In The Walking Dead world, only the most vicious fighters, or at least those who align themselves with such individuals, can survive. Sure, those who have value in other areas, like doctors and nurses, cunning strategists, political minds, and clever creators, also find a place in the new apocalyptic world. But it’s the true fighters who clear the path for them to contribute to building a new world.
Over the past nine seasons, The Walking Dead has seen, and continues to see, its share of vicious fighters who have, as Liam Neeson would say in Taken, a particular set of skills. They are highly-trained at fighting and can kick some serious butt. We’re not talking about vicious and reprehensible killers here, but those who can fight valiantly to take down anyone in their path, be it walkers or mortal enemies and threats. So who are the 10 most vicious fighters in The Walking Dead? Here they are, ranked.
10 Merle Dixon
We haven’t seen Merle, Daryl’s older brother, since season 3. But he still goes down as one of the most vicious fighters on the series. I mean, anyone who is willing to cut off his own hand is the epitome of viciousness. Not to mention replace said hand with a prosthetic made of a knife!
While working for the Governor, he not only killed walkers, but also pulled out their teeth for a later staged fighting match in a pit. And he captured, interrogated, and tortured Maggie and Glenn. Even just before the Governor killed him, Merle, despite his weakened state, continued to fight back, and refused to give up.
9 Morgan Jones
As much as Morgan can drive viewers crazy with his constant moral ambiguity and internal struggles about doing the right thing and finding “a better way,” when he throws down, he really throws down. Morgan spent time with a man he met along the way named Eastman, who taught him Aikido. And since then, Morgan has been able to do with a simple wooden staff what most can’t accomplish with assault rifles and knives.
A highly skilled fighter, his own inner demons are the only thing that get in his way. But when he is ready to fight, we’ve seen Morgan take down multiple people (or walkers) at a time with a single swing, and even choke a man to death with his own hands.
8 Paul “Jesus” Rovia
Coming onto the scene like a ninja, Jesus was a seriously skilled fighter who, not surprisingly, was reportedly a martial arts teacher in his previous life. His pre-apocalypse skills come to good use in the new world, where he can fend off multiple attackers, living or dead, with high precision, hand-to-hand combat, and smooth moves that his opponents never see coming.
While he’s more vicious in skill than mentality – Jesus had a big heart and would show mercy when necessary – he’s the kind of guy you’d send out to save your town from incoming enemies.
A towering man often seen wearing a mask of the dead as his group The Whisperers all do, only Beta could fight Daryl and actually make him look fearful for his life. As Alpha’s right-hand man, he’s the muscle who you could easily see lifting a walker by the throat and pelting him against a wall to kill him as though he had just lifted a feather and flung it in the air.
Even after being stabbed in the chest and thrown down an elevator shaft, Beta reappears unscathed. His seemingly superhuman power makes Beta one of the most vicious fighters on the series, and not someone you want to trifle with.
6 Daryl Dixon
Never has a TV character been so amazing with a bow and arrow and looked so good doing it. Somehow, Daryl taught himself how to be an expert archer, able to strike just about any target from impressive distances with laser accuracy. But what also makes him such a vicious fighter is his aptitude for the hunt, tracking, and navigation, and his overall barbaric nature.
And now with this sidekick Dog (yes, a dog who he’s literally named Dog!) you might be able to run from Daryl, but you definitely won’t be able to hide. Highly aggressive and reactive, he treats apocalyptic fights like bar fights, where he’ll pull the trigger and ask questions later.
The very definition of badass, Michonne spent who knows how much time perfecting the use of a sword after the death of her boyfriend and son. Surviving for a long time on her own, training herself to become a ruthless warrior paid off, as Michonne is one of the best, and most skilled fighters on the show. Put her trusty katana in her hand, and she’ll behead several walkers at once, with one swoop.
As the one to finally take down The Governor, Michonne shows no mercy when no mercy is deserved, or when her back is against the wall as was the case when she savagely (though reluctantly) killed violent children (while very pregnant!) to save Judith and her soon-to-be-born baby.
When you think “vicious killers” and The Walking Dead, your mind immediately gravitates to Negan, who many might believe to be the most vicious of them all. After brutally bashing Abraham’s head in, he proceeded to smash Glenn’s head so hard that his eyes popped out in one of the grossest and most heart-wrenching scenes of the series to date. We also saw him throw someone directly into a fire, burn Dwight’s face with an iron, and almost kill Rick on several occasions.
Negan plus his barbed-wire bat Lucille always equals the most vicious kills. But what makes Negan one of the most vicious of them all is that he often doesn’t even need Lucille to complete his murderous plans.
Rick literally bit a man’s throat so hard that he ripped out his jugular, blood splaying out. Anyone who approaches such a heinous act as if he’s ravenously biting into a massive turkey leg is about as vicious as they come. And let’s not forget the time he brutally beat and killed Gareth in a church, of all places. Talk about savage.
Rick has been through a lot, so it’s no surprise that he has become one of the most vicious killers on the series. Even if he has shown mercy now and again, we tend to brush off Rick’s savagery because we know him. But had he been introduced as an enemy, we’d view some of his kills far more judgementally.
2 Philip “The Governor” Blake
A close second on this list, The Governor proved to be one of the most formidable adversaries to the group. Able to convince large groups of people to follow him as though he was some sort of god or cult leader, The Governor showed no mercy, and held nothing back. Cross him, and he’d trap you in a room with a hungry walker, leaving you to be literally eaten alive as you try desperately try escape.
Rallying his troops to take down the prison, and brutally beheading Hershel Greene, were two of his most heinous acts. But they were just the tip of the iceberg of viciousness this homicidal maniac and psychopath who might not have been as skilled a fighter as others, but was a fighter who was able to rally enough people to dutifully do the dirty work for him.
1 Carol Peletier
Carol might not be your typical idea of a “vicious killer.” But make no mistake that she deservedly sits in the top spot on this list. Carol has not only become one of the best fighters on the series, able to survive just fine on her own. But she has also taken out multiple people to save the group, on several different occasions.
She executed a mentally ill young girl to save other children, burned people alive to stop the spread of a disease (and, on another more recent occasion, simply for revenge), and even sewed a gun into the sleeves of an oversized jacket to stealthily take out enemies. But what makes Carol so vicious is that you’d never think of her as such unless you really knew her. That makes her not only vicious, but also really dangerous.