Street Fighter Wiki

"I am...the Red Cyclone! (アイアム!レッドサイクロン! Ai amu! Reddo Saikuron!?)"
—Zangief (Street Fighter IV series)

"I have good feeling about this fight!"
—Zangief (Street Fighter × Tekken)

"My iron body is invincible! So beware! (我が鋼の肉体に、死角無し! Waga hagane no nikutai ni, shikaku-nashi!?)"
—Zangief (Street Fighter V)

"Show me everything you have! (あなたが持っているすべてを見せてください! Anata ga motte iru subete o misetekudasai!?)"
—Zangief (Street Fighter 6)

Zangief (ザンギエフ Zangiefu?, Russian: Зангиев, Zangiyev), also known as the "Red Cyclone" (赤きサイクロン Akaki Saikuron?, Russian: Красный циклон, Krasnyy tsiklon)[10], is a video game character from the Street Fighter series, first appearing in Street Fighter II. He is a national Russian hero who is always seen fighting for the glory of his country.



Zangief is a massive fighter, weighing 399 lbs and standing slightly over 7 feet tall, placing him as one of the tallest characters in the entire Street Fighter roster. Since his debut in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior in 1991, Zangief has been portrayed with a beard and a mohawk, along with a uniquely-shaped formation of chest hair on his torso and on his shins. His massive frame is almost entirely covered in scars from his bouts with brown bears in the barren and remote area of Siberia.

Zangief's wardrobe consists of simple red wrestling trunks with a gold belt, along with red and gold wristbands and his red wrestling boots with gold trim. In one of Zangief's concept artworks, he wore a tank top and had a sailor anchor tattoo on his left arm. He would retain the tank top in all his Street Fighter II portraits (except Turbo Revival and HD Remix), in order to indicate what color the player chose for him.

Starting with Street Fighter Alpha 2, Zangief was adorned with a red cloak that he would remove before starting his matches. The cloak became an accepted fixture of his image and he was shown with it in the 1994 Street Fighter II animated movie. Although modern 3D interpretations of Zangief have so far not shown him with his cloak, he is still depicted as wearing it before matches in his ending movie on Super Street Fighter IV.

He has multiple alternate costumes in Street Fighter V. The first one is a red wrestling suit with a single long sleeve; another is a red tank top with a golden lightning emblem at the center along with the sign of "METAL", yellow tights in a rainbow camouflage motif with black kneepads and yellow boots with a red lightning motif. He also wears black studded armbands and a yellow bandana on his head with a matching rainbow camouflage motif.

In Street Fighter 6, Zangief became heavier in build and wears wrestling tights as opposed to wearing trunks. He wears red and white tights with a black trim along with a gold belt adorned with white crossed lace straps, and retaining both his gold wristbands and his red wrestling boots with a gold trim from his original outfit. He is now wearing red elbow bands on each elbow.

His third alternate costume was his corporate outfit, a black formal vest with a red long sleeve button-up shirt with two brown straps in each sides, black formal slacks and dark brown loafers.


Born and raised in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Zangief is an incredibly patriotic character who has been motivated in some way to fight for his Russian motherland in every single game he has ever been in. While his personality has varied from one media source to another, Zangief is mostly been portrayed as a very fearless and tactical fighter who is prone to quick temperaments and is always very competitive. In addition to being overwhelmingly patriotic, he is immensely proud of his massive physique and is obsessed with muscle building. In battles, he constantly belittles his opponent's smaller muscular build and blaming their losses on their lack of muscular power. His win quotes often consists of critiques towards his specific opponents about their lack of power or him telling his opponents to build more muscle.

Despite his short temper and boastous altitude, Zangief has shown himself to be rather gentle-natured with a good sense of humor, once entering a tournament partly to win the admiration of a group of school children. According to the instruction manual of Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition for the Sega Genesis/Mega-Drive, Zangief is described as being "good natured, with a great sense of humor and totally fearless".

While not fighting, Zangief enjoys hopak (Cossack dancing) and eating borscht. Some of the things which he does not like includes young women (because he views them as a distraction, though his interaction with Marisa has caught him off-guard as he never has "carefully consider[ed]" a romantic relationship before), bears that do not know how to wrestle properly and (according to the manual for Super Street Fighter II Turbo for the 3DO) projectiles such as Hadokens, Yoga Fires and Tiger Shots. He is also shown to be interested in fine arts and literature, as he would often visit a library to read various classical works as well as listening to classical music in his free time.

When wearing a mask, he goes under his heel persona of "The Gief", maintaining much of his pride but also demonstrating a much more aggressive and taunting tone. He often insists that certain fighters lean into the heel gimmick more, and makes references to his colleagues from Saturday Night Slam Masters.


Zangief's design is possibly inspired by Goda from Fist of the North Star, a giant muscular character that sports the same mohawk, beard, and has an association with bears (in Zangief's case, it serves as a symbol of Russia). It's not uncommon to see Fist of the North Star references in Street Fighter games as it was one of the manga series that served as the basis for Capcom's character designing (see Rolento and Vega for common examples). Goda, in turn, was modeled after Mr. T, who was a hugely popular actor in the early 80s that rose to stardom thanks to the popular show, The A-Team.

Zangief's name is possibly derived from real-life pro wrestler Victor Zangiev, a former Soviet amateur who trained as a professional in NJPW, and who also competed in WCW and UWF International. Zangief's prototypical name was Vodka Gobalsky.[11] Zangief's biography apparently plays upon the association between Stalinist regimes and state-funded athletics programs utilizing bodybuilding drugs following the domination of the 1954 World Weightlifting Championships by the Soviet Union. His appearance was possibly influenced by several professional wrestlers who performed with the New Japan Pro Wrestling Circuit during the time period of Street Fighter II's development in the late 1980s and early 1990's. Specifically, his physique is similar to that of Soviet wrestler Salman Hashimikov, while his facial appearance, including his beard, seems to be a slight nod to American wrestler Steve "Dr. Death" Williams, who was a staple in Japanese Pro Wrestling throughout the 80's and 90's.

Zangief is similar to the original 1987 version of Birdie, as both characters are depicted as very large men with mohawk haircuts. Zangief is also similar in terms of build and fighting style to Mike Haggar from Capcom's Final Fight series, whose spinning clothesline move he emulates, not to mention that Zangief's alternate costume in Street Fighter IV is a nod to Haggar's costume. There is a theory supported by Saturday Night Slam Masters on the Super Nintendo that Mike Haggar and Zangief know each other as former wrestling partners before Mike became the mayor of Metro City.

Character Relationships[]

E. Honda[]

Being a fellow master of wrestling, E. Honda and Zangief held mutual respect towards their respective fighting style. While the two would often bluffing each other when it comes to their strength and techniques, they were on a good terms with each other regardless. In some earlier games, Honda and Zangief would often tag with each other to fight against evil, namely Shadaloo in Street Fighter Alpha 3.


Zangief and Abel have a decent relationship, although not really covered in the story. Zangief first meets Abel in Street Fighter IV, which is his rival, believing he is worried and says they should fight, which initially confuses Abel about who he is and what's going on, but after the fight, he recognizes Zangief and is honored to meet him. In A Shadow Falls, Zangief knows Abel's name while Abel is overtaken by Psycho Power as a result of Operation C.H.A.I.N.S. and weakened Abel by making him fight, giving the chance to take him back to Kanzuki Estate and get rid of the Psycho Power.

R. Mika[]


Rainbow Mika is inspired by Zangief, her idol, whilst Zangief considers her a good friend. In Street Fighter V, they became wrestling partners and would've fought together in an exhibition match after Alex won the wrestling championship, but the Black Moon over the city they were at detonated and blacked out the entire city. In Street Fighter 6, Mika became one of Zangief's disciple and is shown learning how to wrestle a bear in Siberia.


To be added


Laura and Zangief are wrestling rivals. They first met in Russia, where they fought. After the fight, Zangief gave her a ticket to a wrestler scouting camp, starting her wrestling career and being able to spread Matsuda Jiu-Jitsu worldwide. Later, Laura fought with Zangief and R. Mika with Alex during an exhibition match, which was blacked out due to the Black Moon.


Zangief and Ed seem to share a certain respect towards each other. With Zangief wanting to train Ed at his gym and Ed admitting to be impressed when he heard Zangief wrestles bears.

El Fuerte[]

As wrestlers, Zangief and El Fuerte are rivals to a degree.


Zangief has respect for Dudley, stating it was an honor to fight him. Dudley stated that Zangief changed his view on modern wrestling.


Marisa views Zangief as one of her potential "partner for life" after Zangief unknowingly passed a test to find her potential suitor, and is shown to be quite flirty towards him, such as her innuendo remark that she wanted to "have a taste" of Zangief's "tasty slab of meat". Zangief, on the other hand, is caught off-guard by Marisa's sudden marriage proposal due to him have never considered a romantic relationship before and politely declined her proposal, though he is still somewhat shy towards her after the encounter. Outside of their personal issue, Zangief and Marisa seems to held each other's prowess in high regards.


Street Fighter Alpha 2[]

Zangief is a national Russian hero nicknamed the "Red Cyclone". The leader of the Soviet Union, regarded as "the President," promised Zangief the country's full support in exchange for traveling around the world and showing off the might of the Soviet Union (and to improve his image abroad, an objective which Zangief wasn't made aware of).

During his travels to prove his Russian might, Zangief encounters Birdie and the two trade barbs about their appearance. Later, Zangief meets Ken Masters, who calls him a 'mama's boy', angering him and starting a fight. After Ken is defeated, the President appears, congratulating Zangief, who is then sent to train in remote Siberia (albeit with a limited budget).

Of note is that in almost all his appearances, the President bears more than a passing resemblance to the real-life former Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev. However, he is never explicitly mentioned by name.

Street Fighter Alpha 3[]

Under orders from the Soviet President, Zangief is sent to combat the forces of Shadaloo, which is beginning to spread its corruption into Russia. Zangief encounters many fighters along the way, befriending some such as E. Honda and R. Mika. It is believed that he lost to Blanka before he could accomplish his final objective of destroying the Psycho Drive; however in his ending, he and Honda team up to destroy it (the canonicity of this ending is dubious). In R. Mika´s ending, she followed Zangief as he destroyed the Psycho Drive, and Zangief protected her from the falling apart base. It appears his story is a mix of the two. Nevertheless, the Psycho Drive gets destroyed by someone, at least and Zangief returns to Russia satisfied.

Street Fighter II[]

He then participates in the second World Warrior Tournament, hosted by Shadaloo, at the behest of the president, but loses. After the tournament, Zangief, dissatisfied with the outcome, returns to training in the Russian wilderness, wrestling bears. Eventually, he is approached by the largest wrestling organization in the world with an eye to signing the "Red Cyclone" to their promotion.

Zangief at first refuses, saying that he is less interested in money than he is in bringing honor to Russia by demonstrating Russian strength. He is promised a stage to better showcase his skills, with his matches watched by millions. Due to the obvious help this will bring to his will to show Russian strength, Zangief gladly accepts.[12]

Street Fighter IV series[]

Zangief enters the World Tournament held by S.I.N. to prove to his young fans (some of whom are beginning to claim that martial artists are better) that he's still got it. After the tournament, Zangief frantically realizes that he hasn't gotten a souvenir, and says "I didn't even understand what the last guy was saying before I beat him." He then has an idea and takes a photograph holding the beaten Seth (main boss and host of the tournament) in a headlock, which is then viewed by the admiring young fans who recognize Seth as the "bad guy from the TV."[13]

Street Fighter V[]

Character story[]

Prologue: A Red Omen

Zangief is shown beating an opponent with a Spinning Piledriver to win a wrestling match in the New York Fighting Tournament. After the match, he reads the latest edition of a wrestling magazine "Muscle Soul Fighters", sent by Rashid's servant, Azam. Zangief then flies to London, where he reunites with R. Mika who refers to him as "Master Zangief". Zangief wants to test her in-ring strength in a fight and Mika happily complies.

After she is defeated by him, Mika comments on how she wants to follow in Zangief's footsteps to become a "great professional wrestler", and Zangief replies by telling her that the only way to properly follow in his footsteps is to have what he calls "Muscle Spirit". He proposes that the two embark on a training journey, fighting around the world to build muscle and obtain the strongest Muscle Spirit they can muster. Mika gladly accepts the offer, and the two fly to their first destination, China.

Once in China, Zangief meets with an old friend Azam as well as Rashid. Mika is surprised that Azam and Zangief are acquainted; Zangief tells Mika that Azam is the adviser of the "Muscle Soul Fighters Club" as he introduces him to her. Rashid, too, is surprised that Azam and Zangief know each other, as Rashid is a fan of Zangief's, having watched his wrestling victories on the internet and remarking that his muscles are amazing in person. Zangief comically challenges Rashid to a wrestling match on the spot, offering to (literally) throw Rashid "as [a] greeting", much to Rashid's surprise and terror.

After Zangief demonstrates his moves on Rashid, the latter remarks that he was tremendously powerful; Zangief states that this strength comes from a "great power and dedication of muscle". Mika also challenges Rashid, again much to Rashid's shock and terror. Zangief laughs, saying that Mika and Rashid should have a great match together. While the two go at it, Azam informs Zangief about Laura's message that he received, reading only "The usual place". Azam also reminisces when both are guided by their masters a lifetime ago. Zangief soon notices that Mika has beaten Rashid for not the first time, as she excitedly challenges Rashid to have "one more match" to keep working on her muscle spirit as Rashid tries to make an excuse for why they shouldn't fight again. Zangief and Azam laugh, the former remarking to Rashid that fiery spirits help everyone, not just pro wrestlers and Azam tells him that the spirit that he inherits from his ancestors will fuel his power as a fighter and turn into muscle. Azam's statement confuses both Mika and Rashid, giving Azam and Zangief a hearty laugh.

Back in New York, Zangief now teams up with Mika, both in different costumes, in a tag team match. Mika gets extremely nervous, due to this being her first match fighting alongside her hero. Zangief encourages her not to get so antsy, as her muscle spirit is ready for anything as is as well-trained as his own. Mika thanks him and the two enter the ring.

A Shadow Falls[]

At some point, he and R. Mika (as tag team partners) are in a wrestling match to face off both Alex and Laura. He also faces Balrog and one of the Dolls.

Street Fighter III series[]

Zangief does not appear in the Street Fighter III games, however, it is mentioned in a Secret File that when SFIII took place, he had a wrestling match against Pulk Hogen of the WWCA.

Street Fighter 6[]

A colossal wrestler nicknamed the Red Cyclone. Zangief is dedicated to physical improvement and instructing his students.

Arcade Mode[]

Zangief: The Ultimate Tag Partner[]

Zangief wanders around a street in Italy when he noticed an ad about someone who is "looking for a partner" in the colosseum. Believing it to be an ad for recruiting Tag-Team partner, Zangief excitedly headed towards the arena, as he always wanted to have a fight there. Just as the wrestler leaves, a partially folded poster reveals that it was in fact Marisa's ad to find her marriage suitor in combat.

When Zangief arrives, he impressed Marisa with his muscles and fighting spirit while being oblivious to the prankratist's flirtious comments (as he believes that Marisa simply wanted to "have a taste" of his fighting technique). After the match, Marisa revealed that the partner she was looking for was in fact a "partner for life" and proposes Zangief. Flustered, Zangief politely declines her proposal and excuses that he have to return to a wrestling match that he "definitely" has before leaving. Marisa despite admitting she half-jokingly sent out the flyers in hopes she'd get to fight strong people considered Zangief quite a catch all things considered and hopes their paths will one day cross again.

World Tour[]

Red Cyclone. Menacing Vortex. Invincible Pro Wrestler. (レッドサイクロン。 脅威のボルテックス。 無敵のプロレスラー。 Reddosaikuron. Kyōi no borutekkusu. Muteki no puroresurā.?, Russian: Красный циклон. Угрожающий вихрь. Непобедимый профессиональный рестлер. Krasnyy tsiklon. Ugrozhayushchiy vikhr'. Nepobedimyy professional'nyy restler.)

"The body is like iron! It must be forged and tempered! DAH! (体は鉄のようだ! 鍛造して焼き戻さなければなりません。 ああ! Karada wa tetsu no yōda! Tanzō shite yaki modosanakereba narimasen. Ā!?)"
—Zangief's advice after completing training & achieving Mastery

Other appearances[]

Street Fighter EX series[]

Zangief is a playable character in the Street Fighter EX games.


Zangief enters any and all Street Fighting tournaments purely to prove his worth as the greatest wrestler in the world and to maintain his reputation as the Red Cyclone. He is extremely proud of his motherland, the Soviet Union, and he is determined to represent it as the champion of each tournament.

Throughout the EX tournaments, he encounters an Indian wrestler who comes as close to Zangief's might as anyone he has ever faced. Duly impressed with Darun's prowess, he is excited to meet another wrestler of such caliber and to have someone worthy of practicing with.

When the third tournament is announced, they are eager to become each other partners and treat the events like tag team competitions, much to many of the spectators' (as well as some fighters') amusement.


Street Fighter EX[]

"Comrade Zangief! I'm pleased to learned you won your fight as usual! It was splendid, very splendid! Now, for the love of our country, you will show that strength of yours to the rest of the world."
From an admirer

Street Fighter EX Plus α[]

"I am the Red Cyclone! I can roll and crush everything!" Zangief, the genius wrestler from Russian. When he flexes his muscles of steel, the strenght of his motherland shines even brighter. Today, he went flying high in the air. "Hmph! FINAL! ATOMIC! Woooooo! BUSTER!"

Street Fighter EX2[]

We musn't forget that there is a strong nation called Russia. There lives a legendary Pro Wrestler who swung his mighty arm.
To make an effort within the international exchange, Zangief secluded himself to the mountains afterward to resume his training, seeking to gain even more power with the help of a "dear friend".
This national symbol energizes himself everyday with Cossack dancing and his friend "vodka".

Street Fighter EX2 Plus[]

To my comrade Zangief.
Please tell me about your activities.
It's amazing! It's truly amazing!
The finest borscht will be prepared.
Always affectionately yours.

Street Fighter EX3[]

"Isn't there anyone strong enough to be a match for me?!" Zangief yelled this as he read a strange and pitiful letter from his friend.
Best wishes,
Your friend

Street Fighter EX3 (in team with Darun Mister)[]

The stadium echoes with the loud voice of Zangief, "Darun and me!! We're the best tag team in the world!! Nobody can beat us, you fools!! We are the greatest professional wrestlers!!" The spectators keep chanting, both Cyclone and Darun names for hours...

Crossover appearances[]

Capcom vs. SNK series[]

Zangief has appeared playable in SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium, Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 and Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001.

Marvel vs. Capcom series[]

Zangief has appeared playable in X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes.

Capcom Fighting Evolution[]

He also appeared in Capcom Fighting Evolution as one of the playable characters. In his ending, during his training with bears, he miserably visualizes himself going on vacation in a tropical place.

Street Fighter X Tekken[]

Zangief appears in Street Fighter X Tekken with Rufus as his tag partner.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[]

Zangief appears as a Spirits item in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In the Adventure Mode, World of Light, Zangief can be found in the World Tour sub-area as the player traverses the map, with his spirit inhabiting Incineroar. Once Zangief's spirit is freed, he will open a dojo where the player can send spirits to train in his Wrestling style. Any spirit trained in this style will enhance the range and power of their master's grabs.

Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of the Super Smash Bros. series, references Zangief (via his nickname, "Red Cyclone") when explaining Incineroar's neutral special attack Darkest Lariat in the November 2018 Direct presentation on Ultimate. Additionally, all of Ryu's opponents in Classic Mode reference a Street Fighter II character with their costume choice, stage, and music, with Incineroar acting as Zangief.

Animations and Movies[]

Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie[]

Zangief appears briefly during a brutal battle against Blanka to entertain an audience of crime bosses, and ends up comically electrocuted by him.

Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation[]

Zangief also appears in Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation; in this portrayal, he never utters a word and merely growls like a beast instead, showing little to no humanity.

Street Fighter live-action movie[]

Zangief was played by Andrew Bryniarski in the Street Fighter movie. Here, he was a lackey of Bison's and served as comic relief in the movie, uttering silly lines at inappropriate times; for example, after seeing televised feed of a truck loaded with explosives about to crash into the villains' camp, he yells out "Quick! Change the channel!". Zangief was also loyal to Bison, at least until Dee Jay explained that Bison was the "bad guy", and had not promised that he would be paid. He also had a long fight with E. Honda and one "hero moment" near the end of the movie.

Street Fighter II V[]

Zangief's role in the anime is similar to the live-action film; he is a Russian bear wrestler who frequently works as one of Shadaloo's strong-men. He does not seem to have any particular desire or inclination to injure or kill anyone, but he's not above using his full should his orders require him to. Zangief often wears a loincloth-like shirt in the series.

Zangief is first sent by M. Bison to capture Ryu, whom he had seen displaying talents of Hadou on a beach earlier. Ryu resists, and they fight for a while until Zangief manages to knock him out. As they are leaving, Zangief spots Guile watching them from afar. Later on, while Guile and Nash are infiltrating Bison's base, Zangief corners Guile with the intention of killing him under Bison's orders, and the two fight until Guile manages to knock Zangief out with a severe blow to the head. He is not seen again for the rest of the anime.

Street Fighter cartoon[]

Zangief is depicted as one of Bison's recurring lackeys in the cartoon, similar to the live-action film.


Zangief makes a major cameo appearance in the 2012 Disney film, Wreck-It Ralph as part of a villains support group, even though he is not a villain within the main Street Fighter storyline. According to the screenwriter, Phil Johnston, Zangief was a source of frustration for him when playing Street Fighter in his childhood.[14] Also of note is that Zangief has played the role of villain in more than a few spin-off appearances, including the movies mentioned above.

Zangief makes another cameo in the 2018 sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, talking to Chun-Li in Game Central Station as Ralph and Vanellope wonder how he only has hair on his chest and shins. Zangief makes another appearance near the end hosting a book club with Ralph and Sonic the Hedgehog.


UDON comics[]

Zangief has made several appearances in UDON's Street Fighter comics. He first appears during a match in the USA Fighting Championship, overpowering a depressed Ken (who had broken up with Eliza moments before). He ends up defeated when Ken regains his fighting spirit once Eliza attends his match.

He later travels the world to perfect his fighting style, one of his stops being Japan. He enters one of Rainbow Mika's wrestling matches and challenges her, ignoring the fact that her match is scripted and his appearance alone ruined everything. Nevertheless, Mika defeats him by pin, all the while unaware that the script had been changed and thinking Zangief was a surprise special guest.

Zangief later appears in the Japanese qualifiers for the next Street Fighter tournament. He and R. Mika are put in a tag team against Sodom and E. Honda. Zangief takes the ring after Sodom throws Mika out with a Daikyo Burning and easily defeats him, causing Honda to tag in. A disgusted Vega, who is hosting the match, sends waves of Geki ninjas to kill them, but Zangief and Honda make short work of the opponents, causing Vega to reluctantly allow them to participate in the tournament.

Zangief doesn't make it past the first round of the Street Fighter tournament, as he is once again defeated by Ken. He then returns to Russia to resume his training against bears in Siberia.


Fighting style[]

Zangief's signature fighting style is close-range wrestling (specifically, a mix of Russian and American pro wrestling[8]) with devastating throws and powerful base moves. This makes him tough up close, though he often has trouble with foes with projectiles. Street Fighter 6 in particular has a much heavier emphasis on his pro-wrestling moves, as almost all of his moves are based on real-life wrestling moves.


Many of Zangief's moves are more complicated to pull off, due to the 360 motions input required to perform the moves, making him a character for advanced players. This, along with the fact that several of his moves incorporate spins, is likely the basis for his wrestling moniker "Red Cyclone".

In addition, Zangief naturally lacks range, and many of his moves have a fairly long startup; this renders him fairly vulnerable to projectiles and makes him an ideal target for many faster characters. Zangief is one of the slowest of all characters in the Street Fighter games, and presents a large target, yet he is widely considered high-tier. As of recent appearances, he has several means to bypass projectile attacks, such as Double Lariat and Banishing Flat, the ability to walk unphased into a hit during his EX Flying Power Bomb, and the ability to grab opponents out of most ground-based moves via Spinning Piledriver. In most incarnations, Zangief is extremely dangerous against floored opponents, as he is able to force them to block regular attacks so that he can pin them in place to deliver a powerful throw or hold.

The Spinning Piledriver was the single most damaging special move in the original Street Fighter II series until the introduction of T. Hawk, and is capable of "sucking in" opponents from a surprising distance. Zangief's Flying Stomach attack was also the only standard move capable of dizzying a character in one hit in the Street Fighter II series.

In Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, a "Mecha Zangief" is introduced. This is an even slower version of Zangief who can't block; however, he takes reduced damage from everything, excluding beam-style attacks. He also can't be stopped, taking only a slight slowdown when hit by almost anything, and picks up a Yoga Blast-like attack, the Siberian Breath. Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes brought Zangief back and gave him the ability to transform into Mecha Zangief, making him more viable against speed characters; he retains this ability in Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

In Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix, Zangief retains most of his moves as he gains a new special attack which he does cossack dancing to his opponent in two kicks. He has five disguises serve as his special attacks (Eg: a gorilla costume with a red mohawk, a long haired caveman wielding a club, a construction worker wielding various construction tools, a family man, a jungle man and a red vest with a gray ushanka hat within his main outfit). One of his Mighty Combos has him doing cossack dancing to his opponent in a multiple damage.

Super Combo[]

Zangief has a unique team Hyper Combo exclusive to the first two crossover games: the Double Final Atomic Buster. He runs towards his enemy similarly to his Flying Powerbomb. Should he reach, his partner shows up from the other side, and both leap up past the top of the arena, coming crashing down a few seconds later with an explosive non-spinning piledriver.

In Street Fighter IV series, he has a powerful ultra combo called Ultimate Atomic Buster which is a powerful version of Final Atomic Buster which serves as his super combo. His second Ultra was Siberian Blizzard.

In Street Fighter V, he has a Critical Art called Bolshoi Russian Suplex, which he grabs his opponent and performs a German Suplex. After slamming his opponent to the ground, he then exerts so much force and power that his opponents literally break through the floor and create a crater. Should the player achieve a victory using this move, the opponent's legs will remain sticking up comically through the crater.

In Street Fighter 6, Zangief has three levels of Super Arts. Level 1 is Aerial Russian Slam, now catching the opponent in the air into a powerbomb followed by another powerbomb. Level 2 is Cyclone Lariat, a returning V-Trigger from Street Fighter V, but can now be altered with a different property allowing Zangief to scoop up his opponent during the Lariat attack and perform a Jackhammer. Level 3 is Bolshoi Storm Buster, a new modified version of Final Atomic Buster. Upon activation, he grabs his opponents head. If it connects, the stage changes to a black-lit wrestling ring and Zangief clotheslines the opponent. Zangief showboats for the crowd while the opponent rises up, to which Zangief kicks them in the stomach, then performs a massive Spinning Piledriver that leaves a crater in the ground.




Popular Culture[]

Zangief/Pop Culture






  • Mike Haggar (whose fighting style was the basis for Zangief's as explained above) also wrestles deadly animals, in his case, Bull Sharks.
  • Being 7'.025" (214 cm) tall, Zangief is the sixth-tallest character in the whole Street Fighter franchise, behind (in this precise order) Birdie, Sagat, T. Hawk, Hugo, and Abigail.
  • Street Fighter II: The World Warrior depicted Zangief being from from the USSR when the game was released in February, 1991. The Soviet Union would cease to exist the following December. However, due to the heavy use of Soviet iconography in and around Zangief's character, including his home stage (an iron plant complete with a giant hammer and sickle logo imprinted on the floor), and also because of his appearances in the Street Fighter Alpha takes place before the events of Street Fighter II, Zangief was depicted as being from the USSR in the main series as late as 1998 when Street Fighter Alpha 3 was released. Street Fighter IV was the first time Zangief was depicted as being from the Russian Federation in 2008.
    • Street Fighter II's latest iteration, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, would see all former Soviet symbols such as the hammer and sickle logo on the Russian stage removed. His stage was accordingly updated as Russia, down to the announcer voice clip.
  • Several images of Zangief exist that depict him with blood spewing out of a vein in his head, such as his portrait from Street Fighter Alpha 3. This is shown in the Japanese arcade releases, but censored in the American versions.
  • In Makoto's 3rd Strike ending, Zangief can be seen among the fighters defeated by Makoto.
  • In Street Fighter IV, Zangief was a powerhouse with the largest stamina and stun rating in the game. Many considered him too powerful and he was toned down for Super Street Fighter IV. However, even with the changes, Zangief still has the highest damage output in the game, including his first Ultra Combo being the most damaging move in the game.
  • Although Zangief was originally conceived as a rival for Guile, given that they are from the USSR and the USA, respectively, his behavior toward Guile likewise refers to his appreciation for their shared patriotism and hairstyles. It is rather through the late 1980's and early 1990's American fandom by the tensions of the real life Cold War that still promoted this rather uncanon depiction; not only did the 1994 live-action film portray him as a Shadaloo villain, but background notes and creator interviews of Wreck It Ralph showed that audience influence held sway on Zangief being a villain through national tensions.
    • Rather, some adaptations have depicted Zangief as somewhat of a rival towards Ryu, demonstrated in Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation (in which Ryu defends Shun from Zangief by fighting him brutally), Street Fighter II V (where Zangief, working for Shadaloo, is ordered to capture Ryu, leading to a skirmish between the two), and the 1994 live-action film (where Zangief, again working for Bison, presents Ryu with his familiar white gi and later aids him and Ken in helping Bison's hostages escape the collapsing base). His win quote towards Ryu in Street Fighter IV implies that the two fought in Street Fighter II and Ryu won.
  • Zangief has Vega's picture on his mirror in his Turbo ending. It is common for fighters (especially boxers) to have a picture of their rival placed in the frame of their mirror (on the picture it is written something like "idiot" in Japanese, maybe because they have different views on beauty).
  • Since grizzly bears are not indigenous to Siberia and Russia, it is speculated that Zangief possibly wrestles Ussuri Brown Bears, which are similar to grizzlies, but are indigenous to the North East of Russia, and twice as large, making this feat even more impressive.
    • Other sources usually state he wrestles Kodiak Bears, but Kodiaks are native to the Kodiak Archipelago, (which is located to the south of Alaska), again it's more possible that Zangief wrestles Kamchatka Brown Bears which are native to the Kamchatka Peninsula (which is located in the Russian Far East, near the Bering Sea), These bears are considered to be the ancestors of the Kodiak Bear and are almost as big as the Kodiak as well. He also sometimes wrestles Polar Bears, which can be found in northern Russia above the Arctic Circle.
  • In the UDON comics, Zangief's text is always written in yellow over red speech bubbles, much like the red flag of the USSR with its yellow hammer-and-sickle emblem, to show off his devotion to his homeland. In addition, the writing is in bold italics most of the time, indicative of how loudly he usually speaks (an exception is his flabbergasted, quiet "This is wrestling...?" after Rainbow Mika defeats him in the backup story of #13).
  • In his win quote against Kuma in Street Fighter X Tekken, Zangief criticizes Kuma, telling him that "Bears in Siberia are much fiercer! You are like kitten!".
  • In Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival, in the 'Fight Akuma' Time Attack mode, if the player keeps pressing the light punch button while playing as Zangief in close proximity, it will force Shin Akuma to immediately go into a crouch, and will keep being forced to a crouch as long the player keeps pressing the light punch button while playing as Zangief. This does not work for the other characters.
  • Zangief's second alternate costume in Street Fighter V bears a slight resemblance to the real life WWE superstars, The Undertaker in his appearance in Wrestlemania XX, and Hulk Hogan when he competed in a wrestling ring in the late 2000's.
  • While Zangief is covered in scars on the front of his body, there are no scars on his back. This is because he never turns his back on an enemy and prides himself on the ability to stop attacks head-on. This convention seems to have changed or been overlooked in SF6, as there is a visible scar on his right back during his victory animation.
  • Zangief is the second character to have a throw that targets on crouching opponents, the first being R. Mika. The third character following Zangief to have a throw that targets crouching opponents is G.
  • Despite Zangief being the original grappler of the series and having the most number of regular throws in The World Warrior, Zangief didn't get any regular Air Throws until Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers. He has had Aerial Russian Slam that is more akin to an anti air throw such as Soul Throw, and while Borscht Dynamite acts very similarly to an air throw, it is a special attack.
    • With so many regular throws, this is a very likely reason why future Street Fighter installments have limited to two different regular throws for each character (for balancing reasons).
  • There is a continuity error that occurs with Zangief's fight with his opponent in front of the Shadaloo base in A Shadow Falls, Zangief defeats his opponent after withstanding her sword with his "muscle power", yet in the next scene when Birdie blocks gunshots from his own opponent, Zangief is shown still fighting the opponent he managed to defeat earlier.
  • Prior to Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, Zangief spoke only Russian in-game and some English catchphrases. He had a speech in Japanese in the aforementioned game's win screen (only in the Japanese and American versions-- these do not play in Asian versions). This changed in Street Fighter IV onwards where he gains an English and a dedicated Japanese voice actor.
  • As seen in Street Fighter Alpha 3, Zangief keeps his liquor flask inside his shorts.
  • In his playable appearance in Street Fighter 6, Zangief's main outfit resembles the current wrestling outfit worn by WWE Superstar, Bobby Lashley.
    • Coincidentally, his quote for his EX Screw Pile Driver is "I am almighty!", much like Bobby Lashley's nickname, "The All Mighty".
    • Zangief's third alternate costume was the same corporate outfit that Bobby Lashley wears during his time as a member of The Hurt Business stable led by MVP and later as a leader of his own stable, The Pride where he manages The Street Profits and B-Fab.
  • His main role in Street Fighter 6 where he serves as both a mentor and teacher in wrestling references other wrestlers in real-life who teaches new generation of students in a wrestling school or being trained by their respective parents who were actually wrestlers.


Stage Theme[]

Title Game Artist Track
Street Fighter II
Zangief Stage Street Fighter II Yoko Shimomura
Zangief Stage Super Street Fighter II Isao Abe
Solid and Tough (ZANGIEF) Street Fighter II Collector's Box
Red Cyclone (Zangief Stage) Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix OverClocked Remix
Zangief Stage Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
Street Fighter Alpha
Zangief Stage Street Fighter Alpha 2 Setsuo Yamamoto
Heavy Swell Street Fighter Alpha 3 Takayuki Iwai
Street Fighter EX
Cold Pipe Street Fighter EX plus α
Street Fighter IV
Theme of Zangief -SFIV Arrange- Street Fighter IV Hideyuki Fukasawa
Street Fighter V
Theme of Zangief Street Fighter V Capcom Sound Team
Street Fighter 6
R.E.D. Street Fighter 6 Shigeyuki Kameda
Iron King of the Furnace Street Fighter 6 Shigeyuki Kameda
Muscles That Never Quit Street Fighter 6 Shigeyuki Kameda
Zangief Style - Mastery Street Fighter 6 Shigeyuki Kameda
Marvel vs. Capcom
Zangief Theme X-Men vs. Street Fighter
Zangief Theme Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter
Zangief Theme Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes

Audio files[]

See also[]


Street Fighter series Playable Characters
Main Series
SF Logo Ken · Ryu
Street-fighter-ii-logo The World Warrior Blanka · Chun-Li · Dhalsim · E. Honda · Guile · Zangief
Champion Edition Balrog · M. Bison · Sagat · Vega
Super Cammy · Dee Jay · Fei Long · T. Hawk
Super Turbo Akuma
Ultra Violent Ken
SFAlogo Alpha Adon · Birdie · Charlie Nash · Dan · Guy · Rose · Sodom
Alpha 2 Evil Ryu · Gen · Rolento · Sakura · Shin Akuma
Alpha 3 Cody · Juli · Juni · Karin · R. Mika
Alpha 3 Upper Eagle · Maki
Alpha 3 MAX Ingrid
Street fighter iii logo New Generation Alex · Dudley · Elena · Ibuki
Necro · Oro · Sean · Yang · Yun
2nd Impact Gill · Hugo · Urien
3rd Strike Makoto · Q · Remy · Twelve
Street fighter iv logo IV Abel · C. Viper · El Fuerte · Gouken · Rufus · Seth
Super Hakan · Juri
Arcade Edition Oni
Ultra Decapre · Poison
SFV-Logo-R-3 V F.A.N.G · Laura · Necalli · Rashid
Season 2 Abigail · Ed · Kolin · Menat · Zeku
Season 3 Falke · G
Season 4 Kage · Lucia
Season 5 Akira · Eleven · Luke
Street fighter 6 logo 6 Jamie · JP · Kimberly · Lily · Manon · Marisa
Year 1 A.K.I.
Year 2 Mai (Guest) · Terry (Guest)
Street Fighter The Movie Logo Arkane · Blade · F7 · Khyber · Sawada
Street-fighter-ii--the-animated-movie Cyborg
Sfexlogo EX Allen · Blair · C. Jack · Darun · D. Dark
Hokuto · Kairi · Pullum · Skullomania
EX Plus Bloody Hokuto · Cycloid-β · Cycloid-γ · Garuda
EX2 Hayate · Nanase · Shadowgeist · Sharon
EX2 Plus Area · V. Rosso
EX3 Ace · Bison II
Marvel vs. Capcom Logo MSHvSF Cyber-Akuma · Dark Sakura · Mech-Zangief · Shadow
MvC Shadow Lady
SFO Shin
Street Fighter II Characters
The World Warrior Blanka · Chun-Li · Dhalsim · E. Honda · Guile · Ken · Ryu · Zangief
Champion Edition Balrog · M. Bison · Sagat · Vega
Super Cammy · Dee Jay · Fei Long · T. Hawk
Turbo Akuma
Ultra Evil Ryu · Shin Akuma · Violent Ken
Street Fighter: The Movie Characters
Core Roster Akuma · Balrog · Cammy · Chun-Li · E. Honda · Guile · Ken
M. Bison · Ryu · Sagat · Sawada · Vega · Zangief
Arcade Only Arkane · Blade · F7 · Khyber
Console Only Blanka · Dee Jay
CPU Only Super Bison
Street Fighter Alpha Characters
Alpha Adon · Akuma · Birdie · Charlie · Chun-Li · Dan · Guy
Ken · M. Bison · Rose · Ryu · Sagat · Sodom
Alpha 2 Original Dhalsim · Evil Ryu · Gen · Rolento · Sakura · Zangief
Console Shin Akuma
Gold Cammy
Alpha 3 Original Balrog · Blanka · Cody · E. Honda · Juli · Juni · Karin · R. Mika · Vega
Console Dee Jay · Fei Long · Guile · T. Hawk
Upper Eagle · Maki · Yun
MAX Ingrid
Marvel vs. Capcom Characters
X-Men vs. Street Fighter Akuma · Cammy · Charlie · Chun-Li · Dhalsim
Ken · M. Bison · Ryu · Zangief
Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter Cyber-Akuma · Dan · Dark Sakura
Mech-Zangief · Sakura · Shadow
Marvel vs. Capcom Captain Commando · Shadow Lady
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Guile
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 C. Viper · Haggar
Street Fighter EX Characters
EX Original Akuma · Allen · Blair · Chun-Li · C. Jack · Darun · D. Dark · Guile
Hokuto · Kairi · Ken · Pullum · Ryu · Skullomania · Zangief
Plus Bloody Hokuto · Cycloid-β · Cycloid-γ · Evil Ryu · Garuda · M. Bison
Plus α Dhalsim · Sakura
EX2 Original Blanka · Hayate · Nanase · Shadowgeist · Sharon · Vega
Plus Area · Sagat · V. Rosso
EX3 Ace · Bison II
CPU Only Shin-Bison · Cycloids · Zako
Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix Characters
Akuma · Chun-Li · Dan · Ibuki · Ken · Ryu · Sakura · Zangief
SNK vs. Capcom Characters
The Match of the Millennium Akuma · Chun-Li · Dan · Evil Ryu · Guile
Ken · M. Bison · Ryu · Sakura · Zangief
Millennium Fight 2000 Balrog · Blanka · Cammy · Dhalsim · E. Honda · Sagat · Vega
Mark of the Millennium 2001 Eagle · Kyosuke · Maki · Rolento · Shin Akuma · Yun
SVC Chaos Hugo · Violent Ken
Capcom Fighting Evolution Characters
Street Fighter II Guile · M. Bison · Ryu · Zangief
Street Fighter Alpha Guy · Karin · Rose · Sakura
Street Fighter III Alex · Chun-Li · Urien · Yun
Bosses Ingrid · Shin Akuma
Street Fighter Online: Mouse Generation Characters
Akira · Batsu · Chun-Li · Guile · Ken · Ryu · Shin · Zangief
Street Fighter IV Characters
Original Abel · Akuma · Balrog · Blanka · Chun-Li · C. Viper · Dhalsim · E. Honda
El Fuerte · Guile · Ken · M. Bison · Rufus · Ryu · Sagat · Vega · Zangief
Console Cammy · Dan · Fei Long · Gen · Gouken · Rose · Seth · Sakura
Super Adon · Cody · Dee Jay · Dudley · Guy · Hakan · Ibuki · Juri · Makoto · T. Hawk
Arcade Edition Evil Ryu · Oni · Yang · Yun
Ultra Decapre · Elena · Hugo · Poison · Rolento
Street Fighter X Tekken Characters
Core Roster Abel · Akuma · Balrog · Cammy · Chun-Li · Dhalsim · Guile · Hugo · Ibuki · Juri
Ken · M. Bison · Poison · Rufus · Rolento · Ryu · Sagat · Vega · Zangief
Downloadable Blanka · Cody · Dudley · Elena · Guy · Sakura
Street Fighter V Characters
Original Birdie · Cammy · Chun-Li · Dhalsim · F.A.N.G · Karin · Ken · Laura
M. Bison · Nash · Necalli · R. Mika · Rashid · Ryu · Vega · Zangief
Season 1 Alex · Balrog · Guile · Ibuki · Juri · Urien
Season 2 Abigail · Akuma · Ed · Kolin · Menat · Zeku
Season 3 Blanka · Cody · Falke · G · Sagat · Sakura
Season 4 E. Honda · Gill · Kage · Lucia · Poison · Seth
Season 5 Akira · Dan · Eleven · Luke · Oro · Rose
CPU Only AS · Aprile · Decapre · Enero · Février · Juli · März · Peter
Phantom Bison · Santamu · Satsuki · Shadow · Shadow Lady · Two P
Street Fighter 6 Characters
Original Blanka · Cammy · Chun-Li · Dee Jay · Dhalsim · E. Honda · Guile · Jamie · JP · Juri · Ken · Kimberly · Lily · Luke · Manon · Marisa · Ryu · Zangief
Year 1 A.K.I. · Akuma · Ed · Rashid
Year 2 Elena · M. Bison · Mai (Guest) · Terry (Guest)
CPU Only Albert Jackson · Andore Family · Antler Inoki · Axl · Azam · Bosch · Bred · Carlos Miyamoto · Carol · Chandi · Damnd · Eliza · Eternity · F.A.N.G · Fair Libra · G. Oriber · Gerald Golby · J · Kalima · Keiko Asano · Kenichi Kakutani · Li-Fen · Max · Mel · Retsu · Rewancha · Roxy · Rudra · Sheng Long · Somsak · Yua