Season 3 of “Cobra Kai” ended with a deal struck between villain John Kreese (Martin Kove) and protagonists Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka): if Kreese’s Cobra Kai loses the upcoming All Valley Karate Tournament, he will be forced to disband the dojo. However, if they win, then Daniel and Johnny will have to do the same with their own dojos. Hence, everything relied on the outcome of the Tournament.
In light of All Valley Committee’s rule change in episode 6, there will be two All Valley champions in this year’s Under-18 Tournament: one male, and one female. After Johnny’s star pupil Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) had to pull himself from the Tournament due to a strained muscle, the male finals came down to a battle between two longtime rivals: Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz of Miyagi Do, and Johnny’s son Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan) of Cobra Kai.
Here’s everything you need to know about the climactic fight:
Hawk and Robby Are Very Closely Matched
The final match between Hawk and Robby comes amidst their ever-growing feud, which was exacerbated after Robby shaved Hawk’s signature mohawk in episode 5. Robby also sees Hawk as a “traitor” for abandoning Cobra Kai, which is part of the reason why he ambushed him and shaved his head. This sent Hawk into a spiralling depression, destroying his motivation and forcing him to retreat from karate. However, he later recovers, and it is at the All Valley Tournament that Hawk is determined to avenge himself, sending him into full “Hawk” mode on behalf of Miyagi Do against Robby.
Throughout the Tournament, Daniel discovers that Cobra Kai is using Miyagi Do’s own methods against them, mostly thanks to Robby’s time training with Daniel. As a result, Daniel finally sheds his dogmatic Miyagi Do-exclusive style and tells Hawk to turn the tables on Robby, namely by using Cobra Kai’s own tactics against him. Hawk enthusiastically agrees, and this results in them tying, 1-1.
Hawk and Robby were turned out to be so closely matched that in their third round, they actually ended up exceeding the three-minute time limit just as Hawk was about to deliver a deadly blow to Robby. This resulted in them having to go to “sudden-death overtime” for the first time since 1985, when a young Daniel LaRusso had to do so against another Cobra Kai student (instructed by the same two sensei), Mike Barnes.
Hawk Beats Robby in Their ‘Sudden-Death’ Showdown
As it came down to the wire and the two boys were forced to go to overtime, both ended up shedding their gis and going shirtless for the round. In the end, Robby has a moment of clarity when he sees his young protégé Kenny (Dallas Dupree Young) reflecting angry and violent tempers that Robby fears he passed onto him. As a result, he briefly shows mercy to Hawk, clashing with the Cobra Kai motto, resulting in his eventual loss. Although Robby lost the male finals, however, the overall Tournament winner is still up in the air, as it would be decided by the winner of the subsequent female finals.
Robby’s moment of clarity came with some character growth, and is reflected near the end when he follows his estranged father Johnny to the soon-to-be shut down Cobra Kai dojo (which will be moving to “multiple” new locations). There, he tearfully apologizes to Johnny for hating him, and admits that joining Cobra Kai was a mistake he made in an attempt to control his emotions.
Johnny gracefully accepts Robby’s apology, and for perhaps the first time in the entire series, we see Johnny and Robby finally at peace with one another. What will become of Robby, and his relationship with Johnny and Cobra Kai, will only be revealed in future seasons.
You can watch all four seasons of “Cobra Kai” on Netflix. Season 5 will likely be released in late 2022 or 2023.