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— TJ Combo's intro quote
Tyler-Johnson Garrett, more commonly known by his ring name, "TJ Combo", is an American boxer and major playable character in the Killer Instinct franchise.
In Killer Instinct (1994), TJ Combo is depicted as a tall, African-American man with a fairly-muscular physique and short, dark hair. Combo wears a red, white and blue, star-spangled tank top, black shorts with a red belt and red and white-striped socks under his blue and white shoes. His primary weapons are his red boxing gloves.
In Killer Instinct 2, Combo gets some slight changes to his appearance. His tank top is fairly shredded and he now wears long camo pants instead of shorts, along with new American-themed sneakers. He wears an eyepatch over his left eye, a wound he sustained from Riptor, and he has ditched his boxing gloves for wrist wraps.
In Killer Instinct (2013), Combo's redesign is more in-line with his original appearance (besides his new goatee) when compared to some of the major design overhauls. He now wears a blue workout shirt with the name of his gym on the front, star-spangled blue shorts, long boxing shoes that go up to his ankles but instead of boxing gloves, he now wears red MMA style fighting gloves with a white star. He no longer wears the eyepatch from KI2/Gold, and both of his upper arms are covered in long scars from the surgeries that removed his cybernetic implants.
TJ Combo's retro costume largely mirrors his KI2 outfit, but with few changes: His cybernetic implants are covered with red, white and blue wrist wraps, and he wears an Ultratech Championship belt. His tanktop appears more tattered and his American-themed shoes have been replaced with combat boots. Also, his eyepatch is now blue with a white star, further continuing his All-American styled appearance in the series.
— TJ's story mode description
Described as someone born to win, but hates to lose, TJ Combo is a strong, brash and arrogant man with an unstoppable fighting spirit. Prior to his fall from grace, he was even more cocky than he is presently, but after his humbling defeat at the hands of Ultratech, he was a broken man for many years before finally building up the courage and resolve to fight back. He has to push himself to get back up when he falls, but he realizes that if he doesn’t get back up, he won’t go anywhere at all. Despite his life revolving around seeking fame, fortune and revenge, he recognizes that what is truly important in the battle against Ultratech is saving the world. Overall, TJ is a true example of the undying American spirit, shown heavily in his default costumes which invoke the simple red, white and blue color scheme.
Despite being human and having no supernatural powers, Combo is quite a skilled, brutal, and agile fighter with his boxing style. In the original universe, his bionic arm implants gave him punching power far beyond the average human and allows him to go toe-to-toe with all kinds of inhuman opponents. In the rebooted universe however, his bionics have been removed in order to help show his true human strength. Also being an MMA fighter, he also has a much more varied moveset than just jabs and punches. He is also still under the effects of an Ultratech serum that helped his body adjust to the bionics years ago, which now allows him to pull off impressive feats of speed and strength. The serum also causes the scars along his arms to glow blue when he is in Instinct Mode.
Story TJ Combo was once the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world for five years straight. He was stripped of his title for his use of cybernetic enhancements in his arms, he fights to regain his lost fame and fortune.
Having to fight his way from a seedy backstreet gym to the world heavyweight title through sheer raw power and aggression, after 5 years at the top T. J. "Combo" Garrett is brought crashing down by his own overwhelming greed. Having blown most of his cash on titanium arm implants to ensure that the title remained his, Combo is stripped of his belt, wealth and public respect when the Ultratech surgeon who performed the operation sells his story to the media. Furious and humiliated, Combo returns to his old ghetto haunts and vows to defy the world at large in reaching the top once more.
Stage: Boxing Gym
- Powerline: Charge Back Then Forward, Fierce Punch
- Rollercoaster: Charge Back Then Forward, Medium Punch
- Spinfist: Charge Back Then Forward, Quick Punch
- Flying Knee: Charge Back Then Forward, Fierce Kick
- Knee K.O.: Charge Back Then Forward, Medium Kick
- Fast Flying Knee: Charge Back Then Forward, Quick Kick
- Turn Around Punch: Charge Forward Then Back, Quick Punch
- Cyclone: Charge Fierce Punch Then Release
- Combo Breaker: Back Then Forward And Any Kick
- Ultra Combo: Forward, Back, Fierce Punch
- End Special 1: Charge Back Then Forward, Fierce Punch
- End Special 2: Charge Back Then Forward, Medium Punch
- End Special 3: Charge Back Then Forward, Quick Punch
- No Mercy 1: [Stand Close] Down, Quarter Forward, Forward, Fierce Kick
- No Mercy 2: [Stand 1 Character Distance Away] Back, Back, Forward, Forward, Medium Punch
- Humiliation: Down, Down, Down, Quick Punch
With victory in the tournament, Combo has finally achieved his ambition to regain his lost fortune and popular status. Once a nobody from the ghetto, Combo celebrates his win and new found wealth by parading through those same streets. With money and fame at his side, Combo believes he can now achieve anything.
Killer Instinct 2
Story After a decisive victory over Riptor in the tournament, Combo attempted to destroy Ultratech HQ. Caught as Ultratech is ripped into the past, Combo must escapes home before it is too late.
Combo is beginning to wish that he had never seen that tournament bulletin on TV, never succumbed to the wild temptation to use it as a ladder back to the peak of public acclaim. His toughest clash of the contest, in which he only just managed to rid the world of the bestial Riptor, left him hospitalized: on his release, Combo made for Ultratech HQ with a vengeance and was in the process of looting and vandalizing when he was caught up in the temporal chaos…
- TJ Tremor: Charge Back Then Forward, Medium Kick [Great Opener]
- Roller Coaster: Charge Back Then Forward, Medium Punch [Great Opener]
- Spinfist: Charge Back Then Forward, Quick Punch [Great Opener]
- Skull Crusher: Charge Back Then Forward, Fierce Kick [Great Opener]
- Air Tremor: Back, Quarter Back, Down, Quarter Forward, Forward, Medium Kick
- Spinfist 2: Charge Forward Then Back, Quick Punch
- Behind Back: Charge Back Then Forward, Quick Kick
- Cyclone: Hold Fierce Punch, Release Fierce Punch, Fierce Punch
- Powerline: Charge Back Then Forward, Fierce Punch
- Stop Powerline: Back, Fierce Punch [Must Be Running]
- Fake Dizzy: Forward, Quarter Forward, Down, Quarter Back, Back, Quick Kick
- Air Double: Forward, Back, Any Kick
- Throw: Forward, Medium Punch
- Reverse Throw: Back, Medium Punch [In Opponent's Throw Move]
- Parry Move: Back, Hold Quick Punch
- Pressure Move: Forward, Fierce Kick
- Combo Breaker: Back, Forward, Any Punch And Any Kick
- Ultra Combo Breaker: Forward, Quarter Forward, Down, Quarter Back, Back, Forward, Fierce *Punch [Requires 6 Super Bar Blocks]
- Mini-Ultra Combo: Charge Back Then Forward, Fierce Kick
- Ultra Combo: Charge Forward Then Back, Fierce Punch
- Ultimate Combo: Hold Quick Kick For 2 Seconds, Release Quick Kick
- 0-Combo Ultimate: Forward, Quarter Forward, Down, Quarter Back, Back, Fierce Kick [Hold Forward For 1 Second]
- Super Roller Coaster: Forward, Quarter Forward, Down, Quarter Back, Back, Forward, Fierce Kick [Requires 3 Super Bar Blocks]
- Super Spinfist: Forward, Quarter Forward, Down, Quarter Back, Back, Forward, Quick Punch [Requires 3 Super Bar Blocks]
- Shadow Move: Forward, Quarter Forward, Down, Quarter Back, Back, Forward, Quick Punch [Requires 3 Super Bar Blocks]
- Dash Frenzy: Forward, Quarter Forward, Down, Quarter Back, Back, Forward, Fierce Punch [Requires 2 Super Bar Blocks]
- Super Tremor: Forward, Quarter Forward, Down, Quarter Back, Back, Medium Kick [Requires 6 Super Bar Blocks]
- End Special 1: Charge Forward then Back, Quick Punch Quick Punch
- End Special 2: Charge Back Then Forward, Quick Kick, Quick Kick
- End Special 3: Charge Back Then Forward, Fierce Punch, Fierce Punch
- End Special 4: Charge Back Then Forward, Medium Kick, Medium Kick
- End Special 5: Charge Back Then Forward, Fierce Kick [After First 4 Enders]
Kill Tusk Having won the tournament and vanquish Gargos, Combo knows he can achieve anything. With no challenge remaining in the past Combo returns to the future through a time portal. Strengthened by his experience he vows soon to regain his lost fame and fortune once again.
Don't Kill Tusk Having won the tournament and vanquish Gargos, Combo knows he can achieve anything. Rejected by modern society for cheating, Combo grabs the chance to again win fame in the arena. Staying in the past he puts his fighting skills to work and soon becomes a great champion.
Killer Instinct (2013)
To defend his world championship title, TJ resorted to illegal cybernetic implants. When discovered, he was stripped of his title and his world crumbled. Determined to prove himself and regain glory, TJ rips out his cybernetics and returns to the fight.
- Main article: Glory Days
Traits Combo Trait - Auto-Barrage: Combo can cancel the first hit off any Auto-Double into another Auto-Double of a different strength, punch or kick. He can keep doing this as long as that Auto-Double has not been used in the Auto Barrage, (i.e. Hard Punch to Medium Kick to Medium Punch etc.) until he hits all six buttons. Repeating a normal attack, or using all six normals without repeating, will trigger either a Damage Ender or Advantage Ender. This can be done continuously, but once he begins Auto-Barrage, he cannot leave the sequence using other linkers or enders, and the attacks slow down slightly over time.
Instinct Mode - Glory Days: Combo earns a speed boost to all aspects of his ground movement and frame data; all moves have faster startup and recover and his dashes are faster. Additionally, if Combo is fully KO’d with a full Instinct Meter, Last Breath will be activated - he will use half his Instinct Meter to resurrect with 20% life and Instinct Mode activated.
- Superman Punch - (Down-Forward+HP) - Combo throws a large leaping hook. Acts as an overhead.
- Rollercoaster - (Down-Forward+MP) - Combo combat rolls forwards with a punch at the end. Any normal can be canceled into Rollercoaster.
- Turn-Around Punch - (Back+MP, midair) - Combo performs an awkward backwards cross-up punch.
- Throw - (Forward or back+LP+LK) - Combo punches the opponent in the gut, then weaves around and punches them again into the ground.
- Spin Fist - (Back-Forward+LP) - Combo spins around and throws a wild hook.
- Shoot Toss - (Back-Forward+MP) - Combo grabs the opponent around the waist and slams them down. Acts as a launcher.
- Powerline - (Back-Forward+HP) - Combo dashes forwards and throws a straight jab. Can be canceled into other moves before the jab is performed. Has one hit of armor. Works as a Wall Splat Ender.
- Backstep - (LK, during Powerline) - Combo cancels his dash and hops backwards.
- Tumble - (MK, during Powerline) - Combo combat rolls forward without attacking. Invulnerable to projectiles until recovery.
- Flying Knee - (HK, during Powerline) - Combo hops up with a flying knee attack. Invulnerable to low attacks until recovery. Even though it is not its own specific special move, it can be used as an Exchange Ender using (Back-Forward+K).
- Tremor - (Down-Up+K) - Combo leaps up and punches the ground, creating a shockwave. Button strength determines distance traveled. Acts as an overhead and can recapture airborne opponents. Works as a Battery Ender.
- Vortex - (Down-Up+P) - Combo spins his fist before performing an uppercut. Button strength determines damage and attack speed. Works as a Launcher Ender.
- Cyclone - (hold P, during Vortex) - Combo follows up with a second uppercut to juggle.
- Shadow Tremor - (Down-Up+2K) - Combo leaps up and punches downwards, hitting five times
- Shadow Powerline - (Back-Forward+2P) - Combo dashes forwards, throwing a jab that hits five times. Can be canceled on the fourth hit to swivel behind the opponent and avoid the wall splat in order to continue a combo.
- Shadow Flying Knee - (Back-Forward+2K) - Combo hops up with a flying knee that hits five times.
- Shadow Cyclone - (Down-Up+2P) - Combo spins his fist before performing an uppercut that hits four times, then follows up with a second uppercut. Fully invulnerable until the first punch.
Ultra Combo: 40 Hits
- Main article: Downtown Demolition
Stage ULTRA - WRECKED: During an Ultra Combo, the victor would send his/her defeated opponent in the air, causing the wrecking ball to hit the defeated opponent, sending him/her flying towards the "TJ Combo Boxing" sign, and explodes on impact.
— TJ Combo in Season 2's Trailer
— TJ Combo after defeating Fulgore in Season 2 Trailer
— TJ Combo's taunt
— TJ Combo's taunt
— TJ Combo's victory quote
— TJ Combo's victory quote in the original Killer Instinct
- TJ is primarily based on Apollo Creed, a character from the Rocky films, with influences from real-life boxers Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali. In Killer Instinct (2013), both Tyson and Ali are mentioned to be Combo's idols in his official backstory, "Glory Days", and it is suggested that his father's own idol, Jack Johnson, is TJ's as well.
- "Glory Days" also reveals TJ was born in the same place as the late Jack Johnson: Galveston, Texas.
- Combo's profile in Killer Instinct 2 describes him as having had a "decisive victory over Riptor in the tournament". This indicates that TJ killed Riptor in the first game, leading to its absence in the sequel. It also explains the eyepatch which Combo conspicuously wears in his KI2 and KI2013 retro outfit, as Riptor likely ripped TJ's eye out or burned it with acid during this fight.
- Despite being a signature character of the original Killer Instinct (1994), TJ didn't return in Killer Instinct (2013) until its Season Two. He has also become one of the weaker or understated heroes in the KI universe, having no magical or mystical power, blessed weapon, ancient origin, or a higher purpose like the rest of the characters. A possible explanation is that Combo was originally envisioned by Rareware to be KI's archtypical "strong man" in 1994, but with several other characters now also filling this role, TJ's design has become dated and he was kept as a legacy character to complete the original roster.
- In Killer Instinct (2013), TJ Combo can be customized to look like the character Kick from Iron Galaxy's game Divekick.
- Some of TJ's techniques/moves are similar to the Street Fighter characters of Balrog & Dudley.
- During TJ's intro and victory animations, crowd noises and a boxing bell can be heard. Also, it was stated by the developers that each time Combo rises from a knockdown, a bell can be heard.