Deadliest Warrior (2009): S01E08 – William Wallace vs. Shaka Zulu


Deadliest Warrior is a 2009 documentary series in which the great warriors of history are examined for fantasy combat simulations.


Both fight for revenge. Both built an army to spill the blood of their enemies. Deadliest Warrior gets personal with a battle between two of the greatest warrior-generals that ever lived. William Wallace – claymore wielding wild man from Scotland versus Shaka Zulu whose ferocity, speed and toughness became legend.

  • William Wallace team: Kieron Elliott (Highlander Weapons Expert), Anthony Delongis (Blademaster)
    William Wallace weapons: War Hammer, Claymore, Ball & Chain, Targe & Dirk
    William Wallace armour: Chainmail, Targe
  • William Wallace statistics: Gear Weight: 40 lbs. William Wallace’s height and weight are not listed. Wallace’s lifetime of circa 1270–1305 is listed, making him roughly 34–35 years old at the time of his death; he did not die of natural causes, being executed by hanging, drawing and quartering on the order of King Edward I of England.
  • Shaka Zulu team: Earl White (Zulu Stick Fighting Master), Jason Bartley (Zulu Combat Expert)
    Shaka Zulu weapons: Zulu Axe, Iklwa & Ishlangu, Iwisa, Spit of Poison
    Shaka Zulu armour: Ishlangu
  • Shaka Zulu statistics: Gear Weight: Ranges between 7 lbs to 10 lbs. Shaka Zulu’s height and weight are not listed. Shaka Zulu’s lifetime of 1787–1828 is listed, giving him a lifetime of 40–41 years at death; he did not die of natural causes, being assassinated by his half-brothers.
  • This is the first battle between two historical individuals to be featured on the show.
  • For short-range weapons, the war hammer smashed one skull and impaled another in under two seconds. The hammer’s pick penetrated four inches into the gel skull, driving through the upper palate of the mouth and still generating enough blunt force to split the skull in half. The zulu axe was used to chop up a leg of beef, being measured at a velocity of 23 mph. The zulu axe was given the edge because of its longer reach and higher speed.
  • For mid-range weapons, the claymore decapitated three meat heads in one swing (going straight through the joints of the meat necks with precise cuts and lopping the lower jaws off of two of the three skulls), and cleanly cut into a Zulu ishlangu shield and only stopped when it hit the load cell the shield was affixed to. The claymore’s strike was measured at 310 psi, with Geoff Desmoulin theorising that a Zulu warrior behind the ishlangu would suffer at least one broken bone in his arm. The Zulu responded with quick slashes of the iklwa, managing to slice up a pig which was mounted on a zipline to simulate motion. Against the pig carcass, the ilkwa pierced a lung and severed the spinal cord. The ilkwa also managed to penetrate a sample of unriveted chainmail, stabbing into the ballistic gel torso beneath, where it pierced the aorta and stopped an inch before the spinal cord. The range of the claymore and its performance proved to be the deciding factor, giving it the edge.
  • For long range, the iwisa throwing club was paired against the ball and chain. After missing the target on the first two tries, the ball and chain successfully shattered an ice dummy with enough force to kill a human. The ball and chain struck the ice sculpture in a manner that would have crushed the windpipe and broken the sternum on a person, possibly contusing the heart. A pressure map situated beneath the ice sculpture measured the ball and chain’s force at roughly 3200 joules of energy; roughly equivalent to being struck by a motorcycle going at 16 mph. The iwisa, meanwhile, shattered a glass plate and two glass orbs at a velocity of 16 feet per second, or 32 mph. The accuracy, speed, and range of the iwisa earned it the win.
  • The special weapons test paired the Scottish targe and dirk against the spit poison of the Zulu. The targe and dirk, as a combination, proved deadly. The long spike of the targe was able to puncture a gel torso’s heart, and the dirk was capable of stabbing through the torso’s brain stem causing paralysis and death. For the spit of poison test, Jason Bartley spat in the face of a test dummy to depict its value as a distraction tactic, but the results were too questionable to give it the win. The targe and dirk were given the edge due to their raw killing power.
  • This is the shortest simulation run, clocking in at a minute thirty-nine.
  • The spit of poison is the third weapon to have zero kills.
  • According to the listed statistics, Shaka Zulu had a considerable advantage in lighter gear, by 30-33 lbs. The size differential between these two warriors is not listed. The time differential between Wallace’s execution and Shaka Zulu’s birth is 482 years.

Reenactment 8

The battle begins in a valley with William Wallace armed with his targe and ball & chain. He sees Shaka Zulu running at him and readies his ball & chain. He swings it around and throws it at Shaka, but he rolls right under it. Shaka throws his iwisa at Wallace, who blocks it with his targe, and then pulls out another. Wallace pulls out his war hammer and begins to swings at Shaka. Shaka tries to counter with his iwisa, and the two lock weapons. Wallace thrusts the targe and pierces into Shaka’s leg. He pulls out the targe and tries to finish him with the war hammer, but Shaka rolls out of the way. Shaka tries to strike Wallace with his iwisa, but Wallace blocks him again with his targe and knocks the iwisa out of Shaka’s hands. Shaka readies his Zulu axe and starts jumping around. Wallace runs at Shaka, who tries to hit him with his axe. Wallace ducks under the axe and blocks with his targe. He swings his war hammer, but Shaka blocks with his ishlangu shield and kicks Wallace away. He pulls out his iklwa and thrusts at Wallace, who dodges and swings his war hammer at Shaka’s legs. Shaka falls over and rolls out of the way of Wallace’s targe, which has become stuck in the ground. Shaka swings at the targe, preventing Wallace from picking it up. Wallace swings the war hammer, but it gets stuck in Shaka’s shield. Wallace pulls the shield from Shaka’s hands, throws it and his hammer away. Shaka rolls away and waits with his iklwa and axe in hand for Wallace, who draws his claymore. Wallace swings at Shaka’s legs, but Shaka jumps over it. He fails to land properly, however, and instead falls to the ground. Wallace tries to swing at Shaka, but is blocked by his axe. Shaka slashes Wallace’s leg with his iklwa, forcing Wallace back. He tries to hit Shaka with his claymore, but Shaka rolls away and dodges. Shaka turns around and tries to run away. Wallace throws his dirk at Shaka, who deflects it with his iklwa. He starts to climb a hill, but stops to ready his spit of poison. He sees Wallace running after him and continues to run up the hill. Shaka tries to spit the poison at Wallace as he approaches, but Wallace turns his head away to prevent it from getting into his eyes. Wallace swings his claymore at Shaka’s axe and knocks it out of his hands. Shaka then swings his iklwa and slashes across Wallace’s stomach. Wallace swings back in retaliation and slashes Shaka’s back. Shaka manages to stab Wallace in his waist, forcing him to stumble back. Shaka charges at Wallace, but he regains his balance at the last second and points his claymore upward. Shaka then jumps at Wallace, effectively impaling himself on the sword. Wallace pulls out his sword and throws Shaka’s dead body aside before giving a loud victory cry.

Winner: William Wallace.

Deadliest Warrior Series

You can find a full index and overview of Deadliest Warrior here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 26 May 2009.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 42 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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