So this question was asked in another forum and I couldn’t find the answer anywhere so I did some testing. Sorry if this is already common knowledge, but like I said I wasn’t sure and I couldn’t find it anywhere and I was interested.
OK, I did some testing of my own and it turns out you are partly right Amano. This is what I did: I went to training mode, taped a piece of paper to the TV beneath 2P’s life bar, picked Ryu and did his Super against every character about 20 times each (with full life bars) and marked on the paper how far it took their life bar down. 1st off the amount of variance in damage taken in this game is pretty huge, that’s why I had to do it multiple times for each character and take the mean of the results. Comparing the results it’s very clear that there are 3 distinct groups when it comes to damage taken:
Zangief - he took far and away the least amount of damage, it wasn’t even close. The other two groups were fairly close but Gief takes way less damage than either of them.
T.Hawk, Honda, Sagat, Balrog, Bison, and Blanka. This group was way below Gief but a bit higher than everyone else. Their high end of damage taken equaled the low end of group 3.
Everyone else (Cammy, Dhalsim, Ken, Vega, Fei, Guile, Ryu, DeeJay, Chun-Li). They were all just a little behind group 2, again their low end of damage taken equaled the high end of group 2 so their average and highest amount damage taken possible were both higher.
Note: I did not test Akuma (no one playing seriously would ever use him anyway and it’s already obvious without testing he would be in a 4th group by himself for most damage taken).
With the large amount of randomness in damage taken it is easy for the difference in between groups 2 and 3 to not really matter much in a single match, but Gief was way above both of them and his was pretty noticable. Now remember, this was just done with one Super move, I don’t know if it also applies to normal moves and/or throws (and then you have normal and command throws).
I was a bit surprised to see Bison and Blanka in group 2 (and that Dhalsim was even with most of the characters).