Originally written Aug 6, 2007, slightly edited in July 2020
What do Street Fighter, the Savage Dragon, Mortal Kombat, and Wing Commander have in common?
If you said that there were video games, comic books, action figures, and dedicated fan bases for each of those franchises, you’d be right. But there’s something more specific that I had in mind.
In 1996, all four franchises had a cartoon on the USA Network’s Saturday Morning lineup – Together, they were the Action Xtreme Team. And even more specific, on November 16th, 1996, the four shows had a crossover event.
Beginning with Street Fighter, (Season 2, episode 9: The Warrior King), we were introduced to The Warrior King. Attacked by those who would have his throne, the Warrior King’s Orb of Power – Which can control the elements – was knocked into a dimensional portal. The Michael Dorn-voiced (Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Worf!) emperor jumped in the portal after it, in an attempt to save his world.
Eventually, the Orb ended up in the hands of Bison, who used the orb to hold the world hostage. The Warrior King arrived in the Street Fighter world, fell in love with Chun-Li, and battled to get the Orb of Power back from Bison. Unfortunately, the Orb was knocked into another dimensional portal. The Warrior King said his goodbyes to his new lover, and followed.
Next, on the Savage Dragon animated series (Season 2, episode 8: Endgame), the Orb of Power ended up in a Chicago alley, and was found by a bum. The Warrior King was soon to follow, but was arrested by the Savage Dragon, himself. During an interrogation scene, we learn that the Warrior King’s staff allows him to track the Orb.
Meanwhile, the Orb was found by the Dragon’s enemy, The Fiend. After a battle at a prison filled with criminals arrested by the Dragon, the Orb was once again sent into a dimensional vortex. After thanking his new friend and ally, the Warrior King followed the Orb to yet another dangerous world.
The Orb next appeared in Outworld, on Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Season 1, episode 8: Resurrection). After Shao Kahn resurrects Shang Tsung (this cartoon was a semi-sequel story to the first MK movie), the Outworld’s emperor gives the Orb to the Dark Wizard. Apparently, the more evil the posessor of the Orb, the more powerful it becomes, and the two set a trap for Raiden and the Earthrealm’s defenders.
In the end, Shang fails in his task. Raiden throws the Orb of Power into yet another dimensional portal, this time sending it “into space, where it should be safe from evil.” Another portal quickly opens, and a shadowy figure follows from this second portal into the one Raiden just opened, unnoticed by the Mortal Kombatants. The silhouette of this shadowy figure made it obvious that he was none other than the Warrior King.
Finally, on Wing Commander Academy (Season 1, episode 8: Recreation), the Wing Commander crew, on a mission to the planet Oasis, find the Warrior King in cryogenic freeze, drifting in space. The King awakens from his sleep, and makes short work of the Wing Commander crew before being blasted from behind.
On the surface of Oasis, an elder villager tells a story about a “maker” falling from the sky, and turning the world from a desert world into a paradise. You guessed it – the Orb of Power. Unfortunately, the cat-like Kilrathi are after “The Sphere,” as well. Once the Warrior King finds out that the Orb is nearby, he breaks out of Wing Commander prison, and forces his way down to the planet.
After a battle with the Kilrathi, the Warrior King is convinced that he must leave the Orb on Oasis – His world has already been destroyed. It would not be right for him do destroy their world, just to rebuild his own – He’s been fighting for life, and was about to destroy the very thing he was fighting for. As the Warrior King commandeers a space craft, he leaves the Orb behind, solemnly telling the Wing Commander crew to never forget what they are fighting for, as he almost did, before flying into space.
And the Warrior King was never seen again.
There was no promotion for this crossover. No bumpers between shows. No advertisements. No “find out what happens to the Warrior King next!” Nothing. If you didn’t happen to watch all four shows, you’d have no idea that such a thing even existed. Another oddity is that the shows were not normally run in that order!
That’s right, the morning schedule was broadcast out of order, so that you could watch the entire Warrior King Saga in chronological order. With no previous explanation, so if you only watched one or two of the shows (as I did), you’d have no clue as to what was going on.
But the CRAZIEST part about all of this?
There is (still) almost NOTHING about this guy on the Internet. I managed to find two pages about him on some Wing Commander fan site (here: https://www.wcnews.com/news/update/5205 and here: https://www.wcnews.com/news/update/6489 — Links will open in a new tab) – No SF, MK, or Savage Dragon fans seem to know what the heck is going on. Not even the mighty Wikipedia has any information on the Warrior King. The Wikipedia episode description for the Mortal Kombat ep mentions that an unknown figure travels through the portals, but there is no mention of his identity.
Sure, going back and watching these shows now makes you realize they’re kind of silly, but they’re Saturday morning cartoons. And there’s something fun about a morning-long crossover, even if each chapter really is its own story.
I’m not sure who owns the Warrior King character, or who came up with the idea. But it certainly was a fun one!