Well you guys, we’re at the end here. Summer is over and just like that it’s time for everyone to go back to reality. This week’s episode is the season finale and just so happens to be a massive two-hour special where we’ll be going from the quarterfinals all the way to the championship, plus maybe a rumble for good measure. The season finale wasn’t always an extra long special, by the way; remember when BattleBots was delayed a week because of a presidential address? Yeah, that actually had a ripple effect on the show’s broadcasting schedule because the season needed to finish airing on September 1st so ABC’s other crap could start on time. That’s why everything is smooshed together for one big ass last hurrah to send us off with a champion and a whole season’s worth of fantastic memories and experiences.
It would be disingenuous of me to not mention football while I’m here. Some of you might be wondering “but what does sports have to do with BattleBots?” Sports has everything to do with BattleBots, especially if you were living in one of the areas where the local ABC affiliate decided to air preseason football instead of the BattleBots finale. How fucking stupid of a decision is this? It’s preseason, it’s not even the real thing. That shit doesn’t even count. Literally nobody with at least half a brain gives a fuck about football unless it’s the Super Bowl, and even then you have people like me who only show up for the free BBQ and nachos and still can’t be assed to even know who’s playing until the middle of the third quarter. Look I get there’s people out there whose lives consist only of watching husky men grope each other’s asses and throw balls down a field but this was a season finale. No matter what this should’ve taken precedence over preseason fucking football.
Samantha greets us for the final time this season wearing what I think is a dress made out of the canvas from a boat sail. She introduces Chris and Kenny using some analogy that includes circles and octagons, Chris walks on and says “it’s all about shapes”. No it’s not Chris, you’re on BattleBots today not Sesame Street. Chris explains what a tournament bracket is for the Nth and last time when in reality at best the only thing we’d need explained more than once would probably be how wildcard selections worked. Kenny hypes up most of the eight robots remaining before carting us off into the first quarterfinal match.
I guess this didn’t warrant its own section. Fuck me for thinking there’d be more to the introduction this episode considering it’s the finals and all.
CHOMP vs. YETI
If you thought I was being sarcastic about calling Chomp a salt factory due to how it’s seemingly unable to stop pulling off nothing but controversial victories then I’m sure last week’s episode changed your goddamned mind. I don’t know if it was Chomp’s alleged “autonomous” weapon system or if Zoe just has amazing luck and/or reflexes, but Chomp sank reigning champion Bite Force’s weapon in literally a single blow. The champion, mind you. Greg from the Yeti team says Chomp’s hammer is laser-guided. No dude, all a laser-guided weapon is good for is an immediate KO in the obstacle course, just ask Plunderbird 1 from Robot Wars. This is far more sinister. Not only has Bite Force been dispatched by the hammer of doom, but Captain Shrederator and Disk O’Inferno have also met with terrible fates at the hand of Zoe. I don’t know if she intended to become a villain this season, but thanks to the judges and their dubious criteria for judging aggression this season Chomp has unfortunately and unintentionally grown a hatedom. Can’t we just enjoy the carnage?
Every time Yeti has entered the arena we’re reminded about how this robot is apparently on borrowed time, how the team didn’t bring spare parts, and how Yeti only made it in as an alternate because someone else fucked up and had to withdraw from the tournament. And? Your point is? That doesn’t make Greg Gibson’s robot any less of a robot. If I recall correctly I believe Yeti’s made it all the way to the quarterfinals by absolutely wrecking the shit out of all its opposition. Greg’s philosophy of driving his robot like a rental car he bought the extra insurance for has led to victories where he shut out Lock-Jaw, ripped Lucky’s flipping arm clean off, and in the highlight footage the editors play before the match Yeti caused Mega Tento’s wheels to literally fucking explode. You see that guy they cut to who’s holding up the Yeti sign? Yeah, that’s me because Yeti kicks ass. Greg has opted to ditch the lifting forks of his robot in exchange for 25 pounds of extra pure armor specifically to counteract Chomp’s pneumatic pick.
Greg mentioned in the pits that perhaps his “always aggressive” policy might bite him in the ass since Chomp clearly has the capacity to knock his robot’s weapon out in a single shot. That said, I’m assuming he just said “fuck it” before the fight started because he still just plows his robot into its opponent indiscriminately. Even worse for Chomp, Zoe manages to hook its hammer right up inside of Yeti’s drum which doesn’t do a goddamned thing this time. Bite Force shit the bed when the heat was turned up, but Yeti only gets stronger the more you beat on it. Must be from all the oil kickback checks they get in Alaska. Yeti cruises in and plucks off Chomp’s left wing. You wouldn’t think it, but this tiny ass rinky dink piece of metal is what makes the difference between Chomp flipping around and landing on its wheels and flipping around like a toddler who just drank five Monsters. This is Yeti’s fight to win right now as long as it doesn’t help Chomp self right, but since Greg isn’t aware of the importance of the pieces he’s not really paying attention to as they fall off of Chomp he inadvertently rights it.
Yeti drives into the screws and fucks up its front left wheel. I’m going to pretend like this didn’t happen because otherwise I’m going to have to talk about spaghetti for the rest of this sentence. Chomp swings and misses yet again and topples over onto its bad side but Yeti still takes the opportunity to get some free hits and puts it back on its wheels. It’s a good thing Yeti’s wearing the robot equivalent of a sports cup too, because immediately after getting on its wheels Chomp swings its hammer and hits Yeti dead center on its top and throws actual fucking sparks from the impact. Chomp eventually ends up on its goddamned side again over near the blue square and gets its ass end clipped by Yeti’s drum, sending whatever the hell that little piece stuck on it was flying off. Chris describes it as “something” so let’s go with that, he’s the expert here (or so I’m told).
Chomp lands a hit with its hammer and fire in the ensuing chaos of the next few seconds which seems to cause something inside of Yeti to start burning. Fuck if I know what it is, but that seems to be the wake up call that clued Greg into the fact that maybe he ought to just leave Chomp to die on its side like the beached whale it is and save whatever their robot has left for the semifinals.
WINNER: Yeti, KO
TOMBSTONE vs. BETA
It’s always a good day when Ray Billings gets to bring Tombstone into the arena because you know something’s about to break. You never really know for sure if it’s going to be Tombstone or its opponent blowing up, but in any case now’s not the time to get up and take a dump. Tombstone has been doing a great job of “fixing” all of America’s problems in the arena thus far; Ray shut down the space program by knocking out robots built by both real and fake astronauts and most recently solved the gun violence issue by disarming Brutus the street thug. Tombstone even whipped out his special #BlueLivesMatter wheels for that one. Kenny blurts out “Tombstone has no soul”, which is incorrect. Maybe Tombstone has no chill, but that robot definitely has a soul. A hateful, black soul darker than the deepest recesses of the hell cave this thing was pulled from. Ray’s next order of business is to use his robots nether-weapon to “fix” America’s international relations with the United Kingdom.
Beta is the non-pneumatic equivalent of John Reid’s popular robot Terrorhurtz which still competes in UK Robot Wars events to this very day. Despite being similar robots, Terrorhurtz freely competed while Beta was inexplicably the victim of a “curse” that prevented it from competing for nearly 15 years. Originally brought to the final Comedy Central series in 2002, Beta was forced to forfeit to Bender granting that robot one of only two wins in its miserable existence. Beta returned last year and was drawn to face Tombstone but even after over a decade the team couldn’t get their shit together and Beta had no choice but to bow out (and ended up being replaced with Counter Revolution, and we all know how well that one turned out). Seriously, whatever it was that antagonized Beta for all these years is deserving of a fucking SCP number. Beta is back, however, and it’s finally had a chance to compete. Its hammer has gloriously ruined the shit of Lucky and Overhaul, and John’s superior driving led to a late KO over Nightmare. Now, Beta’s made its way to Tombstone for the fight they missed out on last year.
Last year we saw Witch Doctor whip out a heavy metal plow against Tombstone to ward off its killer blade. I don’t mean “heavy metal” as in the team stuck an AC/DC sticker on it either, I mean “heavy metal” as in the biggest blackest dick of solid metal that they could find. They gave that shit the Stinger treatment. Beta’s entire lower chassis is basically the same design philosophy which is why Tombstone has landed hit, turned fucking sideways, and is now clawing its way across the goddamned floor. There’s not really anything for Tombstone to get purchase on other than the rubber hammer stopper that has already been cleaved off so as long as John swings his hammer precisely he really has nothing to worry about. Beta manages to land a hit on Tombstone that dents the top to hell and back, but in the process exposes its hammer’s mechanics to Tombstone and ends up getting several pieces of it ripped away. (It’s not possible to tell from here, but that dent was so severe that Ray wasn’t able to properly turn off his robot’s safety switches after the fight and needed to remove Tombstone’s panel partially to do so.)
“Take it,” John yells as his robot continues to manhandle its opponent. Geez dude, chill out a bit. It’s just the goddamned quarterfinals. Top seeds lost in Robot Wars all the time, like how Chaos 2 got flipped the fuck out of the arena or when Razer lost to a piece of stage scaffolding. Speaking of flipping the fuck out, Beta slams Tombstone into the wall at full speed which causes the robot’s blade to clip the wall and send it across the floor in an impression of Chomp that I’d give a 6/10. Beta’s in a prime position to start laying down the hurt now that Tombstone is upside-down, but it you look closely you’ll notice that its weapon chain has slacked; somewhere in this clusterfuck of sparks Tombstone managed to clip it just right and take it out. Ray manages to get away and rev up Tombstone’s weapon which is now sitting higher up off the ground than it was earlier, so Beta has pretty much fucked itself now that it’ll be deflecting Tombstone’s blade much higher on its wedge. Also, shoutouts to Tombstone clipping the Pulverizer with its weapon. Look at that thing wobble, no wonder the hazards are hardly being used.
Chris starts talking about Beta’s fucking PRIMARY WEAPON because its hammer isn’t swinging and apparently this is the only fucking thing the judges care about now. Nah, let’s ignore the fact that Beta has resisted almost everything Tombstone has thrown at it and has controlled this fight for the entire time thus far and instead bitch and moan that Beta isn’t doing “enough” to win this fight. Just as was suspected earlier the additional height added to Tombstone’s blade now that the robot has been flipped over has stopped working in Beta’s favor, Beta puts Tombstone into the screws which causes the robot to violently whip around and snip Beta’s right weapon bracket off. Seconds later, Beta’s hammer just casually falls off attached only by what remnants of its chain remain. The editors toss up the “Battle Clock” to count this match down, but it actually didn’t go the full three minutes. In the final few seconds of the match someone fucked up the clock which required the fight to be stopped and eventually the officials just decided to send the match to the judges.
The magic of television, just as much controversy as a Robot Wars battle!
WINNER: Tombstone, Judges’ Decision
BOMBSHELL vs. POISON ARROW
Everyone deserves a second chance. Bombshell originally fell at the hands of Complete Control after being BBQ’d to death by the competition’s best flamethrower. Mike Jeffries and his mega team earned themselves a wildcard for their role as “fire victim” in that battle and turned their luck around by knocking out Cobalt — “the British Tombstone” — by chopping its wheels off and winning a judges’ decision over Red Devil despite losing their PRIMARY WEAPON. The only reason they skated away with a win there was because Red Devil didn’t land any blows with its own primary weapon so Bombshell’s single hit was all it needed to win on points I guess. Even though their vertical disc was as reliable as that couch surfing high school friend we all have they’ve decided to run with it again. Mike allegedly rebuilt the entire electrical system of the weapon which took several hours. I would’ve just written the piece of shit off as a total loss and used one of the other five dozen goddamned Swiss army weapons laying around.
“Drone warfare” was one of the big ticket items this season that we were supposed to get really hyped up about. The reality of the situation is that drones are the worst gimmicks in the sport since the days of voodoo Barbie dolls and that time the Little Blue Engine team kept writing “_____ THIS!” on the front of their shitty robot. In a sea of flying turds, Poison Arrow’s drone is not only the last one left in the competition but is also arguably the “best” one we’ve seen this year with how its flame weapon lent itself well to weakening Mega Tento’s plastic armor to help the main bot break it apart. The gold medalist at the Special Olympics is still just as retarded as the other competitors, though. A robot that is basically Minotaur, Poison Arrow has dispatched the aforementioned Mega Tento as well as former champion Son of Whyachi before out-raking Hypershock for yet another KO win. Zach and his team have done well to make it this far and it would be great to see them win if only because I want to see Minotaur vs Minotaur.
Commercial break! TV sucks.
These are two robots that don’t really “drive” so much as they just drift all over the fucking place like the arena is the obligatory “ice level” in every video game released in the 1990’s. This is basically going to come down to a fight where whoever lands the first blow will have the upper hand which happens to be Bombshell. Keep your eyes out for the giant fucking gash that gets put directly where Poison Arrow’s asshole would be. I hate this analogy, but Bombshell literally cleaves through it like butter. The hit jostles Poison Arrow, stops its weapon, and slows the robot down which affords Bombshell the ability to put it into the wall and tip it forward, essentially knocking it out. Poison Arrow’s drone flies in close to Bombshell to try and hit it with some fire but since Bombshell isn’t a ladybug sandbox this does nothing. The referee begins counting out Poison Arrow and what ensues next is the most hilarious fucking thing I’ve ever seen a drone do on this show; in the name of the greater good Poison Arrow’s drone realizes the futility of its existence and 9/11’s into its teammate in a last ditch effort to try and save it.
Sensing an opportunity to rub some salt in the wound Bombshell tries to blow the drone to pieces ala Hypershock but fails to do so and actually frees Poison Arrow from the wall in the process. Chris starts yammering about how this has to be an accident now that Poison Arrow is back in the fight forgetting the teeny fact that Bombshell has utterly humiliated its opponent up to this point. Another blow is dealt to Poison Arrow which sends it reeling into the screws all the way from the middle of the fucking floor. Pete Lambertson, the guy who controls the arena hazards, spins the screw in reverse to get Poison Arrow off of it which allows Bombshell to follow up with another blow that flicks the robot up in the air and behind the goddamned hazards. No amount of kamikaze drones or sympathy from the hazard operator is going to save this robot now. Bombshell has toasted its opponent like bread, a sentiment Chris shares with his enlightening critique of the fight. This is who they hired to do the commentary.
WINNER: Bombshell, KO
BRONCO vs. MINOTAUR
Many people have attempted to build pneumatic flipping weapons. Few have figured out how to make one as powerful as Bronco’s. Sending opponents head over heels is Inertia Labs’ trademark, a tradition they’ve upheld this season by trashing Blacksmith, letting Chrome Fly trash itself, and tipping Razorback perfectly up onto its side. Even though their robot’s M.O. is hurling things into the fucking stratosphere they take a very surgical approach to their battles. Don’t fire the flipper unless you have to, don’t right someone who’s incapacitated, and — new this season — always lead-in with your giant metal ass. Considering they’re battling Minotaur in this match you can expect them to whip out this exact strategy.
Minotaur has been involved with some of the most spectacular and brutal knock outs this season. In its first match Minotaur took out Photon Storm literally in a single goddamned hit that twisted its opponent’s chassis and blew its hydraulic lines to kingdom fucking come. Again, in one hit. Minotaur also joined the “I beat Blacksmith” club however it did a much better job than Bronco because Minotaur’s battle ended up going viral on social media with over 20,000,000 views on Facebook alone. Finally, Minotaur also removed Warhead from the competition but not before decapitating the robot dragon with the fiercest uppercut this side of Street Fighter 2. Essentially, Minotaur does things to its opponents that would make even Adolf Hitler wince. It frightens me to think what will become of Bronco, assuming Minotaur doesn’t get thrown into the fucking lights first.
Color me surprised, Bronco doesn’t come out shoving its ass in Minotaur’s face. Hell must have frozen over. Instead, Bronco seems to be taking a page out of the Nightmare book of battle strategies and is aiming its fucking wheels at Minotaur. These guys are the professionals here, not me. This works out about as well as you might imagine and allows Minotaur to get underneath Bronco; since Bronco’s chassis has to be at least three Grunts long this ensures that Bronco can’t get away because none of its twenty thousand wheels are touching the ground. It takes a little while but Bronco is finally able to flip Minotaur over several times. They aren’t earth-shattering flips that send the robot six feet into the air, but they’re enough to require Minotaur’s driver to perform a self-righting maneuver each time.
Minotaur’s drum starts to hum which is never a good sign because that means someone’s about to die. The drum gets very little purchase on the right wheels of Bronco, but as the robot pulls a 180 it manages to clip not one but two wheels from the left side of Bronco leaving just the front one. Surprisingly, Bronco is still able to drive around and isn’t pulling to the left like fucking crazy. Even though it doesn’t look like it, this is still going according to Bronco’s design plan. Last year you might recall how the robot had only four wheels with added wheel guards, this didn’t work out because Tombstone still either ate through them or bent the wheel guards inward and screwed it all up. With six wheels the robot can afford to lose a couple and still continue onward. Minotaur manages to snag the front right and left wheels at the same time by cheating and attacking from a parallel dimension. The Brazilian robot follows up by catching the two stragglers, sealing this fight. Bronco planned to lose some wheels, but not this many.
With Bronco now a twisted heap of bullshit in the corner you can really take some time to appreciate just how much damage Minotaur was able to do. Not only is Bronco missing all six fucking wheels (and most of their hubs as well), but its flipping arm is bent to hell and most of its front wedge has been absolutely destroyed. The last time an Inertia Labs robot got its ass kicked this badly was when MOE nearly ripped off all of The Matador’s wheels way back in the Comedy Central days. A lot of people cried foul at the fact that Inertia Labs literally brought two Broncos to this event, but I guess you can see why they chose to do that. I’m no engineer, but I’m about 99% certain that this incarnation of Bronco is absolutely and irrefutably fucked beyond repair.
WINNER: Minotaur, KO
(Normally this is where the article would end, but because this season of BattleBots was hit with an unprecedented amount of fuck ups to its broadcasting schedule episodes 9 and 10 have been smashed together into this two-hour monstrosity. During taping the quarterfinals and the championship were done in two different “blocks” which constituted a complete wardrobe change. Since these two episodes weren’t originally intended to be shown back to back like this I love how the editors got some quick VO from Chris about making a “quick wardrobe change”. Normally I’d say “way to save face” but this isn’t even saving face. There is literally no way for them to have owned this mistake without looking like fucking idiots.)
MINOTAUR vs. BOMBSHELL
Well we’re officially at the point in the article where I am really no longer able to write introductory segments for each of the robots due to the fact that they’ve already been showcased this “episode”. I always hate getting here because writing less words makes it feel like I’m somehow cheapening the experience. Regardless, as mentioned earlier Minotaur has been involved with some of the most spectacular and amazing KO’s arguably in the entire history of the whole goddamned sport. Knocking out Bronco by ripping off all six fucking wheels absolutely earns a spot up there next to “going viral on Facebook” and “sending Photon Storm back to 1740”. Bombshell has technically already done this fight considering it bumped Poison Arrow, a robot very similar to Minotaur, out of the competition. Mike Jeffries has again gone with his robot’s vertical spinning disc weapon because I think he’s finally begun to see a pattern emerge regarding the efficacy of his robot’s weaponry. Shoutouts to Chris for his Duck Dynasty reference. I’m sure if Flag Guy heard him say that he’d plant the Chaos Corps flag right in Chris’ ass.
Before we can even get more than a few seconds into this fight Chris is already indirectly talking about PRIMARY WEAPONS, namely that Bombshell is able to successfully ward off Minotaur with only its wedge and not its disc. Dude, literally piss off. I don’t know what incorrect training the judges have received this year but in my book that is absolutely points for “Control” regardless of whether or not Bombshell used its fucking disc. The wedge is there for a reason you fucking mongoloids. Minotaur is able to get a few glancing blows with its drum that serve no real effect until finally getting some purchase on Bombshell’s left flank which rips its side armor off of the robot’s frame and bends it backwards. This attack is followed up with two more solid blows, each one ripping another piece of metal from Bombshell’s newly exposed juicy bits. It’s hard to tell from the camera angle, but if you watch the far corner you can see a gel from one of the arena ceiling lights fall to the ground along with the ring that keeps it in place confirming that Minotaur literally broke a fucking light with the pieces it’s throwing.
Mike’s plan here is to meet weapon to weapon which he’s been trying to do this whole time, however a combination of both bots driving against each other and Minotaur’s drum repelling Bombshell’s wedge is keeping anything from happening. Bombshell finally gets the purchase it needs and sends Minotaur all the way across the Battlebox on its back. More importantly, this hit also seems to have screwed up one of Minotaur’s wheels which affords Bombshell some extra hits and a trip to the Pulverizer for bonus points. Mike is just as pissy that the hazards are fucking broken so when the Pulverizer doesn’t come back up he cruises his robot over to it and slaps it back in place with its disc. Minotaur is still somehow able to drive around using a combination of the centrifugal force its weapon creates along with its remaining good wheel. It’s not really “controlled” movement, but as the officials would say “it still poses a threat”. Not just a threat to Bombshell, but to the survival of the entire goddamned audience.
Some major punches have been thrown in this fight and Minotaur appears to have quit working. Additionally, Bombshell begins to inexplicably start smoking and its weapon dies while it too appears to lose coordinated movement. Bombshell is able to at least spin around aimlessly which seems to satisfy the ref’s requirement for being mobile, however now that Minotaur has been flipped over its only good wheel is being kept off the ground by part of its bottom panel that Bombshell previously bent up during one of its runs. Be sure to watch Minotaur’s driver as the robot is counted out because he turns around and screams at Marco what I can only hope is “FUCK YOU YOU’RE NOT MY REAL DAD”. Jesus Christ, I haven’t seen someone this salty since Stivitybobo rage quit one of his many world record attempts at Banjo-Kazooie.
WINNER: Bombshell, KO
TOMBSTONE vs. YETI
Tombstone has had an easy course to the quarterfinals but hit a snag against Beta. Ray still won that match, but Beta was the first robot this season to last the full three minutes against Tombstone and managed to wear the robot down and cause some impressive damage by putting it into the wall and denting its armor in. He’s right to be wary of Yeti though, because that robot isn’t even supposed to be here. Yeti’s one of my favorites this season, you know this by now. The planets aligned in order to let this robot compete and it’s been a great show every single time. Whether it’s throwing Lock-Jaw onto its ass or shattering Mega Tento’s wheels Greg’s robot treats every fight like it’s its last one and that makes for amazing TV. Even better is how absentminded Greg gets when he’s stressed out. Motherfucker straight up left a roll of electrical tape inside his robot before his battle against Chomp. That’s the kind of shit that’ll bring down a plane, but not Yeti. Yeti don’t give a fuck.
Tombstone’s blade for this match is unlike anything we’ve seen before. We’ve seen the “red one” and the “blue one” and the “black one”, but this silver monstrosity straight up has special steel teeth embedded in it for maximum ass blasting. Ray says it’s got the highest kinetic numbers but I mean when you spin something that fast it really doesn’t matter how the math factors out, you’re going to tear someone a new asshole guaranteed. Yeti’s strategy is to use its lifting forks to push Tombstone away or potentially lift them up, however literally four seconds into the match they are centimeters away from ripping into Tombstone’s right wheel but back off at the last millisecond. This crucial mistake allows Tombstone to shred Yeti’s front right wheel which seems to reactivate Greg’s “drive it like you hate it” strategy because now that his robot is hobbling and bouncing around on its drum he just doesn’t give a fuck.
Yeti loses its other front tire but pay close attention to the chain that drives Tombstone’s blade. It’s slacked. By the power of nothing more than absolute brute force Yeti has taken out the tournament’s most feared weapon this side of the brackets. Everything on Yeti is still mostly functional even though it’s completely jacked up, but because its drum is dragging on the floor the robot cannot spin its weapon up to speed anymore. Greg tries adjusting Yeti’s forks to prop his robot up off the ground but nothing seems to be working. For all intents and purposes both robots have had their PRIMARY WEAPON disabled. Chris notes this. I fucking hate it when they say those two words. You know what? What’s the ruling on the fabled secondary weapon? Yeti’s primary is clearly the drum, but it’s still able to lift up Tombstone using its modified forks. That counts as a weapon to me and I’m sure the person reading this bullshit article would agree. I’m genuinely curious if this has any affect whatsoever on what the judges are allegedly paying attention to.
With its drum incapacitated Yeti resorts to some unconventional methods of attacking its opponent. An a blatant imitation of something Greg once saw on Wrestlemania, Yeti climbs up atop one of the screws before doing a power somersault off of them to body slam Tombstone. If I were judging this fight, I’d call it right now in favor of Yeti. Tombstone is a sitting duck without its blade. A 250-pound duck. Yeti is more than capable of shoving it around, but since it’s missing its front wheels you can clearly see the back ones spinning helplessly since the robot isn’t getting enough purchase on the arena floor with its center of gravity sitting further ahead than where the wheels are. Yeti is trying, and goddamn it I was cheering so loud I probably gave myself throat cancer.
Yeti starts smoking but I think that’s because Greg left the electrical tape inside the robot again. With both robots sort of disabled you really start to get a feel for just how fucked Ray gets in situations where his robot’s weapon isn’t running. Like, even when Bombshell shits the bed it still has a wedge to fall back on. Yeti kind of has the forks that don’t do much, but Tombstone is just 250 pounds of metal loosely in the shape of a gravestone that peters around like a Walmart fatty scooter. I firmly believe this one could’ve been decided with a coin toss, but Tombstone gets its second judges’ decision victory and its place in the championship finals.
WINNER: Tombstone, Judges’ Decision
“LAST SEASON” RUMBLE
Once again, like last year the finals are being padded out just a bit by one of the rumbles held to give the teams time to fix and repair their bots for the last hurrah. I’m not complaining, rumbles are fucking cool. The producers ran several rumbles this year actually, though only one of them is being televised. (The others will supposedly be uploaded to BattleBots’ official YouTube channel, and I’ll have a follow-up article for that at some point.) Samantha, like Molly before her, introduces the rumble as “a tradition” and defines said tradition as “three robots”. Again, no you’re absolutely incorrect. Back in the day they’d put 10 or 12 heavyweights in the arena and let them sort their problems out, none of this “three robot” pussy shit. I guess it’s for safety reasons or something, but it’s kind of upsetting that the days of real rumbles are apparently over.
Anyways, participating in this rumble are three fan favorite robots from last season whose runs as the Nut this year were unfortunately cut short. Starting in the red square is last season’s champion Bite Force equipped with a repaired weapon after Chomp ruined it in a single lucky shot. Witch Doctor and Shaman, quarterfinalists last year, are in the blue square after Red Devil KO’d the demon by literally sawing into its batteries and lighting them up. Finally, over in the, uh, “green square” is crowd favorite Wrecks. Last year Wrecks lost in the preliminary rounds to Plan X — and again to Red Devil this year — but since everyone likes to marvel at a decent walker bot every once in a while the dinosaur was dusted off and wheeled into the Battlebox one last time. Honestly a better name for this rumble would’ve been “The Red Devil Support Group For Battered Robots, Plus Bite Force” but I guess that one’s too long and unwieldy. Also, I really just gotta point out how fucking hilarious it is that the editors put in the sound effects of the “ready” buttons being pressed when none of them are being used. There’s not even a fucking button for the green team.
Both of the other teams seem to leave Wrecks alone since an immobile object generally doesn’t pose much of a threat unless you purposefully try and pull off a sweet skateboard trick and eat shit in the process. Bite Force and Witch Doctor meet in the middle of the arena while the dinosaur somehow hops up into the air and balances perfectly on its front “foot” thing. No, I don’t fucking know how Wrecks works either. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t work at all. Witch Doctor seems to be taking the brunt of the assault early on as former champion Bite Force lands in a few solid blows and tosses Witch Doctor upside down and onto Wrecks’ disc which sends the front left armor plate of the robot flying off toward the driver box. Shaman tries to get in on the action but I don’t think the little guy ever recovered from being steamrolled earlier in the tournament because all I’m seeing is a spinning fireball of toxic green flames from illegal chemicals being burned in an enclosed space.
Wrecks begins strutting in the middle of the arena still not hitting anything while Witch Doctor tries to pull off a sweet juke to drift around Bite Force but instead clips Shaman head on and blows it the fuck to pieces. That confirms it, this is a rumble where the “friendly fire” option has been set to “on”. Bite Force finally tackles the cumbersome dinosaur which results in Wrecks’ disc once again making contact with the ground sending the robot flying. This time however, Wrecks flies straight into Bite Force’s face and gets bumped into the screws. Witch Doctor’s luck has pretty much run out this year because the robot ends up getting popped over by Wrecks who clips off an entire fucking wheel and Witch Doctor’s self-righting arm before getting double teamed by both the dino and the former champ in a tennis rally that results in Witch Doctor being torn to shreds and thrown out of the goddamned arena. I love Witch Doctor, but I really wish the team didn’t try and cheat by tampering with their robot’s gravity modifier because the damn thing never seems to stay on the fucking ground.
This is now Bite Force’s rumble to win because the deadliest robot has been done away with. Wrecks’ disc isn’t anything to fuck with — we just saw it rip off a wheel and a srimech like it ain’t no thang — but the robot’s ass end has also been turned into a tilde so it’s not like Wrecks is capable of controlled movement anymore. Bite Force topples Wrecks in a hit that sends both onto their asses which causes Kenny to freak the fuck out because Bite Force is incapable of righting itself. First, no, and secondly even if it wasn’t able to flip back over why is that a big deal? How is Wrecks going to “win this from the couch” if Bite Force is still able to drive around and attack with its — wait for it — PRIMARY WEAPON? Oh right, because everything is a fucking joke. Bite Force rights itself on the arena wall and takes out the crippled Shaman whose internals appear to have been on fire. Mike Gellatly, Shaman’s operator, later posted a picture of the wreckage on Facebook and announced Shaman was retiring. rip in bepis
Wrecks is still hanging out and spinning its ass around in the corner of the arena and just starts smoking all of a sudden. The referees start counting Wrecks out which is weird because as far as I know people didn’t get counted out in rumbles, but this is 2016 and everything we know is wrong now so I guess that’s how it’s done. Bite Force wins the rumble and at least gets some consolation that its redesign was not a total loss. Also, I guess that’s why there’s only three robots in the rumble these days; winners used to be judged by audience participation but I guess now they’d defer to the judges. Thank god Vsauce guy wasn’t there that day.
WINNER: Bite Force, KO
TOMBSTONE vs. BOMBSHELL
This is it. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the event for all the marbles, for the whole enchilada: the championship finals. Both of these robots have fought long and hard to get to this stage and both of them tell radically different stories on their road to the Giant Nut. Tombstone started strong with three consecutive KO’s over Black Ice, Escape Velocity, and Brutus averaging about 53 seconds apiece. Then, Tombstone began to lose steam with two close calls that went to the judges over Beta and Yeti. Bombshell on the other hand started off like utter shit by losing its first ever match against Complete Control before returning as a wildcard and expertly dismantling Cobalt’s drivetrain and scoring a judges’ decision over Red Devil. Bombshell then went on to defeat both Poison Arrow and Minotaur, two of the deadliest drum spinners in the competition. For this match Mike Jeffries has chosen to use Bombshell’s horizontal blade in the hopes that his robot can pull off a Chomp and make a one in a million shot on Tombstone’s weapon chain. lol sure okay dude
Bombshell’s got one guaranteed shot at this harebrained idea, two if it manages to make contact with Tombstone and not get its asshole turned inside out. The first hit is a dud, but Bombshell’s blade still appears to be operational and the follow-up hit smacks Tombstone on the ass which wastes the kinetic energy. Mike lucks out and gets a third opportunity to spin his robot’s blade up and hope for the magic JFK bullet Hail Mary shot. Bombshell’s blade actually makes contact with the massive axle that drives Tombstone’s weapon, but hits literally an inch too low and misses its mark. This allows Tombstone to immediately rip out Bombshell’s front right wheels because they are Colson tires and are pretty much made of fucking glass (see also: Mega Tento). The hit seems to have killed Bombshell completely because the robot’s got nothing going for it at this point. No blade, no drive, nada.
The military robot springs back to life briefly, but Tombstone comes in and shuts that shit down immediately. The ref asks Mike to show movement. Instead, his robot starts smoking. Damn dude, it’s called “following directions”. Chris throws down the word “precipice” either because he just recently took an SAT test or because he played that shitty Penny Arcade game. Ray and Justin Billings have waited until their victory has firmly been sealed before shit talking their opponents because the last time their robot got cocky it ended up diarrheaing batteries all over the place. Safe call considering Tombstone has come off of two fights that it could’ve easily lost. Since this is the championship match Ray moves in and lets Tombstone’s blade go to town on Bombshell some more and just blows it the fuck apart. Pieces are flying around so pervasively that their reflections on the arena wall make it look like they’re falling outside of the goddamned Battlebox. Mike looks visibly distressed at the carnage. Bro, this is the goddamned finals. Nobody at this show sat through a week of shooting just to see a two-hit KO for the title fight. It’s the finals. There’s no one else to fight after this match, someone’s going to literally fucking die.
“He’s dead,” Justin yells. Yeah dude, no shit. Bombshell entered this match as a heavyweight and you’ve basically torn it down into a middleweight.
Bombshell battled hard to make it this far, but much like the bullshit special stages from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 the road has ended with victory just barely in sight. It’s not a perfect robot, but I think for its efforts Bombshell’s past sins can be forgiven. Its brutal loss to Complete Control. The shitty drone that we saw only once before they packed it up and called it quits. The time its vertical disc hit once and then died. As long as Mike doesn’t give his robot the Bite Force treatment I think he’s got what it takes to make a serious run next year. Assuming there is a “next year”… #WeWantSeason3.
Congratulations go out to Ray Billings and Tombstone, the least worst robot of this season of BattleBots! His knock out time for this match? 53 seconds. Right on the average. Top kek.
WINNER: Tombstone, KO
The season may be over, but it’s not the end of BattleBots Update. Despite the name of this website I also write about Robot Wars as well, and I intend to cover other shows and events in the world of robot combat in the future. The recent UK Robot Wars reboot (“The Eighth Wars”) is coming up next near immediately after some additional closing content from this season of BattleBots. I have confidence that ABC will continue this series into its eighth season as well and when it does you can expect another run about it here on The Update. Until then, I hope that you stick around and enjoy the other content that I have to offer here. (If you have access to complete seasons of US Robot Wars and/or Robotica, hit me up!)
Remember, you can always follow BBU on Facebook, and if you’ve been entertained this season the tip jar is always open. Sometimes I like to put a couple of my own dollars in there myself as a psychological trick to get people to donate. It’s kinda fucked up but it’s my little secret.
At the close of this season I would like to thank everyone who has made this adventure possible. I want to give huge thanks to Trey and Greg, BattleBots’ founders, for being supportive of this blog and “getting the joke”, it’s an incredible feeling and an honor. Special thanks go out to Varka for sponsoring my trip to the event because without his help none of this would’ve happened. Special thanks also go out to Dari for being my “inside man” and using his fancy video capture suite to send me HD encodes of every episode as they aired (which is why I was able to get the articles out near immediately this year). I also want to thank all of the builders and teams; Jim, Chuck, Paul, Brady, Derek, Mike, Andrea, Matthew, Will, Zoe, Jascha, Brian, Marc, Hal, Matt, Wendy, Ray, Al, Charles, Xander, Reason, Adam, Michael, and so many others whose enthusiasm and support has caused this blog to explode on social media. As of this article BattleBots Update is pushing 2,000 likes on Facebook. I can say with complete honesty that this is about 1,900 more than I was honestly expecting. Big thanks also go out to the moderators of the /r/BattleBots subreddit for putting up with my shitposting and providing a fun atmosphere for everyone to talk about bagelbots. Y’all are the real MVP’s here. <3
There’s no rest for the wicked, stick around because there’s still some untelevised rumbles to cover… plus by popular demand this season’s Giant Washer Awards!