How has one of the most revered fighting games on the planet survived for this long without the strongest Saiyan warrior? It doesn't make any sense. Super Smash Bros. has countless characters who will stand the test of time, from Solid Snake and Fox McCloud, to Mega Man and Mewtwo. There's also plenty more with the Fighters Pass DLC adding Joker, Banjo Kazooie, and the Hero, along with Terry Bogard slated to make his own appearance in the near future.
Similar crossovers have done well for other games, such as Splatoon's addition of Transformers and Spongebob, Injustice 2's inclusion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Negan in Tekken 7, Darth Vader and Yoda in Soulcalibur IV, and even Mercedes SUVs appearing in Mario Kart 8. So, where's the love for Dragon Ball?
A Match For The Ages: A Saiyan Vs A Plumber
Adding Goku to Super Smash Bros. has literally become a meme at this point. There are many in favor of it, as well as plenty who oppose it, including those who remain on the side of Super Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai. He has, since the very conception of the franchise, denounced any inclusion of the Saiyan warrior or any other anime counterpart. This makes sense, as he even relates in a Smash Boards forum called Ayumi Tachibana that neither Goku nor Iron Man would ever appear in his series of fighter games. This might be disappointing toDragon Ball Z and anime fans alike, yet Sakurai does make a good point: Smash Bros. is a video game for video game characters, not all characters.
A Manga And Anime Turned Video Game Franchise
Despite Sakurai's logical opinion, there's plenty of evidence to argue against it, as exemplified by more than 30 years of Goku and company being a staple in video gaming. Two of my own personal favorites from childhood include PlayStation's DBZ: The Legend (1996) and PS2's Budokai (2002). A common thread within Dragon Ball's video games is a fighting style similar to that of the Smash Bros. games.
Still, neither Goku nor his many friends have ever reached the likes of Super Smash. As one can see, Dragon Ball Z itself as a gaming franchise has definitively proved itself countless times, FighterZ being a prime example. Although FighterZ has literally smashed records, there remains this counterculture, one that abhors the inclusion of anime characters in general. Many argue he's too strong a character, even though the "Goku is too OP" debate has been seemingly squashed. There's plenty of ways to get around his so-called power level, given the fact that a Pokémon trainer can go toe to toe with the likes of Falco. It's not his strength or his viability as a gaming character, it's simply a fact of preference. Can Goku fit in with other Nintendo characters? I think so, but there's plenty who will disagree.
Anime and Nintendo: An Unlikely Duo
I would love to see Goku in Super Smash Bros., even if it would look a little strange. As related by CapedSuperhero90 in his post on r/DBZ:
"Sakurai and fighting characters: I should point out that Sakurai does not like already established fighting characters because he likes to create very unique movesets. Ryu and Ken are in Smash, because they're the second faces of Capcom."
This is one of the most interesting proponents in the case against the Saiyan warrior's Super Smash inclusion. It makes complete sense that Goku's movesets may not align with his counterparts in the game. It doesn't have anything to do with being too strong, even his ability to fly could be in some way extricated, given the fact that Ridley, Mewtwo, and Pit have that same ability and still have their limits. To this Redditor's point, though, if Goku is the face of Dragon Ball Z, why not add Vegeta and Trunks instead?
Unfortunately, it lands on the simple fact that they don't belong in a Super Smash Bros. game, and maybe that's the case for most anime characters in general. Given the Saiyans' blood and transformations, both of which seemingly render all potential threats obsolete, it makes sense that none of the many great Dragon Ball Z characters have yet made their Smash debut. Maybe one day Toriyama and Sakurai can get together for some much-needed collaboration, but until then, we're left with the already existing characters in the Smash pantheon.