In a battle of heavyweights, there are a lot of impressive specimens out there across the various stories that people enjoy. Trying to pit one well-known character against another is often tough since a lot of people are bound to chime in given that everyone has an opinion and, well, it’s tough to think about which version of which character is going to be used for the fight. Some might want to think that it’s easy enough to take the strongest version and pit them against each other. In the case of the Hulk and Optimus Prime, there are plenty of people that think the Hulk would stomp or crush Prime without any hesitation, but there are definitely a few that think that Prime would be able to take the fight to the Hulk and do some serious damage. It’s tough to pin down a definitive winner since the level of power that both individuals possess is immense, but one thing that many people will lean on heavily is that the Hulk tends to get stronger and tougher the angrier he gets, and there’s no guarantee that whatever Optimus can throw at the Hulk is going to have any kind of effect.
But discounting Optimus isn’t a smart move either, since the leader of the Autobots has a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to fighting difficult opponents, especially when it comes to the type of odds that would be present in a fight with the Hulk. Stating that this would be a knockdown, drag-out fight is close to the truth since it indicates that the two combatants wouldn’t be able to tear each other apart as easily as some folks appear to think. For one, even if Hulk could tear Optimus to pieces, he wouldn’t be afforded the chance that easily given that Optimus has the kind of mobility and power that could hold his own with the green giant if not find a way to exploit Hulk’s rage in a way that would make the fight take an interesting turn.
Many people would hold onto the idea that the Hulk ‘destroyed’ the Hulkbuster armor, but it’s easy enough to back them up on that point and state that no, he didn’t, at least not in the movies. Hulk did tear several pieces off of the armor, and if allowed to have his way, he would have torn Tony’s suit apart. But even Tony, with his lack of fighting experience, was able to take down Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, so it feels safe to state that Optimus, who’s basically the Hulkbuster times ten, and has millennia of fighting experience, would be able to outsmart the Hulk. In fact, it feels safe to say that Optimus would be able to take on the smart Hulk as well and gain an advantage since Bruce Banner isn’t a tactician either, meaning that Optimus could easily assess the battle and find a way to gain the advantage. There are people who would gladly remind us all that Hulk doesn’t need any added advantages since in the World War Hulk saga he was intelligent again and was savage as hell, with fighting experience and a serious ax to grind with the world.
But there’s still experience and power to get around, and Optimus has both in a large supply since if one wants to really argue about who would come out victorious and who’s faced the greater odds, trying to place the Hulk over Optimus is kind of odd since Prime has been fighting for a good part of his existence and has taken on opponents that are far superior to him and has come out the other side battered and beaten, but still alive. The Hulk has done the same, which means, as I’ve said, that this wouldn’t be an easy fight for either combatant. Picking a winner isn’t nearly as easy as people make it out to be, since trying to justify why one of them would win over the other is nowhere near accurate enough when trying to determine a winner. The best answer really is to say that once the two learned that they were on the same side, more or less, they would come to value each other as allies. But in a deathmatch situation such as these bouts usually are, the edge doesn’t belong to either of them right away, since Hulk will do his best to close with Prime to do the most damage possible, while Optimus is able to keep the Hulk at bay just enough to search for a weakness. Unfortunately, finding it wouldn’t be easy, which might mean that Optimus might need to lean on the Matrix of Leadership if it’s in his possession. If the Matrix can tank a being such as Unicron, it might do serious damage to the Hulk or at least slow him down enough so that Prime could find a way to end him for good. It’s a thought anyway.