So after some thinking in the bathroom (the best place to think), it's become apparent to me that Vegeta has inherited Piccolo's former role in Dragon Ball Super, right down to his benevolent relationship with Goku. Piccolo has inherited Tien's former role, and Tien...well Tien's still Tien.
Okay, now stay with me on this one. Before, Vegeta was always the loose cannon, the one who wanted to kill Goku when he got a chance. He only kept Goku around as motivation to get stronger. "I won't let you kill that clown cuz I reserve that right for myself" was always something he said to villains who would try to get the better of Goku. Now he and Goku are best friends in Dragon Ball Super and Vegeta has softened up considerably even compared to the Buu saga.
Hmm...I wonder who used to always threaten to kill Goku once they were done beating the bad guy to then being his mellowed out close friend? Well, you can say that about a lot of Goku's friends but Piccolo was in that role not too long ago and look what happened to him. Vegeta has mellowed out a lot in Dragon Ball Super, just like Piccolo before him, and now that he's been defanged just like the Namek was, I fear that he is destined to follow the same route as Piccolo. Just look at the facts.
Just before his ultimate combat irrelevance, Piccolo had three massive upgrades in power. The first was on Namek when he fused with Nail where he briefly became the strongest fighter, the second was after his insane training with Goku that boosted his powers to near Super Saiyan levels apparently, and the third came when he fused with Kami and briefly became the strongest warrior in the show, even stronger than Goku. That was twice in the show that he surpassed Goku. Now let's look at Vegeta's trajectory of power. He had apparently surpassed Goku in power during his fight with Beerus. Once Beerus slaps Bulma, Vegeta forces him to use 10% of his power or something like that. Visibly he seemed to give the God of Destruction more trouble than Super Saiyan 3 Goku.
That's a big jump in power from the Buu saga. Then once Goku attains the god form from the ritual, Vegeta does his own personal training with Whis and once again seems to surpass Goku during his training. I'm not sure how his power stacks up to Goku now that they've been training together, but so far that's two major power boosts he got over Goku, not counting what he got in the Buu and Cell sagas. So that follows what Piccolo did, but it doesn't prove anything really, not yet anyway.
Now this is what I fear, for you Vegeta fans. Taking into account Vegeta's drastic personality change, and his similar powerups over Goku, compared to Piccolo. I feel that he will soon be replaced by a character that will inhabit the role that he once did. It will be a character who is bloodthirsty but somewhat reformed like he used to be. It will be someone who's a fan favorite antihero, like he used to be. Someone who will be Goku's new rival. Yes, Vegeta isn't a proper rival for Goku anymore. Once you train with Goku, that's it, he's done with you as a rival. It happened with Piccolo. They lost that element of danger in their relationship, just like Vegeta has now lost. I mean look at this:
They're sitting on a couch together. Remember whose character decay came an arc after hanging out at Goku's house and partnering up with him for a driving test? If you said Piccolo, you'd be right. Unfortunately, this kills a lot of Vegeta's appeal with many of his fans, I think. Now I think many of his fans will gravitate towards the new badass on the block. My prediction is Hit or Frost. One of them will join the Z-Senshi and Vegeta will be tossed aside while Goku gets new forms and fights stronger baddies. The current Vegeta has a new sort of appeal with fans, but those other fans who prefer the bloodthristy badass who waxes poetic about battle and killing will flock to the new guy who gives them that. That's it, unless Vegeta somehow returns to his roots and sharpens his fangs again. As a Piccolo fan, I'm always hopeful that he'll sharpen his again one day, but my hope has been constantly dying out since the Buu saga. Now it looks like it'll die completely once he's thoroughly trounced by Frost in the tournament. For you Vegeta fans, I hope it never reaches that point.
The one thing that can save Vegeta
What can save Vegeta is the fact that he has an easy reason in the story for himself to stay close to Goku's level. He's a saiyan, so he can easily remain at least one step behind Goku like he's been shown to be so far. Don't count on that to save him in the end though. Remember how irrelevant he was in GT until the very end when he used a plot device to gain relevance again. Sure, when possessed by the current villain he gained a powerup to compete with Goku, but right after he was irrelevant again on his own. Also look at Gohan. Being the strongest unfused Saiyan at the end of Dragon Ball Z didn't stop him from being an utter joke in Super did it? Oh, I'm so afraid for Vegeta and his fans that it's not even funny. Unless he gets some of his "edge" back, I'm just sure he'll be relegated at best to "Goku's backup". At worst, he'll be the new Tien along with Piccolo and old Tien. Let's hope it never comes to that.
As always, thanks for the browse my glorious readers!