Originally Posted by Rowsdower!
a random thug mops the floor with Bats in Batman '89 and he barely puts up a fight.
The thug was randomly tough as boiled boots. That happens to Batman, at times, as you would expect. In any case, its function in the story was to create the dynamic of Batman fighting his way up The Joker's dark tower in order to save the captive princess. Remember that this was before the days of automatic sequels, prequels, spinoffs and franchises; and that Batman had not yet been shown facing a serious physical challenge. It was probably better to give The Joker a random hard-ass henchmen in the mold of Bond villains, rather than writing a character like Bane into the story in a desultory role.
Just tell yourself that thug is Croc before he got eczema.