vegeta's life would have eventually come back to haunt Nail. One of Vegeta's greatest strengths is his inability to accept defeat. After every loss, Vegeta comes back stronger, smarter and more determined. Thus, unless Nail would have been willing to compromise his morals and kill him, Vegeta would have returned to face him until eventually attaining victory.

Majin Vegeta as drawn by DBS artist Toyotarou
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