The Outworld Tournament was an event that takes place in both the original and alternate timelines of the Mortal Kombat video game series. It was a Mortal Kombat tournament organised by Outworld emperor Shao Kahn and his sorcerer Shang Tsung after the latter failed to win the decisive tournament in Earthrealm which would have allowed Kahn to merge Earth with Outworld. This event occurs in Mortal Kombat II and in the story mode of Mortal Kombat (2011).
Original timeline Edit
After failing to win the Mortal Kombat tournament, Shang Tsung and his warriors returned to Outworld in disgrace. With Outworld's winning streak broken, Shao Kahn's forces would have to start over and win another ten tournaments over a 500-year period if Kahn was to be allowed to dominate Earthrealm. Shang Tsung would have been executed, but as he begged for his life he convinced the emperor that there was still a way to salvage victory: Outworld could host a new tournament, one which would discard the ten-victory rule established by the Elder Gods and allow Shao Kahn to claim Earthrealm with a single victory. But should Outworld lose this contest, Shao Kahn's claim to Earthrealm would be rendered void forever.
To ensure that the Earthrealmers would partake in the tournament, Shang Tsung arranged for a band of Tarkatan marauders to enter Earthrealm and attack the temples of the White Lotus Society. He also had Special Forces agent Sonya Blade and the Black Dragon thug Kano abducted and imprisoned in Outworld. These brazen assaults goaded the thunder god Raiden into accepting Outworld's invitation, and so Mortal Kombat began anew.
The battles were hard and brutal, but Earthrealm's champions succeeded in reaching the final tier of the tournament. It was then that Liu Kang, champion of Mortal Kombat, faced Shao Kahn himself and ultimately defeated him. The enraged emperor, refusing to take defeat lightly, commanded his forces to attack and exterminate the Earthrealm fighters. Raiden and his warriors retreated back to Earthrealm, but the true struggle was just on the horizon. While the Earth kombatants had been occupied with the Outworld tournament, Shang Tsung's Shadow Priests had conducted an unholy ritual to resurrect Shao Kahn's long-dead queen, Sindel. The spell brought Sindel back to life on Earth, and her presence there would allow Shao Kahn to step through the portal to Earth in order to claim her. But when Kahn set foot on Earth, he would bring his armies with him and begin his conquest of the planet.
Alternate timeline Edit
The events surrounding the Outworld Tournament in the alternate timeline are the same as the original timeline for the most part, though there are some clear discrepancies. It is revealed in the new timeline that Goro, Outworld's former champion, did not perish during his battle with Liu Kang in the Earthrealm tournament and retreated back to Outworld along with the rest of Shang Tsung's surviving forces. It is also revealed that Mileena's creation had only just taken place at the time of the Outworld contest.
Three major differences exist between the original and alternate timelines. Firstly, the sorcerer Quan Chi is shown to participate in the tournament in the new timeline, fighting against Kung Lao alongside Shang Tsung. The second noteworthy alteration is the capture of Sub-Zero by the newly cyberized Lin Kuei; originally, Sub-Zero's friend and partner Smoke was captured and turned into a cyborg, but in this timeline Raiden saves him from a squad of cyber-ninjas only for Sub-Zero to be taken in his place. Finally, there is the death of Kung Lao. In the original timeline, Kung Lao survived the tournament and was present during the Outworld Invasion of Earthrealm. In the new timeline, he is murdered by Shao Kahn after defeating the Shokan warrior Kintaro.
Even with the alteration of events, the outcome of the Outworld Tournament remains mostly the same. Liu Kang faces Shao Kahn in the arena and seemingly kills him. With this victory, Earthrealm is supposedly free from the threat of Outworld forever, but following the heroes' return to Earth, Shao Kahn is revived by Quan Chi who then suggests that the emperor carry out a direct invasion of Earthrealm. In order to make this action possible, Quan Chi travels to Earth and carries out the resurrection of Sindel, thus breaking the magical ward that prevents Kahn from entering.
The following individuals took part in the Outworld Tournament.
- Raiden - God of thunder and guardian deity of Earthrealm. As a deity, he could not directly take part in the tournament, but was present to offer guidance to the chosen Earth kombatants and interfered with Outworlder activities behind the scenes.
- Liu Kang - Shaolin monk and champion of Mortal Kombat. Just as he had bested Shang Tsung before, so too did he defeat Shao Kahn in the final battle of the Outworld tournament.
- Kung Lao - A member of the White Lotus along with Liu Kang and descendant of the Great Kung Lao, Earth's former Mortal Kombat champion. He survives in the original timeline to help defend Earth from the Outworld invasion, but in the new timeline he is murdered by Shao Kahn, who snaps his neck.
- Johnny Cage - Hollywood star and participant in the first tournament.
- Kuai Liang - Also known as Sub-Zero. He is the younger brother of the original Sub-Zero (Bi-Han) who came to Outworld to seek revenge against his brother's killer. In the old timeline, he survived the tournament and returned to Earth only to abandon his clan. In the new timeline, he is captured by the cyberized Lin Kuei and returned to the Lin Kuei temple to be augmented himself.
- Jax Briggs - A Major in the US Special Forces. He came to Outworld in order to rescue his compatriot Sonya Blade who was being held prisoner. In the new timeline, he was attacked by Ermac and had his arms ripped off, though he still survived thanks to Sonya and Sub-Zero's help and returned to Earth where his arms were replaced with bionic prosthetics.
- Smoke - A member of the Lin Kuei who accompanied Sub-Zero to Outworld. He would be converted into a cyborg after returning to Earth in the original timeline. In the new timeline, he is spared this fate only for Sub-Zero to take his place.
- Sonya Blade - A lieutenant in the USSF. Not a direct participant in the tournament, Sonya was abducted by Outworld forces in order to lure her allies into a trap. She was rescued by her partner Jax and returned to Earth with him to warn her superiors of the Outworld threat.
- Shao Kahn - Emperor of Outworld and overseer of the tournament. He only entered battle when his other warriors had all been defeated. He would fall to the Shaolin warrior Liu Kang.
- Shang Tsung - Demonic sorcerer and former master of the Earthrealm tournament. After proposing the Outworld contest to Shao Kahn, he is permitted to organize the event and has his youth and power restored.
- Kitana - Adopted daughter of Shao Kahn and heir to Outworld's throne. She is convinced by Raiden and Liu Kang to turn away from Kahn and help fight for Earth's survival.
- Jade - Kitana's bodyguard and closest friend. In the original timeline, she remains loyal to Shao Kahn until the events of the Earthrealm invasion. In the new timeline, Kitana convinces her to leave Kahn's service with her.
- Reptile - Shang Tsung's personal spy and bodyguard.
- Baraka - Ferocious enforcer and leader of the Tarkatan hordes.
- Mileena - A grotesque hybrid of Edenian and Tarkatan bred in Shang Tsung's Flesh Pits. She serves as Shao Kahn's assassin and his replacement heir after Kitana's defection.
- Kintaro - Shokan gladiator and Shao Kahn's bodyguard. In the original timeline, he took Goro's place as commander of the Kahn Guard, but both he and Goro are present in the new timeline.
- Quan Chi - A sorcerer from the Netherrealm who assists Shao Kahn only to further the plans of the fallen Elder God Shinnok. He is only present in the new timeline.
- Scorpion - Revenant ninja; in the original timeline, he discretely followed Sub-Zero and monitored his activities, choosing to protect him in secret. In the new timeline, he serves Quan Chi and fights Sub-Zero in the tournament.
- Noob Saibot - Mysterious ninja wraith. He does not participate in the tournament, but observes from the shadows and reports to Shinnok in secret.
- Kano - Leader of the Black Dragon crime syndicate. He does not fight in the tournament, rather he was captured by Outworlders along with Sonya Blade. Kano is freed when he offers his services as a weapons dealer to Shao Kahn, agreeing to sell advanced weaponry to Outworld's troops and train them in their use.