Shang Tsung was once a shaolin warrior who was trained by the monk Bo'rai Cho. He was meant to participate in the first Grand tournament. But he soon joined the sorceress Omegis who taught him the art of sorcery and dark secrets.

Shang Tsung survived hundreds of years and tried to make Earthrealm to win all the tournaments. But after the last grand tournament he decieved Shao Kahn by revelaing him his false queen Sindel who was actually a shadow priestess.

After Shao Kahn and his centaurion armies went to the Earthrealm, Shang Tsung used Mileena and Black Dragon weapons to destroy both Shokan and royal armies and bring the Tarkatans to the throne.