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  1. #1
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    Default Respect Riley Finn (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

    I know I’m in a minority but personally I’ve always liked Riley and thought that he didn’t deserve the hatred he got from fans of the show.

    While re-watching Season Four I started wondering, just how good is Riley? How does he compare to fighters from other franchises? Who would be good opponents for him on Rumbles? With that in mind I’ve put this together in hopes of generating some discussion and maybe inspiring people to make some Rumbles with him. I know it’s late but better late than never.

    I haven’t read the comics so this is TV appearances only (with one exception). Also I’m not including the time he had super-strength in Out of My Mind since that was a temporary thing. I know Respect Threads are typically arranged into categories but for simplicities sake I’m just posting feats from each episode in order. Feel free to point out any I missed.

    Wild at Heart- Riley reacts in time to save Willow from being hit by a car. Notably he gets her completely out of harm’s way before Buffy even starts to cross the road.

    The Initiative- Tanks a kick from Spike, tackles him into a wall and then tanks Spike hitting him with a fire extinguisher.

    - Fights Buffy while partially blinded and holds his own. He withstands multiple hits, including a barrage of punches to his chest and being hit in the head with a chair, and still keeps fighting. Riley is also able to block a few of her blows, shove her down a corridor, Irish-whip her into a wall and stagger her with an uppercut. The fight ends with him, Forrest and Graham retreating.

    Note that Buffy doesn’t know he’s human because he’s wearing a balaclava and she thought he and his comrades were attacking Willow, so she isn’t holding back.

    Hush- Riley fights the Footmen (the Gentlemen’s henchmen) both by himself and alongside Buffy and more than holds his own in both. Note that the Footmen are strong enough to briefly restrain Buffy and durable enough to take multiple hits from her and keep coming. He also saves Buffy from the Gentlemen with his marksmanship skills.

    Doomed- Knocks out a demon with one blow from a nightstick.

    - Blocks a blow from Buffy. Note that he surprised her after she’d just fought a super-strong Vahrall demon and she thought he was that demon back for more, meaning she wasn’t holding back.

    -Lands three punches to a Vahrall demon’s face before it starts to fight back.

    -Tanks getting thrown around and punched by a Vahrall demon, and hit by a stone slab.

    -Pulls Buffy and a Vahrall demon (estimated to weigh 100-120 kilograms) out of the Hellmouth pit.

    A New Man- Riley is stated to have killed or captured eleven vampires and six assorted demons. The scene is played for laughs but that’s actually pretty impressive for a non-superhuman. Plus those are just the ones he killed/captured alone. He probably took down more in team efforts.

    -Shows decent agility by doing a nifty flip to his feet after being thrown to the floor.

    - Gets launched across a room by a kick from Buffy and is mostly okay.

    - No-sells a punch and an elbow to the face by Ethan Rayne, shoulder-throws him and puts him in a joint-lock twice. Granted, Ethan isn’t known for strength or skill but it’s still a punch/elbow to the face.

    The I in Team- Fights a Polgara demon alongside Buffy.

    This Year's Girl- Is up and about in what is apparently a short space of time after Adam stabbed him in the previous episode.

    That's enough for now. I'll post Part Two soon.
    Last edited by hareluyafan1; 03-27-2019 at 09:57 AM. Reason: correcting mistake

  2. #2
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    Who Are You?- Riley tanks a punch to the face from a vampire and Irish-whips him into the sunlight, killing him. Note also that Riley was not at full strength as his stab wound hadn’t completely healed.

    Where The Wild Things Are- Defeats and kills a vampire one-on-one. Notably Riley is able to knock him around with his blows and hold him in a full nelson that the vampire can’t break out of until Riley gets blindsided by a demon.

    New Moon Rising- Easily subdues a demon in a team effort with Buffy.

    -Shoots werewolf Oz with a tranquilliser dart.

    -Knocks out Colonel McNamara with a single punch

    The Yoko Factor- Fights Angel one-on-one. Although he loses he puts up a great fight given who he’s up against. He blocks several blows, withstands several more and gets in some good hits. Even after being thrown into some metal pipes hard enough to dent said pipes he’s able to run off when an Initiative truck arrives and shows up at Buffy’s dorm minutes after Angel does.

    Primeval- Shows insane willpower and pain tolerance by cutting into his own chest with a piece of glass and digging out a behaviour modification chip.

    -Immediately after this he rips out the tubes planted in Professor Walsh and Dr. Angleman’s re-animated bodies.

    -Fights cyborg Forrest (who was strong enough to easily overpower both Spike and Buffy). Riley tanks several blows, uses a gas canister as an improvised weapon and even manages to shove Forrest back with a charge attack. Forrest is destroyed when he lifts the gas canister to a broken power line and ignites the gas. Given that Riley immediately goes for cover before he lifts the canister I suspect that Riley planned for him to do that. This demonstrates use of tactics/surroundings to defeat a physically superior foe.

    -During the debriefing scene there’s a quick glimpse of Riley knocking a demon out with one blow and briefly grappling with what looks like a vampire.

    Buffy vs. Dracula- Knocks out Xander with one punch. Admittedly not much of a feat given this is Xander but still.

    The Replacement- Dodges Toth’s energy blast.

    - Briefly holds Toth in a reverse beat hug, strikes his weapon out of his hand and lands several punches. Notably Toth had earlier no-sold Giles hitting him with a hefty sculpture. Riley’s blows have a more noticeable reaction from him.

    Fool for Love- Beats a vampire that defeated Buffy. Not once but twice (yes I know, she only lost because she was cocky)

    -Shows his medical training by patching up Buffy’s stab wound.

    Part Three will be posted soon.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy1 View Post
    Thank you very much.

    Shadow- Riley easily manhandles Spike, dragging him down the stairs and generally pushing him around. Admittedly Spike is hampered by being unable to harm humans but that shouldn’t stop him from being able to resist being dragged around since just planting himself in one spot doesn’t harm anyone.

    -Stakes a vampire that he allowed to bite him. This is impressive for two reasons:

    1) It’s established that vampire bites typically stimulate the pleasure centres of the victim’s brain, preventing them from fighting back. Riley is able to focus through this and stake her.

    2) He pushed a piece of wood through a torso deep enough to pierce the heart. Pushing a piece of wood, even sharpened, through a human torso is very difficult and requires great strength due to the need to get through skin, muscle, bone etc. That’s just for a regular human, not accounting for enhanced vampire durability. Plus the fact that he had no room to gain momentum and his system wasn’t filled with adrenaline.

    Listening to Fear- Figures out that the Queller demon can be tracked with Geiger counters.

    Into the Woods- Whip (the vampire bite den leader) punches him in the gut. He shrugs it off and knocks Whip to the floor with a punch.

    - Stabs Spike with a plastic stake. See above for the difficulty in stabbing an object through a torso.

    As You Were- Shoots a Suvolte demon with a tracking device.

    -Fights the Suvolte demon alongside Buffy and Sam. Notably he’s able to block and tank hits from the demon (which is strong enough to stagger Buffy and leap the height of a building).

    -Staggers Spike with a casual push. Again, Spike's chip doesn't stop him from blocking/dodging punches.

    - Stabs a Suvolte demon spawn, an insect-like creature which presumably has a hard exoskeleton.

    That’s all the TV feats, again please point out any I missed. Now for that exception I mentioned:

    Unseen: The Burning (novel)- Riley saves Tara from a shadow monster.

    “As she watched, the shadow monster attacked him. A tendril shot towards Riley but he dodged it, leaping high into the air as it passed harmlessly beneath him.. When it sent a second one, Riley turned and twisted, kicked and chopped the air, and though his hands and feet didn’t connect with anything substantial, the shadow seemed to withdraw from his advance.”
    Tara then casts a spell to make the creature solid while Riley keeps fighting.

    “Its shape was still amorphous, its outlines vague. But this time, when Riley kicked and punched at it, she could hear the impact of his blows. It tried to take a swing at Riley, but he avoided its attempt and trapped its blobby arm, wrenching it forward into the light. Riley looked as though he was battling the tar baby of the stories, except that he wasn‘t becoming covered in it. He was winning.

    But the creature got in one good shot that sent Riley sailing. Tara rushed to his side. By the time she reached him, he was already scrambling for balance, ready to face the thing again.”
    By the time he gets up the shadow monster has fled.

    Fighting styles:

    As a soldier Riley was most likely trained in Modern Army Combatives (MAC). MAC draws from a number of martial arts such as Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Sambo, Boxing, Muay Thai and Eskrima. Techniques from many of these styles can be seen in his various fights.

    Naturally he’s also trained in combat shooting. Aside from conventional firearms he’s skilled in the use weapons such as a dart pistol (used on Oz) and an Initiative taser blaster.


    In melee combat Riley often uses a telescopic baton (seen in his fights with the Footmen, the Polgara demon and Angel), a handheld taser (used against Angel and the punk vampire in “Fool for Love”) and of course a wooden stake.

    He has also used an Initiative taser blaster, a pistol (I think it‘s a Beretta) and grenades (most notably used in “Fool for Love” and “As You Were”). In “The Replacement” he was shown carrying a crossbow but never got to fire it. In “As You Were” he has some kind of automatic rifle.

    In short, while he isn’t one of the Buffy-verse’s physical powerhouses, Riley isn’t bad at all. He can reliably defeat “standard” vampires/demons and against more powerful opponents (like Slayers or seasoned vampires like Angel) he can at least contend with them and under the right circumstances (like against cyborg Forrest) he can even pull off a win.

    Respect Riley Finn.
    Last edited by hareluyafan1; 04-15-2019 at 04:57 PM.

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