[BattleBots: S11 E3 is available via streaming on Discovery+.]
It’s Update time and I’m pleased to say that this current season of BattleBots is doing well with TV ratings. I don’t usually talk numbers because I’m not a media analyst or whatever the hell but it’s a safe bet that BattleBots is now Discovery Channel’s staple show especially within that most sought after of advertising demographics: males aged 18 to 49. I mean, BattleBots has been the staple show for a while now but we just haven’t had the opportunity to really let that sink in and appreciate it until you take a step back and realize that we’re on our fourth Discovery Channel season with a fifth one already greenlit; Discovery Channel has invested in this show at least as much as Comedy Central did, and hopefully more so as the years go on. I can do this website forever. Just try me.
Last week we got catfished by an old Rusty but at least we saw Blip slam dunk it into oblivion. This week even more hectic match-ups are on deck because we’ve got Hypershock, Valkyrie, Huge, Cobalt, Icewave, and Witch Doctor all coming back to face opponents that just might give all of these veterans a run for their money. If Mad Catter was able to sink Yeti then we might see a potential early upset in this episode as well. The main event pits spinner on spinner as Copperhead is drawn to fight Lock-Jaw in a match that just might unleash enough energy to start a new universe.
Hypershock is in this week’s lead-in fight and the editors do a solid job putting together a sizzle reel for the neon nightmare even going as far as to stretch all the way back to 2015 to show it very nearly beating a tank tracked Bite Force. Goddamn, really reaching into the back catalog for that one. Has it really been that long since Hypershock provided some highlights?
HYPERSHOCK vs. SLAMMO
Hypershock isn’t a “bad” robot. It’s just not very good. After an explosive first couple seasons the robot has failed to impress or even make it beyond the Round of 32. Recent highlights that I can recall include busting up an already defeated Mammoth and shredding the gimmick robot Battle Royale With Cheese. Everything else I remember about Hypershock involves the robot getting its ass handed to it like the time Bite Force eviscerated it and threw its batteries out. Hypershock is all new this year however and that includes a longer chassis to keep the robot highly maneuverable but also preferably on the fucking ground this time. Now all there is to know is whether or not its spinner decides to work this season. And maybe the srimech.
Last season Craig Danby was sponsored by Mowbot so his robot was called “Slam-Mow” because that’s a stupid pun and sounds like the kind of thing a corporate suit would think is “great brand synergy” or some other newspeak phrase that makes me want to gargle buckshot. Mowbot is out this year so the robot’s name has been kept phonetically identical but it’s instead spelled “Slammo” now. Otherwise we’re still looking at the same robot, the suplex machine. Craig says the robot is painted with anaglyph dazzle camouflage which is cool and all but usually you see that on battleships and the crew is, you know, on the ship. The confusing paint job you’ve given your remote controlled robot is just as likely to bother you as it is your opponent. Nice effort though.
Hypershock starts this fight out doing what it always does: running circles around its opponent. Hypershock’s probably among the fastest robots in the field this year so Will Bales just lays on the accelerator and keeps the donuts tight until his robot’s spinner catches one of the long forks of Slammo and throws it over. This hit has the added benefit of bending up the tip of one of Slammo’s forks rendering it completely useless as a leverage device. Slammo rolls over, flips back down, but Hypershock is on its ass and rolls Slammo back over and gives it a firm drop kick right on the left butt cheek as its spinner digs into the backside of the lifter and throws it across the floor. Watch closely and you’ll see Slammo shit out a drive chain on this hit; last year there was some redundancy built into Slammo’s drivetrain so throwing a chain wasn’t certain doom, we’ll see if that’s still the case.
So far it looks like Slammo can still drive in a straight line so the drive chain might not be too much of a detriment but it also looks like Slammo’s forks are jammed in a partially raised position and they’re the exact perfect height for Hypershock to roundhouse kick and that’s exactly what happens next. Slammo is definitely starting to look a little punch drunk as it careens out of the red square and hits the corner of the shelf hazard. This puts the lifter dangerously close to that closed off corner of the arena which isn’t where you want to be when your robot is as fucked up as Slammo is right now. Hypershock connects again with Slammo’s backside and a piece of something comes off of someone, since it’s black and neon pink I’m guessing it belongs to Hypershock and upon watching the replays it’s part of the padding off of the back of the robot.
A disoriented Slammo tries leaving the far corner of the box and meets with Hypershock’s spinning ninja stars and gets thrown through the air. With the exception of the busted chain it’s looking like Slammo has absorbed most of this punishment with its crippled lifter so if it could just get out of that shelf corner then it might be able to stab at Hypershock with what’s left of its weapon but Hypershock isn’t about to let that happen. Hypershock slams Slammo into the arena side wall near the blue team’s Pulverizer and looking at how Slammo rocks back and forth maybe its chassis has become twisted? That was a pretty gnarly fucking blow that Hypershock landed a few seconds ago and it wouldn’t surprise me if it twisted Slammo’s whole frame.
Hypershock goes over and bumps into Slammo to free it from the wall, if that’s what it’s stuck on, and Slammo is still dead in the water. Unfortunately it died under its own Pulverizer so we don’t get to see the hammer just maniacally come down on top of it. Reason #4,281 why we should have a fucking hazard operator back. (I know the reason why we don’t have one, just bear with me here I’m remembering the better days of the Battlebox when the hazards did things and I don’t feel like writing a wall of text explaining why Pete Lambertson was put out of a job.)
WINNER: Hypershock, KO
VALKYRIE vs. P1
The winner of last season’s Most Destructive Robot award, Valkyrie has returned to hopefully shred the competition to pieces once again. That’s an award usually reserved for robots like Tombstone so that’s the kind of caliber of damage we’re talking about with Valkyrie. Last season it took Whiplash – twice – to stop this robot dead in its tracks so this is no pushover. Leanne Cushing states that this year’s Valkyrie has had enough under the hood improvements to increase its mobility while still keeping its weapon just as fast and powerful as it’s always been. Speaking of weapons the team is known for giving theirs dumb nicknames and this one is “Dr. Acula”. If you don’t get the pun within the first five seconds, especially after seeing it typed out, just forget about it.
Many years ago P1 was in a fight so bad that the only way it was salvageable was to turn it into a promo for the then upcoming “blockbuster” Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. It also lost to Ultimo Destructo. A long time has transpired between then and now to the point where I’ll still argue that P1 should’ve been given the #32 slot over Hypershock in last season’s main tournament; it’s not P1’s fault that Chronos sucks and SMEE is a shitty fucking gimmick robot. A win is a win. “Best Glow Up” isn’t an award at BattleBots but if it was P1 would have won it in my book. The robot is proof that you can allow one interest (fast cars) to carry over into another one (robot combat) and still come up with something effective. Brandon Zalinsky has a battle plan for Valkyrie which involves pissing all over the spinner, now let’s see what happens when his robot is put to the ultimate test.
Brandon said he was expecting to have to ride up underneath Valkyrie’s spinner to wear it down from thermal shock and that’s exactly what he aims to do; P1 gets to work shoving Valkyrie around without the use of its lifting arm because Brandon knows raising it up right now is just going to trash the damned thing. I’d say so far the plan is going well, right up until the part when Valkyrie rides atop P1 and eats its back left wheel off. That’s a problem, but you don’t need my professional analysis to tell you that. Despite losing an entire tire off the back of the robot P1 doesn’t let up, it holds its ground and shoves against Valkyrie even going as far as to try and get a lift in on Valkyrie when its spinner invariably slows down.
The judges are probably scoring this fight for Valkyrie based upon damage right now because their criteria is dumb and doesn’t take into account aggression as much as it should but that damage slider starts to ease over toward P1’s side of the spectrum as Brandon and Luke excitedly point out that Valkyrie has just caught fire. Even worse for Valkyrie it’s been flipped upside down thanks to a bad wayward shot to P1’s face that deflected it at just the right angle. Valkyrie immediately starts spinning around in place to try and use the centrifugal forces of its weapon to pull itself up and over but the big ass weapon tooth on its disc is proving to be a major inhibitor because every time Valkyrie gets close to righting itself the tooth hits the ground and just fucks everything up. Also as you can see Leanne was correct in her statement that P1 is lower than Valkyrie’s weapon when Valkyrie is upside down, this is why the team is fighting so hard to flip themselves back over.
The fire appears to have been weapon-related because the disc has stopped completely on Valkyrie so now the team is trying to smash their robot with their own Pulverizer to try and plink it up onto its side and back down into its proper orientation. Surprisingly this almost works the first time around but after two more blows Leanne has to shout over to their hazard operator to cut it out because they’re just scoring points for P1 at this rate. P1’s been awfully quiet though, you’d think it’d be all over Valkyrie with its wedge and lifter but it seems that in those flurries of hits some parts have been knocked loose because I see a chain of some sort in the corner and I’m assuming it belongs to P1’s drivetrain.
The ref gives a warning to Valkyrie that he needs to see some controlled movement but P1 just can’t leave well enough alone and gets in Valkyrie’s face to shove it around some more. Granted there’s a massive polycarbonate coronavirus wall separating the teams now so they probably didn’t hear the ref across it otherwise P1 probably would’ve backed off. As it stands though P1’s meddling is going to take this to the judges but Brandon seems convinced he’s got the win. His guts were right because it’s not just a split decision, it’s a unanimous one. P1 is officially back in the motherfucking house.
WINNER: P1, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
HUGE vs. RIPTIDE
Last season Huge had a bad year after Mammoth stuffed one of Huge’s wheels behind the arena spike strip and Hydra unveiled the “bike rack” that it used to keep Huge at bay for three solid painstakingly boring minutes. Still, the robot went on to smash the hell out of Kraken and this single win was enough to put it through to the Round of 32… where Whiplash promptly took it out. Huge is another robot like Hypershock that exploded onto the scene and was surrounded by a lot of hype because nothing like it had ever been seen before and no one knew how to come at it. A lot of Huge’s wins came from simply overpowering opponents with its massive spinning blade. These days Huge is a robot that competitors are no longer impressed by nor are they necessarily “afraid” of to the same degree. Jonathan Schultz is determined to bounce back from last season however, so he’s gotta start with Riptide first.
Ethan Kurtz is a newcomer to BattleBots with his eggbeater spinner Riptide. I guess contractually we’re going to have at least one eggbeater from here on out even though they’ve proven to be ineffective and unreliable. Ethan seems to really admire Greg Gibson and his robot Yeti as Ethan goes as far as to compare the two robots and even before this fight starts says the strategy is going to be to just “Yeti Smash” everything. I know Greg advised on the construction of this robot but Ethan you’ve gotta come up with your own thing. You can’t just emulate someone else’s schtick and expect it to work. For fuck’s sake Yeti tried to do the “Yeti Smash” thing last week and it didn’t even work. Riptide is the perfect height to get whaled on by Huge, I know Ethan says Huge’s wheels just ablate when hit but aside from the weapon bar what other targets are there?
Riptide floors it weapon blazing and connects with Huge’s spinner before it has a chance to get up to speed. It also takes some bites out of Huge’s left wheel for good measure. These are about the only things Riptide can hit, and in this time Huge has revved its own weapon up to speed and is looking to cleave into its opponent. Or rather, that’s what it would be doing if its weapon was spinning the right way; Huge’s weapon bar is spinning upward instead of the usual downward so when Riptide’s eggbeater connects with it Huge gets thrown into the air and lands on the screws. Riptide capitalizes on the chaos and rams clear through one wheel and hits the inside of the other on Huge resulting in the plastic tire bending behind the red square screws.
Riptide’s team is losing their shit and they keep mashing on Huge who’s gotten an official warning from the ref to get the fuck out of the hazard or risk being counted out. So far the screws haven’t started turning the other way — par for the course — but eventually they do. Meanwhile the ref watching Riptide tells the driver to back off and stop pinning Huge as the countdown starts. Riptide slinks away and as the countdown begins don’t tell me you’re not on the edge of your seat wondering if Huge is going to free itself from the hazards. It’s right there. The wheel is bowed out and everything, the reverse gear of the screws should be helping it. The screws are spinning, Huge’s wheel is trying to turn, but the countdown marches on.
I’m over here sweating bullets wondering if this fight’s going to continue but as it turns out Huge just can’t get itself unstuck from the hazard and the fight is called for Riptide. That’s twice now that Huge has had one of its stupid ass wheels hooked up and around the edge of the arena resulting in a KO loss. First it was Mammoth, now this. Apparently even if you’re like Riptide and aren’t high enough to hit fucking anything on Huge you can still just shove it into the wall, hope for the best, and come out ahead. I hesitate to call this fight a show of skill on the part of Ethan and instead feel more comfortable saying “you got really, really lucky”.
WINNER: Riptide, KO
COBALT vs. FUSION
Fusion’s got its work cut out for it. Literally. It’s opponent is Cobalt, a robot that debuted in BattleBots as a Tombstone clone but evolved into a fucking nightmare beast that’s embedded parts in the ceiling and torn the face clear off of Duck. This is a robot whose spinner absolutely gutted SubZero a couple of seasons ago and ensured that the robot would have to forfeit some of its qualifiers just to repair all the damage. You don’t want to be anywhere near this thing’s blade when it’s going. The only potential drawback is that this robot is “under new management” due to COVID restrictions. The Robotic Death Company have Cobalt for this season and Matt “Stinger” Maxham is behind the wheel. It’s not his robot so he’s not as intimately familiar with it, but he’s still a solid driver and if anyone can deliver the hits it’s Matt. He’s even added a special leading spike onto Cobalt in the hopes that he can win the ground clearance battle and send Fusion flying.
Before this fight is introduced we see Reese Ewert in the pits fucking with the internals of Fusion. Kenny Florian tells us Reese shipped the speed controllers back to the manufacturer to have the kinks ironed out and I’m almost certain the type of shit the Ewerts are doing are voiding their warranties so someone’s lying about the applications they’re using these parts for. Regardless, Fusion is back to see if this time around it’s sorted out its explosive gremlins. I’ve described this robot as a “physics nightmare” because that’s just what it is; you’ve got a horizontal spinner and a vertical spinner each generating their own forces and each one fighting the other whenever the robot tries to turn and pivot. Fusion is what you build in Robot Arena 2 for shits and giggles, only a madman would try it in real life. Yes that means Reese is certifiably insane.
“I’m tired of losing,” says Reese Ewert. These are the words of a man who has either stopped giving a fuck and is throwing caution to the wind OR now gives too many fucks and is going to be laser precise with his gyro nightmare. Cobalt comes at Fusion with its little welded on forky thing and manages to punch loose the center ground scraper on Fusion. This comes with the cost of being thrown backwards a few feet. Cobalt pivots around Fusion but misses its mark and absorbs a hit so massive it reminds Kenny of all the times he used to say “huge hit”.
Cobalt is smashing face first into Fusion and the effects of this are already apparent. Look at the far corners of Cobalt’s front end, they are already chewed to hell after just two fucking shots. I’m talking deep cuts too, like entire chunks of metal missing from the front of Cobalt. It’s looking like the plan here from Cobalt is to just smash face to face and hope that Cobalt comes out ahead but that’s not working. Cobalt is successfully righting itself with its disc when it hits the floor but as Chris Rose points out Fusion hasn’t caught fire yet and it’s the one throwing all the muscle around right now… until it gets too close to the Upper Deck and catches its rear horizontal blade on the screws and flings itself across the floor. I instinctively bit my lip as I watched this because I know “this is the part where Fusion blows the fuck up” but no! Fusion is still rocking and rolling.
There were two minibots that came into the arena with Cobalt for this fight so it’s good to see them doing what we in the professional biz call “fuck all”. Again, take those stupid D2 kits and shove them all the way up your asses. They do not a good minibot make. Fusion wallops Cobalt once, twice, three more times and each one causes the green spinner to do a complete backflip and land on its wheels. Cobalt catches a fourth hit and lands badly tumbling on its weapon which seems to have lost power as the robot doesn’t immediately self right. Just look at the front wedge of Cobalt. These motherfuckers have to somehow repair this shit and bring it back out for at least two more fights. Unless they’ve got another entire shell waiting backstage Matt’s going to spend the next week in the goddamned Lincoln Electric welding tent putting this shit back together with a TIG welder and an angle grinder.
Fusion stayed the course, stayed on the ground, and didn’t blow up. This wasn’t against a shove-over opponent either, we’ve seen the kind of carnage Cobalt can wrought. Seems like Fusion’s inner demons may have been dealt with. If that’s the case I’d hate to be the next person drawn to fight that thing. Credit where credit is due, that was one hell of a battle.
WINNER: Fusion, KO
BLACK DRAGON vs. ICEWAVE
Doesn’t look like much has changed on Black Dragon but that’s because this robot has been around a while, even before it showed up to BattleBots a few seasons ago, and it’s had time to be perfected. Kinda like Minotaur who also hails from Brazil. That’s one way to get inside your opponent’s head. Black Dragon doesn’t really have much in the way of modularity, it’s either the “eggbeater” spinner or the dual discs and it looks like for this fight the team has elected to go with the eggbeater. Not sure why, perhaps for weapon-on-weapon engagement, but whatever the case you know it’s not a decision just made on a whim. This is a Desperado-winning robot and as Kenny pointed out it too survived being on fire for two minutes just like Minotaur. The only difference? Black Dragon won that fight.
Icewave is a robot near and dear to my heart. I’ve been a fan since before the 2015 season of BattleBots and have remained one since. A lot of people reading this probably only hopped on the Icewave train when it ripped Vanquish in half back in 2018 but I was cheering on this robot when it was cleaving entire chunks off of the original Chomp. Icewave is the only robot with a gasoline engine powering its weapon because it’s just fucking cool. These days there’s no more power-to-weight ratio benefit that makes using an engine the better option over electric motors, Marc DeVidts just stuck with an engine because that’s what his robot has had for nearly 20 fucking years so why change it now? Is it the most powerful spinner in the field? No, but I respect the man for sticking to his guns and keeping his robot true to its original design, “twilight years” or not.
Black Dragon’s weapon is a lot smaller than Icewave’s so that means it’s going to get up to speed a lot faster and strike with a more focused surface area. Icewave gets clipped and immediately the chassis and engine start to spin around opposite the blade because that’s just how much horsepower is under the hood of this thing. Icewave is clipped again and bounces up into the air without too much disturbance but this allows Black Dragon to slip underneath the spinner and slam it into the deck the impact of which kills all momentum in Icewave’s weapon. The engine roars but the blade doesn’t move. Somewhere in there Icewave’s weapon chain blew up meaning now Marc has his hands on the loudest fucking wedge the world has ever seen. I’d tell you when the chain came off but Icewave’s packing so much heat it probably just fucking vaporized.
Fire starts shooting out of Black Dragon’s flamethrower and this is one of those times where I feel like a fire-based weapon might be of some use because as Kenny Florian once said, “Icewave’s weapon is made of gas”. The blaze doesn’t seem to ignite or trigger anything on Icewave but while this is going on Black Dragon’s spinning beater bar has been going full blast and the robot finally connects with an exposed corner and manages to snap one of Icewave’s weapon chains. You can see it fall out into the blue square when the robot gets pushed out of the way. Icewave is shoved into one of the pocket corners near the deck and as Black Dragon comes in for another blow that tips Icewave onto its side you can see another drive chain hanging slack from its front right wheel.
The Pulverizer comes down on Icewave because this just isn’t Marc’s fucking day but at least he’s able to back away from the hazard with what’s left of Icewave’s crippled drivetrain. The ref seems eager to count Icewave out so that 10 count fires off and as Marc fucks with his transmitter he eventually is forced to concede the fight to Black Dragon. Hopefully this isn’t a taste of things to come for the legend, this was one of the robots selected for Bounty Hunters last year (you know, the miniseries I didn’t get to write about). There’s still a dangerous robot under that mess of a stalled engine and shredded drivetrain.
WINNER: Black Dragon, KO
WITCH DOCTOR vs. DUCK
Much like Icewave, Witch Doctor is another favorite robot of mine who’s kind of been on everyone’s back burners and I don’t know why. This was the 2019 season runner up to Bite Force, I’m talking second place here. Yeah last season was a goddamned nightmare for the team but what do I keep saying about Witch Doctor? It evolves; every single thing that causes it to lose fights is fixed in the following season. Weapon discs kept blowing up last year requiring the intervention of no less than 3 teams to get the robot working? This year the team’s using a brand new material for the weapons so that bullshit won’t happen again. Witch Doctor is on the cusp of greatness and with a power vacuum left by Bite Force I think it’s not unreasonable to think Witch Doctor might make another deep run for the title.
Duck is the only robot this season to be sponsored by a BDSM dungeon because I can’t think of anyone else who can take punishment like this dumb bird. There have been times when Duck has been absolutely thrashed and it’s kept fighting because that’s just what it was designed to do, “break your fist on my face”. This is a defensive bot in an offensive field but it could just be what it takes to break through and shake up the tournament. After all it’s taken the likes of Quantum and Tombstone to bring this bird to its knees and last time I checked Quantum is out and Tombstone is busy losing to Captain Shrederator. Also, everywhere Hal Rucker goes he’s followed by duck sound effects but this is a fate he’s brought upon himself.
Andrea Gellatly calls her shots and sinks them nearly every time. She noted Duck’s massive forks and said she wasn’t going to bother trying to “out fork” her opponent but was instead banking on Hal not being experienced enough driving with what amounts to two fucking claymores mounted to the front of his robot and catch Duck when it trips up. Well, Duck accidentally catches the blue square screws with its left fork and Witch Doctor comes in and shears the right one clean off. The hit is followed up with a sucker punch to Duck’s side and another blow to the front right tire which throws the heavyweight robot onto the logo in the center of the floor.
Duck tries using its one fork to get underneath Witch Doctor and opens its jaw to lift its opponent up but misses completely. Witch Doctor counters with a hit that sends Duck flying into the corner of the arena near the Pulverizer, though Duck is too fast to catch a blow from it. Duck charges straight at Witch Doctor and slams face first into it causing Witch Doctor to bite into what’s left of the bracket that held its missing fork on. Watch carefully though and you’ll notice Witch Doctor start to falter and stagger after this decking and in a matter of seconds its weapon is completely dead. The hosts repeat Duck’s mantra, “break your fist on my face”. Now the tides have turned and it’s going to be up to Duck to seize control of the fight and mop the floor with Witch Doctor.
But Witch Doctor isn’t going to go down without a fight. Even without a weapon Mike Gellatly is still riding the sticks and masterfully shoving Duck around to prevent it from encroaching into the Aggression and Control points that the judges have. And is it just me or does Duck’s chassis look like it’s sagging in the middle? This is a robot that was once milled from a solid block of fucking aluminum but now it looks like it might be separated into thirds or something. That’s not going to bode well for Duck long term if it gets paired up with another vertical spinner, presumably one that doesn’t just conk out and die like Witch Doctor.
Duck manages to get a lift in on Witch Doctor over near the screws on the deck but can’t capitalize on it and Witch Doctor is able to get away after flexing its self-righting mechanism a couple of times. It looks like Duck is just struggling to get purchase on the floor and shove back against Witch Doctor. Hal said Duck was “100% brushless” now but maybe that wasn’t the best course of action for the design because Witch Doctor is a robot with a significant amount of weight put into its weapons and not the drive system and yet here it is holding its own against Duck? Duck takes a hit from the Pulverizer finally and things have gone so fucking sideways for the robot that it also catches the goddamned Killsaws and those things are known for never popping up or hitting anything.
Duck is pinned against the red square screws as Witch Doctor literally burns rubber holding its opponent in place. The two robots swing around toward the deck and with one swift kick right in the quack hole Witch Doctor gets Duck lodged underneath the Upper Deck’s screws. There’s not enough time left in the fight for Duck to be counted out, but that’s not how you want to end a battle. The fight is sent to the judges who rule unanimously in favor of Witch Doctor… the robot whose “fist” was broken on Duck’s “face” less than a minute into the battle. Maybe too much changed on Duck all at once. This is going to be an uphill year.
WINNER: Witch Doctor, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
COPPERHEAD vs. LOCK-JAW
This week’s main event battle features two robots with strong preseason showings last year who both went out early in the Round of 32. Copperhead is the only robot in this fight who can claim they qualified for the main tournament with a perfect 3-0 record, however, and the snake is back to do battle once again. Zach Goff is out this year so he’s relinquished control to engineer Robert Cowan who’s convinced that he’s sussed out the problems with Copperhead’s drivetrain and sorted them out. Hopefully that’s the case because not being able to just drive in a straight goddamned line was one of the reasons Copperhead was blindsided by fucking Mammoth and it would be real great to not see that happen again.
Lock-Jaw is a seasoned veteran in BattleBots by this point. It’s competed in every reboot season, won a Desperado event, won a Bounty, and was a semifinalist at one point. It just hasn’t been able to take home the Giant Nut. This is another robot that might be on the cusp of greatness assuming Donald Hutson has his shit under control and the robot stops blowing up and catching fire. Lock-Jaw would be winning fights left and right if Donald just turned his transmitter dial down by like two clicks and ran the robot with those settings because I get the feeling he gets so in the moment that he asks too much of his robot and just kills it in the process. Lock-Jaw has caught fire in most of its previous fights across the past several seasons, even the matches it’s won. Hell there was a clip earlier this episode where Donald fucked something up in the pits and caused some sparks. Chill, dude.
Lock-Jaw rides into battle equipped with its ass plow and immediately gets to work shoving its ass in Copperhead’s face. I guess Copperhead is fine with eating ass because that’s exactly what it starts to do as sparks are shaved off of the bumper. Lock-Jaw spins around and tries to catch Copperhead weapon-on-weapon and misses diagonally a couple of times in ways that suggest Copperhead’s weapon belts might be in danger but thankfully nothing is clipped on the snake. Lock-Jaw continues the assault though, ripping into one of Copperhead’s tires and very nearly striking the back end of the robot where all the vulnerable parts are probably stored. There’s inch-thick HARDOX steel back there but you never know what a high energy kinetic spinner will do.
But if Lock-Jaw wants to go weapon-on-weapon then Copperhead says “bring it on pussy” because Copperhead retaliates and chews off the tip of Lock-Jaw’s left fork before visibly distorting it and shunting the green bot into the wall. Lock-Jaw comes in and very nearly rolls Copperhead over with a nasty blow before Copperhead throws a hook of its own and does the exact same thing. Of note however is just how jacked up Lock-Jaw’s left fork has become because with another booty blast Copperhead kinks it backward where the fork seems to get hung up on itself and stuck. These hits don’t come free for Copperhead though because if you watch closely the robot throws a drive chain; it’s able to continue moving forward by fudging momentum with its weapon just like Bite Force. Robert notices the chain and starts to panic.
Lock-Jaw is crippled but it still has all four wheels and a spinning weapon so on paper it has the upper han– actually scratch that it’s literally just fucking caught fire again. A very intensely bright fire erupts from Lock-Jaw’s left side where its fork has been kicked back to and in the ensuing chaos the robot catches a blow from Copperhead that flips it over. On a normal day this is fine for Lock-Jaw because it can drive inverted but today’s anything but normal; since Copperhead has bent one of Lock-Jaw’s forks backward and shoved it up its own ass Lock-Jaw is high centered on itself. Copperhead could just leave Lock-Jaw alone and let it get counted out but as it tries to crawl away it connects with Lock-Jaw and unsticks the bent up fork.
Back in the fight without a weapon, because that’s what caught fire, Lock-Jaw charges Copperhead and starts shoving Copperhead around. Copperhead gets away and swings wide, catching Lock-Jaw’s wheels and pulling one of them off the hub but not completely off of the robot. Despite the fire Lock-Jaw’s drivetrain seems fine and Donald is experienced enough to drive upside down like there’s no difference in control whatsoever so he’s taking the mangled front end of Lock-Jaw and just repeatedly bashing Copperhead with it going as far as to corral the spinner into the corner near one of the Pulverizers. It’s not one of Lock-Jaw’s Pulverizers but who gives a fuck it’s all about control and these are the points Lock-Jaw is shoveling onto its side of the scorecard. Lock-Jaw backs into Copperhead and gets snagged on top of the robot and you can see how only one of Copperhead’s wheels are turning. Props to Lock-Jaw for surviving, and props to Copperhead for staying mobile despite losing a chain.
It was a hell of a fight but it was going to go one way or another. This one was close enough for a split but the judges still went with Copperhead in the end. In perhaps the most critical blow of the fight Robert gets emasculated on national television for not being the one wearing the live snake.
WINNER: Copperhead, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
We’re now three episodes deep into the season and this commitment is just now starting to sink in. I’ve got like a dozen or so more of these left to do. Thank god production is working with me to give me time to write these so they can come out the day after because I can’t tell you how many “mental health days” I’ve had to take where I just stare at my computer and don’t get anything done before giving up and going back to learning Japanese or something. I’m not very good at prioritizing, is what I’m trying to say. Japan can wait, I don’t think it’s going anywhere. At least… I’m 90% certain of that.
So this was another mixed bag of fights, lots of quick KO’s or battles where weapons died and it turned into a pushing match. That said I think this episode’s main event was finally something that had the gravity of a “main event” to it and seeing Copperhead throw a chain and stay in the fight while Lock-Jaw blew up – again – but very nearly hang on to turn it around was fucking awesome. I guess seeing Hypershock and Fusion both come out and do what they’re supposed to do was a nice change of pace too. But the snoozefest fights have to be Riptide’s and Black Dragon’s. Don’t get me wrong they were impressive KO’s but they just had so much more potential to them if the fights lasted longer or if Icewave’s weapon didn’t immediately shit out a chain after like two hits.
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