Last week on The Update we were rewarded with a lightweight rumble after having to “patiently” sit through DooAll and SLAM trading paint for what felt like hours and watching along with Biohazard while all the air slowly hissed out of Mjollnir’s wheels. The quarterfinals are starting this week and out of the six robots competing tonight we’ve somehow managed to avoid seeing two-thirds of them. Going by the bill for this episode though, it should hopefully be an interesting one.

I don’t think I need to say this again, but since I made a call-forward joke last week I guess I’m obligated to. This is the sixth episode in a row that has one of its fights spoiled in the opening credits.


I’ve noticed that the introductions to these shows is getting a lot less drawn out. Hopefully by the time we get to the semifinals I’ll be able to stop this little section that appears after the article opener and before the first fight. Until then I need to backtrack and shit on Bil Dwyer who just said Biohazard is undefeated. Actually dude, Biohazard lost to Vlad the Impaler (THE BEST EVER HEAVYWEIGHT) at the BattleBots event before this one. Fuck you for making me do the stereotypical “actually” nerd thing too, by the way. It was nice of Sean Salisbury to play you up as having an “encyclopedic” knowledge of the sport but I just salted your three-pointer. This is my court.

Bill Nye shows up to give us the lowdown on Voltarc, a robot we’ve already seen before and as such already know how it works, and explains the design of its lifting arm. Thanks Bill, and here I was expecting another lecture on a fucking wedge.


VOLTARC vs. BIOHAZARD

VOLTARC

Team Voltarc

Weapon: Wedge w/ lifting arm

BIOHAZARD

Team Biohazard

Weapon: Lifting arm

THIS IS NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

THIS IS NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

Voltarc has made it to the quarterfinals by eliminating Bender in a 9-0 judges’ decision. Bender might as well have not even bothered to show up for that match, because if that were the case maybe the match would’ve been a little bit closer. Shoutouts to whoever wrote Voltarc’s introduction for this bout because it is literally the worst fucking thing I have ever heard. Pulling out random words that rhyme is fucking shameful, dude. Who the fuck do you think you are, Jonathan Pearce? Also, shoutouts to whoever it was at BattleBots that printed out the WordArt signs to give to random people in the audience, because I refuse to believe there are two people in this world with exactly the same personality flaws that would drive them to not just create two identical “VOLTARC” signs but also bring them to the same event and sit two rows apart from each other.

On the other end of the arena is Biohazard who also made it here by beating their previous opponent, Mjollnir, in a 9-0 judges’ decision. Biohazard also took out Blendo, Jamie “Mythbusters” Hyneman’s robot, in an untelevised round because I guess this season of BattleBots was filled to the brim with spinbots that don’t fucking work. After Mark Beiro introduces Biohazard we get some hot trivia from Bil Dwyer about how Carlo Bertocchini spends all of his time in the garage working on his robot because Biohazard cost about as much as a luxury car to build.

Pretty much the rest of the fight.

Pretty much the rest of the fight.

Biohazard lands the first hit of the match and immediately gets to work on lifting Voltarc, however since Voltarc’s chassis is virtually smooth on every single surface there’s no purchase to be had and Voltarc falls off the lifting arm. Sean starts talking about how Biohazard has the upper hand in this fight due to its anti-wedge skirting, and because Sean had to mention it that means it’s going to stop working. Biohazard promptly rides right up on Voltarc’s wedge and gets jammed up stuck there. I’m assuming there’s a combination of Biohazard driving against Voltarc and Stephen Felk not wanting to fuck this opportunity up, because right now this is Voltarc’s match to win but it’s not doing a goddamned thing. Voltarc finally pulls a 180 and puts Biohazard on the Killsaws for some superficial damage before Sean mentions that as per the event rules you can only pin or hold an opponent for 30 seconds before you have to back off. We’ll get back to this in a second.

Bil, not really paying attention as usual, comments that Voltarc isn’t needing to use its lifting arm in this scenario even though we see a camera angle that immediately proves otherwise. While Voltarc takes Biohazard to a new set of saws we see that Carlo has a team of doctors on standby for the level of buttmad that’s about to be unleashed. Meanwhile, since this fight has taken a turn for Snoresville, Sean Salisbury pounds on the panic button to summon the little insert of Stephen Felk to appear and talk about how robot combat is basically guilt-free violence. Yeah, like that Tom Talbot dick said last week, it’s great that these homeless robot building bums are fighting in the arena instead of stabbing children in the throat or whatever the fuck he was rambling about. Anyways, Felk shows up and starts talking like a crazy man and before you know it he’s filled 16 seconds of air time.

Just in case you thought I was somehow fucking with you.

Just in case you thought I was somehow fucking with you.

I’m not a mathematician or anything, even though I’ve had to whip out math in almost every article so far to make a punchline, but I’m pretty sure Voltarc has had its arm down Biohazard’s pants for longer than 30 seconds. Are we going to get a call on this? No? Just a shot of some guy with the douchiest hair possible who isn’t Bil Dwyer? The 20 second counter appears on screen to let us know the match is almost over and that Biohazard has been on Voltarc’s wedge for about two minutes and fifteen seconds. That factors out to 135 seconds. Now, again not a fucking math wizard here, but I’ve done some research and found out that 135 is a bigger number than 30 meaning somebody has fucked up at an inconceivable magnitude and by the end of the fight has allowed Voltarc to hold its opponent for five fucking times the allowed duration.

Stephen Felk doesn’t seem to give a shit, though, and clips the camera’s microphone audio by screaming like Marv from Home Alone being electrocuted. He tells Donna D’Errico after the fight that he was nervous because he had made some changes to his robot before his last fight (against Bender) and they “didn’t work”. Dude, you fucking rendered Bender’s weapon useless in like twenty seconds and ended up winning 9-0, what part of this translates to “not working”?

Carlo wasn’t available for commentary after the fight because he was too busy smashing every single piece of equipment at the judges’ table.

WINNER: Voltarc, 9-0


SINISTER INTENT

As the show comes back from commercials one of the people shooting B-roll managed to convince a biker to say “Mechadon kicks ass” while on his way to commit a hate crime, so let’s learn a bit more about Team Sinister, the builders behind Mechadon.

Lookin' good, La Machine!

Lookin’ good, La Machine!

Somewhere, deep in an episode of Hoarders, Mark Setrakian and Peter Abrahamson are lurking around and talking about how they create special effects and animatronics for movies while the editors roll a bunch of public domain footage of 1950’s sci-fi films because Comedy Central couldn’t get the rights to air clips from the actual movies the guys in Team Sinister work on. For example, Mark Setrakian built the giant monkey in Mighty Joe Young. They couldn’t afford to show footage from fucking Mighty Joe Young. Either BattleBots was put together on the thinnest of shoestring budgets or the people who own the rights to Mighty Joe Young have hilariously overvalued their retarded gorilla movie.

Bill Slater, the guy who owns the hoard that Team Sinister is picking through, informs us that he is terrorized by Mark and Peter on a regular basis because they are always building their evil sex robots or whatever. Looking for as much footage as they could get, the camera crew prompts the two builders to start talking about random shit so Peter shows off a power switch and Mark informs us all what a “motor” is. Mark goes on to explain how Mechadon cost $14,000 to build, which is exactly how much Voltarc cost to build, so that means for the same price as their respective robots Stephen Felk could own a stupid robot spider or Mark Setrakian could own a robot that actually wins fights.

Also, for a group named “Team Sinister” the producers sure are doing fuck all to make them look, you know, sinister. They’re aware Mark’s robot is something that clawed its way out of the nether realm and feeds on blood, right?

TEAM SINISTER, THAT’S US!

I literally just vomited.


RAMMSTEIN vs. MECHADON

RAMMSTEIN

Team Ramtech 59

Weapon: Pneumatic spike

MECHADON

Team Sinister

Weapon: Steel claws

Mechadon, the only robot that fights like a car accident reenactment.

Mechadon, the only robot that fights like a car accident reenactment.

Rammstein is the flagship robot of Team Loki (Ramtech 59 when this was taped) and was built by Korey Kline, the recipient of BattleBots Update’s “Worst Rocket Scientist” award following BattleBots’ sixth season. Rammstein is a 6-wheeled wedge armed with a pneumatic spike that has conveniently broken down meaning that as early as season one the Team Loki quality that we’ve come to know and love here on The Update is already starting to peek through the cracks. Rammstein got to the quarterfinals by defeating Abbatoir which pretty much means Rammstein received a free win, yet it still somehow fucked its weapon up while doing battle against a stationary object. The cracks have widened just a liiiiittle bit more.

It’s rumored that the blueprints for Mechadon were drawn by Satan himself, penned in the blood of Nazis and written on parchment made from the tanned skin of Jeffrey Dahmer, and given to Mark Setrakian in exchange for creating the animatronics for Howard the Duck. Mechadon is a massive 472-pound super heavyweight stompbot whose method of locomotion double as its offensive weaponry. As fierce as it looks however, Mechadon really isn’t all that successful of a robot; Mark is better known as the builder of The Master, a robot which we saw several times in archival footage during our coverage of Robot Wars: The First Wars. This doesn’t stop Bil Dwyer from claiming Mechadon is “the most famous BattleBot”. Famous for what, Bil? Breaking down? In Mechadon’s total of two previous fights it actually won both of them by TKO, meaning that its opponents knocked themselves out. Prompt Critical blew up and at a previous event Ginsu ruined Mechadon’s shit but still managed to completely dick everything up resulting in Mechadon winning but being so badly mangled that it was forced to forfeit anyways. Mechadon is total shit and the only reason people like it is because we’re told to like it, so in that case you might as well rename this thing Taylor Swift.

This is what a demon cockroach looks like on its back.

This is what a demon cockroach looks like on its back.

This is Rammstein’s fight to win if they don’t fuck it up, but considering they previously lost their pneumatic spike against fucking Abbatoir I’m not exactly holding my breath here. Mechadon begins crawling from its starting square, digging into and ruining the BattleBox floor with every step it takes. Bil describes Mechadon as “dangerous and beautiful”, like a DaVinci painting rigged with explosives. For reasons unknown, Rammstein elects to back into Mechadon in order to shove it into the wall prompting Sean to comment “early and often”, ignoring the fact that “once” doesn’t exactly qualify for the definition of “often”. I didn’t bring it up, but Sean also tried weaseling the phrase into the lightweight rumble last week but I think I was too busy shitting on Iron Butterfly to care.

Mechadon gets away from the spike strip and deploys its first strategic move of the fight: flipping itself over. Bil Dwyer loses his goddamned mind and says he swears Mechadon pulled that move at the Motown special in 1985. To this day I haven’t a fucking clue what he is talking about, and nobody whom I have ever spoken with about it knows either. It’s not even an anti-joke, it’s a non-joke, and I feel like the only reason it made it into the final cut of the show is because the guy in charge of audio mastering just assumed “these guys are the professionals” and stupidly put his trust in them. After pulling its stunt, Mechadon seems to be having problems getting back on its feet. Rammstein could be scoring points this entire time but instead chooses to watch Mechadon unfold and spin around into something out of Hellraiser while Sean starts talking about how Korey Kline is a rocket scientist and he’s in the Guinness Book of World Records. Haha, not anymore dude. What a great callback. I’m glad I needlessly picked on Korey during season six.

The inevitable fate of any robot with 4,000 moving parts.

The inevitable fate of any robot with 4,000 moving parts.

Even though Bil Dwyer literally dropped some rocket science trivia on Korey before the match started it’s taken him this long to put two and two together. He finally makes the connection and pretty much says “wait a minute this motherfucker builds rockets but he can’t fix a pneumatic rod?” It’s a late remark but I still give credit for it, that’s Bil’s one “win” for the episode. Sean, unable to spin from a direct insult, instead plays upon the usage of the word “fix” and says “Rammstein is fixing this match” which means he’s unintentionally implied that Korey Kline is cheating. I’m sure we all know nobody is actually cheating here, but can you imagine the thought process that goes into thinking you have to cheat against an opponent who’s method of attack is imitating a broken Slinky?

By this stage in the match Rammstein has finally accepted their free win and starts indiscriminately pounding Mechadon into the wall, breaking one of Mechadon’s linear actuators in the process. Being a robot with a bunch of unnecessary moving parts that are still required for the robot to be able to move, this damage has pretty much rendered the demon spider robot incapacitated about six feet from where it began the fucking match. No amount of camera cuts and idle chatter can make this fight pass any more quickly, and even worse it seems like the editors haven’t provided any footage for the panic button! With just a few seconds left in the match Mechadon manages to wrap two of its claws around Rammstein and pick it up off the ground. Bil starts freaking out saying that Mechadon can turn it around now, assuming that one shitty grapple can override nearly three minutes of being repeatedly kicked in the dick.

WINNER: Rammstein, 8-1

I’m convinced the single point given to Mechadon was awarded on the merits of its appearance, something Sean actually agrees with, unless one of the judges seriously thought the walker’s stupid Motown roll was worth a strategy point. One of the Sklars meets up with Korey from the Rammstein team and cracks what I think is a Holocaust joke. Fucking hell.


ALPHA RAPTOR vs. TENTOMUSHI

ALPHA RAPTOR

Team Raptor

Weapon: Lifting arm

TENTOMUSHI

Robot Action League

Weapon: Capturing dome w/ saw

FUCK

FUCK

Long before Ghost Raptor, before boxes stuffed with nets, false bravado, and non-copyright infringing Roomba imitations there was Alpha Raptor. A long and distant cousin of the ill-fated helicopter blade-wielding garbage fire that was Ghost Raptor, Alpha Raptor debuted in the lightweight division sporting a quick drivetrain and a compact lifting arm. Alpha Raptor advanced to the quarterfinals after taking out Cereal Box Killer and Dr. Inferno Jr. either because Chuck Pitzer has built a solid robot or because Bob Pitzer is one of the BattleBots judges. No, really, he’s in the credits, you should read them sometime. Alpha Raptor also only weighs 39 pounds; considering the cap on the lightweight division was 60 Chuck could almost build two Alpha Raptors and fight as a multibot… but who am I kidding, that would be a stupid thing to do, right? Sabertooth cat.

Normally, I’d continue the “long before” analogy here since Lisa Winter was also at the BattleBots reboot, but what the fuck am I going to say? Long before stupid gimmicks and multibots? Robot Action League still does that shit. Tentomushi is a robot that the BattleBots producers really want you to like. Hell, it’s a robot that even fucking Jay Leno wanted you to like because he featured it on The Tonight Show back when that was apparently something worth watching. Tentomushi’s primary weapon, and its most glaringly obvious design feature, is the massive Little Tykes ladybug sandbox that comprises its “capture” weapon. The idea is that robots will get stuck under it and Tentomushi can then move them around the arena, which would be great if not for the fact that the design can be easily overpowered by a stronger drive system. Also, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one of these sandboxes in real life but they are fucking massive which makes Tentomushi an easy target.

It's rumored that Alpha Raptor's gaze can paralyze opponents.

It’s rumored that Alpha Raptor’s gaze can paralyze opponents.

Alpha Raptor is so eager to get its free win from Tentomushi that the robot floors it forward and smashes head first into the back of a Hellraiser, which finally clue me in as to why they exist in the first place because that was fucking brilliant. The only downside is I have to be careful how many times I drop “sabertooth cat” into this article because it’s gotta be funny for at least another five seasons. Tentomushi is able to effortlessly cover Alpha Raptor with its sandbox, however because Alpha Raptor isn’t a goddamned joke bot Tentomushi doesn’t stand a chance and ends up getting slammed into the wall while its antennae come off somewhere in between. Pay careful attention to the inside of Lisa’s robot and you might notice that its primary weapon — the saw — isn’t even spinning. All that surface area on Alpha Raptor’s plastic armor, what a horrible night to have a curse…d weapon. Speaking of the saw, Sean tries to draw attention to it by asking Bil “The Color Commentator” Dwyer about it but as usual he isn’t paying attention.

Tentomushi loses a chunk of its face courtesy of the Killsaws which gives Sean another excuse to say its name wrong for like the tenth time this episode. “Tanto-mushi” sounds like some shitty overpriced knife you’d see Cutlery Corner hocking on an infomercial at 3 am. Lisa Winter, pre-tattoos, focuses intently on this match that she isn’t winning while the cameraman gets a great shot of her hair. I can’t tell if he just sucks at his job or if he’s being a fucking creep right now, so I’m just going to say both because creeping on young girls while holding a live camera would also satisfy the requirements of the “sucks at his job” qualification. Anyways, Bil compares the Winter family to the Bush family because the Winters are of course known for starting an unwinnable and gruesomely expensive war while systematically destroying the privacy of its domestic citizens. I totally see the correlation there, Bil. (Actually wait, none of that shit had happened yet when this event took place. In that case, what the fuck are you even talking about, Bil?)

'sup?

‘sup?

Since this fight has essentially turned into three minutes of a gimmick robot being thrown around to every set of Killsaws in the BattleBox, Sean and Bil spend the last 20 or so seconds graciously dissing on Tentomushi’s design and how ineffective it was in this fight, meaning that I get to kick back for all of a third of a minute and contemplate mistakes I’ve made in my life while this problem of a battle sorts itself out. Alpha Raptor skates away with an easy win while Lisa has to go back to her sponsors at Sonic Foundry (no relation to Twilight Foundry) and explain to them why their investment in her robot somehow wasn’t a bad idea. What does Sonic Foundry make, anyway? Sonic the Hedgehogs?

Donna D’Errico interviews Chuck about the fight and compliments his robot’s design. While this is going on, the editors toss up a slow motion replay of his robot smashing into the Hellraiser at half the speed of light. Even when he wins, the curse of the sabertooth cat always rears its ugly head in Chuck’s direction. Meow.

WINNER: Alpha Raptor, 7-2


And with that, what is probably the most uneventful and boring episode of the season so far comes to a close. Seriously, the action was so lacking this week that the “Hit of the Week” isn’t even a hit, it’s just Voltarc sitting around doing fuck all while Biohazard’s skirts take shave damage from the hazards. Hit of the Week it ain’t, but “Shit of the Week” on the other hand…

Man, thank god this article is ending because I am clearly out of jokes.

We’re just a week and a half away from the debut of BattleBots season seven on ABC! Be sure your DVR’s or whatever new-fangled crap your cable provider sent you to deter from cancelling your service are set to record the two-hour kickoff on June 23rd! And, don’t forgot to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook so you get a convenient notification directly in your feed whenever I post a bunch of mean spirited jokes about how some robot built by a kid is literally the worst thing since Hitler.

– Dracophile

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