Paul Phoenix (ポール・フェニックス Pōru Fenikkusu?) is a character in the Tekken series who made his debut in the first Tekken game and since then has appeared in every game to date. He is a hotheaded, aggressive character, determined more than ever to win the King of Iron Fist Tournament to prove he is the best fighter in the entire universe. He is very hostile towards the Mishima family and everyone and anything associated with it (most notably the Mishima Zaibatsu and Kazuya Mishima) and never hesitates to show this hatred in matches.
Although he gets close several times (especially in Tekken 3), Paul has never won a tournament. Despite his initial setup in the first game as a possible rival to Kazuya, as well as his serious standing in earlier games, Paul has increasingly become something of a joke character (story-wise). This is quite obviously evidenced by the facts that he is rivals with joke characters (Kuma I and II) and that his endings have become more comedic. Nevertheless, he is among the most popular and well loved Tekken characters.
Paul Phoenix is a tough American fighter. Something of a drifter, Paul has no real career, instead making money by streetfighting and taking occasional work as a bouncer while he pursues his real passion - to prove himself to be the toughest fighter in the universe. Paul trains with Marshall Law, who would go on to become his good friend, and Lee Chaolan, and remains undefeated in battle, with the exception of a young fighter named Kazuya, who held him to a draw. When Paul hears the announcement of a King of Iron Fist Tournament, he enters, seeing the opportunity to face his old rival and prove himself to be the best. While Paul does indeed come face to face with Kazuya, he is unable to defeat him. In the process, Paul acquires a new rival - a bear named Kuma. Two years passed before news reached Paul of a second tournament; while he was again successful in defeating Kuma, he still did not prove himself to be stronger than Kazuya; this time, traffic on the Japanese highways prevented him from reaching the venue in time, forcing him to forfeit.
Paul had to wait another twenty years for a third attempt to prove himself, but when he received an invitation to another King of Iron Fist tournament, he accepted immediately. This time, Paul defeated all who stood before him, including Kuma II, the son of his old rival, and Ogre, the god of fighting himself. Returning home believing himself to be victorious, Paul was unaware that victory had once again eluded him; Ogre had not been defeated, and had morphed into his monstrous form, only to be defeated by Jin Kazama. Feeling cheated of his win, Paul enters a fourth tournament, seeking his long overdue victory. This time though, Paul was too cocky and underestimated his opponent, who was once again Kuma, and lost the fight. Humbled, Paul returned to his training with renewed determination. When the announcement of a fifth tournament reached Paul, he entered with renewed vigor. This time, Paul successfully defeats Kuma, but the fight took its toll on him and, exhausted, Paul was forced to forfeit once again.
Soon after, a sixth King of Iron Fist tournament was announced. Short of money, Paul enters and, realizing he cannot succeed on his own, teams up with his old friend Marshall Law to see if they can win the prize money together. While they did well in the tournament, they were unable to claim the top prize. Undaunted, Paul continued to pursue victory in the King of Iron Fist Tournament and entered the newly announced seventh tournament.
Paul is an extremely overconfident, muscle-brained individual who never doubts himself. This overconfidence tends to get the better of him as his ego spins out of control with the end result usually leaving Paul in difficult and awkward situations. Despite this, his arrogant attitude has never changed throughout the years and still he enters tournaments striving to prove himself to be the "best in the universe" (he means this literally, according to his ending in Tekken 5). Paul has always been portrayed as being short-tempered, albeit kindhearted, slightly dim-witted, brash, loud and totally presumptuous. He considers Kazuya Mishima to be his rival, though Kazuya tends to see him as little more than a nuisance at best. Paul shares a deep friendship with Marshall Law, despite the two's constant squabbling. Law is usually seen as Paul's mentor or advice giver, and the pair tend to end up in the most bizarre of circumstances alongside other characters. Paul is also friends with Forrest Law and Steve Fox. Paul's laziness usually results in him being bankrupt and in desperate need of money, leading him either to find temporary work as a bouncer or enter a tournament just to win the prize money to keep himself going a little while longer.
Paul is a well-built American with blue eyes, bushy eyebrows and an iconic hi-top fade hairstyle. Paul also has a scorpion tattoo on his right arm and, in Tekken 2, he also had two earrings in his left ear; these earrings are seen exclusively in this game, as they were removed for all future installments.
Main Article: Paul Phoenix/Outfits
Paul's outfits have not differed greatly throughout the series, with the two most recognizable and frequently seen being his black motorcycling leathers and his red judo gi, which he was also seen wearing with the top removed and tied around his waist in Tekken 4; it was in this same game where he was seen wearing another outfit, a more casual outfit of jeans and a t-shirt bearing a flaming skull image. Some of his outfits have differed by having noticeable embellishments, such as flames and skull logos.
Version 1: He is a hot blooded American hand-to-hand fighter who likes training and knows martial arts. He previously fought Kazuya to a draw and unilaterally considers him to be his rival. He considers his true self to be there all the more when he is fighting and he is taking part in this tournament to look for stronger opponents.
Version 2: Driven to be the best of the best, Paul travels the world in search of the perfect opponent. He is a judo expert but he is also skilled in many forms of the martial arts. There is only one fighter in this tournament who is ranked on an equal level to Paul. His name was Kazuya Mishima, whom he had once fought to a draw with. His goal is to eliminate any comparisons.
Ending Description, "Burning Heart": Paul is in his training room. He breaks a stack of 3 glass blocks with his fist, kicks two glass blocks into the air, and finally punches through a brick wall that has a drawing of Kazuya's face on it, destroying it. It ends with a close-up of Paul.
Paul has apparently no allegiances to either law enforcement agencies nor any known criminal cartels, and has been classed as a low security risk. However his hot-headed nature could yet cause problems.
Paul performed well in the first King of Iron Fist Tournament, and although he was the only competitor insane enough to challenge a fully-grown brown bear and win, he was defeated by Kazuya in a furious battle that lasted for hours. Shaking his head in disbelief, Paul left the Mishima estate and returned to New York. He found work in the south Bronx as a bouncer, where his ego and arrogance led him into numerous confrontations with unsavory characters, all of whom came off second best to his Judo techniques. After months of punishing streetfighting throughout the USA, Paul emerges ready for the King of Iron Fist Tournament 2 with overwhelming confidence, believing himself to be the strongest fighter in the world. This time, the Tournament belongs to Paul Phoenix!
Ending Description, "Hammer Fist": Paul is riding down a mountainside highway on his motorcycle when a rockslide tumbles down the mountainside and onto the road, blocking his path. Startled, Paul hits the breaks, stopping his motorcycle. Paul dismounts his motorcycle, steels himself, and slams his fist into the rock, breaking it with a single punch.
Version 1: Paul Phoenix is a fighter who is admired by young kids worldwide. He let victory escape him in the last Tournament, but has since renewed his training with vigor - he won't let victory slip away this time! Even at the age of 46, Paul has no weak spots!
Version 2: WAITING FOR THE BIG ONE. In the last tournament, Paul earned the right to fight Kazuya, but a multi-car accident on the expressway prevented Paul from getting to the match on time. He was forced to forfeit.
Despite Paul's enviable career, he has yet to win the one tournament that would mark him as being one of the true greats.
Last spring, he received an unexpected invitation to the '3rd King of the Iron Fist Tournament'. With training still a part of his daily regiment, he is still in peak condition and feels he still has what it takes to win the big one. Now thought to be 46 years old, he still has the eyes of an eagle with the strength and reflexes of a tiger!
Ending Description, "Winning Run": Paul speeds along a freeway, cutting in front of an oil-tanker. A police officer spots him and pulls him over. After much arguing, the officer gives Paul a ticket for speeding. Paul gets angry and comically kicks the dust, raising a hand to his forehead in disbelief.
Paul went undefeated through the entirety of the third King of Iron Fist Tournament and was even victorious against Ogre. Swelling with pride, Paul returned home. However, Paul's happy ending was short-lived. Unknown to Paul, Ogre morphed into his second form - True Ogre - and the tournament continued after he had departed from it.
Although Paul asserted that he was the true champion of The King of Iron Fist Tournament 3, few believed him, and even those that did eventually grew tired of his attitude. Friends and admirers slowly disappeared, and his dojo eventually went out of business from the lack of students.
One day, Paul came across a newspaper flyer announcing The King of Iron Fist Tournament 4. Burning with the desire to win this Tournament, he decides to give it his all once again to prove that he is the one true champion, once and for all. He had to win!
Ending Description: Paul is walking with a woman after a night of partying. He tells her that they will take a cab home. Paul then turns to the glass window behind him to fix his hair. The lights come on in the Marshall Dojo, and students enter begin training. As they train, Paul sees a picture of himself from his 'fighting days' on the wall. The woman, who has found a cab, calls out to Paul but is ignored. The screen turns white. Paul is then shown on his motorcycle. He takes off the red tinted glasses he is wearing and tosses them aside, saying: "Ain't my style." Paul then drives out, his fighting spirit renewed.
Tekken 5 Manual Version: Paul recognized his overconfidence when he was dealt a severe blow and lost the last tournament. He had forgotten some important lessons and strayed from the path to becoming a great fighter. He wanted to rediscover what he had lost. Two months later, he entered the King of Iron Fist Tournament 5.
Official Version: Self-proclaimed 'toughest fighter in the universe'. Paul Phoenix.
"This time I'll show them. I'm going to win this tournament!" Paul thought as he tried to contain his excitement about facing off with Kazuya Mishima, a rival he hadn't fought in over twenty years.
However, Kuma stood in his way, as always. Paul started out well against Kuma, but soon began to feel desperate because of Kuma's tenacity. Paul realized he had been overconfident when he was dealt a severe blow by Kuma and lost the match.
Reflecting on his loss to Kuma, Paul realized that he had forgotten some important lessons and had strayed from the path to becoming a great fighter. He decided to start over again in order to discover that which he had lost.
Two months later, Paul entered the King of Iron Fist Tournament 5. "I'll win this tournament and prove to everyone that I'm the greatest fighter in the universe!".
Ending Description: A space colony is shown, which Paul is using to broadcast to the aliens so that he can challenge them. Then, some buildings are shown. Paul is shown throwing a kick. The camera zooms in on a shack that is between the other buildings. Paul is inside this shack, and is shown throwing a punch. The camera zooms in on the sign on the top of the shack, which says, "Bring it on ya aliens!" Paul is then shown throwing a punch and a kick. A drawing of an alien is taped to a gray brick wall. Paul prepares to punch through the gray brick wall. He successfully does this, and all of the bricks fall to the ground. Paul raises a fist and says, "Yeah! Any time! Any place! Bring it on, ya aliens!" The scene changes to show the space colony. A large number of UFOs approach the space colony.
Paul Phoenix’s rematch with the bear called “Kuma” was fierce, and though victorious, he was utterly exhausted, leaving him unable to continue the King of Iron Fist Tournament 5.
Unable to collect any prize money from the last tournament, Paul, who was already burdened by his mountain of debt, learns that a new King of Iron Fist Tournament will be held soon.
Believing that if he won the tournament, he could finally say goodbye to his loan troubles, Paul deeply thought about ways to increase his chances of winning — participating on his own was out of the question. If he could assemble a team with someone, his chances of winning the prize money would greatly increase. And so he went over his plan with his best friend Marshall Law.
Ending Description: Paul and Law stop at nothing to win the tournament prize money. Slowly but surely, the two made their way into the final round. They had set the stage carefully, with Law having to pull off a flying kick and Paul having to dodge it. In the ring, both are ready to fight each other, with Paul saying "Let's get started". Law replies "Leave it to me. Just as we planned". The announcer rings the bell to give the signal to start fighting. Law and Paul accidentally hit each other's vital places, Law kicking Paul in the face and Paul punching Law in the groin. Both fighters are knocked unconscious and the supporters boo them. Steve shakes his head and shrugs in disbelief at Paul and Law's incompetence.
When Paul Phoenix, the golden boy of the martial arts world, steps into the ring, the excitement of the crowd is palpable. But this time, when his opponent's name rang over the arena's loudspeakers, he could only scratch his head in disbelief. It was Kuma... again!
However, Kuma was nowhere to be seen. Word went round that the bear had dropped out of the tournament. The ring announcer informs the spectators of a last-minute change to the fight card. Relieved, Paul awaits the entrance of his long-anticipated human opponent... But, however, it wasn't Kazuya as he hoped, it was a black and white bear, whose temper had hit boiling point due to Paul's behavior.
He is also present to help Marshall find a better fighter to run the dojo, and Paul claims himself to be one, but Marshall declines as it would be a bad idea for Paul to run a dojo like the last time he did, after "winning" the third tournament. Instead, Marshall put the word out that if any strong fighters wanted to try out for the job, they should come and prove their skills in combat. Challenger after challenger appeared, but none of them were good enough for either Paul and Marshall.
Ending Description: Paul celebrates his victory against his opponent which was an another bear named Panda. The audience, however, begins to boo Paul for defeating Panda. Paul is then forced to flee the arena after the crowd begin attacking him by throwing various objects at him, particularly when someone threw a sword at him.
In Marshall's ending, Paul aids his best friend Marshall Law against Feng Wei in a handicap match after the latter is overpowered by his fighting style. Paul is able to defeat Feng by knocking him out with a powerful Burning Fist after Marshall assists him in the battle. Feng however, does not accept his defeat and unleashes his powerful aura. Knowing how dangerous he is, Paul and Marshall retreat in fear.
Paul makes a minor appearance in Tekken: The Motion Picture as a participant in the tournament. At the end, he can be seen carrying Michelle Chang away from the burning wreckage of the Mishima laboratories.
Paul appeared as a playable character in Tekken Tag Tournament.
Ending Description: Paul approaches Kazuya Mishima, and the two of them square up to fight. Kuma appears from behind, and Paul turns around and punches him, knocking him to the ground. Paul turns around to face Kazuya, but Kazuya is nowhere to be seen. Disappointed, Paul kicks the floor and walks away.
Paul Phoenix appeared as a playable character in the crossover game Street Fighter X Tekken. His official tag partner is Marshall Law.
Paul appeared as a playable character in Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
Ending Description: Paul, Marshall, and Forest are on vacation in Alaska. The three all breathe in fresh Alaskan air before Forest spots a bear and says, "Dad, look! It's Kuma!" as he points at the napping bear. Marshall then chuckles, turning his head and waving his finger, responding with, "No, no, son. That's not Kuma. You see, that's just a wild grizzly bear." Forest then throws a rock at the bear and walks closer to it, believing it to be Kuma. The bear then turns its head to face Forest, roaring furiously. Forest then makes a horrified face upon the discovery that it is not Kuma.
Paul, Marshall, and Forest are then seen running away from the bear. Forest is way behind Paul and Marshall, the bear is right behind him, as he struggles to keep up with their pace. Paul yells, "Don't bring him this way!" as he and Marshall continue to outrun the bear. After running for several moments, Paul heroically turns around and abruptly gives the bear a Phoenix Smasher, knocking the bear out, thus providing an opportunity for Forest to escape. As the three celebrate and cheer, another larger bear (presumably its mother) is seen tending to the injured bear, and approaches Paul, towering over him from behind while dusting its hands angrily. The scene fades to black as the trio is heard screaming along with some growls.
Paul appears in Tekken Revolution as a playable character.
Paul appears as a playable character in Tekken Card Tournament. He plays as a tank, with his cards focusing on extremely powerful and damaging card stats but at the cost of usually losing large amounts of HP; He also doesn't draw quickly, and has very few healing cards, and those that he does have require losing HP max or for him to strike the opponent. Despite these setbacks, most players block when facing him out of fear of taking horrendous damage, so by scaring his opponent into thinking he's going to strike, he can continue drawing, and bait the opponent by utilizing mind games. It's also possible to make a deck that doesn't focus on damage, and instead focuses on his other abilities, such as gaining cards when his cards are blocked, or draining health from his opponent with a variety of cards that greatly discourage blocking by making the opponent lose HP, protection, or a card if their block is missed or won. He's great for all skill levels and poses a threat for most of the other fighters, but Xiaoyu will give him trouble since she draws faster than he does by a wide margin. Panda is another annoyance for Paul, thanks to her tremendous amounts of cards that grant her protection.
Paul is a paragon of aggression, brutal force and strong offense. His combat has a particular emphasis on raw power punches especially with attacks like Hammer of the Gods, Hammer Punch, and Burning Fist, which can do large amounts of damage. His fast sweeps and charging blows are among the best in the series and can make any defense crumble, while his juggles and wall combos are very damaging. His defense is also good; successful parries will automatically have Paul attack the opponent, and many of Paul's moves allow him to sway backwards or forwards, which can be used to dodge an attack and punish opponents.
Paul's fighting style is a personal hybrid martial art based on Judo, as can be seen by his throws, including elements of Karate, as seen in his signature powerful one punch attacks like Burning Fist, and Baji Quan, visible in his variations of Chain Leg Kicks and back shoulder attack. Paul's fighting style has probably undergone more changes following cross-training with his long time training partners Marshall and Forest Law.
- Marshall Law - Paul's oldest and greatest friend. Both are usually seen in odd and comical situations. Marshall is also his occasional mentor.
- Forest Law - Because of Paul and Marshall's deep friendship, Paul and Forest undoubtedly get along well.
- Lee Chaolan - Lee trained with Paul, prior to the events of the first Tekken. Their current relationship, however, is unknown.
- Kuma - Kuma and Paul are seen as indirect rivals of some sort. Kuma is usually seen as an obstacle for Paul.
- Kazuya Mishima - Paul has considered Kazuya to be his greatest rival. Kazuya almost always shrugs this off and considers Paul to be an idiotic timewaster, despite the fact that Kazuya usually struggles to beat him.
- Steve Fox - His friend and teammate.
- Jin Kazama - Jin gives Paul prize money after he wins the King Of Iron Fist Tournament in the Online Tekken Comic. Paul kindly remarks that he looks a lot like his father which, in return, surprises and angers Jin. (non-canon)
- Ogre - Paul defeated Ogre in Tekken 3 and returned home thereafter, being prideful of the fact that he was the true champion of the third tournament. However, Paul was unaware that Ogre had morphed into his second form, and that the tournament had continued after his departure.
- Panda - Both Panda and Paul share their hatred towards Kuma. This is evidenced when Paul cheered upon Panda turning down Kuma's offer of flowers in Tekken Tag Tournament (non-canon). Panda is also Paul's opponent in Tekken 7.
- Feng Wei - After Paul's friend Marshall Law is defeated, Paul steps in and beats Feng on his behalf. Feng, however, doesn't accept this defeat and angrily glows with a dark aura, which scares both Paul and Law away.
- Along with Heihachi Mishima, Nina Williams, and Yoshimitsu, Paul Phoenix has appeared in every single Tekken game to date.
- According to current canon, Kazuya Mishima and Kuma are the only two characters ever to have defeated Paul in a tournament. This means that Paul could be regarded as one of the most powerful or "toughest" fighters in the Tekken universe, somewhat ironic considering Paul has become more of a comedic character in recent installments. Naturally, Paul is comically oblivious to this feat
- It was admitted by Katsuhiro Harada in an interview with EDGE Magazine that Paul's hairstyle and first name are based on Jean Pierre Polnareff from Jojo's bizarre adventure.
- Paul's hairstyle is similar to Street Fighter character Guile's hairstyle, but with a taller height. In Street Fighter X Tekken Paul even recognizes this and makes a remark about the similarity of both character's hairstyle.
- In Street Fighter X Tekken, Heihachi Mishima looks at Guile's hair and ponders where he has seen that hairstyle before, referring to his previous fight with Paul.
- A running gag throughout the series is Paul's inability to fully complete a somersault when mimicking his friend Law, constantly throwing himself up in the air and falling face first onto the ground. He is eventually able to fully perform a somersault in front of Law during a win animation in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, much to both of their surprise. The Incomplete Somersault is even part of Paul's movelist.
- Paul Phoenix also bears striking similarities to Street Fighter character Ken Masters. They are both American martial artists with blond hair who wear a red torn judo gi and brown karate gloves. They also have best friends and rivals who are of Asian descent(Ken Masters has Ryu while Paul has Marshall Law). Also, Paul's hairstyle can be customized to look like that of Ken Masters.
- Interestingly, his primary outfit in Tekken 4 was carried over to Ken Masters in his latest appearance in Street Fighter V.
- Paul is the only character without an iWR attack.
- Paul sports a scorpion tattoo on his right arm.
- One of Paul's voice actors, Jamieson Price, also voiced Heihachi Mishima in Tekken: Blood Vengeance and Street Fighter X Tekken.
- Paul's ending cutscene shows him performing his Burning Fist move with his left arm, while in-game he performs this move with his right arm.
- His stage 8 sub-boss is Kuma.
- In his ending, Marshall Law's ending, and a few artworks for the game, Paul is shown with two earrings in his left ear. Since these earrings haven't been seen since then, one can assume it was an unplanned detail. If considered in a realistic manner, one could say it was a decision Paul made in his youth, which he later rethought, or that he realized they may be a weakness during a fight.
- The incomplete backflip, performed by Paul in Marshall Law's ending later became a special move and also a secret win animation for Paul in later installments of the series.
- Paul Phoenix's bosses in the Tekken Force side game are (in order of appearance) Forest Law, Kuma, Jin Kazama, and Heihachi Mishima. Aside from Heihachi, these are also his rivals in Tekken Card Challenge.
- In the rare "Tekken 3 Symphony Orchestra" calendar by Namco, Paul is seen in a black formal suit while playing the french horn.
- Paul's ending cutscene, named 'Winning Run', is also the name of an arcade racing game made by Namco and released in 1988.
- Paul's stage has a Soul Edge logo on the wall in the background.
- Paul is able to perform the Rainbow Kick if partnered with Forest Law.
- Paul's second outfit has him with flat hair, which had not been seen in any previous Tekken game. This hairstyle returned in later installments as a customization item (this customization also makes Paul slightly resemble Ken Masters from the Street Fighter series).
- Although his red karate gi is not wearable, it makes an appearance in Paul's ending when he looks inside a dojo and sees a poster of himself.
- His first primary outfit became Ken Masters' new main outfit in Street Fighter V.
- Paul has one of the few Tekken 5 epilogues where the game's final boss, Jinpachi Mishima, does not turn to dust.
- Paul's ending has a reference to his Tekken ending, in which a crudely drawn picture depicting his "nemesis" Kazuya is stuck on a wall, which is later smashed by Paul's punch.
- As of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, Paul is the only character who remains on the ground after performing one of his main throws. This throw is called Shoulder Pop. The command for this move is (2+4_F+2+4). All of the other characters automatically get up after performing one of their main throws.
- Paul has two secret win animations in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, giving Paul a total of seven win animations. They are as follow:
- 1+2: Paul kneels down, over the head of his unconscious opponent. Then, Paul hits the ground with one of his hands three times, his palm striking the ground. Each time, the camera pans outwards slightly. After the third strike, Paul gets up, raises his left arm, looks up towards the sky, and does a kiai.
- 3+4: Paul crouches slightly, and then he does a backflip and a kiai. He is unsuccessful and lands on his stomach, grunting afterwards. Then, he raises his head and his left arm slightly, while still laying on the ground.
- There is an inconsistency in his prologue, where it is stated that he entered the King of Iron Fist Tournament 4 to fight Kazuya, but his desire to fight Kazuya was not mentioned in Tekken 4 at all.
- Paul's Item Move in Tekken 6 is the ability to make his hair grow larger.
- In Tekken 3 and Tekken Tag Tournament, Paul had a pre-fight animation where he ran his hands up his hair. It was not featured in Tekken 4, Tekken 5 or Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, but it is featured in Tekken 6, although the animation for it has changed.
- In the Scenario Campaign mode, Paul is a boss in the West District, 13th Avenue.
- In the opening movie, Paul is shown fighting Bryan Fury.
- Paul can be customized to resemble Street Fighter's main protagonist Ryu and also Virtua Fighter's main protagonist Akira Yuki; all of their customizations are based on their gi.
- His avatar is used for the Trophy/Achievement, "Alien Hunter", referencing Paul's attempts to defeat a huge number of Aliens in his Tekken 5 ending.
- In the Wii U Edition, Paul has a Mario costume. Additionally, Marshall has a Luigi costume.
- Paul's Rage Art (1+2) can be cancelled by pressing b. Interestingly, if used after a launcher, it will do 20 damage.
- Paul makes a playable guest appearance alongside Marshall Law in Urban Reign, another game made by Namco and released in 2005.
- In Street Fighter X Tekken, Cody's Swap Costume is based on Paul's biker outfit.
- In Tekken: Blood Vengeance, Paul's dossier is briefly seen when Anna Williams opens a file containing dossiers of various persons of interest.