[BattleBots: S10 E10 is available via streaming on Discovery+.]
Well I officially can’t count. When I was doing the math in my head trying to figure out how many episodes were left in the season I was like “four”, but I was neglecting to count episode #10 as its own separate thing. You know how like when you add and subtract months how sometimes you forget to count the current month? Yeah I did that except with BattleBots episodes. That explains a lot – there will be four episodes (11-14) covering the main tournament and this episode is the absolute last stop for Fight Night.
And a lot of robots that have just been lurking about are making their last pushes for qualification this week. Hydra and Uppercut, two unstoppable forces, meet up in the first round to see who’s finishing 3-0. Turns out Gamma 9 isn’t dead because it’s back to fight Tantrum, and apparently I lost count somewhere along the line because Whiplash is in this episode’s main event with Valkyrie. Also still “out there” is Grabot, whom I thought Subzero just absolutely trashed but no I guess it still works. Hypershock and End Game, two other robots I mentioned in the previous article, are paired up in this one. Both are 1-1 and I think we can guess what’s about to happen.
SMEE will be fighting P1 and it’s in the middle of the episode so plan your bathroom/snack breaks accordingly.
UPPERCUT vs. HYDRA
Faruq introduces Uppercut with a Billie Eilish reference, I think, but I don’t listen to music that sucks ass so it was lost on me. I can do you one better though and remind you that Uppercut has two KO’s under its belt that “impressive” barely begins to describe. In its first outing Uppercut absolutely demolished Gemini. Do you remember seeing Gemini again at all this year? Yeah, that’s what I thought; Uppercut wrecked the multibot so savagely that the team straight up forfeited their remaining two Fight Nights. Let’s not forget the Sawblaze fight because come on how could we? Sawblaze’s flamethrower as of late has become something of a vestigial appendage but there’s still a fuel tank in the robot somewhere and Uppercut used X-ray accuracy to scope it out and bust it open causing immediate detonation. Yes, a fucking explosion. Sawblaze didn’t win that fight. Uppercut, 2-0.
Hydra is 6-0 so far when it comes to qualification matches and a win here would make it 7. This is the flipper that cucked Bronco so badly that Bronco didn’t dare show its face in the main tournament this season. Inertia Labs has competed in every season of BattleBots… except this one. That’s how badly Bronco lost last year. Hydra’s current season got off to a rocky start with Witch Doctor trashing parts of its frame but Jake Ewert kept on the sticks and eventually Witch Doctor suffered a catastrophic weapon failure and gave Hydra an opening for victory. Hydra also “fought” Huge and I stuck that one in quotes because really it was three minutes of Jake’s expert driving while having a giant bike rack thing strapped to Hydra to keep Huge at bay. It was controversial, but it was also the first and only time a special attachment has worked against Huge. Boring? Yes. But a win is still a win.
Five seconds into this fight and Uppercut is already doing flips in the air and expending its weapon energy into the floor courtesy of Hydra. Hydra stays on the pursuit which leads it to taking out Uppercut’s “annoyance bot” that I haven’t pointed out until just now; it’s a miniature Battlebox complete with the little Witch Doctor and Tombstone toys. Hydra destroying the minibot means that’s twice it’s beaten Witch Doctor this season. Technically. (For the record, can we nix these shitty “annoyance bots” moving forward? Please? They serve no purpose but to essentially foul the arena which is already a prohibited class of weapon. They’re not funny, they’re not effective. They’re fucking annoying and I’d expect nothing less from a team that fucking dabs when they’re announced.)
Uppercut spends an inordinate amount of time cartwheeling around on one wheel and Hydra keeps its distance because Uppercut’s blade is going full blast while this is happening. Hydra accidentally raising its flipping arm into that weapon would probably break it. Also Hydra appears to be getting snagged on every single goddamned imperfection in the floor anyways so it’s not like it could attack even if it wanted to. Uppercut resituates itself, Hydra squares up, and thanks to Hydra’s fourteen million wedgelets it wins the ground clearance battle and heaves Uppercut into the air again. The cameras cut in such a way so that we see the underside of the minibot that was destroyed. Unless my eyes deceive me that’s straight up just a LiPoly battery duct taped onto some fucking foam board. That has to be some kind of safety hazard get the fuck out of here.
During one of these flips Uppercut seems to have landed badly because its left wheel hub has crumpled in on itself. The robot can still drive but now there’s some shakiness to it and that instability can translate into a lack of efficacy in getting underneath Hydra and hitting it. Uppercut lands a glancing blow to the corner of Hydra and then the robots spend the next twenty seconds cruising around the blue square side of the arena hitting every seam in the floor. At one point Uppercut even does its best impression of Lock-Jaw and sticks one of its front forks into the Killsaw slots. With both robots getting snagged every two seconds it makes for a tense moment but ultimately one where no hits are dealt. You’re left on the edge of your seat thinking “oh man Hydra hit a ding in the floor this is where Uppercut makes a comeback” until literally a second later when Uppercut somehow hits the side of the Killsaw box.
Hydra finally manages one of its signature ten foot flips and Uppercut is sent reeling toward the blue square. Hydra chases it down, gets in a smaller flip, and Uppercut collides with one of the screw control boxes and busts the polycarbonate lid. Uppercut’s scored more points against the fucking Battlebox than it has against Hydra at this point. Uppercut’s weapon spins down and seems to stop working prompting the robot to flee and try and get some distance from Hydra. Hydra sticks to the middle of the arena to control the center square because Jake Ewert watches a lot of Hollywood Squares on his downtime so he knows what’s up. Also Hydra runs over a piece of Uppercut’s former minibot and its gets caught on Hydra’s back corner. It doesn’t look like it’s hindering movement but it wouldn’t surprise me if part of it eventually gets sucked under the robot and dicks something up.
Uppercut dances a little too close to the screws on the arena’s far side so Hydra makes the move to throw its opponent into them. The hazard immediately seizes when Uppercut’s weirdly shaped chassis is stuck into it. Chris Rose says the hazards can eventually spin the other way, but that’s honestly a crapshoot because often times the screws just break down and can’t reverse. That’s not the case this time however, Uppercut gets down and tries to get away. Uppercut starts showing signs of more damage now as one half of its stabilizing bar is now bent backward on the side of the robot. Uppercut charges forward and hits a floor seam. Hydra tries to maneuver over to Uppercut and hits a different seam. Hydra looks to be surrounded by them because it can’t get out of the blue “B” on the arena floor.
Uppercut has had a hard time driving around just like Hydra but it’s able to take this moment and clip Hydra on its back right corner, one of Hydra’s most vulnerable spots. Uppercut’s stabilizer bar finally falls off and as Hydra peels out to get away from Uppercut it throws a drive chain. Looks like the more things change the more things stay the same; that’s exactly what was behind those little titanium flags on Hydra last year and it’s why Minotaur was able to pound the flipper into submission. It seems Hydra has some new redundancy built into its drivetrain however because despite losing a chain it’s still able to charge forward and land another flip on Uppercut… after we get a camera cut to Jake expressing his absolute disdain while hitting the fiftieth scuff in the floor this fight. Uppercut lands on its bad side without its stabilizer but the robot is still able to fall back onto its wheels to at least finish the fight in a dignified position.
It’s pretty obvious who the winner here is and for the second season in a row Hydra goes on to qualify for the main tournament with a perfect record. Uppercut finishes 2-1 so again this was just another “no matter who wins they’re both advancing” moment; Uppercut will probably still make the upper half of the Top 32 just for its earlier devastating KO’s.
WINNER: Hydra, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
SAWBLAZE vs. RUSTY
Licking its wounds from the ass blasting dished out to it by Uppercut, it’s Sawblaze. With a sore ass at least the robot can rest easily on its hemorrhoid cushion knowing that its demise was just avenged by Hydra like five minutes ago. Before “the ass-ening” though Sawblaze was off to a fantastic season start making a real statement by not just beating Whiplash but beating it by knocking it out. Usually it takes Tombstone to destroy the frame to wear out a Team Fast Electric Robots creation but for Sawblaze to achieve it says a lot about the robot’s true strength. For this fight Sawblaze is ditching its 30 pound spinning “hammer saw” disc in favor of the OG diamond-tipped cutting wheel. The idea here is to slice into Rusty rather than tear parts off so that a more surgical approach yields better, and possibly more explosive, results.
You might not think it, but Rusty is also 1-1 coming into this fight. Rusty’s first opponent was the equally as new Sporkinok and Rusty’s involvement in winning by KO can be disputed but at least David Eaton was able to show some aggression and also demonstrate that Rusty is able to self-right. Rusty wasn’t able to make lightning strike twice however and lost to Beta when Beta finally dropped its hammer for the first time this season and caved in Rusty’s backside. Two hits was all it took to disable Rusty but look at it now, you can’t even tell its ass was busted open in its previous fight. Rusty and Sawblaze must have the same ass doctor. One big thing I’ve noticed though? David removed all of the front little prongs on Rusty’s front, the things that kept getting bent downward and dug into the arena floor. Will that make the difference? Probably not, but let’s find out!
Seconds into the fight it becomes apparent how much of a hilarious mismatch this fight is going to be. Rusty’s plan is to get scooped into Sawblaze’s dustpan thing but what the robot wasn’t planning on was getting stuck on it sideways. Can’t land potshots if you’re facing 90 degrees away from your opponent. Also even worse for Rusty is that Sawblaze is able to slice completely through the left side of Rusty’s weapon arm on the first go (the damage becomes apparent later). Sawblaze’s dustpan acts like a magnet for Rusty and the robot just fits perfectly on there letting Sawblaze dig its weapon down into the frame and through the polycarbonate. I’m talking centimeters from Rusty’s tank tracks here. I thought going with the slicing wheel instead of the bludgeoning disc was a bad call on Jamison Go’s part, but fuck me I was wrong about that.
Rusty gets slammed into the red square screws and flips over. Theoretically Rusty can get down from this position but Sawblaze steps in to continue its attack before we see anything from the scrap bot. Rusty rolls back over and Sawblaze’s disc comes down through the weapon arm and into the thin aluminum upper armor on Rusty. For some insight as to how thin this metal is notice there’s a dent in the lid already and that’s purely from Rusty’s own weapon arm getting kicked backward into the lid. Rusty gets free from Sawblaze and it’s starting to look like that earlier rush might’ve actually damaged the treads because the robot sorta just wriggles in place and isn’t able to fully move, the left tracks seemingly being the problem here. Rusty takes another slice to the ass and comes back to life so for now the tracks are still mostly functional.
It doesn’t take long until Rusty is once again trapped in Sawblaze’s grip perpendicular to the direction it wants to be facing. Sawblaze dials up the heat literally by firing its flamethrower at Rusty searing its face. I’m fully expecting the lights in Rusty’s eyes to go out from exposure to the flames but nope they shine as bright as ever. If I were a more heartfelt and emotional writer I’d say something endearing about how Rusty refuses to die, instead I’ll just say whatever Chinese sweatshop produced those LED’s did a good job. The hosts are cringing at the damage being done to the crowd favorite robot and after being slammed into the walls and screws a couple more times Rusty is toppled in the middle of the arena… but again isn’t left to die.
Chris says Sawblaze is going for the salad bowl that tops Rusty’s head. That would be the ultimate “fuck you” move because that’s arguably been the most iconic part of the robot throughout the season. Everyone jokes about the popcorn bowl. Rusty is taken to the Pulverizer which crumples the bot’s pathetic weapon even further and smashes it down into what’s left of the top armor. We know from the Beta fight that underneath that skirt is just one big ass air tank. We’re on the verge of Sawblaze paying it forward when it comes to giving someone the rocket shits. For now, the salad bowl has been dented. I repeat: we have a dent on the salad bowl. All hope is lost.
Sawblaze goes in for even more damage because fuck you this is now classic BattleBots where people didn’t give a shit and fought like every match was single fucking elimination because it was. I’m fully expecting one side of Rusty’s hammer arm to break off at the attachment point because of where it keeps getting hit but the weapon holds steady. It’s broken, and the wiring is on fire, but it refuses to separate from the bot. Rusty is dragged back into the center of the arena getting blasted with fire the entire time, but when the buzzer sounds? Rusty drives away, fully mobile. The robot is battered, beaten, and absolutely wrecked but Chris Rose is right “you didn’t get me down, Jamison”. And that my friends is the biggest “fuck you” of all.
Yeah we all kinda knew Rusty wasn’t going to win this, but to go the distance? That’s a winner in our hearts. Good job Rusty, you made a name for every robot built in 2001 that still dreams of competing today.
WINNER: Sawblaze, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
TANTRUM vs. GAMMA 9
Before the throw to commercial Chris Rose introduces Tantrum as “rising”. After the commercial Kenny Florian says Tantrum’s the “M.I.B.” – Most Improved Bot. Uh, are we talking about the same robot you guys? This is a machine that had all of its trademark décor and its new flamethrowers absolutely eviscerated by Valkyrie and wound up losing and was one of the three opponents of Atom 94 to cash in some free points. Hell, Atom 94 even landed one of its only two hits of the season on Tantrum and threw it across the box. Tantrum’s not bad it’s just… not the superstar you’re playing it up to be. But this is all telegraphing, isn’t it? Tantrum’s going to win this fight because Gamma 9 is just disposable trash? I’ve seen enough of these episodes to know how the host’s banter is written in order to set the audience’s expectations and I fucking hate it.
Gamma 9 is introduced as having no wins. Technically, yes. But I’m always going to rewind back to that bullshit 3-way rumble against Double Jeopardy and Four Horsemen from a couple years ago; Double Jeopardy died and Four Horsemen were knocked out, it’s just that no one was paying attention to the cluster bot to realize as such. Gamma 9 was robbed of a win from an admittedly crap fight, but I’ll defend that bullshit call until the day I die. Gamma 9 has had only one other showing this season that I’m aware of and that was against Chomp several episodes ago. This was so long ago that I assumed Gamma 9 suffered too much damage and was forced to drop out. Still, this only means the robot gets two qualifier battles so they might as well be out of the running. Kinda shitty if you ask me but whatever.
The hosts are able to point this out before I can but there is such a size discrepancy between these two machines. These are two robots from two teams from two different eras of the sport. Gamma 9 comes from a time when super heavyweights were a thing and the robot bears a striking similarity to its predecessor “Gammacide” which itself was a super heavyweight. Meanwhile Tantrum is a more modern take on robot design and is much more compact and streamlined. This looks like a battle across weight classes but no these each weigh 250 pounds even if Gamma 9 looks twice that and Tantrum looks only half. Also I guess Gamma 9’s crew couldn’t find another deflated kickball to use to cover their lifting sprocket because they’ve instead gone with two halves of a Tupperware bowl that wasn’t quite big enough. Not bad for a last minute Goodwill find though.
Tantrum revs its mini disc up to speed and for the first time that I can recall is able to deliver an actual hit. I’m talking weapon spinning, moving along the sliding track, and connecting with an opponent. Every checkbox marked. It’s about fucking time, Tantrum. Gamma 9 takes a hit to the front and to the side but thus far the Mack truck is still maneuvering around just fine. The camera cuts to Curtis Nemeth, driver of Gamma 9, who says “dude we have NO traction”. Well maybe if you weren’t using wheels that looked an awful lot like Atom 94’s you’d be singing a different tune. It’s called rubber, try it some time. Gamma 9 gets hung up on Tantrum’s front forks again and the robot lets loose with a punch this time socking Gamma 9 on its back left corner and dislodging an armor panel. As Gamma 9 spins around we also get a better look at the bite carved into its front plow from that earlier attack.
I’d say Gamma 9 has a lot of weight to throw around but that would be a misnomer because Tantrum has exactly that much weight to also throw around so I guess instead I’ll just say Gamma 9 has the dubious advantage of “size” and the intimidation factor that it comes with. Gamma 9 charges head-on at Tantrum but fails to get any significant purchase with its plow. It’s like the notches on the plow are getting under the lip of Tantrum, but Tantrum’s forks are also already under Gamma 9 so the leverages cancel each other out. Tantrum eventually gets Gamma 9 T-boned onto its front end and tries punching a few times but it’s almost like Gamma 9 is too fucking clumsy of a target to get hit. Finally a blow is landed this time to the front left corner and an entire armor piece of Gamma 9 is torn away meaning none of the left wheels have any sort of protection anymore. The tires look like cheap pieces of shit, these should now be priority targets for Tantrum.
“Priority targets” doesn’t seem to be a concept that registers to Aren Hill though because he just takes whatever hits are open to him regardless of where the fuck they are. Case in point Tantrum smashes into Gamma 9 again and a triangular piece of armor comes off of Gamma 9 but fuck me if I can tell you where that thing came from. I think it’s from the other side of the plow, the one without the bite taken out of it. Last season when Tantrum fought Gemini we were told that Tantrum was able to send a ~150 pound weight several feet in the air. That’s great because Gemini’s robots each weigh 125 pounds. The polygraph test showed Tantrum’s claim to have been bullshit, but take a look at this; Gamma 9 gets bashed into the wall and absolutely fucking blasted by Tantrum’s spinner. Gamma 9 is flipped over and I want you to appreciate the goddamned chunk taken out of Gamma 9’s side. This is the damage Aren has been telling us his robot can do all along and we’re only finally getting to see it five goddamned fights later.
Gamma 9 self rights, but its baseplate is bowed outward from that killer shot. You can see the robot is visibly struggling to drive in a straight line since one of its right wheels is now off the ground. A particularly harsh shove into the wall causes Gamma 9 to flip over and for a moment I assumed this was it, that Gamma 9’s lifting arm was kaput, but no the robot topples itself back over to continue the fight. I don’t know why, but it does. Tantrum starts picking at the armor panels on Gamma 9’s right side and knocks the front one loose, though it doesn’t tear it off completely. The second hit gets it. Gamma 9 has lost one side of drive and the side that still works isn’t even in contact with the fucking floor anymore. The lifter is blown backward and doesn’t seem to be able to complete its arc forward and the whole thing is just a sad state of affairs. Gamma 9 starts getting counted out and to add insult to injury Tantrum fires its weapon in time with the ref to count his own goddamned opponent out.
I could speak at length as to why Gamma 9 (and others) only getting two fights is bullshit but it wouldn’t matter. It’s not like at 0-2 Gamma 9 has any ground that it could recover to make it into the Round of 32. This isn’t Witch Doctor we’re talking about, it’s a robot that looks like someone wanted to build the Batmobile but was afraid of copyright infringement.
WINNER: Tantrum, KO
HYPERSHOCK vs. END GAME
Of all the times I’ve had to introduce a 1-1 pair of bots, this one might be the one with the most riding on the line. Will Bales keeps doing this thing where he shows up with a robot that’s like 90% finished and that always bites him in the ass. I’m sure his star sign is to blame, and no I’m not talking about the giant “HYPERSHOCK” neon. Hypershock theoretically could’ve taken down Gruff but it wasn’t firing on all cylinders and wound up getting roasted. We saw a much stronger Hypershock in its second round where it mercilessly maimed and destroyed Mammoth. Ricky Willems made the mistake of asking Will to hit his robot again to try and get it back in the fight, so Will obliged and sliced into Mammoth’s battery box rendering the entire robot dead. Nice work dude. This is Hypershock’s third fight and Will still isn’t certain if his bot’s srimech is functional. God damn it, Will.
End Game is also at 1-1 but is one of those curious cases that might still scrape by even at 1-2. Most of the burden is on Hypershock winning in order to stay in the game, but if End Game loses it might qualify substantially worse than it would at 2-1. I say that because right now End Game’s only win came from episode one where it wrecked Tombstone’s shit and gave us one of those rare moments where Ray Billings makes that face where it looks like he’s trying to adjust his glasses but really he’s just trying to blow off the loss and show us how not mad he is. End Game’s high didn’t last very long though because it was pitted against eventual 3-0 fighter Bloodsport and somehow End Game lost a wheel and all of its batteries just fucking melted. Having beat Tombstone is a major feather in End Game’s hat so a “good loss” here might still put them through, but if Hypershock has a field day that Tombstone victory may have been for naught.
Hypershock’s blades are working, that’s one thing to check off on the list. It’s not able to get any immediate purchase on End Game but that doesn’t stop it from trying again… and getting flipped over. Now’s the moment where we find out if the self-righter works.
Let’s be real for a second here, are you surprised in the slightest that Hypershock’s most important defensive mechanism is DOA? Has it ever worked? I know it’s been blown open by the likes of Bite Force and– holy shit better make that End Game too. God damn that hit came with a souvenir, Hypershock’s front right armor panel was just torn off and hurled into the goddamned scaffolding. Hypershock lands on the screws and should be able to get down, but its ass is vulnerable and End Game’s entrance theme might as well be that “Ass Man” song from the WWE. End Game kicks its opponent square on the cornhole and Hypershock’s self-righting mechanism hooks itself around the inner Lexan wall that protects the arena lights.
That’s it. There’s no getting down from there. If Hypershock’s srimech was working and Will just needed some space to use it then it’s certainly toasted now. If you get your phone out and scan that QR code on Hypershock’s underside though you can buy your very own Hypershock robot apparently. It’s on sale for a very nice $69,999 down from a quarter of a million dollars. If that’s too much then you can get your hands on that neon sign for a much more reasonable $4K. Or if you just want a Hypershock bikini then they have that too. Please buy something and maybe next season Will Bales will be able to bring a fully functional robot.
Also worth pointing out is that when End Game attacks that random piece of broken armor that fell off of Hypershock it actually gets spiked hard enough at the wall near the hosts that the light panel in front of Kenny Florian breaks and its cover bonks him in the head, prompting Chris Rose to say “what the hell”. Props to Chris for not actually swearing, though having to blur out the hosts’ mouths because of a no-no word would’ve been hilarious.
WINNER: End Game, KO
P1 vs. SMEE
Getting real tired of introducing 1-1 fights but now at least I can say this is the last one. P1 is by all accounts a notable improvement over what its lineage once was. No more is this the robot that breaks down constantly and manages to lose to Ultimo Destructo and Sidewinder and has its fights turned into ads for Jurassic World, no this is a robot that now loses to the best bots like the 3-0 Copperhead. It’s the only front-hinged flipper in the field which admittedly does give P1 a unique edge but that edge is only as valuable as the team can make it and thus far Brandon Zalinsky has an unaired victory over Chronos and a near one hit KO loss where he told us “sometimes it be like that”. Firestorm this isn’t.
Joe Fabiani’s SMEE is one of those robots that comes from the “it worked as a little robot, let’s scale it up” school of design. In the three pound “beetleweight” class? SMEE reigns supreme. In the 250 pound heavyweight class? SMEE has struggled to find its footing. It has a win but that was just barely over Sharko because Sharko lost one side of drive and wasn’t able to use its flipper/clamper to any effect at all while SMEE’s spinning discs did some respectable damage to Sharko’s tire treads. I can’t believe I’m saying this but the robot found a much tougher opponent in Pain Train who was able to separate one of the discs off of SMEE before its own weapon blew up. SMEE is a robot who attracts potato fights so here’s hoping that one or both of these robots come out of their shell and put up a goddamned fight. I mean they’re airing this battle so it has to have at least some measure of excitement, right? (Don’t answer that because they’ve aired all of SMEE’s fights so far and all of them have sucked.)
P1 slams into SMEE straight away and SMEE’s chassis buckles around the race car, which is what it was designed to do. The box rush ultimately proves fruitless but this is the fastest we’ve ever seen someone come at SMEE so I’ll give P1 some kudos for that. I’ll give P1 even more kudos for this next move because P1 becomes the first robot to catch SMEE from behind and is able to lift it up, but because P1 has these little “wings” on its lifter SMEE actually gets fucking stuck in between them. Cameras cut to Brandon who’s just jizzed his pants and he proceeds to use P1 to slam SMEE into the far wall where SMEE gets bent up and stuck in such a way that it cannot get off the wall. Fourteen feet of robot and not a single goddamned wheel is touching the floor. Also this collision has caused one of SMEE’s drive gears to fucking explode. Not sure if you saw the purple mystery shards erupt from the left side of SMEE but that was an important part of the drivetrain.
Tournament implications are on the line here. Is it impressive that P1 has managed to ensnare SMEE on the wall in about 20 seconds? Yes. But do you know what’s even more impressive? Yanking SMEE down from the wall and treating it like someone trying to jerk off a flaccid cock for three minutes. P1 crashes into SMEE and the flex-bot takes some damage as it loses a left armor panel and one of the springs behind its leftmost panel. P1 repeatedly slams SMEE into a different set of screws showing off just how easy it is to get this robot high centered on literally fucking anything. SMEE gets away and charges toward P1 but manages to hit a seam in the floor that disrupts its aim because when you’re 14 feet wide you’re gonna be hitting every single imperfection in the arena floor. P1 almost seems kinda dead, but a heavy shot from SMEE that produces the robot’s signature Booty Clap move wakes it back up.
SMEE starts spinning around in the center of the arena and I’m not sure who is actually chasing who here. The hosts call it a Three Stooges move and that’s the best way I’d describe it too, the world’s most dangerous slapstick routine. Eventually P1 catches SMEE and throws it into the wall and this appears to fully disable SMEE’s left gearbox because it loses all drive on that side. This was the side that earlier shed its armor panel so chances are there’s been a lot of unseen damage in this fight focused to that half of the robot. It’s also where the busted springs are located. P1 grabs SMEE by the throat and starts swinging it around and in this chaos the right spinning blade of SMEE flies off before the robot is slammed into the wall like someone trying to weaponize a fucking Skip-It.
If you’re keeping score that’s SMEE’s left side of drive dead while its right weapon has been busted off. It’s now an awkward 50/50 split where the side with no drive has a weapon but the side with drive has no weapon. P1 puts SMEE back into the wall and manages to perfectly balance SMEE right across its middle on one of the screw control boxes. With only about 25 seconds left in the fight SMEE is counted out giving P1 the win by KO.
Dare I say it, but P1 just might make it into the Round of 32. As Nick from End Game’s team put it “losing to a 3-0 robot isn’t bad” and P1’s done exactly that while having a quick KO over Chronos and this extended charade of a man strangling a rattlesnake that eventually ended in another knock out. Maybe this is the year where I stop making fun of P1?
WINNER: P1, KO
GRABOT vs. BETA
Not many robots will get the privilege of going 3-0 this year but I think it’s a safe bet that Beta will. That’s because Beta’s been drawn to fight… Grabot. Grabot is a robot specifically designed to give purple nurples in a sport where your opponents don’t even have nipples. It’s like this thing was entered into the wrong contest. This is something that we should’ve seen Steve-O getting tortured by in one of the Jackass movies. There is nothing Grabot can do to Beta except get whacked on the head. Grabot’s claws are unique and cool but “unique and cool” doesn’t win fights, just ask Mechadon. Or Ginsu. Or Tentomushi. Yeah that last one is a hot take but fuck you that robot was garbage and only won fights because it was 2001 and people were building lightweights out of Power Wheels batteries and cordless drills. Rusty could kick Grabot’s ass; too bad that’s not a match-up we got to see.
I like Beta, but I don’t like Beta this season. It all started with that “win” over Rotator that was absolutely anything but. For a sport that puts “aggression and damage with a primary weapon” on the highest pedestal I’ve seen since how simps and incels treat women this was a battle Beta should’ve lost, any way you slice it. Including slicing Beta’s hammer off because that’s exactly what Rotator did. And it still lost. But whatever. Beta’s second draw was against Rusty and I know everyone here loves to root for the underdog and proclaim their everlasting love to Rusty and its salad bowl head but let’s be real for a second here, there’s no way Rusty’s hammer was going to outmatch Beta’s hammer. That was an easy draw. Hell, this is an easy draw. Beta’s going to go 3-0 but it’s going to be the most lackluster and unimpressive one of the lot. They better put some 2-1 bots seeded above this shit show.
Grabot tries to get a good start. I don’t know what exactly a “good start” is for Grabot but it gets out there toward the middle of the box and starts twisting its arms around as if to maybe get them into some kind of position, I don’t fucking know. I didn’t build this thing I don’t know what the driver is thinking. Nothing, probably. Beta starts shoving Grabot around and if you’re wondering what those pieces are that start appearing on the floor they’re the little rubber nubs that line Grabot’s tires. We saw this with Heavy Metal in the new Robot Wars reboot seasons, those little nub things just pop right off the minute they meet any resistance. At this rate Grabot is going to be spinning some tractionless UHMW circles within a minute. Not only is Grabot losing wheel nubs it also just straight up drops one of its maces and all Beta had to do was bump into it.
Before the fight Gabe Stroud from Beta’s team gave us the lowdown on the fight and said that they didn’t want to drop the hammer on Grabot’s claws. Why? Are you scared it’ll grapple onto it and bite your massive suppository like a snake? It won’t I can guarantee that. Hell I would bet my entire life savings that if you hit Grabot’s grabby claws and it actually managed to bite your hammer that all you’d have to do is retract the fucking thing and you’d be free of the evil Grabot. Stop pretending like this is going to be an uphill battle and just whack the fucking shit out of this guy so we can get it over with.
When Beta finally swings its hammer it’s a miss. After all that and you missed. I know this is a pneumatic weapon and the nitrogen or CO2 that’s used to power it is of a finite supply but you’re not fighting Bronco or whatever this is free points. Have some fun with it. Smash the floor. Smash the top of your opponent. Hell, bait the Killsaws out and smash those pieces of shit who cares. Grabot eventually takes two pops to the lid and amazingly drives away from this seemingly unfazed. This is until Grabot gets corralled into the corner of the arena near the entrance ramp, John Reid yells “ready on hammer”, and Beta proceeds to smash the literal life out of Grabot until it starts smoking. All this punishment has killed one side of drive, the little nipple pinchers aren’t doing anything, this is just a sad state of affairs for Grabot. Even Chris Rose says to just hurry up and count it out already.
Beta wins as expected and Grabot falls to 0-2, though it suffered so much damage in this fight that it was unable to compete in what would’ve been its third qualifier. That’s how much heat Beta is packing. Now you know why people want to see the hammer drop. Beta is 3-0 but two of those wins were free. I know in the past I’ve been a stupid stickler for “3-0 is 3-0, those bots at 2-1 should’ve sucked less if they wanted to be seeded higher” but fuck this 3-0 specifically.
WINNER: Beta, KO
VALKYRIE vs. WHIPLASH
There’s one last bot that has the potential to go 3-0 this year in the Fight Night rounds and that’s Valkyrie. Without jinxing it, because Leanne Cushing said not to, the team is having their best season yet with two solid victories. The first saw Valkyrie bring its blade down right on top of Tantrum so in case you’re wondering why Tantrum hasn’t been sporting its full self-righting arms and flamethrowers anymore it’s this nasty son of a bitch right here. That fight ended in a knock out when Tantrum just eventually petered out, but Valkyrie’s second battle was three solid minutes of non-stop sparks and edge of your goddamned seat action with Rotator. Rotator’s ass just couldn’t take the beating and fell apart in the closing seconds of the round securing Valkyrie the win on damage points. If it can do some nae naes against Whiplash we might see this robot make it into the main tournament after all.
But Whiplash isn’t just going to let that win come easy. There’s also one more 1-1 bot teetering on the edge and this is it. Whiplash stumbled out of the gate when I think Matt Vasquez underestimated Jamison Go’s driving ability resulting in Whiplash getting karate chopped to death by Sawblaze via KO. That must’ve been a massive wake up call for the team because they got their shit together and came back to fight Gruff and landed a one in a million hit that disabled Gruff’s signature flamethrowers by rupturing a fuel line from underneath the robot. From there all Matt had to do was not suck and this one was basically free. Whiplash has fought spinners before and never have we seen the team take their robot’s own disc off and replace it with more armor. The Vasquezes fear Valkyrie more than they fear Tombstone. Let that sink in. Holy shit.
In the very first hit of the fight Whiplash successfully box rushes Valkyrie and punts it backwards. The ass end of Valkyrie’s disc makes contact with the upper polycarbonate lid of the screw control box and pretty much busts the entire fucking panel off. It lands back where it’s supposed to be, but this is the kind of damage unique to Valkyrie. This is why Whiplash modified its weapon setup. This hit has already caused some damage to Valkyrie however; the robot is now missing its right wheel guard panel. Whiplash rides out another three solid blows to the face without showing any signs of slowing down. These are hits that are sending the robots spinning apart in opposite directions and it looks like somewhere in this fray Valkyrie’s weapon has hit Whiplash’s covering for its lifting array because the top is peeled back and the inner sprocket exposed.
But a party like this never lasts long. The Rotator fight was a fluke, not the norm, that’s why it was so spectacular. Valkyrie’s disc slowly starts to spin down and after the most impressive main event battle opening I think we’ve ever seen on this show it is now Whiplash’s time to shine and that means slamming Valkyrie into the screws and into every single damn inch of the arena wall. Valkyrie’s team went with this particular weapon disc because of its high kinetic energy and ability to rip through solid metal plows. It’s definitely a bigger disc with more reach and in order to achieve that a lot of the center of the disc has been milled out so it’s hollow. This is actually working to Valkyrie’s detriment because there are two little pointy bits on Whiplash’s front plow and they are the perfect size for getting caught in the gaps in Valkyrie’s disc. Valkyrie is going nowhere on its own, only where Whiplash wants it to go now.
There’s literally nothing Valkyrie can do to kickstart this battle again. With no weapon it’s just dead weight for Whiplash to chase down and allow Matt Vasquez to show off his driving skills. At one point he’s able to maneuver Whiplash in such a way that Valkyrie flips over and very nearly gets its disc caught on the handle of the spike strip near the arena entrance. Nobody’s ever died like that before and it would’ve been hilarious to see it happen here, but in the heat of the moment all Matt can do is just laser focus on the fight and pound the shit out of his opponent. The decorative “V” piece of armor on Valkyrie’s front end falls away and now the left wheel guard is also hanging by a thread. This is through no action other that Whiplash strong arming this machine around and slamming it into every set of screws.
The loose parts on Valkyrie eventually fall off as you’d expect and yet another weakness of Valkyrie’s disc becomes apparent: Whiplash can hook its lifting arm into the gaps of the disc too. I get that this weapon makes for the biggest hits against these types of bots but I don’t think Leanne factored in the lifting arm because that’s what’s absolutely fucking her over right now. Valkyrie has been flipped more times than I can count, it’s touched every set of screws at least once, but the team can walk away from this fight knowing that Valkyrie was never KO’d.
Whiplash really needed this win in order to stay in the game and now that both robots are 2-1 it’s a safe bet that even with the loss Valkyrie will advance onward regardless. It’s just a shame there wasn’t one more 3-0 bot as a buzzer beater.
WINNER: Whiplash, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
Okay, let’s talk about the tournament bracket because this thing gets its own segment and you know I am going to want to have words plural about this nonsense. Uppercut is revealed to be seed #4. Okay, that’s a 2-1 bot being given the fourth slot when we know there were more than four robots who went 3-0. Some of these fucking robots are even in this part of the bracket. Mad Catter is seeded #12 just one click above Beta at #13. Mad Catter worked for those wins. Beta just showed up and never fired its hammer until round three. Also Black Dragon all the way up at #5? Copperhead better fucking be in the top three because that is inexcusable. I know they won the Desperado event in the past and blah blah blah but that’s last season. These rankings should be about this season. HiJinx scraping by at #29 is understandable, but Slammow dogging it at #28 is an insult to how expertly it dispatched of two opponents. (Also I have nothing to say about Tombstone being down at #21 other than Ray is lucky the “selection committee” is being so gracious as to allow a 1-2 bot to be seeded that high.)
Copperhead is given the #3 slot so I’m not going to pop a blood vessel over Black Dragon potentially being given favorable treatment here, especially considering Copperhead mule kicked the shit out of that machine earlier this season. But again, Jackpot at #11? Why? What the fuck is wrong with you people and why are bots with perfect records being thrown down into the double digits? What, because they’re not fucking Hydra – who is probably #1 let’s face it – that makes them not worth as much? Fuck that. Jackpot beat the life out of Lock-Jaw and the best that’s worth is three seed rankings’ difference? And what the hell is Perfect Phoenix doing at #27? It’s better than Mammoth? I know it’s a former champion with a Beyblade name and some updated internals but even that seems kind of high. A free win over Extinguisher, a humiliating defeat against Skorpios, and a lackluster win over Atom goddamned 94? Whatever.
#2 goes to Bloodsport so yeah I was right about who gets #1. Somehow Gruff has managed to cling on to dear life at score a place at #31 despite the team’s bizarre refusal to do something as menial as fix their fucking lifting arms. This part of the bracket is the one I have the least issue with I guess, but it’s weird seeing Bloodsport get a #2 seed when Jackpot is being done dirty elsewhere in the brackets when it has the same exact record and is also a relatively new team. Not to downplay Bloodsport though, I think it’s good they made it squarely in the top of the brackets and aren’t being fucked by a playoff for sixteenth place again. It’s a bit strange to see Sawblaze so high above Skorpios though when I’d argue Skorpios has been the more aggressive and effective machine. It’s not 3-0, but it also didn’t have is ass explode on national television. Witch Doctor making it in at #23 is a little iffy, I still think the 1-2’s should’ve been locked into the bottom fourth of the seeds.
And yeah Hydra is #1, big surprise there. Even with the controversial Huge fight where a staggering zero hits were landed Team Whyachi still gets top billing. Ironically Huge still managed to qualify and did so at #25 putting it in this part of the bracket. It’s unlikely, because Huge is facing Whiplash, but seeing the bike rack come out for a rematch would be fucking hilarious. You know that motherfucker would do it, too. Hypershock scraping by at #32 has me asking one question though: where is P1? I never in a hundred years imagined myself saying those words but we just saw P1 dismantle SMEE like this was the goddamned Flintstones and it had another quick victory over Chronos. Meanwhile Hypershock has lost twice and the goddamned robot isn’t even 100% operational. Malice has about the same performance as P1 and it’s at #16, firmly right in the middle. P1 isn’t the greatest machine on the planet but when Gruff, Mammoth, and Hypershock are making up the bottom three robots of the seeding it makes you wonder where these other 2-1 robots that failed to qualify are.
So now’s the time where I get to make my seemingly late predictions. I’m only late in posting them, here’s how I filled out my bracket back when this season was originally airing:
And here’s my breakdown starting with the Round of 32.
R32 – Hydra vs. Hypershock: Hypershock will be easily overpowered by Hydra and probably breaks down again. Hydra by KO.
R32 – Malice vs. Gigabyte: Both bots will land some impressive hits to start with but Gigabyte will more than likely throw Malice at the wall and break it or tear a wheel off. Gigabyte by KO.
R32 – Whiplash vs. Huge: We’re going to see Whiplash get its lifting arm stuck in the spokes of Huge’s wheels just like Valkyrie’s disc. Huge won’t have a counter for this. Whiplash by JD.
R32 – Valkyrie vs. Subzero: Subzero’s armor won’t be able to withstand the punishment Valkyrie can dish out and the robot will probably sustain massive damage. Valkyrie by KO.
R32 – Beta vs. Ribbot: This might be the one time that frog foam would have worked, but chances are Ribbot’s lid will not withstand Beta’s attack. Ribbot’s weapon will be disabled but the bot will survive. Beta by JD.
R32 – Black Dragon vs. Slammow: Black Dragon is the perfect size for Slammow to bite down on and while some hits will be landed Black Dragon will be flipped several times. Slammow by JD.
R32 – Mad Catter vs. Tombstone: Mad Catter’s luck stops here; Tombstone will be able to disable the robot’s drive by damaging its sides. Tombstone by KO.
R32 – Bloodsport vs. Gruff: Gruff will probably still have bent lifting arms and everything on this robot is the perfect height for Bloodsport to hit. Bloodsport by JD.
R32 – Fusion vs. Tantrum: Two tiny bots with a lot of power packed inside. Fusion will be too unstable and will wind up damaging itself. Tantrum by KO.
R32 – Sawblaze vs. Kraken: Kraken will not have a proper counter for Sawblaze’s overhead attack, just like it didn’t for Huge. Sawblaze by JD.
R32 – Skorpios vs. Witch Doctor: Within the first few moments of the fight Skorpios will have its front prongs bent upward by Witch Doctor rendering them useless and unable to fully attack. Witch Doctor by JD.
R32 – Copperhead vs. Mammoth: Copperhead will be far too small for Mammoth to do anything with. Copperhead will eventually get at Mammoth’s wheels. Copperhead by KO.
R32 – Lock-Jaw vs. Shatter: Despite having ablative UHMW armor Lock-Jaw will be able to dig enough gouges in Shatter to impress the judges. Shatter will be too slow on the draw to cause any major damage. Lock-Jaw by JD.
R32 – End Game vs. Perfect Phoenix: Perfect Phoenix is going to get its front wedge clipped by End Game and probably torn off. End Game will catch Phoenix’s weapon and toss the robot over where it will burn itself out. End Game by KO.
R32 – Jackpot vs. Rotator: Jackpot will be too fragile for Rotator’s main spinning bar and Rotator will be too tough for Jackpot’s spinners to do anything to it. Rotator by JD.
R16 – Hydra vs. Gigabyte: Hydra will have a special attachment for Gigabyte to absorb damage similar to what Lucky has employed. Gigabyte will be ping ponged around and eventually flipped where its mast will snap off again. Hydra by KO.
R16 – Whiplash vs. Valkyrie: This rematch will go the same as the fight we just saw. Valkyrie might use a different blade just to try and mix things up but it won’t work out. Whiplash by JD.
R16 – Uppercut vs. Beta: John Reid’s desire to “wait for a good hit” will be his undoing as he will fear his robot’s hammer getting hit by Uppercut. As such he probably won’t fire it and Uppercut will just shave points away. Uppercut by JD.
R16 – Slammow vs. Tombstone: No amount of suplexing will save Slammow from being absolutely destroyed by Tombstone. We know it has weak sides. Tombstone by KO.
R16 – Bloodsport vs. Tantrum: Tantrum will be too hard of a nugget for Bloodsport to crack. Bloodsport will try, but Tantrum will stay aggressive throughout the match. Tantrum by JD.
R16 – Sawblaze vs. Witch Doctor: We’re going to see a sort of repeat of Sawblaze vs. End Game from last season here, Witch Doctor will bend Sawblaze’s middle fork and that will render most of Sawblaze’s plow useless. Witch Doctor by JD.
R16 – Copperhead vs. Lock-Jaw: Zach Goff is going to not give a fuck and dive into Lock-Jaw head first and Lock-Jaw will not be able to handle the onslaught. Lock-Jaw will break down and catch fire again. Copperhead by KO.
R16 – End Game vs. Rotator: Rotator is going to be wishing it never ditched the dual disc setup because it’s not going to land very many meaningful hits to End Game and will spend most of the fight on its back getting assaulted by the Kiwi bot. End Game by JD.
QF – Hydra vs. Whiplash: Hydra’s sluggish steering will be its Achilles heel here. Whiplash will be able to eventually get in a few decisive blows while keeping its distance and take it to the bell. Whiplash by JD.
QF – Uppercut vs. Tombstone: Both robots will try and meet weapon to weapon, Alex Hattori will try to clip Tombstone perpendicularly and fail resulting in massive damage to Uppercut. Tombstone by KO.
QF – Tantrum vs. Witch Doctor: Tantrum will again prove to be tough to crack, but Witch Doctor will whale on it for three straight minutes while dominating the fight. Witch Doctor by JD.
QF – Copperhead vs. End Game: There will be one massive hit at the start of this fight and afterward only one robot will still be moving. Copperhead by KO.
SF – Whiplash vs. Tombstone: A repeat of the last time these bots fought, with some noted changes. Whiplash will try its Valkyrie strategy against Tombstone for a change and this will work for a while until its wheels get damaged. Tombstone by KO.
SF – Witch Doctor vs. Copperhead: Copperhead’s reign will eventually end after trading blows with Witch Doctor wherein Copperhead’s drum will spin down and the fight will turn into a chase. Witch Doctor by JD.
F – Tombstone vs. Witch Doctor: Witch Doctor will bulk up with a plow just like we saw in 2015 and again at the Amazon re:Mars event. Tombstone will not be able to crack this plow and ultimately will fall to Witch Doctor when Witch Doctor hits a tire. Witch Doctor by KO, Witch Doctor becomes the 2020 champion.
And that nonsense is my “bracket racket” for this season. I already know how the season ends, and so do you. I’m writing these articles way late so just imagine like we’re back in the moment again where everyone’s posting their thoughts and predictions. I’d like to say I’m as close to being a “professional” at this as someone possibly can be, so we’ll see how close my predictions are when the main tournament starts proper next episode!
To be honest I’m kind of glad Fight Night is over and done with. I always feel so hyped when the season starts but about two-thirds of the way through Fight Night I start getting super burned out on it. It’s a weird format for a competition and I can see why people dislike it and call it too “scripted” and “too much like reality TV”. There are fights that are certainly suspicious and setups that can’t possibly be “random”, plus the existence of a “selection committee” just lets the producers sweep things under the rug as a convenient scapegoat. The fact that not everyone is getting their three (or four from previous seasons) fights also doesn’t sit well with me. Either do it right & fair or switch to a double elimination tournament. Accepting competitors as “alternates” and not guaranteeing them the same opportunities as other teams isn’t fair to them even if they do agree to the terms of not being a proper participant. I feel jaded as fuck now.
Anyways speaking of double elimination tournaments from hereon out the competition is switching to single elimination. 32 robots have qualified for the main season and everyone else has been eliminated, better luck next year. Hopefully next time around either your bot doesn’t suck or the tournament structure is less chaotic. Or the “selection committee” is sufficiently paid off by your sponsors. Next article starts with the Round of 32, just four more episodes to go until a champion is crowned!
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