Many rivalries have been established in Cobra Kai and season 5 can explore each of them in a distinct way. Through four seasons the theme of rivalry has been at the center of Cobra Kai – a direct consequence of The Karate Kids legacy. Whether for karate disputes or for much more complex reasons personal feuds are one of the most if not the most used plot lines on the show. Obviously for a story based on a sport competition and rivalries naturally come with it. However the problem for the Cobra Kai characters is that their rivalries often lead to negative effects on their lives and the lives of their friends. Not only that thanks to senseis like Kreese and his strike first Cobra Kai mentality those personal affairs are used to justify terrible actions and start major conflicts. Cobra Kais iconic school fight and the LaRusso home invasion are perfect examples.
From senseis to students almost every character in Cobra Kai has their own rival. Some of those rivalries are restricted to the mat while others are played out in the characters everyday lives. With feuds like Miguel and Robbys going for almost the entire show Cobra Kai season 5 may be the time for some characters issues with each other finally be resolved.
Johnny vs. Daniel
Cobra Kais original rivalry – the one that has been carried since Karate Kid. At this point being always at odds with each other seems almost like an automatic behavior for Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. While Cobra Kai season 3 had promised that those two would finally work together season 4 proved that it would not be that easy. From their first lesson together in the mission to stop Cobra Kai Daniel and Johnny reminded audiences why almost 40 years later they still cannot stand each other. For every step forward taken two steps back followed. Whether due to disagreements in karate or personal philosophies LaRusso and Lawrences rivalry grew in Cobra Kai season 4 rather than diminishing. However after the disastrous results of the All Valley Karate Tournament it seems the time has finally come for Daniel and Johnny to leave their rivalry behind.
Thanks to their constant bickering Daniel and Johnny had to watch among other things Miguel give up the fight and Sam lose to her biggest rival. Not only that they will now have to tolerate seeing the Valley getting filled with Cobra Kai dojos headed by Terry Silver. Shortly before Sams fight with Tory Daniel and Johnny admitted that they had screwed up and that they had to actually work together for Sam to have any chance against Tory. Daniels daughter lost the fight but her two masters could continue with that collaboration going forward. That said Johnny is now heading to Mexico to try to find Miguel while Daniel is teaming up with Chozen to continue teaching MiyagiDo. At the beginning of Cobra Kai season 5 Daniel and Johnny will likely be separated – something that could help them work better together later on.
Miguel vs. Kyler
The first rivalry between Cobra Kais original characters to be established in the show. Kyler was Miguels bully thus being the primary reason why Miguel got into Johhnys Cobra Kai. Those two had a rematch in season 3 with Miguel defeating Kyler despite still recovering from his major injury. Now that Miguel does not perceive karate as the most important thing going on in his life and that Kyler has become more of a comic relief than an actual villain there may not be much of their rivalry in season 5. That said Miguel and Kyler will probably never get along very well.
Miguel vs. Robby
Miguel and Robbys rivalry is the perfect example of a dispute that goes far beyond karate. In fact the conflict between those two ways started before they fought each other for the first time. From the moment Robby saw Johnny give Miguel a very special Cobra Kai gi he started picturing his fathers student as a possible replacement that Johnny had found for him. It was because of the jealousy of the relationship between Johnny and Miguel that Robby decided to get close to Daniel LaRusso all as a way to make his father upset. As if that was not enough the love triangle between Robby Sam and Miguel ended up making the rivalry between Johnnys son and pupil even more personal. The school fight took their conflict to the next level and brought major consequences for each of them. Even after that Robby and Miguel continued to be two polaropposite rivals especially after the latter got back with Sam.
Robby has been acting out of jealousy and resentment for quite some time but the end of Cobra Kai season 4 showed that he is ready to change. Upon his All Valley loss Robby revealed that he is tired of blaming Johnny for everything and thats a major step in his character development. If Robby finally works things out with Johnny then he could also be ready to make amends with Miguel. A possible friendship or collaboration between Robby and Miguel two of Cobra Kais best fighters and most important characters is a possibility too good not for season 5 to explore.
Hawk vs. Kyler
Similar to Miguel vs. Kyler Hawk vs. Kyler is a rivalry born in the prekarate era when Miguel Eli and Demitri could not defend themselves. However the confidence boost Hawk gained ended up making him a bully himself to a point where even Kyler was scared of him. Season 4 flipped that relationship once more by having Hawk unsure of himself and Kyler calling him lip again after all that time. However now that Eli/Hawk has joined Miyagi Do and has finally found himself he probably will not care about being scarier or tougher than his old bully.
Sam vs. Tory
Along with Miguel vs. Robby Sam vs. Tory is Cobra Kais most complex rivalry. Just like the relationship between Miguel and Robby the conflict between Sam and Torry goes far beyond karate. The two disliked each other upon their first meeting and from then on grew to be opposite polar on almost every matter. After season 4 revolved a lot around these two characters conflict Cobra Kai season 5 has the option of either doubling down on that storyline or finally having Sam and Torry working their rivalry out. Sam is obviously upset for having lost the tournament but Tory is frustrated by the match being rigged and may not feel worthy of her victory – thus being more open to making amends with Sam.
Hawk vs. Robby
Hawk and Robby do not have a personal conflict as strong as others rivals mentioned but they do have a history in terms of karate. In season 1 Hawk got disqualified in the tournament after attacking Robby from behind. In season 4 Hawk beat Robby to become the champion. While Cobra Kai season 5 will probably not have another tournament Robby and Hawk could later fight each other again and settle this dispute between some of Cobra Kais best fighters – perhaps in a more sporting way.
Kenny vs Anthony
Cobra Kais most recent rivalry. While Anthony was the original bully Kenny is now under Kreese and Silvers direct influence – and that sets him on a very dangerous path. Given how this conflict has just been introduced it is possible that Anthony and Kennys feud will still get a lot worse on Cobra Kai season 5 before it can actually be resolved.