Welcome back to BattleBots Update, last week we checked out “The Gears Awaken“, the preview episode for the new season of BattleBots coming to ABC exactly one month from today. Previously on The Update, however, we were in the middle of getting into the original season of the show on Comedy Central and we’re continuing forward with the action. Voltarc recently dealt with Bender in a cakewalk of a battle that he won by a 9-0 decision; Bender shouldn’t have even showed up. Killerhurtz tore the head off of Knome II and took a shit down its neck, and finally through the power of suggestion (and also due to being the reigning champion in its class) Minion managed to weasel out a victory over Gray Matter despite Gray Matter blowing Minion’s weapon to kingdom fucking come. This week we have a lot of robots with stupidly long names and our first taste of the middleweight division. I’m cautiously optimistic.
Oh, by the way this is the third episode in a row that has one of its fights spoiled in the show’s opening titles. Avert your eyes, etc etc yadda yadda.
This episode, like all the ones before it, starts out with Sean Salisbury welcoming the viewers and Bil Dwyer not paying attention. Bil is supposed to be the “color commentator” of the show if the credits are to be believed, yet when Sean gives him an easy setup for an introduction gag Bil just goes “I am”. Fucking hell. He goes on to make some hamfisted joke about how they’re at Fort Mason but there’s guys in sailor suits running around. I genuinely don’t understand the joke and in fact I don’t think there even is one. Sean takes back control of the show but then uses the term “neophytes” in his second send off to Bil who perceives it as a threat because he has the reading comprehension of a 5th grader. He explains the rules of the event yet again because I guess Comedy Central was taking one hell of a risk with BattleBots and they were banking on having viewers who decided to tune in after missing two episodes still needing a breakdown of the show.
Before the episode’s first match gets underway, Bil Dwyer informs us that Vancouver is in Canada. Then, the show’s smarter Bill gives us an inside peek at Pressure Drop who’s slated to be in the arena any minute now. Bill Nye drops some mad science about Pressure Drop that I can summarize thusly: it’s slow as shit and it can’t hit you if you’re directly behind it.
PRESSURE DROP vs. S.T.C. W/O REASON
Pressure Drop is one of my favorite robots in BattleBots history. It’s not my #1 favorite — that’s Abbatoir — but it’s still way up there, maybe at like #2 or #3; I used to have a shitty bootlegged version of its front logo blown up as a poster at one point. I’ve already wasted a few jokes about this robot thanks to Bill Nye’s breakdown so I guess I can share some trivia about the robot instead; Pressure Drop is technically the reigning middleweight champion. Sort of. Most of the robot, namely its weapon system, was recycled from builder Derek Young’s previous robot Son of Smashy which was the “Kilobots” class champion at BattleBots’ first non-televised event. So there you have it, the “current champion” if you bend some definitions and squint really hard. Also, if you’ve read the other articles on this website then you probably know how this fight ends because I named one of my BattleBots season six awards after it. Try to act surprised anyways.
Subject to Change Without Reason is a massive pile of shit because there isn’t a single aspect of this robot that’s not a fucking chore. Randy Eubank’s pride and joy has a name so long that both the show’s editors and I had to truncate it in order to get it to fit in our respective projects. For all the shit I gave some of Robot Wars’ contenders for coming up with stupid acronyms for names at least they were that: fucking acronyms. Mark Beiro doesn’t even get the fucking arena introduction for this robot correct because he thinks its name is “Without Reason” and that the “Subject to Change” part is just a small footnote that the robot’s name could possibly change at some point between check-in time and fight time. In the end, for all this trouble of a robot whose name is a fucking sentence, what do we get? A shitty wedge. God damn it, Randy.
The match begins and Pressure Drop ever so slowly starts to tip toe out of its starting square. It doesn’t even make it fully out of the red square before Subject to Change Without Reason is already in its face trying to run into it. Subject to Change Without Reason manages to somehow miss its mark despite the fact that for all intents and purposes Pressure Drop is a static object. Subject to Change Without Reason keeps on the attack and is able to get underneath Pressure Drop but can’t seem to push it around likely due to the fact that Pressure Drop is too heavy because of its weight bonus as a walker-bot. Speaking of static objects, Subject to Change Without Reason decides to shit the bed and straight up dies in the middle of the arena while its driver says “oh shit” on national television. Sean tries to cover it up by saying “oh shoot” but I think that was more for Bil Dwyer’s sake because you know how toddlers get when people start cussing.
Pressure Drop is only a couple yards away from Subject to Change Without Reason but watching this robot walk over to its dead opponent feels like it takes a god damn eternity. It can’t even actually get over there in time before the referee calls the fight in its favor but Derek Young doesn’t seem to give a shit because Pressure Drop whacks its opponent a full five seconds after the official buzzer. Ten seconds if you start counting from the ref’s whistle instead. Pressure Drop’s referee starts giving Derek Young the “are you fucking retarded or something” talk and while this is going on I think it’s a good time to point out how poignant Mark Beiro’s initial introduction of Pressure Drop was. “He fights like hell until the final bell.” Apparently even after the final bell, too.
Bil Dwyer calls Derek “Dirty Derek Young” while a Sklar pretends he’s on Hard Copy and gives Derek the business. Meanwhile, Randy Eubanks does his best impression of a sassy child and the censors bleep a “shit” that isn’t really there. The real MVP’s however are the show’s editors who threw in a special “robo-lo-blows” category either because this is a “comedy” show or because they just don’t give a fuck.
WINNER: Pressure Drop, KO
SHAFT vs. MOUSER MECHA CATBOT
While briefly introducing Shaft, Bil Dwyer mentions it’s close to his heart. I’m not sure why or anything, but the same just so happens to apply to me. For reasons unknown, this robot was one of my younger brother’s favorites and he built a far-flung replica of it a long, long time ago. Me? I just see a mobile letter “H” with a fucking carrot for a weapon. Also of note is how absolutely terrible Shaft’s drive system is; Shaft’s motors are mounted externally from its chassis and to make up for being completely unguarded Shaft’s builder Rik Winter decided to wrap his robot’s motors in fucking foam. So really, Shaft’s drive system is still completely unguarded. If this was Ziggo he was facing Rik would be irrefutably fucked.
Mouser Mecha Catbot has a bit of a funny story behind it, one which I hope to be able to tell in the coming months/years here on The Update as we hopefully get to go through all of BattleBots’ history. We join this story in progress with the “Mecha” version of what might as well be called “Anthrocon: The Robot” because at a previous untelevised BattleBots event a little-known lightweight by the name Executioner used its chainsaw to cut this ridiculous robot’s fucking face off. That’s why there’s a Terminator-esque robot face as part of its paintjob and also why it was renamed from “Mouser Catbot”. Can you believe that shit? Most people just put a “2” at the end of their robot’s name and call it a day. Anyways, Mouser Mecha Catbot laid the groundwork for future heavyweight Counter Revolution by having a disc in the front and back of its design and incorporating a side-tilting lifting arm between them. That’s literally Counter Revolution’s exact design. Imagine that.
Mouser Mecha Catbot is the early aggressor and makes its way across the BattleBox while Shaft tries to figure out the appropriate amount of acceleration needed to make it up and over one of the Hellraisers. Failing this, Shaft turns its attention to Mouser Mecha Catbot who’s decided to park itself precariously close to the Killsaws. Shaft lines up a shot and charges forward with its spike and manages to get part of its green frame stuck in the lifting arm of its opponent, the top of which has a website URL on it that’s literally impossible to read but I’m fairly certain ends with “/mouser.htm”. It really was a different era of the Internet back then, christ. Bil talks about Shaft’s “cold-rolled steel spike” which is quite visibly not even sharp while Sean mentions how driving skill really comes into play during lightweight matches.
I skip over a lot of what the commentators say sometimes, but I feel like Sean’s fixation on driving ability is worth pointing out just this once. Not because this is the second time he’s brought it up in just this bout alone, but because Shaft decides to demonstrate the total opposite of that and drives over the fucking Killsaws which visibly shred parts of its foam “armor” and send a chunk of its left front wheel flying off. You were saying, Sean? With some of its wheels visibly slanted now, Shaft careens over toward Mouser Mecha Catbot once more and ends up taking another ride on the saws. Just to spite Sean’s talk about driving skill, Mouser Mecha Catbot takes a ride of its own and gets thrown over near Shaft. Realizing neither of these builders know what the fuck they’re doing, Sean hypothesizes that this was a strategic play by Fon Davis to get his robot closer to Shaft. Bil calls bullshit, and for once I agree.
Shaft puts Mouser Mecha Catbot into the wall and gives us a better view of the web address printed on the robot’s lifting arm. Nope, still no fucking clue what it says. Shaft is having a grand old time plowing into its furry opponent like a maniacal Bad Dragon toy and keeps getting its frame caught in Mouser Mecha Catbot’s lifting arm. Sean questions the efficacy of Shaft’s weapon, ignoring the fact that literally just last week we saw a goddamned super heavyweight with a spike obliterate someone’s weapon. Sean also thinks Mouser Mecha Catbot has metal armor for some reason, so I guess that’s one point for Fon Davis’ paint job and zero points for Sean Salisbury. Shaft gets nudged over by the Pulverizers and we get another good look at how truly awful they are this season. I guarantee the person reading this article right now can swing a sledgehammer harder than that. Bil Dwyer makes a Judge Judy reference because it’s in his character to be as antagonistic as possible.
As the battle continues onward the damage done to Shaft’s drive system becomes a bit more apparent. Through a combination of crap armor and tire damage, but mostly due to being built like a piece of shit, Shaft becomes unable to free itself from atop its opponent. Sensing this, Mouser Mecha Catbot takes this time to get a little extra hazard damage in before popping Shaft one last time before the buzzer. As the fight recap plays Bil Dwyer exclaims he’s a “numbers guy” after naming some numbers. This is why it’s important to stay in school. In yet another case of “the judges weren’t watching the same fight we were”, Shaft is eliminated from the tournament.
WINNER: Mouser Mecha Catbot, 6-3
After the break Bil makes another joke about the stock footage of San Francisco they keep showing. I really don’t get why there are so many establishing shots of the city for this event when the fights themselves are taking place in what looks like the back of a Sam’s Club but whatever. Sean talks about how the matches we’ve seen thus far were “controversial” when in reality it’s mostly just one fight being controversial and the other fight more or less being a pretty good example as to why you should read someone’s resume before giving them the judging job. Pressure Drop’s cheap shot and Randy Eubanks’ ensuing salt tornado were more than enough controversy for one fight though, so I’ll agree with Sean on technicality.
As the two hosts get ready to introduce the episode’s final match Sean comments that Vlad the Impaler may be “the best ever in the heavyweight division”. That’s saying a lot considering even though Vlad is the reigning heavyweight champion it’s entering this event with a 7-2 lifetime record and out of the two BattleBots events before this it only won one of them. Biohazard, the only other heavyweight champion, had a fight record of 6-1 which is better in terms of win percentage. “Best ever” is a bit disingenuous to put it lightly but I guess they’ll do anything to make this next match look like fucking Foreman vs. Ali. Bil chimes in that there’s “speculation” that Vlad will move up to the super heavyweight class, completing this bullshit boxing analogy.
As Gage’s builder segment gets underway we first only hear his voice, and judging by his voice something isn’t quite right; Gage speaks with the canter of someone who can identify every single part of a train with intimate detail. Upon putting a face to the name it’s not uncommon for you to go “oh hey I bet this man knows the location of at least one dead body that the authorities are still looking for”. For some reason, Gage is joined by someone who I think is Don Vito from Viva La Bam. As the segment progresses however, I’m beginning to think this is less about Gage and more about his buddy; there’s literally a section called “A BRILLIANT THINKER” where all Gage says is “Gregg thought to make the forklift pneumatic” and boom, brilliant thinker. (Also avert your eyes because the editors show a clip of a fight that spoils the outcome of this one. Thanks, assholes.)
The sections of this segment start to get even more batshit crazy when another one is literally just devoted to Gage saying “he taught me everything about CO2”. That’s it, that’s literally the end of that bit. Finally, we find out Gregg doesn’t even give a shit about Vlad the Impaler anymore. He only cares about winning.
Hey Gregg, fuck you buddy.
VLAD THE IMPALER vs. TAZBOT
During the previous builder bio we learned a lot about Vlad the Impaler…’s co-builder Gregg Walker. We actually learned fuck all about Vlad the Impaler other than the fact that Gage Cauchois has a hard name to spell and owns a miniature version of his robot that he plays around with when he’s bored. Vlad the Impaler is the reigning heavyweight champion and closely resembles a rectangle with a stupid amount of ground clearance. That’s apparently all it took to be the champion back then. Vlad the Impaler’s primary mode of attack is a pair of pneumatic lifting forks that were almost electric-powered HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR GREGG WALKER TO COME IN AND SAVE THE DAY.
Tazbot is what I like to call “engineering just for the hell of it”. Tazbot’s builder Donald Hutson would eventually go on to compete in ABC’s BattleBots reboot with Lock-Jaw and then hit someone after the buzzer because he saw Pressure Drop do it about 8 minutes ago. For some reason Donald defends Tazbot’s design as something other than a complete joke and I just don’t fucking get it. Not only does Tazbot look like some shit from a cut-rate Hanna Barbera cartoon, its weapon is a swiveling lifting arm which is about the most ridiculously useless thing that you could possibly conceive. What happens when you lift someone up when they’re 90 degrees to your left? If you turn to face them your lifting arm goes with it and you lose them. You gonna tell me “I’ll turn left while I turn the lifting arm right”? That’s some rub your belly and pat your head shit right there.
Vlad the Impaler is supposed to be the heavyweight champion but I guess its weakness is stupid lifting arms because the robot is only barely able to get leverage on Tazbot before getting raised completely off the ground by its opponent’s measly little arm. Sean ponders whether or not the arena saws will be able to do any significant damage to Vlad the Impaler. I guess he wasn’t paying attention when they showed the polycarbonate underside of the robot in that builder bio. Yes Sean, if Vlad the Impaler sits on the Killsaws like a dumbass it’ll get destroyed. Speaking of sitting on the Killsaws like a dumbass, Tazbot is in a prime position to get Vlad the Impaler to do exactly that, but manages just one booty blaster before losing its grip. Bil Dwyer’s commentary consists of calling this fight a “box against a fox”, which leads me to believe that Bil has never seen a fox before. Ever.
Tazbot has managed to be a kidney stone-shaped pain in the ass for the entire fight thus far, but Vlad the Impaler is finally able to spin the fight in its favor and doesn’t just lift Tazbot off the ground, it topples Tazbot over completely. Just to add insult to injury, Vlad the Impaler performs its signature finisher — the box rush — and slams Tazbot into the wall. This rights Tazbot, but that doesn’t really matter all that much because Gage is pissed off and his buddy Gregg is just dawdling around laughing at everything like he lit one up before the match. This only can mean one thing: Tazbot is absolutely fucked. With all the focus and determination of someone who could probably watch How It’s Made all fucking day, Gage Cauchois promptly upends Tazbot a second time and this time Tazbot’s lifting arm shorts out and dies.
One of the commentators takes this time to make a Cheech & Chong joke, and it’s not the commentator you think it is. Bil, in his usual nonobservant nature, hypothesizes if that was a smokescreen because Tazbot “looks fine”. Yeah dude, its goofy ass lifting arm is frozen in an upright position. Looks fine to me too. Vlad the Impaler tries taking Tazbot into the wall again but misses, clipping the spikes at an angle instead and breaking one right the fuck off. Now with Tazbot on it’s ass, Vlad the Impaler lets the Ramrod hazards finally do their job and backs Tazbot into them, knocking it over for the third time this match. That’s it, that’s a TKO. There’s your fucking Foreman vs. Ali callback punchline.
As the fight recaps play Bil makes yet another dick joke. I swear to god I should have a counter for these things because Donna D’Errico makes a “shaft control” joke and Gage responds in a tone that suggests annoyance at having to talk to a creature whose body composition is 90% silicone.
WINNER: Vlad the Impaler, 9-0
This week’s Hit of the Week is pretty much the entire second half of Vlad the Impaler’s fight against Tazbot because nobody on the editing staff could pick out a favorite.
That’s a wrap on yet another article here at The Update, thank you for spending/wasting some time with me and hope to see you back next week! I don’t know who’s fighting next week, I could look but that would mean I’d have to stop editing this article, go check the one queued up for next week, and come back and add it here. That’s too much work. The easiest course of action is just to follow the site on Facebook so you’ll get notified as soon as it’s up!