The process by which a villain who is extremely scary on first appearance becomes a joke after a few more appearances.
In most shows, Failure Is the Only Option for the Villains, because success would mean that the villains Take Over the World, kill all the good guys, and otherwise do things that make future episodes impossible. Inevitably, the viewers start to wonder why the heroes act concerned about an enemy that they've beaten six times already. Note that this does not apply to shows where the villains are supposed to be incompetent jokes from the start.
Most writers will try to stop this decline in menace, which sometimes helps and sometimes makes the Villian Threat Decay worse, but the fastest way to decay a villain is to make him switch sides.
Of course, you can prevent this by not having failure be the only option for the villain; let them SOME win battles, but not the war, or let their Evil Plan come closer and closer to completion while the heroes race to prevent its final success. Or, for the really cunning villain, dupe the heroes into doing what they wanted all along or benefit from them foiling the plan.
Eaither that or have the villian to manage to growing more powerful to the point where the Heroes stopped being able to defeat him with martial arts alone, and always portrayed as both scarily competent and pure evil.
An example would be Voldemort from Harry Potter. Initially described as a chilling evil Mastermind, following his official return in Book 4, his actions really caused a lot of readers to question how exactly he became the dark lord "Who shall not be named." His own paranoia was what made Harry The Chosen One in the first place, he continued to use "the killing spell" on Harry in hopes of killing him, even though it failed to kill him each and every time, and after finally having Harry at his mercy, he was somehow convinced by a simple lie that Harry really was dead by one of his minions who he had been treating like poorly.
However this is discused by Tolkien often does this deliberately in The Lord of the Rings, but still puts the less-powerful villains in situations where they can get the upper hand. Saruman goes from needing a massive army, a wizard, and more to stop him, to being Grima Wormtounge who could be defeated by a mob of angry Hobbits. Gollum is another example, he finds the One Ring to Rule Them All, and first uses it for murder and theft, but eventually crawls into a cave and uses the Ring's power to catch fish. The Ring doesn't particularly care for this.
In J.R.R Token's The Silmarillion, this is explicitly canon for Melkor/Morgoth. He starts out out-powering everything else in the universe except for God and being quite cunning to boot, but as the book progresses he is drastically weakened after squandering his power and getting his ability to transform competly lost, and his cunning goes down the drain as he goes increasingly Dangerously Crazy.
In fact, this is one of the core themes of the stories, because Evil Is Petty, it eventually loses everything that once made it great and noble