[BattleBots: S8 E16 is available online through Science Channel with a cable subscription.]
Welcome back to BattleBots Update as we get ready to wind down the last couple rounds of Fight Night match-ups. Last week’s episode was a special event that had no ramifications on anyone’s Fight Night standings, however this week we’re getting right back into it and it’s going to be confusing as hell because Warhead and Reality are returning to the arena (and they previously won their “USA vs. The World” exhibition fights). I’m fairly certain that every single robot being featured tonight will be having their fourth official bout meaning that for a couple of contenders, such as Witch Doctor and Whiplash, a win here is urgently needed in order to stay in the game. Other robots like Minotaur in the main event are probably advancing onward anyways, but there’s also some hopeless competitors like Mohawk and Overhaul whose only real plan is turning their fights into “if I go down I’m taking you with me” battles to try and screw up the advancement eligibility of their respective opponents.
This episode’s cold open is the one that I was assuming they were saving for Shark Week, until I discovered that BattleBots wouldn’t be airing during Shark Week… because of Shark Week. I figured if Mythbusters had a shark-themed episode then at least BattleBots could tangentially also have one too by featuring Sharkoprion in one of the fights. Chris Rose even makes a jab at the programming block’s expense, the punchline essentially equating Shark Week to the fat shit that Sharkoprion just dropped in the men’s room. Not sure why they added a flushing sound effect in post considering the concept of a “courtesy flush” was part of the gag, but this one needs no explanation really. This was one of the openers that I got to watch them film in person because the green room was basically right in the direction that Sharkoprion drove away to. A small group of people from there had gathered around to watch the crew do multiple takes of the shot, some of which broke the tiles on the wall. Apparently that was okay though because Boeing was planning on either remodeling or demolishing that whole bathroom anyways. That bathroom was fucking insane by the way; there were almost twice as many sinks as there were places to piss. I guess that’s why Boeing designs aircraft and not fucking bathrooms.
WARHEAD vs. WHIPLASH
Totally True Trivia™: When Warhead’s dome exploded I had the worst ever mental image of that old Jack & Jill nursery rhyme.
I really don’t know why Chris introduces this match as having two robots who are “on the bubble” so to speak. That refers to a competitor who is on the verge of elimination, but only one of these robots has an imperfect record right now and it ain’t Warhead. Warhead has rebounded from oblivion and is currently 3-0 right now. 4-0 if you count last week’s special which, I know, doesn’t factor into the selection of the final 16. Those wins may not have been “impressive” or show-stopping, but they’re wins. You all know how I feel about that petty hairsplitting, even if Warhead loses this fight it would still officially have a 3-1 record and that’s right up there with Monsoon, SawBlaze, and Yeti. In fact if Warhead lost this fight that would actually put both it and Whiplash at 3-1, any way you slice it I feel like this should be another one of those “no matter who wins this robot is advancing anyways” fights. That goofy ass dinosaur face has proven to be a truly effective weapon, and even if the team is now forced to use it because their spinning dome went full Challenger they’re still making the best of it. The jaw has some obvious practicality, such as its usage against Sharkoprion, but that thing was even able to unhinge and bite down on fucking Chomp and we all know that thing’s the size of a goddamned motor home.
When we last saw Whiplash it had “earned the right to battle Tombstone”. That’s really just a clever way of saying “earned the right to lose by rapid and profound disassembly”. Don’t get me wrong, Whiplash arguably had control of that fight for a few seconds but in the end let’s be real here, when you get drawn to fight Tombstone you’re basically fucked unless your robot is just a solid block of metal (and as Minotaur and Duck demonstrated sometimes not even that is enough to win). Somehow Jeff Vasquez and his boys were able to put this bot back together to compete in their fourth fight and I’m impressed because I’m like 90% certain I have a screenshot of this robot after the Tombstone fight where its motor mounts are literally bent at perfect 45 degree angles and shit. The type of thing that I’d look at and go “well that’s a write-off”, in other words. Still, when it works it works; Whiplash showed up — and then showed up — Hypothermia and Mecha Rampage with back to back KO victories over two bots built by BattleBots legends. Don’t discredit this robot because you’ve probably never heard of it until this season, or even because its weapon setup looks dumb and impractical as hell, Whiplash will pull a fast one on you so hard your head will blow up Scanners-style.
Before the fight Simon Scott taunts Whiplash by daring the team to “make a mistake”, well that’s what happens when Whiplash drifts into one of the little nipple things on the floor. Those are the distant offspring of the Battlebox Ramrods hazards; nature selected against an ineffective cluster of six plus-shaped spears and replaced them with little metal nubs that pop out of the floor. Apparently robots were hitting them all season long, because not a single one wasn’t dinged up in some significant way, but this is one of the few times when you can actually see someone drive straight into them. It’s the robot equivalent of catching your pinky toe on the coffee table and you can see how vulnerable it can make a speedy bot like Whiplash because Warhead just comes right in flames blazing. The advantage only lasts for a moment however, because Whiplash turns things right around and carries Warhead under one of the red square’s Pulverizers for some quick points. I guess it’s just because Whiplash is so fast and its front plow is so low to the ground, but god damn this thing just cannot stop hitting the ramrods. Chris finally notices it after the third time it happens but doesn’t seem to realize that Whiplash is getting tripped up by a legitimate hazard in the arena. C’mon guys, those stupid not-ying yangs on the floor are there for a reason.
Warhead gets pushed into the wall near the drivers’ booth and I guess it’s causing too much action and noise for the editors to overlay the BattleBots website address over the marquee, so they have to wait until Warhead gets away before sneaking it in. Kenny mentions that Warhead needs to stay on the ground because it “can’t self right”, and that’s news to me. I know I’ve seen this thing roll its ass back over before, but then again that was with the spinner attached. Is Warhead really KIA if it’s flipped over with the dinosaur head? There’s no extensions or attachments for the wings to force any leverage there? Why the fuck do they still have the wings on the robot then? For looks? That’s a lot of fucking weight to waste on something that doesn’t do anything, like the entirety of Battle Royale with Cheese. Warhead gets a bite on Whiplash, but Whiplash wriggles free by way of backhanding the dinosaur with its lifting arm. Dinosaurs apparently respond negatively to getting bopped on the nose, I will keep this knowledge close.
Whiplash takes control of the fight once more and slams its opponent into the screws and very nearly tips Warhead completely over, but Warhead’s wings catch it and ensure it lands safely back onto its wheels. I guess they do still somewhat serve a purpose after all, but don’t dwell on that for too long because in an instant Warhead gets knocked on its back in the middle of the floor asking “wah, what are we gonna do on the bed”. 4chan trash from the previous decade will know the answer is “pomf” and strangely enough I guess Whiplash was a /b/-tard in a previous life because right on queue it just starts smoking. I don’t plan on stuff like this happening in BattleBots, it just does. Warhead is apparently KO’d for the reasons I started venting about in the previous paragraph and at first it looks like Whiplash might be in trouble too, however whatever that smoke was may have just been weapon-related because the robot is able to drive away and show that it’s still fully mobile. Meanwhile Warhead is laying on its back like it’s trying to solicit a fucking furry roleplay session or something by showing off the hole that is — of course — tucked right underneath its fucking tail.
That’s a win for Whiplash which brings both robots’ records to an even 3-1. Simon expressed concern that none of his team’s wins were by knockout, but like I said “a win is a win”. Three wins is more than a hell of a lot of other competitors can brag about. Plus the whole “no knockouts” thing is your own damned faults anyways, you could’ve stuck the dome on for your battle with Chomp and rendered that thing into a wadded up ball of tin foil. The best part is even if the dome broke during that fight nobody would’ve noticed Warhead flopping around everywhere because you’d be battling fucking Chomp.
WINNER: Whiplash, KO
MOHAWK vs. REALITY
Totally True Trivia™: Max Bales got his hair styled like a Mohawk during the taping of this event. I think it’s to match his robot, but instead he looks like he lost a bet.
I miscounted at the start of this article, not every robot is having their fourth fight tonight. Mohawk is the exception as this round is number three, but at the start of the episode the hosts confirmed “all ten” robots on this week’s card would be wrapping up their qualification rounds. I guess that means that for whatever reason Mohawk got shortchanged and only made it to three bouts. That’s weird because unlike some of the other participants this season who’ve been forced into taking an early finish by being completely destroyed Mohawk has just sorta been “around”. It’s been beaten up a little bit but not quite to the degree of someone like Vanquish or Gigabyte. Mohawk lost the tip of its beak while fighting Gemini and the worst that really happened against SawBlaze were a few cuts in various places but nothing major. Very strange. I mean I know I rag on this robot (because just fucking look at it) but I am curious to know why it isn’t going to make it to four battles. My assumption is that perhaps Mohawk is here this season as an alternate and thus wasn’t “guaranteed” to have four fights? That kinda sucks, it’s gotta be pretty boring in the 0-4 lounge with just Chomp and Bombshell. Someone else needs to keep them company. Someone with crazy hair that lights on fire… and who isn’t Michael Jackson because I just realized he also fits that description. Huh.
Chris hypothesizes whether or not Mohawk should even care about a win here — because we all know it ain’t making it in with even a prospective 1-2 finish — but Kenny says it’s about honor and that BattleBots is the gold standard in robot combat around the world. He’s not wrong, but let’s also cut the nonsense; Reality’s probably not going to make the cut either. Already at 1-2, Reality is looking at a 2-2 finish in a best case scenario (and being drawn to fight Mohawk qualifies as “best case scenario”). Even though the Dutch team has an extra win in their back pocket from the world series special last week that doesn’t mean anything here. The best they can hope for is to break even, and with the way Chris started downplaying Warhead’s respectable 3-1 “no-KO” finish you know you’re in trouble when even 3-1 bots are on the verge of failing to qualify. This fight really is all about honor… as well as which robot who lost to SawBlaze is better, because both of these robots comprise two-thirds of SawBlaze’s current wins this year.
Mohawk’s major design flaw is that I feel like its chassis sits like two or three millimeters too high. I know you have to make room for differences in floor levels and wear on tire treads and all that, but if it looks like I can park a Hot Wheels car under your front wedge then that’s too much ground clearance. Reality doesn’t even have a fucking wedge and it’s still getting the upper hand here because its weapon teeth are lower to the ground than Mohawk’s wedge meaning that the first hit pops a divot in Mohawk’s face that completely ruins the efficacy of its design before the editors can even remove the starting fight clock graphic. Second and third follow-up hits result in the entire front panel that comprises Mohawk’s wedge getting curled backwards. Yeah, you might just want to mercy kill this one right now because unless Reality just spontaneously breaks down again I have a feeling we’re in for about 2 minutes and 40 seconds more of this.
Mohawk is being driven quite aggressively now, probably because Max Bales knows that he needs to bludgeon Reality into submission if he wants to stand any chance at winning this fight. Apparently the corners of Mohawk’s front wedge are still viable, as the pincher gets a little bit of leverage, but the advantage is only for a moment because it loses Reality before it can attempt anything with its hydraulic beak. It kinda doesn’t matter though, because Reality is able to get underneath Mohawk as well even though it doesn’t have a wedge of its own, it just pops the side of the robot upward and careens under it. Chris uses the term “car wreck” to describe Mohawk’s face and you know you’re in trouble when we’re already at the point where the hosts are openly shitting on robots and comparing them to vehicular accidents.
There’s a little wheel or something that’s come off of someone and it’s just sitting in the middle of the arena. I’m assuming it’s from Mohawk only because A) the robot seems to pull to one side as it drives so it may have been a stabilizer wheel and B) Reality hasn’t taken any fucking damage. My suspicions are confirmed because Reality catches Mohawk from the side and with an exceptionally nice jab pops the robot up into the air and onto its side, where you can see sure enough Mohawk is missing a balancing wheel at its front. It’s also upside-down though, so missing a dinky little wheel is like the least of its worries right now. Theoretically Mohawk should be able to right itself with those little articulated wings on its top, but I guess one of the shocks of being hit so hard broke them or knocked a wire loose because even though they were waving around earlier in the fight they’re doing jack shit right now. Mohawk is dead in the water and really the only good news here is that Reality is probably also at the end of its journey too which means we won’t have to hear any more fucking “reality” puns.
WINNER: Reality, KO
FREE SHIPPING vs. WAR HAWK
Totally True Trivia™: Every time you say “Free Shipping” Jeff Bezos makes another 40 million dollars.
“Free Shipping has nothing to lose.” Pretty much, this thing’s already out of the contest both by virtue of having a 1-2 record right now as well as being a completely ineffective lifter bot. Free Shipping’s only win came from HyperShock who pretty much popped wheelies and killed itself while Free Shipping just parked next to it and scored free points with its flamethrower. Arguably it did pretty well in its first match (the rumble with Duck and Mecha Rampage) but it was still a flaming mess. That didn’t change when it fought Huge, either. “Free Shipping” is what happens when you try to take an established robot like Original Sin and pigeonhole it into something it isn’t purely to make it through the BattleBots registration selection committee. Original Sin is a fantastic machine, Free Shipping is basically Original Sin performing in blackface as a forklift. It was a novel and amusing concept at sneaking by, but it’s proven to be a bad setup for a robot that was successful on other merits. Earlier in this article I mentioned how some of these fights could potentially boil down into taking your opponent down with you to prevent them from qualifying and that’s pretty much what’s going to happen here. Even though War Hawk can’t drive in a straight fucking line, a win here would put the spinner at 3-1. Gary Gin has the potential to end that right here and tie things up at 2-2 across the board.
It was pointed out to me by a reader of this website that War Hawk is actually a robot named “Cat King” that competed in one of the recent events in China and was driven by the same guys who brought Bad Kitty to BattleBots last season. But War Hawk/Cat King was also once called “Cataclysm” and participated at Robogames this year too. Okay, two things. One, why does this dumb robot keep trading hands so many times? (Also this whole “licensing” bullshit with rights to the names/appearances of competitors is fucking retarded.) And two, did War Hawk suck as badly at all these other events as it does at this one? By that I mean only being able to drive by means of turning left or whatever, like a shitty RC car from the bottom shelf at Toys R’ Us. I guess that explains why Rob “The Monkey Guy” Farrow is behind the wheel of a non-primate-themed robot, but it actually doesn’t — how did this dude end up with this specific robot? Did the original builders pull a fast one and sell it to him and then go “lol no take backsies it’s your problem now”? Whatever. Somehow this robot has two wins, one of which by KO (Axe Backwards) and the other by “almost KO” because its opponent (Overhaul) did its usual thing and caught fire and died but was saved by the bell.
War Hawk’s minibot “War Stop” returns for this fight and I don’t know how effective something like that is going to be against a robot as flimsy and unwieldy as Free Shipping. Furthermore I’m also not so sure how effective an upside-down doorstop is going to be either, because whoever is at the controls for the minibot hit the gas pedal so goddamned hard that the robot flipped the fuck out and turned itself over. The good news is it looks like War Hawk’s pit crew finally plugged their drive motors in correctly because dare I say it but the robot is finally driving correctly for literally the first time this season. And it’s only episode 16. Free Shipping has had a lot of difficult matches to contend with in its debut season but this one’s fairly simple; War Hawk is essentially an easy target from every side except the front and as long as Gary keeps his finger on the stick he probably has nothing to worry about. I say that, but of course five seconds later War Hawk chews up one of the left stabilizers of Free Shipping’s forklift and then hits the forklift directly which bends the primary forks and immediately ruins their effectiveness.
Free Shipping tries to stay in the game with its bent forks, but once the robot gets rolled over and Gary has to drive the robot on its side to flip itself back over he officially just throws caution to the wind and acknowledges that he ain’t gonna win this one unless he just starts throwing punches left and right. So he does… and gets rolled back over immediately. To give you and idea of how little Free Shipping cares the robot pulls the BattleBots sign right off of the drivers’ booth and leaves it on the floor. Good thing this episode didn’t have a primary sponsor because now there’s nothing to motion track their logo onto, the editors would have to go back to using the grid of beams along the arena wall to track in digital ads for Taco Bell and Doritos 3D’s and shit like they did back in the Comedy Central days. Once again Free Shipping starts indiscriminately slamming into things in an effort to flip back over. That’s proper usage of “indiscriminately”, by the way, because the forklift ends up running right back over the fallen logo banner and with the help of War Hawk blows it to fucking pieces. In case you’re wondering what happens now that the banner is ruined, between fights the event’s “art department” would bring out another one and hang it up in the same place. These signs broke all the goddamned time to the point where there was literally an entire stack of them behind the main stage wrapped in plastic and ready to go the moment someone got a little too eager inside the ring and chewed one up.
Anyways Free Shipping’s forklift mechanism is five kinds of fucked up now and after crashing into the wall at full speed sideways the lifter part has separated completely. Free Shipping immediately tries to make use of it as an improvisational weapon by whipping it around like a mace, but War Hawk isn’t having any of that bullshit and pops its opponent right back onto its side. Of importance regarding this hit is that it apparently kills War Hawk’s disc. I don’t think Free Shipping did anything to damage the disc per se, I just think this is War Hawk being War Hawk and if it’s not its drive that’s a busted piece of shit then it’s just something else. Because Free Shipping has no srimech aside from “just hit the wall as hard as possible and hope for the best”, it’s very easy for War Hawk to get tangled up in all of its brackets and scaffolding or whatever and just parade it around while the forklift destroys itself. Literally. When self-righting fails Free Shipping just does what it did against Huge and that’s to turn into a giant rolling ball of fucking fire. This also does nothing.
The law of probability states that eventually Free Shipping will get back onto its wheels, and eventually does so with the help of the Killsaws. The arena is just full of random parts now and everything that isn’t the unfortunate BattleBots banner or War Hawk’s shitty minibot whose name I’ve already forgotten again is something that has come off of Free Shipping. War Hawk is just hanging around without its weapon but at least pursuing the forklift, which blows itself up again. I can’t tell if Gary just mashed the expunge button for the fuel tanks or if that was a genuine explosion but whatever the case Free Shipping has gone full Ghost Rider again, except where Ghost Rider would’ve transformed an unsuspecting forklift into a machine of destruction… Free Shipping instead just throws its dangling forks across the floor and calls it quits. Big surprise who won here, and a less sarcastic “big surprise” when you realize War Hawk somehow has three fucking wins and only one loss. Without ever turning right. Fucking come on, guys.
As Faruq reads the results while the art team puts a new sign up and Trey Roski drives in a little fire truck to put out Free Shipping. Yep, by this point even the organizers were going full meme.
WINNER: War Hawk, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
OVERHAUL vs. WITCH DOCTOR
Totally True Trivia™: There is an Overhaul OVA available on Crunchyroll.
Here we are at another fight where someone has the potential of advancing onward while the other team has the opportunity to turn the match into a suicide bombing and eliminate both robots from the tournament by simply winning. Charles Guan is wearing the dynamite vest in this round because Overhaul is essentially a guaranteed loser at 1-2 right now, but if it wins this fight both Overhaul and Witch Doctor will tie at 2-2 and that means War Hawk would have a better record than them and when that happens you actually get irrevocably disqualified from BattleBots for life. Speaking of War Hawk, that’s one of the robots that Overhaul has lost to this season, the other being SawBlaze. Overhaul did manage to finally break its losing streak against Chomp, proving that Overhaul can take a few swings from a hammer and still live… assuming it’s Chomp swinging the hammer and not Beta. Because Overhaul has also lost to Beta. At this point Charles sorta knows that he’s only fighting for glory and there’s really nothing he can do to Witch Doctor damage-wise, so Overhaul’s weapon has been modified to grapple faster but not as strongly just so the robot can at least get some good lifts in. Also Overhaul is still using that ablative plastic armor as added protection again because it worked so good against War Hawk.
Witch Doctor stumbled out of the gate this season in a fight against Yeti where the robot got punched as square in the face as mathematically possible and blew up underneath the Pulverizer. Thankfully due to the way this season was structured that meant this wouldn’t be the only time we’d see the robot this year. Obviously there were some kinks to work out. Andrea Suarez and her team put their heads together and came back stronger against Blacksmith, although this fight also almost went to shit when the robot got stuck behind the screws. Luckily Witch Doctor was able to wiggle out of there and get back into the fight and claim a judges’ decision victory. There was also a “fight” with Ultimo Destructo, but that was basically a free win because in like two shitty hits Ultimo Destructo snapped in half and that was the end of it. It’s pretty anxiety-inducing how much pressure gets put on you for just losing one Fight Night battle, but when there’s over 50 robots and only about a quarter of them can advance onward you really can’t afford to make any fuck-ups. That said, Witch Doctor cannot make any more fuck-ups.
This fight starts off almost like a stalemate where neither robot is able to throw the first punch and officially open this pit up. Overhaul’s forks fail to get under Witch Doctor, and Witch Doctor’s face is too flat for its discs to reach Overhaul at first. Witch Doctor eventually draws first blood and with a single shot rips the entire right side of extra armor off of Overhaul. One shot, that’s all it needed. War Hawk almost did that too, but War Hawk is War Hawk and it got thwarted by a single screw that held on for dear life. Witch Doctor lines up another shot at the now-exposed anime robot and just rips a gnarly gash in the side. Pay close attention and you’ll see that the camera crew mounted one of those 360 degree cameras on that side of Overhaul and the damn thing just rolls off. I feel bad for the company who owns all of those things because I swear to fucking god at least one them gets broken in every single fight. “Hey what’s the likelihood of this robot getting hit on exactly this spot? This seems like a good place to mount one of the camer–OH FUCK WE LOST ANOTHER ONE.”
Kenny thinks something may have gotten banged up inside of Overhaul’s drive system with that hit. I can’t confirm but I will say the robot is absolutely a little worse for wear now. Witch Doctor is relentless though and just goes for the throat; another solid blow knocks Overhaul onto its lifters for a neat pirouette and I think in the process Witch Doctor also hits the underside of Overhaul. This combination of blows definitely fucks something up because when Overhaul lands it’s weapon is jammed upward and the entire thing is just totally shot. No drive, no weapon, nothing. The ref starts to count Overhaul out and Charles says he can move a few nanometers but unfortunately for him the ref doesn’t give a nanofuck and Charles is sent home with his waifu until next year.
WINNER: Witch Doctor, KO
SCIENCE CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE
THE BOTOPSY REPORT 3
I tell you what, even though these bonus segments aren’t another fight I’m okay with that because not all these “bonus fights” were good ones and sometimes it’s better to take a look at the carnage and aftermath of some of the really good fights in lieu of watching Predator drive about 10 feet and then spend the next forty seconds getting whaled on until the referee stops laughing long enough to count the thing out. There’s been a ton of gruesome hits since the last time we’ve had one of these specials and the editors kick this one off with a doozy by giving us the inside scoop on what the fuck went down with Red Devil. I’m not talking about that embarrassing loss against Kraken last week, I’m talking about the time Valkyrie straight up tore an entire tread off — drive pod and all — and the goddamned thing kept moving. Ravi Baboolal informs us that Red Devil is technically three “robots” all strung together as one main contraption. This sounds kind of dumb at first but hey if it means that you can slice the thing in two and both halves will remain alive then I’m game. That’s like a magic trick gone wrong. Ravi was more worried about the robot’s weapon arm getting damaged because he only has two and the robot has lost one of them already. Yeah I’ll say, Monsoon blew that thing to kingdom fucking come. Also I guess this segment didn’t age well because that saw arm that he was so worried about ended up getting smashed by the Pulverizers anyways.
Al Kindle is also kicking around in the pits talking about Blacksmith and the results of its rematch with Minotaur. Minotaur’s up next in the main event so if you’re interested to see what this thing’s capable of here’s about 45 seconds of Al naming off every single thing inside his robot that’s busted. Consequently it just so happens this is literally every single thing. Speed controllers, flamethrower parts, the whole goddamned frame. You name it. Al can’t even finish a sentence without the editors dropping in a clip of one of his teammates noting that a whole wheel has been chewed up or that some other shit is broken. It’s never a good sign when you get featured on more than one of these segments, but after Blacksmith has its 15 minutes Mike Jeffries from the Chaos Corps is up next to let us know where it hurts on Bombshell. Bombshell is 0-4 so while I’m not a doctor I’d like to venture a guess and just say “it hurts all over”. Really though, there’s not much left to fix after Bombshell’s match with Bite Force. It wasn’t much of a fight; Bite Force got a new nicks but the fight was over pretty fast since Bombshell got cleaved into and thrown out of the arena. The real story here is how come Mike is talking about getting back into the arena when his robot is 0-4. Shouldn’t Bombshell be out? Ha. Ha ha. You guys are going to like next week’s show.
Sean Irvin finally gets his proper on-screen BattleBots debut in this segment to let us know that on a scale from 1 to 10 when it comes to “how fucked was Ultimo Destructo in its previous fight” the answer is “none of the tubes of the robot’s frame are still welded together”. Ultimo Destructo was not the most durable thing at the show this year, but holy shit that’s two bots in one Botopsy Report who’ve been snapped in half. Can you imagine if this shit happened this regularly back in the Comedy Central seasons? Bil Dwyer would’ve had a fucking stroke out of sheer excitement. Back when Sean was competing with Techno Destructo the only thing he had to worry about was someone mistaking his robot for a trash can. Now he has to contend with robots capable of busting his into two distinct halves. Sean says he’s most beaten up about not being able to shoot off Ultimo Destructo’s twisty rockets because one of the mounts broke (and I think he also mentioned in a Reddit AMA that there was an electrical problem with the rockets themselves which caused the robot to falter at the beginning of the match and open it up to free hits from Witch Doctor). Still, for all the shit talking I gotta remind you that this was Ultimo Destructo’s third fight, they were aired out of order. Sean put his money where his mouth was and got this thing put back together for its last match against Axe Backwards, including the twisty rockets. Hats off, dude.
SUBZERO vs. MINOTAUR
Totally True Trivia™: According to mythological legends the minotaur guarded a labyrinth. That explains the team’s choice of font for the robot’s name.
If you just stay in the game long enough you’re bound to be featured in a main event fight just by process of elimination. Take SubZero for example, this thing has a 1-2 record and yet here it is getting the red carpet treatment complete with its own tunnel entrance. Why? Because it bumped its ass into Captain Shrederator and subsequently knocked it out? I’ve seen fat women inadvertently knock things over with their asses and the only thing they get is a one way ticket to having their picture featured on People of Walmart. The field is drying up, someone’s gotta be in the headline act and that someone — somehow — is SubZero. It’s not a great robot, but it’s a fighter. As Kenny is eager to point out SubZero has been in eight sanctioned BattleBots fights and has never been KO’d. I’d like to know where Kenny is getting his facts because if you count every single official BattleBots event, including the ones where SubZero was a middleweight, this is its twenty-third match. If you’re only counting the reboot seasons this is its fifth match. I guess he’s referring to only the fights where SubZero has fought as a heavyweight because this bout against Minotaur would make it SubZero’s ninth, meaning there were eight prior. Why fudge the numbers like that though? Is it because SubZero gets knocked out here? Are you assholes telegraphing the end of the goddamned fight again?
I’m suspicious, too, because SubZero’s opponent here is Minotaur. Minotaur is absolutely main event material and this isn’t the bull’s first rodeo. Minotaur is 2-1 right now because in the very first episode of the season the producers thought it would be a good idea to pit Minotaur against Tombstone because technically with a normal tournament there’s no real guarantee of that battle actually happening. There could be a fluke and Minotaur might not make it to battle Tombstone because it loses to some fucker like Bombshell or something. That’s plausible. That also happened. Minotaur came out on the losing side of its encounter with Tombstone and as fate would have it the robot was also magically drawn to battle Blacksmith because the last time these two robots fought about 100 million people watched it unfold. Minotaur is a ratings machine and thus far I’m willing to bet all of its matchups with the exception of Hypothermia were penned in as “definitely have to happen” purely because of the robot’s history. This fucking match with SubZero is like only the second honest fight it’s had and if SubZero wins this one then we’ll finally have a successful kamikaze on our hands. I don’t think that’s going to happen though because Kenny won’t shut up about SubZero never being knocked out and Marco Meggiolaro won’t shut up about having Minotaur’s drum dialed up to a hundred goddamned percent this time.
Before the fight Jerry Clarkin said SubZero was in its best ever condition because all of the repairs he has to keep doing are improving the robot. I don’t believe you, Jerry. Your robot can’t even fucking turn around properly. Minotaur cruises in for some of the easiest hits it’s ever had to land and sparks immediately start to rain from SubZero’s booty. While this is going on Spitfire is fluttering about and I just want to point out how impressive it is that the drone is even still around. I don’t know if you remember, but the last time we saw that thing it was literally eaten by the goddamned screws. I saw the aftermath of that in person. That thing was a tangled mess of battery wires and carbon fiber tubing and that’s it, but here it is rising like a phoenix so it can do fuck all once more. SubZero fires its flipper and misses which results in the robot getting flipped onto its back. SubZero has srimechs on either side, but right now Minotaur is keeping the flipper stuck on its back where it’s struggling to get the proper angle to right itself. After a few tense seconds of hanging out near one of the deadliest weapons in the sport, SubZero finally gets back onto its wheels… only to miss another flip and end right back up where it was a second ago.
Minotaur doesn’t really have time for this. That might even be a literal statement because with the drum running at 100% power I don’t even know how long the robot’s batteries will actually last. Point is, Minotaur needs to wrap this one up pretty quickly here so it comes in, chews the back right wheel off of SubZero, and turns the robot into the world’s ugliest convertible. Best shape of its life, you guys. It gets even better when SubZero catches a blow across its face perpendicularly and its nose gets turned into Owen Wilson’s. This fight’s bringing out all the “huge hits” from Kenny, he’s dropped two of them thus far. Chris talks about how durable SubZero is just in case we forgot about the whole “never been KO’d” thing. I don’t necessarily disagree, but I still sorta do? SubZero can take a beating but it doesn’t come out of those fights farting rainbows, this thing’s flipper breaks all the fucking time; the only thing that was stopping SubZero’s flipper from rocketing off of the robot’s face when it fought Huge were like two shitty little bolts that were still connected to the robot. Don’t tell me SubZero is “durable”, right now it looks like an elephant with downs syndrome.
SubZero slows down in the middle of the arena and Minotaur lets its drum start to coast. The hosts think there’s a problem, but I’m pretty sure the situation here is exactly what I was talking about earlier regarding its batteries and the whole “three minutes” thing. If SubZero is toast then there’s no need to rev the drum up. Ease off on the gas a bit and let that thing cool down in case your opponent comes back to life and you need to fire it up again, because that’s exactly what happens. SubZero is missing a wheel so it’s not sitting evenly on the floor and I guess it got caught on a seam or something because after firing its flipper (which amazingly still works) the robot regains control and right on cue Minotaur’s drum comes back to life. Its job unfinished, Minotaur dutifully continues to beat the everliving shit out of SubZero until the robot is laying on its back in front of the hosts and unable to self right. Its srimechs continue to wiggle around, but the flipper is out of commission. Even if SubZero could get back onto its wheels I really don’t think it would be doing a whole lot of moving around anyways. It’s missing the back right wheel and it looks like its armor is all bent into the rear left. That leaves only two good ones and depending on how SubZero’s drivetrain is set up that might not be good enough.
I called it, SubZero was going to get knocked out. Thanks Kenny.
WINNER: Minotaur, KO
We’re just one episode of Fight Night away from the start of the proper tournament. Seems crazy but it’s almost here. We’re about to find out who’s in and who’s going home, and next week’s episode is going to be interesting to say the least. I’m not sure how much of this is a spoiler (because it’s being openly talked about on Reddit right now) but episode 17 pulls out all the stops. There’s one more special event where the winner automatically advances into the Round of 16: a six bot super rumble. Now I know back in “the old days” they’d stick like 12 heavyweights into the ring and just let them go at it but I’ll settle for six. I won’t complain, especially when it’s a “last chance” rumble where the winner gets back into the game. It worked for Robot Wars so if it’s good for Britain then it’s good for us, as long as we’re not talking about widespread censorship of the internet. Zing! There’s also another 3-way mini rumble between robots who all have the same “another goddamned vertical spinner” design and approximately the same Fight Night records, the winner of course advances onward to the main tournament too. After that though? It’s all about ranking. We’ll talk about that next week when Fight Night ends.
Thanks for swinging by The Update this week, I really appreciate it. I’ve been having to put these ~7,000 word articles together in a much shorter span recently because of some ongoing things in my personal life. I wish that it wasn’t such a big deal, but it’s all job-related so unfortunately I have to pretend like I care because otherwise I won’t be able to pay the utility bill and they’ll come shut my power off or whatever. I’ve also inexplicably been having the hardest fucking time with Google Chrome being a total resource hog and having a memory leak while working on WordPress stuff ever since I updated the browser the other day. If I don’t save my progress every five minutes there’s a chance the tab will crash and I swear to fucking god it is the most infuriating thing on the planet. It’s fucking Google, these dickbags have at least twenty times as much money as they do sense. You mean to tell me with all the money they dump into this shit that someone can’t find the problem? I guess that’s what happens when you hire based upon diversity rather than merit. Zing! Man we are two for two as far as this closing section goes. I’m sinking these hot takes like a misguided university student who thinks they’ve solved the world’s economic problems.
Anyways I know the solution is “just use a different browser” but I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to carry all my shit over and set it up again, it’s a pain in the ass. “But Dracophile, Google can see what you’re doing and they’re keeping records of your habits.” So? I don’t care if they know my browsing habits, my nickname is fucking “Dracophile”. I’m completely open with all of you assholes about the internet gutter that I came from. Hasn’t affected my employability yet, probably because in the end I get results. Then again I’ve also never sent in a job application to Google. TRIPLE ZING!
Okay well since by NBA Jam terms I’m officially “on fire” I think I’m going to wrap this one up. Make sure to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for updates, and if you’d like to help support this project you can do so month-to-month through Patreon or with a one-time donation through PayPal. See you next week!