The Sopranos

The Sopranos Characters, Ranked By Fighting Ability

The Sopranos had many powerful and deadly characters but who had the greatest fighting ability? From Ralph to Tony, here are the show's best brawlers.

The Sopranos is a slow burn compared to most of the other gangster movies and TV shows to come out over the years but in between the fluid storytelling, it still manages to pack in plenty of action sequences. While the majority of the action scenes involve mob hits, a good number are physical fights.

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Participants of organized crime are required to be tough and knowing how to fight can be a deciding fighter on whether someone gets to live or die. Fight scenes in the show prove that even some of the toughest characters don’t know what to do when they don’t have to rely on guns when dealing with their opponents.


Tony strangles Ralph because of the Pie Oh My incident

Ralph has a case for the title of the show’s best villain. He has killed hundreds of people, including his own girlfriend Tracee. The Capo loves violence so much that he assaults people for no good reason. To imitate a scene from the gladiator, he strikes Bada Bing’s head bouncer Georgie with a chain in front of everyone. His eye gets damaged in the process.

A true test of Ralph’s fighting ability comes when Tony confronts him over the stable fire that caused the death of a beloved animal, the race horse Pie-Oh-My. Tony feels Ralph is responsible, Ralph denies it, a fight ensues. Ralph tries but is unable to get the upper hand, hence Tony beats him to death.


Coco harasses Meadow while she is on a date.

Coco reminds viewers of the Goliath-like bully that talks too much then gets beaten and humiliated. In the tense final season, the Lupertazzi Crime Family street soldier somehow feels it’s a good idea to harass Tony’s daughter Meadow while she’s out on a date. Things play out as expected. Meadow reports Coco to her father and he takes action.

When Tony attacks Coco inside a restaurant, the bully struggles to defend himself. Tony is dominant in their fight, leaving Coco without most of his teeth. The incident adds to the growing tensions between Tony and Lupertazzi don Phil Leoatardo, with Phil completely refusing a truce.


Paulie warns Charlie to not do business in his territory in The Sopranos

Paulie might have the highest kill count in the series but he isn’t exactly a good fighter. Russian mobster Valery makes light work of him during the collection gone wrong.

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He redeems himself a little when he and Cary Dibartolo steal $1 million from Colombian drug lords. It’s obvious that he wouldn’t have won if the fight if he didn’t have someone to back him up though.


Artie holding his hand over his eye in The Sopranos

Artie’s fortunes take a hit when his restaurant, the Nuovo Vesuvio, gets blacklisted by American Express. There is a good reason for this as there have been excessive fraud incidents. After questioning several people, Artie finds out that DiMeo Crime Family street soldier Benny Fazio is responsible.

Angry, Artie storms into Benny’s compound in the middle of the night and begins beating him up. Benny fights back but Artie proves to be too strong for him. The chef surprisingly ends up the winner, leaving Benny unconscious. it’s a rare victory for Artie, but a significant one.

Janice Soprano

Janice Soprano moves into Livia's old house

Janice’s fighting skills are so good that she ends up in the news. During Sophia’s soccer match, one of the mothers that are cheering makes comments that Janice finds offensive. Fisticuffs follow, with the other mother only managing to strike air while Janice’s hits keep landing.

Someone catches the whole incident on camera and the clip gets to the media. In a news report, the anchors jokingly refer to Janice’s punches as “mob-related hits.” Tony is the only person who is unimpressed by the fight since his name has been dragged into it once again.


Artie confronts Jean-Phillipe over his debt

For a man who is often portrayed as cowardly, Artie sure does involve himself in plenty of fights. On one occasion, he approaches Ralph for a loan of $50,000 at 1.2% interest. He seeks to loan it to Jean-Phillipe for 12.5% interest. Ralph refuses, arguing that since Artie is Tony’s friend, he won’t be able to hurt him if he fails to pay.

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Artie gets the money from Tony and loans it to Jean-Phillipe but he refuses to pay. After pumping himself up in front of a mirror, the restaurateur goes to confront the debtor only to get beat up so badly that his earrings get torn off his ears. He also gets thrown out of the apartment.


Valery running through the Pine Barrens in The Sopranos

Among the many people that owe Tony’s family money is Russian mobster Valery. Silvio is supposed to collect but he gets the flu, so Tony sends Christopher and Paulie to get the money. A fight breaks out when Paulie mocks Valery. The Russian mobster appears to be defeating both men before Paulie clocks him with a lamp.

Paulie and Christopher take Valery to the Pine Barrens to dispose of him but he overpowers them both before fleeing and they never find him again. Tony later learns that Valery used to be a member of Russia’a Interior’s special forces and once took out 16 Chechen rebels all by himself.

Richie Aprille

Richie gets a dressing down from Tony after he fails to keep his promise to Beansie in The Sopranos

Richie is arguably the scariest mobster in the show. As soon as he steps out of prison, he confronts Beansie at his restaurant and beats him up, demanding some money.

There is also an old tale about Richie that made him a feared mobster. In 1972—he is said to have fought Rocco DiMeo—who was the certified badass at the time. Richie not only beat him up but also took his jacket. This impressed DiMeo Crime Family founder Ercole who pushed for him to become a Made Guy and later a Capo.

Tony Soprano

Tony fights off two hitmen sent by Junior inside his car in The Sopranos

At the height of their animosity in Season 1, Junior decides that the world would be a better place without the guy who never had the makings of a varsity athlete, as Junior likes to put it. Two assassins are given the task of whacking Tony but they fail miserably because Tony knows how to protect himself.

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Tony fights off the first gunman so impressively that he makes him shoot his own partner accidentally. And while recovering from a gunshot wound in the final season, Tony challenges his bodyguard into a fight just to prove he is still tough. The New Jersey mob boss wins easily.

Bobby Baccala

Tony Soprano and Bobby stand side by side looking down.

It’s always the quiet ones that are the toughest. Bobby doesn’t love violence (he only kills one person the entire show) but he is the only man to ever beat Tony in a fight. And he does it to defend his wife’s honor.

During a family getaway, Tony pulls a line out of his inappropriate jokes bag, this time directed at his sister Janice. He forgets that Janice is also Bobby’s wife. As soon as the joke lands, so does a punch from Bobby. The fight stretches for a couple of minutes with Bobby emerging as the victor. After his defeat, Tony comes up with a couple of excuses, one of them being that he is no longer young but bobby’s win is clean and clear.

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