[BattleBots: S8 E15 is available online through Science Channel with a cable subscription.]
Last week I mentioned that the next episode of BattleBots wasn’t going to be “Fight Night-related”. Last month there was a special episode in the form of the “Desperado” mini tournament with a guaranteed spot in the final 16 on the line, this week the special event is a collection of exhibition fights that pit various American robots against ones from other countries around the world in a “USA vs. The World” fight card. Yes, I said “exhibition”; none of these fights are going to count toward any of the robot’s Fight Night records. This is because, spoiler alert, these battles all happened sporadically and not all at once. I’ve seen a few people start drawing conclusions that being present in this special might be hinting toward none of these robots qualifying for the final 16. Allow me to dispel that myth by pointing out SawBlaze (3-1) and Warhead (3-0). Now I’m not trying to confirm or deny their presence in the Round of 16, but with 3 wins you’d think they’d stand a pretty damned good chance of making it in. These battles more often than not were used to pad time at various points during taping, but participation was open to — and encouraged by — everyone. Some of these teams are here simply for the love of the game. Also holy shit they fixed Red Devil? Again?
Chris Rose kicks this episode off by wandering around in the pits talking about how BattleBots is home to teams both domestic and foreign alike. It’s an American event so naturally most of the field is going to be comprised of Yankees but there are quite a few other robots whose teams (or sponsors) have deep enough pockets to travel abroad and kick some ass to represent their countries… enough teams that when the camera trucks backward to reveal all the cheering competitors it’s almost an even 50/50 split. Five fights are on deck tonight but they actually taped a couple more than that, it just so happens that not all of them were TV-quality exciting. Still, five bonus fights isn’t that bad of an evening and I really don’t have much left to write so I guess it’s time to switch gears and go to the fights.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering where Kenny Florian is during this opening he was actually taping an opening for a different BattleBots special, “USA vs. The Universe”.
BLACKSMITH vs. WARHEAD
Totally True Trivia™: BattleBots missed out on a golden opportunity by not using Warhead in that dumb Jurassic World commercial.
Representing the USA in the first match of the episode is Blacksmith. As memorable and entertaining as THE BIG TIME HAMMER is, Blacksmith really only seems to be good for one win per season. Back in 2016 that was against Gemini and Basilisk (as a rumble), this year it was against The Four Horsemen. It doesn’t really bode too well for Al Kindle when his heavyweight is really only able to take advantage of and beat up on opponents half its weight or less. That’s some Andy Kaufman shit right there. Despite its poor 1-3 Fight Night finish, Blacksmith remains a crowd favorite because of its unique weaponry. Its resistance to being KO’d combined with the fact that it’s weapon is literally a hammer that shoots fucking fire out of it have pretty much ensured that Blacksmith is one of the series’ go-to robots when there’s an exhibition fight that needs another set of hands. Or a hammer that shoots fire. Whatever. Looking at Blacksmith’s opponents it feels like the robot has never really had the chance to establish itself as a solid middle-ground competitor because it keeps getting paired up with shit like Minotaur, Bronco, and Bite Force and the only robots beating those motherfuckers are each other. Blacksmith came close to a win over Witch Doctor — who is arguably in the same tier — and that’s about as close as we’ve come to seeing a proper evenly matched fight with Blacksmith. Until now.
Warhead is on a roll this year. After an incredibly embarrassing 2015 comeback season that saw the legend get manhandled bad enough to make it into the thumbnail of “BattleBots Season 6” on the BattleBots Update homepage it made a decent showing in 2016. By “decent showing” I am of course referring to the goddamned flaming headstand karate kick of death it did that caused Complete Control to fucking explode. Warhead is old school and for a while I really thought it had aged decently, unlike Warrior Dragon which broke down in every battle. Ironically in Warhead’s previous match against exactly that robot Warhead careened into the spike strip head first and the impact caused Warhead’s iconic spinning dome to fracture. This resulted in a battle between a robot with Parkinson’s and a robot with diabetic nerve pain or something. I bring up the dome weapon because ideally you’d think the spinner would be the weapon of choice for this round since Blacksmith is 100% flat surfaces to bite into, but Simon Scott and his team can’t use it because they’d been running the robot with that same exact dish for 15 fucking years and it finally broke. They’re forced to use the dinosaur head which, while nice, doesn’t exactly feel like the best option here. But hey what do I know, Warhead is 3-0 right now. I know these fights don’t count for anything, but being undefeated is something not a lot of bots can say at this point.
The robots have a standoff in the middle of the arena, neither one making the first move but both cranking up their flamethrowers as high as they’ll go in order to prove who has the bigger dick. It’s hard to say who wins because Blacksmith’s flame is clearly hotter than Warhead’s, but Warhead is covering more area with its weapon. It’s like saying “which is better, cut or uncut” and I guess that’s also something to ponder because this is a US vs. UK match — point is, they’re dicks and you should be happy about it nonetheless. Please subscribe to my upcoming LGBT comedy website. Rather than comment on the arms race taking place right before their eyes, Chris and Kenny instead decide to take this time to do five seconds’ worth of fucking Beavis and Butt-head impressions. One thing I didn’t notice about Warhead until just now is that its bad eye is covered with an eye patch and that’s the raddest fucking shit ever. I wasn’t expecting Metal Gear Solid cosplay in my BattleBots fights and yet here we are. Somehow Warhead catches Blacksmith’s hammer right as it’s retracting and bites down on it. This next part was cut from TV but apparently Warhead got such a weird bite on Blacksmith that they had to stop the match and bring out the tools to separate the two bots. Leave it to Warhead to constantly do crazy shit.
You ever bite down on a hammer so hard that you go blind? Because Warhead just did that; its last remaining eye has spontaneously gone out meaning that the robot is now searching for its prey by scent and echolocation alone. I’m joking about Warhead being blind of course, but this thing is stumbling around like it really can’t see shit. Blacksmith is having what is possibly its best fight of the season right now whacking the dinosaur on its nose and pounding on its back where Warhead’s wings meet its chassis. I don’t know if hitting a dinosaur on its snout will deter it from attacking; to me that just seems like something that would piss it off. Also didn’t they say in Jurassic Park that a T-rex’s sight was based on movement? If Blacksmith would just sit the fuck still it could sneak up on Warhead and pound it right in the ass. I know that’s what I’d do ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). Warhead is keeping on the attack fairly well but I’m thinking Blacksmith’s hammer is demonstrating all of the “aggression with a PRIMARY WEAPON” here. Blacksmith is swinging its hammer so much that it gets stuck in the same exact place in Warhead’s mouth a second goddamned time, although this time the fight doesn’t need to be stopped to break the two robots apart.
Blacksmith just does not let up. Warhead has taken more shots to the noggin than a little league umpire and at no point has Blacksmith’s hammer stopped swinging. Well, until right about now. Back in 2016 when Blacksmith kicked Gemini’s ass the robot swung its hammer so hard and so often that its motor just fucking died. Caught fire and everything. That’s happening again because as Warhead bites down on its opponent one last time Blacksmith tries desperately to stab the dinosaur between its wings and moments later smoke starts pouring out from every single crack in the robot’s armor. No fire mind you, just a lot of smoke. Blacksmith’s drivetrain seems to be okay because the robot takes itself over the Killsaws, but when it tries to get in one last swing it becomes apparent that the “big time” hammer has become the “part time” hammer. The fight goes to the judges who return a split decision in favor of Warhead. I’d love to see the scorecards from this fight, not because I disagree and I’m about to post a three page dissertation on Reddit about how mad I am, but because I can’t even begin to guess how you’d score this match. I’m guessing the deciding factor was Blacksmith breaking down and smoking at the end (sorta like how Bombshell lost to Yeti) because if we’re counting pure blows alone Blacksmith was way ahead on points. This was one of Blacksmith’s best ever showings as far as I’m concerned. It might not be champion-tier material right now but this thing can put on one hell of a show.
It still lost to a big fucking dinosaur though.
WINNER: Warhead, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
CAPTAIN SHREDERATOR vs. VANQUISH
Totally True Trivia™: Vanquish has a million eyes on its face because it got bitten by a radioactive spider thinking it could become Spiderman and instead this happened.
What’s that you say? Captain Shrederator is reppin’ the US of A for this match? Well color me fucking surprised, here I was thinking this thing would be representing Mexico or some shit. Captain Shrederator is a robot that I’d say is as American as baseball and apple pie, except it’s not. It’s more American than those things. This robot arrived this season and unintentionally became a caricature for the current state of the country it represents; the main driver aloof and elsewhere, someone else left in charge, and that “someone else” passed the buck to another dude who was eager to do his best and still fucked it all up. They’re still trying, god damn it, and Brian Nave (Captain Shrederator’s primary builder and driver) has returned from his robot skirmish in China to — as Faruq put it last season — “make America gyrate again”. Captain Shrederator is a robot with a lot of potential as I wholly believe there is still a place for shell spinners in robot combat in 2018, it’s just that Captain Shrederator has struggled hilariously to find its footing in a world of killer vertical spinners and heavily armored rammers. It has yet to win a fight this year but came awfully close against SubZero, and I’d even argue that it was doing well against Petunia until Petunia bit down through Captain Shrederator’s shell and nuked its batteries. There’s no hope for Captain Shrederator to advance into the Round of 16, but Brian Nave owes it to America to knock this one out of the park.
And I think Captain Shrederator can do it, too, because its opponent is Vanquish. You remember Vanquish, right? Even if you missed the episode it debuted and died in (#2) I’m sure you’ve seen the clip of it getting blasted in half by Icewave at least seven times by now. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of seeing that fucking clip. I don’t even know if Vanquish was one of the robots who intended to make a solid run during Fight Night because if it was then Jack Tweedy and his teammates kissed that opportunity goodbye once Icewave returned their robot back to them in a goddamned trash bag. But still, check this thing out. It’s working. I don’t know about you but if I were in Jack’s shoes I probably would’ve packed up and gone outside to the art tent to make a sign to cheer on Monsoon or whatever and spent the rest of the event in the stands watching the show and eating $6 hot dogs from the food trucks outside. Whether you think Vanquish is a shitty robot or not you’ve gotta give props to Jack just for keeping his head in the game and putting this goddamned thing back together. (He even had the time to cover Vanquish’s plow in googly eyes!) Not only that this dude isn’t afraid to talk shit; before the fight starts Jack says “Captain Shrederator has had issues before, like in all of its fights”. That’s some tall ass talk coming from a dude whose robot literally did an impression of a Lego vehicle hitting a fucking land mine earlier this season.
Jack said his plan was going to be to box-rush Captain Shrederator, because that’s just what you do against massive spinners, but for some reason he holds back and Vanquish just sits next to the BattleBots logo on the arena floor while Captain Shrederator is allowed to get up to full speed. Considering a “full speed spinner” is exactly what caused this robot to vanish for almost four fucking months of episodes I’d say that’s a pretty ballsy move. Captain Shrederator gets pinballed into the corner of the arena and catches one of the pneumatic spike walls near the screws. The hit slows the spinner to a crawl and as Captain Shrederator gets juiced up again you can sorta see that it lost a tooth or something because the bot is wobbling just a little bit. Meanwhile Vanquish is biding its time and letting the spinner ping pong around and get hung up on all sorts of stupid shit that I feel like Captain Shrederator should be able to avoid. Vanquish bumps into the side of some screws and its plow folds all the way down for a brief moment hinting toward the fact that its weaponry might not be fully functional. It’s actually missing its upper lifting arm (which is why I didn’t include it in the infobox above) so it wouldn’t surprise me if the mechanics behind its lifting wedge were also toast. If that’s the case and Vanquish is just a wedge I have no idea how it was permitted to battle, my best guess is Jack showed up and acted like he owned the place and no one questioned anything.
Let’s be honest here, we really did not get to see what Vanquish was made of when it fought Icewave. Err, a clarification: we got to see what Vanquish was literally made of during that fight, but not “what it was made of”. For a robot that showed up and died a gruesome death it’s really keeping the heat on Captain Shrederator and I’d go as far as to say Vanquish is actually in the lead right now. Vanquish’s wedge is expertly deflecting Captain Shrederator upwards and as long as the spinner’s wheels are off the ground it’s not going to be able to regain control and get away at all. There’s a couple of moments where Vanquish seems to pause but it keeps rebounding back into the fray until Captain Shrederator gets bumped upward and one of its teeth clips Vanquish’s front left wheel and rips it off. It’s not quite a “KO by being ripped apart like a fucking Mortal Kombat fatality” but it’s enough. Vanquish gets spun off near the drivers’ booth and stops working. Jack signals to Brian that he’s toast and I assume that also means “don’t hit me again”. Brian says “fuck that” and drifts in for what looks like is supposed to be a blow to Vanquish’s right side. Captain Shrederator misses its mark and instead careens into the wall where it sheds at least one more weapon tooth from its shell because now this thing is rocking around like a goddamned Hawaii chair. That’s what you get for being a dick, dude. God bless America.
Vanquish gets counted down and by my math it looks like about a third of its googly eyes are missing. Maybe next year they should put more of them on.
WINNER: Captain Shrederator, KO
RED DEVIL vs. KRAKEN
Representing: World (CAN)
DT Robotics & All Black Robotics
Weapon: Grappling claws w/ articulated vertical saw
Totally True Trivia™: Red Devil is operated using two separate Ouija boards, one for drive and one for weapons.
Now I know we just got done with a fight where I expressed my amazement regarding something being trashed getting repaired and put back into the arena… but holy shit I can’t believe Red Devil is still alive and kicking. This robot has been beaten the fuck up this year and every time the team just retreats back to the pits and puts it back together. Earlier this season Red Devil was laid out by Monsoon with one mega blow that knocked the robot’s central chassis pod backwards so hard that its articulation just straight up broke, and just recently this thing was pitted against Valkyrie in a match where one of Red Devil’s entire goddamned tread sections was torn off and both the robot and the severed tread pod kept driving around. I guess the robot’s resiliency is a thing that exists because as Ravi Baboolal mentioned earlier in the season nothing on Red Devil is “off the shelf” and all of its parts are custom made. Technically the team will never “run out of parts” so long as they have the ability to CNC or 3D print new ones. You can literally cut this thing into thirds like Valkyrie did and it’ll still bounce right back. That’s fucking crazy. Also Ravi says he’s going to do some slicing and dicing that should end with Kraken’s air tank blowing up. God I hope so, I haven’t seen that happen in so long. That almost happened to Terrorhurtz in Robot Wars recently when Dead Metal was slicing into its underside, but Dead Metal cucked out and gave up. Just a millimeter more and Jonathan Pearce probably would’ve came on national TV.
Kraken is not a very good robot. In fact it actually sucks out loud. This thing has yet to win a fight and is right up… I mean down… there with Captain Shrederator and Chomp and the other robots who showed up to this event with nary a single victory. Kraken’s biggest weakness is that it’s such a weird design and shape that there hasn’t been enough time to refine it yet, but Matt Spurk has dutifully modified and added to his robot throughout the event. Prior to this fight I caught up with Matt in the pits and he was eager to show off Kraken’s brand new srimech. You can’t really see it that well during the arena introductions but there’s a black spike that now runs along Kraken’s upper lid and it’s fully actuated; it raises and lowers, and if Kraken gets flipped onto its back it’s strong enough to roll the robot back onto its wheels. Matt just put that together on a whim after losing to Lock-Jaw by getting flipped. He either had or procured the parts to built a srimech and just did it. That’s fucking cool. Usually you see teams make these changes to their bots between seasons (like Witch Doctor), not at the actual events themselves. Other than that though, Kraken is still Kraken. It’s the same pneumatic crusher that lost to a shark in one match and drove itself into the screws and died in another.
What I like about Kraken is that its driving style is all aggression. Whether its Lock-Jaw or Red Devil this robot isn’t afraid to just charge in and bite whatever dangly bits are within reach. Immediately Red Devil gets its right tread bitten into by Kraken which is exactly what Matt said his plans were. He was convinced that Red Devil’s treads are susceptible to being bent up and when that happens they’ll seize. I thought the guy was completely full of shit until when Kraken finally lets go we see that exactly that has happened. That’s it? That’s the secret? The same treads that literally drove on top of Valkyrie’s fucking spinner and were even severed by that very same weapon can just be nibbled on and disabled? Just like that? Fuck me. I guess if any of you out there were still prepared to talk shit about the power of Kraken’s weaponry here’s the point in time where you all look like retards. Force is force whether it’s hydraulic or pneumatic, just because Kraken isn’t Razer doesn’t mean it can’t bite down onto things and totally wreck them. Mere seconds after biting Red Devil’s right treads to death Kraken very nearly gets a bite on the left side, but instead Red Devil snatches the upper hand and flips Kraken over backwards.
Had this not already happened once before this would’ve been the end of yet another fight that Kraken was doing okay in, but since Lock-Jaw already pulled this shit Kraken’s ready. The srimech deploys, Kraken backs into the arena wall for some extra leverage, and the robot drops right back down onto its wheels. That bodge job of a self-righter looks gold to me. Even though it’s demonstrated that it can maneuver around with just one tread already, Red Devil is noticeably more sluggish here. I’m guessing it’s because the dead tread pod is still attached to the main body, but whatever the case I’m not seeing any of the cool driving and cruising around that Red Devil did against Valkyrie. Kraken gets another bite on the same treads it’s already screwed up but takes it anyways, any points with the judges are good ones. Red Devil is the perfect shape to fit into Kraken’s maw and with another attempt at biting Red Devil’s left side Kraken decides to start taking Red Devil to some hazards. Screws, saws, hammers, you name it. If there was a combo multiplier in BattleBots Kraken’s would be maxed the fuck out. Red Devil gets dragged under a Pulverizer and futilely tries to use its articulated claws to protect its saw arm from getting smashed to bits and you can just see the claws buckling under the force of the hazard and the saw gets warped and bent anyways. There’s absolutely no fight in Red Devil here.
Chris Rose informs us that there’s 30 seconds left in the fight and things aren’t looking too good for the Canadians. Kraken finally gets a bite on Red Devil’s left tread but can’t seem to kink it inward enough to break them for a KO win. That’s alright through because Kraken’s already done more than enough to break its curse and win by a decision. What was that nonsense about slicing into the air tanks and blowing Kraken up???
WINNER: Kraken, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
HYPERSHOCK vs. REALITY
Totally True Trivia™: The color of HyperShock’s chassis was made into a standardized hue just like “fire truck red”, “school bus yellow”, and “Larry Bird white”.
“We have to show The Netherlands who’s boss,” says Will Bales. Dude, it’s just The Netherlands. Not trying to sound like a dick here but the last person who did that was Adolf Hitler and I don’t think that’s really a guy whose body of work you should aspire to beat. HyperShock is like two colors away from being a pride parade float so it’s got more in common with The Netherlands than I think the team realizes; The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. That happened on April 1, 2001 — and that’s no joke. Please subscribe to my upcoming LGBT comedy website. Anyways, the dichotomy of these two robots is impressive to say the least. Reality’s driver Tim Bouwens is seen drinking coffee in his pit segments whereas Will is swinging a fucking rake around. HyperShock is all about the flash and the flare and after destroying Warrior Dragon’s drone with a hardware store rake in 2016 the team has decided to own up to the cheese and go full meme. Unfortunately, all the style in the world couldn’t save HyperShock from spiraling out of control this year. After being eviscerated by Bite Force and burned out by Free Shipping the best that this robot could muster was a win against Battle Royale with Cheese. Considering this is the same robot who in 2016 popped Warrior Dragon open like a can of tuna and also disemboweled UltraViolent it’s sad to see one of this season’s most anticipated robots fall apart all season long.
Reality is a robot whose look is very similar to HyperShock; Reality is like HyperShock with a muted color palette… and a muted everything else, too. It’s also a four-wheeled robot with a vertical set of blades except rather than trek into the arena looking like a fucking RC car from the 1990’s Reality is a very subdued and more utilitarian design. It’s got a low profile and, when it works, a killer weapon. Thus far Reality has only had luck against Lucky and that was after Lucky had been put through the ringer of getting wrecked by both Son of Whyachi and the entirety of the Desperado tournament. Other than that Reality has the exact same record as HyperShock coming into this exhibition fight: 1-2. Reality stood no chance against SawBlaze who mercilessly trampled the little robot and sliced into it for three solid minutes and Duck pummeled this thing until it simply stopped working. Reality was designed and built by a dream team of Dutch builders so it should in theory be the best damn robot to come out of The Netherlands. We’re about to find out if it can beat a highlighter.
All season long HyperShock has been doing this fucking thing where it cruises around all over the place and acts like it’s trying to get its weapon going and its blades just never fucking work. For the first few seconds of this fight I was about to condemn Will with some nasty language until almost like magic HyperShock’s blades kicked into gear and actually got going. Just like that HyperShock is in this one and crashes into Reality with devastating force. Side hits, weapon-to-weapon hits, hell at one point Reality somehow ends up under one of the Pulverizers and takes a blow. For once things are going great for the robot with the Guinness record for the world’s brightest goddamned paint job until almost like clockwork HyperShock starts smoking. I’m guessing this might have been the weapon eating one of its multiple drive belts or something because it seems like HyperShock is still okay and fully functional. For now. Its blades are still roaring and HyperShock is still landing hits anywhere it can get purchase and at one point very nearly throws Reality onto its back. Reality’s getting its shit pushed in so bad right now that its own weapon just stops. Bad news for Reality because that thing doesn’t even have a shitty backup wedge to keep defensive with.
Lack of a backup plan or not, Reality might not need one. After a really crappy shove into the wall HyperShock’s front right wheel seizes up and stops working. Don’t know if that was related to the smoke or not, but when Reality bumps into HyperShock’s ass the robot starts smoking a little bit more once again and it loses all power to its drive system. Ironically HyperShock’s blades, which have been really iffy all season, appear to be completely fine this time around. HyperShock is the epitome of living twice as hard for half as long and it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the last time we see it until 2019. They didn’t even get to use the fucking rake again.
WINNER: Reality, KO
SCIENCE CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE
ROBOT COMBAT AROUND THE WORLD
Since this week’s episode is focused around the international aspect of robot combat it makes sense that Science Channel’s exclusive segment deals entirely with teams from outside of the United States. Some of you might be complaining that this week’s bonus segment isn’t another fight, maybe even one of the untelevised “US vs. The World” ones, but to that I say “you can’t do a best ___ of ___” with a fucking even number. Math doesn’t work that way. Personally, I’ll take any excuse to look at Tom Brewster for a few more seconds in a given episode. Please subscribe to my upcoming LGBT comedy website.
Now, unfortunately due to licensing issues we don’t get to actually see any “robot combat around the world”. No Robot Wars, no King of Bots, nothing. Instead, Tim Bouwens from Reality’s team lets us know that these events exist… and that’s it. Tim says BattleBots is the “holy grail” of robot combat and not to sound like a nationalist fuck or anything, but he’s right. BattleBots is #1. Robot Wars is (was?) a close second and I’d say that the popular non-televised events in both countries (Robogames and Extreme Robots) are on even footing. There’s a heavy focus on the Dutch and UK teams in this segment, presumably because robot combat events exist in Europe. Canada almost doesn’t even count as a separate country because it’s literally just right there and the Minotaur guys from Brazil come here because I don’t think there are any events in South America. (The Robocore website just redirects to a parts store now.) Tom Brewster says hello to his “mum” (American translation: “mom”) and the editors cut to a clip of his robot losing because I guess whoever was in charge of Final Cut Pro for this episode was feeling exceptionally dickish. Mischa de Graaf from Team PCP chimes in with a witty “if it ain’t Dutch it ain’t much” and to that all I’ve gotta say is “if it ain’t American then I don’t care…ican”. Except for Captain Shrederator. Y’all got us on that one.
All Black Robotics’ Ravi Baboolal praises the supportive nature of the community and that’s something I can personally attest to. For all the carnage and destruction that happens in the arena the story is the complete opposite in the pits. You want your opponent to be as close to 100% as possible so that you can have a good fair fight, no one wants to win by forfeit or by beating up a robot that is only half operational. There’s an extended cut of Jack Barker chatting with Donald Hutson because they were stationed side by side in the pits and also presumably because they just so happened to fight each other. I sort of inferred that based upon the conversation they were having. For Donald’s sake hopefully the “hanging out” was still “the same afterward” because holy shit did Lock-Jaw catch the short end of the stick in that fight. Also I just want to point this out because I feel like no one else is going to say anything, but how the fuck did that one guy on End Game’s team get away with wearing a shirt featuring North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un riding a goddamned fire horse? I get that it’s a joke and all, but Mark Demers had to have his shirt blurred out and Brian Nave was told to put gaff tape over the logo on his shirt earlier in this episode so that’s a little messed up.
There’s a brief clip of Ray Billings shaking hands with his arch nemesis Marco Meggiolaro and that’s really about it. Oh, and Craig Danby is also briefly featured in this segment too. He’s there because he’s from Great Britain but I think he lives in North Carolina or something now? Anyways he’s got a British voice so that’s close enough for the segment and there’s a shot of his robot Predator being worked on while he claims that once he fixes his robot up he’ll rematch with his previous opponent and “fuck him up”, presumably referring to Rotator who KO’d Predator in just over a minute. For those of you who don’t know that’s just Craig being Craig and that’s his thing; if you don’t watch Robot Wars he also built a similar robot named Foxic and during his arena entrance he rode on cart alongside his robot while his team members pushed him along. Maybe if Predator worked it could take on Rotator in a rematch, but this is a robot who technically lost to Bale Spear. Oof.
SAWBLAZE vs. END GAME
Totally True Trivia™: Why did they call it End Game if it’s never the last one? Did we not learn anything from Final Fantasy?
This episode doesn’t really have a “main event” but they’re playing this one up like it is one. The score is tied 2-2 but truth be told this episode was kind of manufactured that way because like I said there were some non-televised matches that happened under the umbrella of “USA vs. The World” throughout taping. Whatever the case though, this is television and television audiences demand drama and things being down to the wire, why else do they pad out the judges’ results in dumb shit like Dancing with the Stars with several seconds of dead air and closeups of the “stars” looking apprehensive as if they actually give two shits about what some old dickhead has to say about how well their ballet dancing was? Fuck that noise. SawBlaze is here to either potentially take it home for the USA or screw everything up and allow this great country to fall to the commies or whatever. After getting its ass spanked by Bronco last week I think Jamison Go is a little more down to earth regarding his feelings towards his fights and I think we might go back to seeing the controlled and surgical SawBlaze that demolished Overhaul and Reality earlier this season. 3 wins, 1 loss. Pay no mind to that clip of SawBlaze fighting Monsoon though. That fight hasn’t happened. Yet.
Speaking of robots whose drivers may have potentially had their egos dangerously over-inflated here’s End Game. Don’t get me wrong here, End Game is one hell of a robot; a version of this with a different paint job won an event in China and when it showed up at BattleBots the first thing it did was tear Lock-Jaw’s ass wide open. End Game hits hard, but maybe a little too hard. You see, End Game threw some hella punches at both Bite Force and Son of Whyachi and while both of the hits were absolutely spectacular… End Game wasn’t doing so well after they were dealt. By that I mean End Game was fucking toast. This is a robot who isn’t that bad but I think by trampling a bunch of low-tier garbage bots in China we may have given this one too much credit up front. End Game’s got the muscle to end a fight in one hit, now it just needs to make sure it’s not the one on the receiving end of it. Jack Barker says he’s added some “new features” to his robot but he doesn’t explain what they are so I’ll help him out; End Game has some new armor on its front and top to protect against SawBlaze’s weapon and there’s also a bunch of stupid Lexan or something stuck on End Game’s wedge to ensure SawBlaze won’t get underneath it because that worked so well for Chrome Fly when that robot tried it against Bronco.
End Game draws first blood and boy does its first hit count. End Game’s disc connects with the center wedge of SawBlaze and visibly jacks its tip up. I’m reserving giving any credit to the chunks of Lexan on End Game’s wedge but I’ll applaud a hit that perfect. Unfortunately it does fuck all to protect the robot from SawBlaze’s extreme driving torque because SawBlaze still takes control of End Game and tries to run it into the wall. If bending up one fork isn’t good enough, why not two? End Game goes in for another bite and catches SawBlaze’s right prong perpendicularly and tweaks the entire right side of SawBlaze’s frame, sorta like what Bronco did except Bronco had to first hurl the robot 20 goddamned feet into the air. SawBlaze is keeping in close but not really doing much offensively, as it spins around against the wall End Game eats a bit of its right wheel and lands a Kenny Florian Huge Hit on the dragon that throws it onto its back resulting in the first time we’ve had to see SawBlaze try and right itself. The hit also causes End Game to shit out one of its weapon belts, but it still has one left so not all hope is lost just yet.
SawBlaze gets back onto its feet but you can tell it’s not in a good place right now. One of its right tires is all screwed up and every time it swings its arm forward its saw inadvertently starts chewing into its bent up center fork, but the bigger story here is End Game. Like I said earlier this robot can stand the fuck up and prove its might but half the times it’s done this the robot takes so much recoil damage that it just stops working and right now that looks to be the case. That’s clearly a weapon belt that SawBlaze keeps driving over, so End Game’s disc is only getting half of the muscle behind it, but it also looks like there’s something wrong with End Game’s drive system because it’s struggling to go in a straight line and get out of that corner. SawBlaze senses weakness and springs forward but due to how fucked up its front forks are its arm cannot reach its target. SawBlaze is still taking control of the fight and brings End Game into the wall and when its saw can’t quite hit the mark Jamison kicks on the flamethrower and starts belching out some gnarly green fire right into the slot of End Game’s armor where its weapon motors are.
The only real advantage End Game has right now is that its weapon has started spinning again but because the robot can’t fucking move right the best it can do is land some glancing blows as SawBlaze charges it. There’s nothing really left to chew up on SawBlaze’s front so all of End Game’s hits fail to impress and in the twilight seconds of this fight the robot takes a stray hit from the Killsaws and just dies. It’s too close to the end of the fight for a countdown to happen so the New Zealand robot gets saved by the bell, but the judges score this one in favor of the red, white, and blue. Wait a minute… both flags are those colors. I mean the USA. AMERICA! It’s another split decision, which I don’t disagree with, and much like the round with Blacksmith at the start of this episode it’s gotta be because End Game stopped working at the end. That’s the #1 way to throw a fight that was close. You blew it, End Game, and now America is going to forcefully spread democracy to every nation on the planet, but only so long as you vote for the “right” people.
WINNER: SawBlaze, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
As the dust settles from World War III, the United States stands alone as the winner. Again, I’m not trying to say this was a rigged ordeal or anything, but you better damn well hope that the US doesn’t get cucked on TV even in a pretend international content like this one. Imagine the boycotts as people burn their BattleBots toys and cut the logos off of their clothes. It would be madness. There would be no 2019 season, and there would actually be a time rift that stretches over into a parallel universe where the Comedy Central series never ended and gets that one cancelled too. But yeah, jokes aside this was a nice diversion from the Fight Night rounds which may have become a little monotonous to some viewers. I think it’s a little strange to run this special right now because it’s sort of confusing to keep up with things like “Warhead is 4-0 right now, but only 3 of those wins count as Fight Night matches” and shit. Saving this special until the end of Fight Night would’ve been a little better because at least the Desperado tournament had implications regarding making the final 16.
Speaking of Fight Night there’s really only two episodes left of it if DVR previews and summaries are to be believed. There’s hardly anyone left who still needs to finish their fight cards and by the end of the month we might see the tournament get underway. By my best guess that leaves 3 episodes for the final tournament and since we get about 6 fights per episode that should be plenty of time to show the whole thing. Then I gotta write that damn Giant Washer Awards article that I haven’t been keeping up with. Oops. I might need to take a week to get that one done — in any case though there’s still a whole quarter of the season left to go, so make sure you follow BattleBots Update on Facebook to keep up with the posts! And as always if you’d like to support this endeavor financially you can do so with a recurring monthly pledge via Patreon, or a one-time donation through PayPal. Big thanks to Kirche for joining the Patreon support train!
See you next week!