Balrog is an African-American boxer, and Shadoloo operative in the street fighter series.
Balrog was a former Las Vegas professional boxer who was banned from the sport due to his violent actions in the ring. Entering the crime syndicate Shadaloo, Balrog rose in the ranks to become one of Bison's top enforcers alongside Vega and Sagat. He made his debut as a non-playable boss character in Street Fighter II, but was rendered playable in the Champions Edition upgrade released the following year. As a professional boxer, Balrog does not use kicks, but instead has a wider range of punches than most characters, as well as various headbutt attacks.
Balrog was originally known as M.Bison in Japan and appeared to be patterned after the then-heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. His name was changed to Balrog for the US & European release. It is often speculated that this was to avoid potential legal issues with Tyson, but it's also possible that Capcom wanted to avoid association with Tyson as it was around this time that he was arrested for rape.
Balrog may or may not be the same person as the boxer Mike from the original Street Fighter.
Balrog's first animated appearance was in the 1994 animated movie. Here, as in the games, he is an operative of the criminal organization Shadoloo. He spends most of his screentime in a passive role, usually in the presence of his leader M.Bison, though he also personally oversees and makes arrangements for an operation in Las Vegas. Balrog joins Bison & a brainwashed Ken for the movie's final confrontation where he squares off against Honda. During the struggle the 2 combatants fall off of a cliff, though Honda later appears, apparently unharmed, carrying the unconscious boxer.
Once again serving the role of an operative for Shadaloo, in this animated series Balrog's role is purely administrative, and he never actually takes part in any fight. He misleads the assassin Cammy, sending her to kill the Interpol Operative Do Lai under the pretence that he is actually corrupt and personally profiting from the drug trade. When Cammy learns of this deception, she turns on Balrog and helps Interpol to help arrest him, but not before viciously beating him first.
Although Balrog once again serves the role of an agent of the criminal organization Shadaloo, he is somewhat more sympathetic here. Balrog is depicted as a once-great fighter who has fallen from grace, and is attempting to reclaim some status working as an enforcer on the artificial island of Shad. He first appears commanding a small pack of petty criminals attempting to shake down a restaurant for protection money. When Ryu comes to the propieters' aid, Balrog warns his thugs that they are no match for him and challenges Ryu to a formal match where he can win money for the restaurant.
While Ryu defeats Balrog and condemns how far he has fallen as a man and a fighter, he also displays respect for Balrog's prowess when he was a champion, saying that he was amazed when he saw him in action in the past. When one of Balrog's subordinates attempts(but fails) to shoot Ryu, Balrog is outraged and tells him that he was unaware that they would attempt this. Ryu believes him, and the two agree that it had been a good match, parting ways with some mutual respect for one another. Near the manga's end, Balrog reappears briefly, convincing Blanka not to try and shoot Ryu for Shadaloo.
Balrog appears briefly in this manga series about Sakura Kasugano. Together with Dan Hibiki, Sakura travels to a shady underground fighting arena in Hong Kong, where they hope to learn about Ryu's whereabouts. However, they are betrayed by the arena's organizer, who has Sakura captured so that she can be sold, and Dan is goaded into participating in a match with Balrog, who easily defeats him. They are saved by Chun-Li who is working in the arena undercover, and Balrog is personally defeated by her.
|Jouji (George) Nakata||
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