Welcome back to BattleBots Update. This is the first article post-Hurricane Harvey. Normally I try to run a new article every week but as my luck would have it as soon as I bring this website back from hiatus a category 4 storm just shows up and fucking totals everything. Look, I get that I’m not that funny but I didn’t need an act of fucking God to hammer that point home. Hurricane Harvey showed up and went full Ziggo on my hometown, destroying 85% of it — including the building that I both work from and call home. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A DONATION TO HELP PAY FOR THINGS, PLEASE USE THIS LINK.
Anyways bad news aside, last Update saw the crowning of the lightweight champion: Backlash. For some reason this crowning took place in the middle of the goddamned season but as you may recall the producers of the show have been treating the lightweight division really strangely this whole time; earlier they ran the lightweight rumble before the division was even over and done with (and if you paid close attention to the robots with the most “WINNER” medals you could’ve figured out who ended up winning). Anyways that was last time, this week we’ve got quarterfinals action in the Middleweight and Super Heavyweight classes including the debut of Hazard. You’re gonna wanna sit down for this one.
OH. MY. GOD. BECKY.
Spin Orbiting Force makes its BattleBots debut in this week’s first match-up but before we get into the chaos and destruction that lies ahead we’ve got a date with Becky Winter, wife of Spin Orbiting Force’s builder Mike Winter and mother of Tentomushi’s builder Lisa Winter. Right off the bat Becky can’t remember the name of Mike’s robot and there’s some really great early reality TV era back and forth “talking head” shots where Becky shouts out “SOFO” (the robot’s abbreviated name) and Mike rolls his eyes and has to correct her. Totally not scripted. Not one bit.
Becky says she doesn’t know how to build a robot but that hasn’t stopped her from investing what I can only imagine is thousands of dollars into a massive collection of robot and kaiju toys. Like some Eldritch Kay Bee Toy store from the other side, Becky gets about a dozen of her monsters running all at the same time while the camera zooms in on Ultraman who’s just like “fuck this”. Watch closely and you can spot the crown jewels of Becky’s collection on the shelf: red and yellow M&M figurines.
Lisa shows up near a swing set grinning while her mom talks about how she’d rather build a robot that can do her household chores so she can ride her bike down to the Pokémon card store or whatever it is 14-year-olds did in 2001. Mike isn’t about catching ’em all though, he likes to break shit so to demonstrate this we get a quick shot of Spin Orbiting Force clipping the antennae off of Tentomushi while some random old lady in a lawn chair watches. Seriously, pause the video when she pops up. It’s not Becky. Who the fuck even is that? A neighbor? What’s she doing sitting in the middle of her goddamned lawn? I mean, sure it’s her lawn and she can do whatever she wants to with it but she doesn’t have a book or an iced tea or anything, she’s just… there.
Anyways Becky concludes her interview by informing us that her husband’s “dream date” is going to a nearby salvage yard to find robot parts. Rather than go to this “nearby salvage yard” the editors just recycle some footage from their earlier spot on Team Sinister’s tour of their own salvage yard because who needs to put effort into some shit that’s going to be on national television, right?
SPIN ORBITING FORCE vs. BLADE RUNNER
Spin Orbiting Force, or “SOFO” for short, (and erroneously referred to as “Super Orbiting Force” by Mark Beiro) is what you’d get if you took Lightweight competitor Tentomushi and gave it an actual weapon. Now, I don’t think there’s 60 pounds of difference between a ladybug sandbox and an arm with a saw blade on it so Spin Orbiting Force is probably packing some additional tech that I’m not aware of. The main idea of the robot is not unlike Tentomushi, however instead of using a ridiculous sandbox to entrap its opponents Spin Orbiting Force just uses the simple shape of its chassis. There wasn’t that great of a turnout for Middleweights at this particular BattleBots event so by virtue of just showing up Mike Winter’s robot made it to the quarterfinals. Fucking hell.
Blade Runner is a robot that we’ve seen before and normally you guys know how I get when thwackbots start showing up but this one is different, Blade Runner is special. Had it not been for disabling Bad Attitude in a single goddamned blow I’d be sitting here writing some snide shade about this 120 pound mistake of a robot whose builder almost named the fucking thing “Pinky”. With a literal one hit KO under its belt, Spin Orbiting Force had better play this one safe else it risks getting its flimsy ass thrashed old school style.
This match gets off to a dreadful start as neither Spin Orbiting Force nor Blade Runner wants to make the first move. “These are Middleweights,” chimes Bil Dwyer, “they’re going to be quicker.” Quicker than what exactly? A pile of fucking rocks? How about instead of talking about how much action we could be seeing let’s address the Killsaws in the back that are just belching out smoke non-stop. I mean unless Pete the Arena Guy decided to steal the pit from Robot Wars I assume that’s what’s going on back there. Both robots continue to size each other up which prompts Sean Salisbury to comment that Spin Orbiting Force’s weapon spins at “2,000 RPM’s per minute”. You fucking football dolt that’s like if I tried to sound smart by saying a field was “100 YDS yards long”. But yeah, your arena is definitely on fire and someone should probably do something about it.
Blade Runner starts to lure Spin Orbiting Force near it and whips and nae nae’s a whole bunch but fails to land any hits because Mike Winter is smart enough to know not to drive his robot into a spinning fucking hammer. We also get a much better shot of the burning Killsaws. Speaking of, Blade Runner in all its aggressive glory drives straight over a pair of them and gets flipped over with visible shreds ripped into its Kevlar armor. Spin Orbiting Force is still biding its time and fucking around. Blade Runner seems to realize this whole “stop and spin in place” bullshit isn’t working too well so it lines up a drive at Spin Orbiting Force and just plows right into it taking the robot to both a set of saws and spikes, neither of which do a fucking thing. Spin Orbiting Force gets a quick nibble on Blade Runner’s tire which causes Bil Dwyer to shit his pants a little bit.
Spin Orbiting Force also seems to throw caution to the wind and comes out swinging, crashing into Blade Runner and missing with its giant stupid arm. Blade Runner spins around and musters three straight hits onto its opponent, two of which hitting the arm. This doesn’t seem to faze Spin Orbiting Force however because once again it comes in and tries to go for the scoop and saw maneuver and of course misses fucking Blade Runner again. We get a good shot of the damage done to Blade Runner’s armor by the Killsaws which I’m going to guess that the judges mistakenly attribute to Spin Orbiting Force. It takes until the final 20 seconds of the fight but Spin Orbiting Force finally gets its first and only solid blow with its weapon and wedges its saw down between Blade Runner’s left wheel and chassis. This doesn’t appear to do any major damage, but I guess it did “enough” for the judges because they give the match to Spin Orbiting Force by a split decision. I’m not going to say I disagree with the judges, but I disagree with the judges.
WINNER: Spin Orbiting Force, 5-4
HAZARD vs. TURTLE ROAD KILL
This is it, the TV debut of Hazard. Hazard basically went on to become the Grave Digger of robot combat and by the time the final Comedy Central season rolled around you knew you were in for one hell of a fucking show when this guy showed up. Everyone’s got their origin story though, so let’s pretend like we’ve never seen this robot before and judge it on its current merits. Bill Nye gives us the inside scoop on Hazard and lets us know that like a couple of fucking hipsters Tony and Dan were busy using multiple motors to spin a weapon before doing that was “cool”. Hazard’s also only 15 centimeters tall; that factors out to only about 6 inches but doesn’t explain why the thing still looks massive in the shot of it before the jump to commercial when Dan Danknick is like “hey let’s spin the blade while I crouch under it”. Bill Nye describes Hazard as “an upside down lawnmower” and honestly that’s the best explanation you’re going to get so we might as well jump on over to the blue square to see who’s about to get their ass kicked. (PS: Hazard won its previous fight against Pegleg with a one hit KO.)
Ha. Haha. Look at this fucking thing. Turtle Road Kill is the saddest looking machine I think I’ve ever seen in the history of writing this goddamned website and that includes the time Ghost Raptor’s blade turned into a Kit Kat bar. Turtle Road Kill has no weaponry other than the shape of its chassis which includes eight stunning sides and eight amazing angles! When you dig a little deeper under this robot’s surface you find out that it was designed by the older brother of the kid who fought with The Crusher in the Lightweight division, and was built by their grandfather who also competed with Bad Attitude. Backlash trashed the Crusher and Bad Attitude sank in a single fucking hit — Turtle Road Kill is the team’s last ditch effort. God help their stupid souls.
As you’ve probably guessed by now Turtle Road Kill doesn’t exactly want to be here and spends quite a while avoiding any contact whatsoever with Hazard whose blade is, by now, spinning full fucking blast. I’m really not sure what the plan is here because no matter how you come at Hazard you’re going to get whacked and I think Gus Steyer finally realizes this and just kamikazes into Hazard at maximum speed and hopes for the best. He gets that (sort of) because Hazard digs into his robot’s face and then its blade quits working. Yes, Hazard’s legendary blade responsible for like 75% of that stupid video that plays on the BattleBots Update homepage just up and quits after a single fucking blow.
Turtle Road Kill is the dumbest goddamned robot in the world and here’s its golden opportunity to topple a king before it was ever king. Right now Turtle Road Kill could potentially fuck with the timeline of the world and bump Hazard off before it ever hit its stride. Hazard as we know it has the potential to just vanish before our very fucking eyes and rather than capitalize on this Turtle Road Kill drives over the fucking Killsaws and gets tossed across the arena. Hazard’s wedge is just too low to the ground which is amazing because that’s all Turtle Road Kill was built to be and yet they still fucked it up. After taking a spike to the back of the head courtesy of the arena wall Turtle Road Kill then gets a spike up its ass compliments of the Ramrods. Turtle Road Kill takes more shots to the face than a Japanese porn star and ultimately gets dropped off and high centered on the arena entrance ramp. The referee starts to count it out but there’s not enough time left and the match goes to the judges.
Gee, I wonder who they side with.
WINNER: Hazard, 9-0
IT SLICES, IT DICES!
Real talk, Ginsu is one of my favorite robots… for all the wrong reasons of course but that’s neither here nor there. Ginsu was built by Trey Roski and Greg Munson a.k.a. “the guys behind BattleBots”. Now, I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be allowed to participate at their own event, but it seems just a teeny bit like a dick move. I mean, they’ve got advance knowledge of the arena and its hazards (even though the hazards are a fucking joke) and possibly even advance knowledge of who’s entering which allows them a smidgen more time to devise strategies. They could use that information for nefarious purposes but I don’t think these two jokers can even think that far ahead because they literally used fucking saw blades as tires on their robot. Yes, you heard me right, Ginsu’s wheels are fucking saw blades.
This segment opens with a shot of Abbatoir, my all time favorite machine in the history of robot combat. That far off screaming you heard was me. Not only does this segment begin with The Legend Itself™ it also starts with Bil Dwyer uttering the phrase “champion caliber Super Heavyweight robots” atop the only known footage of Abbatoir to exist. I’m laughing so hard I’m basically crying by this point. Trey and Greg “size up” the competition which, to them, consists of Minion, fucking Abbatoir, Mechadon, and Ronin. Greg insists that they’ve got the upper hand on Minion because whereas Minion has just “one saw” Ginsu has enough saws that Greg lost count and forced Trey to hop in and say “we’ve got a lot of saws”.
Greg throws some mad shade on my boy and says anything with a French name doesn’t deserve to be in the sport. Bro, Abbatoir’s got bigger problems besides having a French name. Let’s just address the elephant in the room and point out that in its fight against Rammstein, Abbatoir got slammed around and eventually forfeited the match mid-fucking-fight. Greg recounts the time that they previously fought Mechadon and were “ahead on points” but still ended up losing. Yeah, what he isn’t telling you is not only did Ginsu lose the fight, it lost the fight by knocking itself out by crashing into the fucking wall at top speed. Finally there’s Ronin which Trey gleefully says “breaks down” a lot. Did you guys fucking mix up the cue cards for Abbatoir and Ronin or something?
Make no mistake, this next fight is going to be a shitshow of epic proportions.
GINSU vs. RONIN
There’s a very good reason why you didn’t see much of Ginsu in action during its driver bio segment. Just look at it, take it all in, especially the part where Ginsu literally buckles and flexes in the middle under the weight of its massive 300 goddamned pound chassis. Not one but two people thought this was a good idea. They put this thing together, set it down in the driveway or wherever, saw that the robot is basically one iota away from splitting like a goddamned iceberg and said “yes, this is what we are going to enter into BattleBots, the event that we started that Comedy Central is going to tape for national television”. For fuck’s sake, Ginsu’s actual center saw blade weapons are almost fucking touching each other. Not only that Bil Dwyer informs us that Ginsu takes three fucking drivers. HOW? HOW DOES THIS FUCKING THING TAKE THREE OPERATORS?
Meanwhile here’s Ronin in the blue square. Does that saw blade look familiar? It should, because Ronin’s main weapon saw is the same exact one that Team La Ma Motors bought four of to use as their robots fucking wheels. Peter Abrahamson was posed with quite possibly an impossible conundrum when he looked at the fight tree and saw he was up against Ginsu: how the fuck do you prepare for this kind of fight? I mean, Ginsu is sort of “free points”, but not quite because Ginsu seems just dangerous enough that if you screwed up or dicked around you’d end up losing. Peter’s best guess at what to do was to cover his robot’s tank treads in punji sticks and just hope for the best. I honestly don’t know whether or not to make fun of him for that because fuck knows what I’d do in the same situation. Good job, man.
The fight begins and you can finally get an appreciation for just how goddamned huge Ginsu is courtesy of the arena wideshot. Ginsu fights like a fucking monster truck and floors it into Ronin’s face without any regard for Ronin’s pissant saw blade. After all, Ronin has just one and Ginsu has “a lot”. The math checks out on this one, Ronin is completely fucked. Bil is on the edge of his seat saying “[driving on top of Ronin] might be a little dangerous” and Sean is pointing out Ginsu’s bent axle but you know what? Ginsu doesn’t fucking care. Ginsu gives literally no fucks. Even when Ronin’s disc gets stuck behind one of Ginsu’s wheels and pulls the chain off Trey and Greg don’t care, they don’t even notice it’s gone. They also don’t notice the second chain, or the third, or the fourth fucking chains either, nor do they notice when Ginsu loses an entire fucking weapon disc. They don’t even pay attention to when Ginsu’s front left axle is pulled nearly all the fucking way out of the machine.
Okay, so maybe they noticed that one because while Ginsu started this fight as the aggressor it’s effectiveness has been plummeting straight down with each missing part. Right now Ginsu literally has just a single “wheel” working and it gets stuck over around near the Pulverizer and arena entrance ramp. GInsu’s so goddamned big that it just can’t get out of here and opens itself up to some easy blows from Ronin’s shitty saw that barely scratches Ginsu’s paint. The ref starts to count Trey out of his own fucking show but somehow Ginsu gets its only working wheel back onto the ground and wiggles just enough to stave off the inevitable while Sean and Bil joke that Ginsu has basically been reduced to a lightweight.
WINNER: Ronin, 9-0
Not a lot of knockouts this episode despite the fact that this one featured two middleweights each with one hit KO’s this season plus Ginsu which… while I don’t think has any real knockout power I felt it could’ve done more than just fall the fuck apart the moment Ronin farted on it. Sean doesn’t announce who’s coming up in next week’s episode but I’ll spoil it for you and say it’s an episode full of heavyweights, most of which we’ve already seen before with the exception of one fight.
Thanks for checking out The Update, I apologize that I’ve completely lapsed on my weekly update schedule but I’ve had literally no choice. You guys are lucky that I had this article and its images prepared ahead of time otherwise there’d be even longer of a wait. Save for the first and last paragraphs of most articles I try to keep personal shit out of this website because you guys are here for the shitposting and fight commentaries, not to hear about my pissant problems. However, I feel like Harvey has left us with “special circumstances” and once again I’d like to plug the Donation link at the top of the page as well as BattleBots Update on Patreon. FEMA and our insurance really fucked us over and my family and I really are not getting much in the way of assistance. I lost my workshop and home, my parents’ house needs serious repair, we lost our travel trailer, the list just goes on. So I ask that if at any point I’ve ever entertained you or made you laugh, please consider pitching in. Even if it’s just a couple of bucks every little bit literally makes a difference — this site has about 2,600 likes on Facebook, if each of you donated just $4 you’d be giving us more than insurance and FEMA combined. Yeah, it’s that bad.