So Tantrum is the new BattleBots champion. Long live the king, until next season when I’m almost positive lightning won’t strike twice for the goofy-faced punching robot. It’s going to take some getting used to referring to Tantrum with the same level of reverence as Tombstone and Bite Force, but if I could fake it for End Game then I can fake it for Tantrum too. Yes that was an End Game double roast in the opening paragraph of this article.
We know who wins the Giant Nut but during the trip from Fight Night to Championship Night there were exactly 15 fights (that we know of) that went unaired. Some of them are the tournament fights from the “What Got Cut” segments of the championship articles but most of them are Fight Night bouts that were highlighted where need be and were uploaded to BattleBots’ official YouTube channel. Supporters on Facebook could see the unaired fights the same day as new episodes but in order to watch it for free you had to wait until the following Sunday for the YouTube upload. Ah, the perks of being a supporter of BattleBots on one of the worst social media platforms ever conceived.
So there’s 15 fights unaccounted for on this blog. For previous seasons I really dropped the ball on the whole “What Got Cut” nonsense but I’m striving to do better this year. 15 fights is evenly divisible by 3 so I’ve concocted three “What Got Cut” articles that review these fights on their own… even if we already know who wins and what the outcomes are. Just suspend your disbelief for a moment or something, keep your fucking pants on. The first two articles will cover Fight Night battles that went straight into the bin whereas the last article will appropriately cover all of the tournament battles that just couldn’t be fit into the main episodes for, uh, whatever reason.
DEADLIFT vs. JACKPOT
Before we begin allow me to share with you a theory I developed from the very first episode of the season of which this was the unaired battle to: “anybody who has a fight turn up on YouTube won’t be the tournament champion”. We of course now know this to be true but the group of friends I watched these episodes with groaned when they realized I was probably correct; none of these robots were going to be Giant Nut material. “Thanks Draco, you ruined it.” My pleasure. Our first non-Giant-Nut-winning robot is Deadlift who comes into this fight without its upper grappling penis attachment. This version of Deadlift looks a lot like it did last season despite Kenny Florian’s compliment that the robot looks better already. I think it’s the same shit but we’ll see how well it fares when placed in the box with Jackpot.
Believe it or not this fight is actually a rematch from last year’s season of Bounty Hunters, which is absent from this website. (I’ll work on that I promise.) Jackpot had a self righting mechanism last year but it was kind of a piece of shit and seemed to only work from specific orientations and Deadlift threw Jackpot onto one of its awkward sides for the knock out. Jackpot reemerges this season sporting a brand new srimech mounted on the backside of the robot meaning no matter how the robot lands it’ll always roll down onto its back where it can then spring forward and get back onto its wheels. This is Jackpot’s opportunity to settle the score with its trademark double diamond blades.
No major hits or rushes are landed at the start of the match instead both robots kind of feel each other out. Jackpot lands a hit to Deadlift but this hit seems to just knock off part of the decorative trim around the lifter’s top panel so nothing significant there. Deadlift tries for a bench press but flubs it resulting in another piece of trim coming off of the robot. You can see them in the middle of the wide shot, they look like two carpentry pencils that are just laying on the floor. Deadlift finally gets the leverage it needs and slides underneath Jackpot for a lift while spewing fire out of its face. Unfortunately Jackpot seems to be hanging a little too far off to the side for the fire effects to be doing much of anything but it’s impressive and it’s control points and that’s what the judges are looking for. Maybe this’ll make up for the inexcusable damage Jackpot has done to Deadlift’s trim.
For a moment now it looks like Jackpot is having some trouble with its drive system because it’s only really going one way and Deadlift is taking full advantage of it by doing things like breathing fire directly into Jackpot’s spinner which turns it into a World of Warcraft weapon for a split second. Deadlift jumps up Jackpot’s ass and slams the spinner squarely into one of the screw control boxes near the red square but Jackpot’s weapon survives the blow and keeps roaring. As for Jackpot’s right side of drive? Still in the shitter. Deadlift tries to go in for a frontal assault but backs away when Jackpot’s diamonds starting grinding on its face.
This whole time Jackpot’s minibot Ace, which is actually Tracer’s minibot from last season because Jason Woods is now on the Jackpot team, has been chasing down Deadlift. The robot has been treated somewhat as a nuisance for the majority of the fight so far until it stabs Deadlift on its side and deploys its rotating lifting spikes. Now Deadlift is in trouble because it’s got one whole side of drive raised off the ground and Jackpot’s drive system appears to have rattled back into place and is working again. Jackpot goes in for the kill shot but instead hits Deadlift on its front plow and gets caught by the lifter. Jackpot falls off the arm and starts grinding away at the right side of Deadlift before backing up and plowing forward to land a proper shot splitting open the 3D printed decorative hexagons on the robot’s lid. I’d say this is brutal but so far literally all this damage is cosmetic. They can fix it at the “Haaspital” or whatever the fuck sponsor tent is in the pits.
That’s about to change because as Deadlift gets in Jackpot’s face once again it makes the mistake of putting its lifting arm in the way of Jackpot’s blades and the little double fork attachment gets torn off and thrown across the floor. Jackpot follows up this attack with one that severely damages the right half of Deadlift’s front plow. Jackpot digs in so hard that the plow warps and now Deadlift’s wheels are riding unevenly on the ground. You can tell this is causing all kinds of trouble for the RoboGym guys because Deadlift is just scurrying around all over the fucking place with very little control. It bumps into the screws, drifts backwards, and manages to get its damaged plow caught in one of the Killsaw slots. This just opens Jackpot up for another spike shot without the help of Ace and you know the house spinner is about to come in here and clean this shit up.
Jackpot chews a whole ass tire off of Deadlift’s backside before the Killsaws pop up and finally free the lifter. Deadlift continues to spin around aimlessly and manages to smash into another set of Killsaws sideways. Jackpot burns some friction smoke off of the ass end of Deadlift as it starts chewing up the other back wheel and slams the lifter into the wall underneath the BattleBots sign. Jeff Waters and his team taunt the Deadlift guys with another hit and go for it anyways ultimately ending with Deadlift dead under the Pulverizer. There wasn’t enough time for a countdown so Deadlift is saved by the buzzer and the fight goes to the judges.
Deadlift had Jackpot for the first minute or so, especially with Jackpot’s drivetrain acting all wonky on it, but once Ace was able to high center Deadlift and Jackpot came in for that sideways teed up shot I don’t think Deadlift was really able to get back in the fight. The verdict is unanimous and is for Jackpot. But you knew that already.
WINNER: Jackpot, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
SUBZERO vs. SHATTER
One thing I’d like to point out about these unaired fights is that the editors are really making me work for those screenshots I use of the robots in their starting squares because so much of the build up and prep for the fights is cut. Thanks for the extra work, it’s really fucking up the streamlining of these articles. This is SubZero’s first outing into the box and we know how the robot’s season ended but we never got to see how it started thanks to this fight being snipped from episode two. In the past when SubZero was called “Mecha SubZero” and sported beefier armor I’d say this was SubZero’s fight to lose but now with its redesign that doesn’t feature as much upper armor as it used to this is probably a fight SubZero is going to lose. But of course we have the gift of future sight and we know the flipper goes down. Let’s find out how.
Fancy driving will get you anywhere, that’s the motto of Shatter. And it’s true; fancy driving can get you anywhere you want because your robot can be facing one direction while sliding sideways in another. If only car manufacturers would put this technology into their vehicles we’d finally solve the problem with parallel parking. (Seriously do you have any idea how hard that is to do when you’re blind in one eye? I can’t tell you all the times I’ve had to be somewhere only to park 8 blocks away in the nearest proper lot and then walk to wherever it is I need to be. Fuck that.) We’ve seen Shatter with a couple different weapons this season but for its maiden fight of the year it’s coming out with Ol’ Reliable. I don’t know if that’s the name the team has given to this particular weapon but it’s what I’m calling it, so there.
Shatter starts this fight off strafing around while trying to always face SubZero, that’s the strategy it usually tries to employ against everyone and this fight is no different. SubZero battles for an opening and goes in for a couple of unsuccessful charges while its drone Spitfire coughs up flames in the middle of the arena for no reason. What I would give to see Shatter go full Hypershock on that dumb drone with its hammer; just yank it out of the air and smash the shit out of it. Shatter eventually gets a swing and a miss on SubZero which affords the flipper a chance to drive Shatter into the screws but curiously not flip Shatter while it does so. I’ve gotta imagine Logan Davis was pulling the trigger on SubZero’s flipper during that rush so early on it’s looking like there could be weapon troubles for SubZero.
SubZero careens into one of the Pulverizers controlled by the blue team so Shatter’s guys drop the hammer on SubZero while Shatter itself does the same thing. The first swing of its pick axe puts a deep gash into the front of Shatter’s flipping arm but the next volley of swings punctures the robot where the flipping arm’s armor panels meet and digs in behind it. This is where SubZero’s dual piston flipping system resides so it’s not like there’s nothing back there for Shatter to hit. SubZero runs away across the floor, spins around, and gets another solid frontal collision with Shatter and again no flip. Not even a late flip that’s a miss. Something’s definitely dicked up with the flipper and that’s a shame because a flipper is a unique match up for Shatter because surely we’d see some interesting self righting with a successful toss. Instead SubZero is just a 250 pound brick with a largely inefficient wedge stapled onto the front of it.
The battle drifts toward the corner of the Battlebox that’s the entrance for the blue square and SubZero’s missing some golden opportunities to throw Shatter up on top of those awkward “bumper” hazard things that never seem to work. What, did the team forget to plug in the fucking pneumatics on SubZero? Are they having their own Killerhurtz moment? Shatter retaliates by firing its hammer and busting the previously damaged front panel of SubZero’s flipper completely off. Kenny says the weapon isn’t working or they’re late on the trigger. Kenny, if they were late we’d be seeing flips. Clearly they fucked something else up entirely. Anyways Shatter isn’t stopping its carnage and socks SubZero again this time breaking off a smaller armor panel from the upper portion of the flipping arm. Now SubZero’s double piston is visible and is likely going to be Shatter’s next target. It’s like ripping away the armor of a boss in a video game to expose the weak point; all Shatter has to do is let a punch fly and we might see a goddamned compressed air explosion in the arena.
That specially designed piston was Shatter’s target and it lands a precision shot that wedges its pick axe between SubZero’s piston and its frame locking the two bots together for a few seconds until Shatter is able to unstick itself. Adam Wrigley said in an interview his robot has about one square inch of weapon attack area and he needs to place that spot where it counts. Well goddamn, I think you did it. If that flipper wasn’t already dead it’d surely be fucked now. SubZero nudges Shatter back into that same blue square entrance corner and again no action from the flipper. At this point SubZero is vying for control points and possibly aggression though it’s a losing battle because with the arena littered with armor panels we know Shatter’s taking the 5 points for damage that the judges can give out. SubZero keeps at it and gets underneath Shatter in the middle of the arena and looks like it tries to go for another box rush into the wall but it gets cucked by the Killsaws and Shatter breaks free of the hold.
SubZero might be weaponless but it’s doing a commendable job of pushing Shatter around. Sure, it’s not going to win the fight this way but props to Logan Davis for his driving skill and tenacity; his robot might’ve arrived with a DOA weapon but his control of the sticks is fantastic. Just as I say this Shatter swings its axe and hits the backside of SubZero where the flipping arm pivots. There’s actually a piece of added armor here that was borrowed from the Dragon Slayer team but Shatter once again has found the seam and gone right through it. Immediately SubZero begins to smoke. Logan shouts “oh not they got our batteries” while his teammate says that’s okay. Dude that’s not okay, that’s like the polar fucking opposite of “okay”. Your robot is one click away from bursting into flames now and currently Shatter’s fist is stuck in your robot’s ass and it’s being driven to every set of goddamned Killsaws in the arena.
Shatter eventually relinquishes its grip on SubZero and despite having a hole popped in its batteries the flipper is still out there trying to show aggression and attack Shatter. In the twilight seconds of this battle SubZero gets underneath Shatter and starts shoving it around. And then? The flipper fires. It’s weak but SubZero’s flipper activates. This fucking thing has been MIA for about the past two minutes and fifty-eight seconds but right before the buzzer the robot musters one lift on its opponent. What the fuck was the problem then? Were you intentionally just not firing the flipper? Was it jammed in place because of Shatter whacking it early on in the fight? You do realize you have to use your weapon, right?
Whatever. Shatter’s weapon operator creams his pants as the robot starts its season off with a unanimous judges’ decision.
WINNER: Shatter, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
CLAW VIPER vs. PARDON MY FRENCH
“When you see Claw Viper drive you say WOW,” says Kevin Milczewski. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Let’s set the expectations a little lower like maybe with a “whoa” or a “hey it works this year”. Claw Viper is as close as we’re going to get to having Complete Control back in the field of competing robots now that Derek Young has retired to become a BattleBots judge. This is a robot who gets under you with its front forks, bites you with its snake jaw, and then lifts you up perpendicularly to the floor for the suplex. The only thing it’s missing is the flamethrower and we’d have Complete Control back in action. Claw Viper’s claim to fame is its speed however; it can reportedly achieve speeds of 20 MPH in the arena and that’s enough to breeze past and outmaneuver just about anyone.
Pardon My French is a big ass robot from Quebec, Canada. Its whole “thing” is its massive spinning drum that weighs about as much as one of Tombstone’s blades, 70+ pounds. Philippe Voyer, the monstrosity’s designer, even says one of his robot’s main drawbacks is the fact that it will gyro upwards when it turns because its weapon generates so much force. This is a single-toothed spinning drum that has the capacity to tear other robots to pieces because it’s basically a vertical Tombstone (assuming we ignore the existence of Deep Six for a moment). So Pardon My French is lacking in the maneuverability department, that’s where its minibot “Zut” comes into play. Unlike most teams who just use disposable D2 kits for minibots Zut actually has a use; it’s equipped with a lifting arm and has a long doorstop design to slide under and trip other robots up with. This in theory will allow Pardon My French to get its bearings and come in for the kill shot.
At the start of the fight Claw Viper starts driving like it’s being controlled by a magnet under the floor or something because it’s not so much driving as it is just drifting across the arena. “Wow”, I guess? Claw Viper box rushes into the screws but still manages to catch Pardon My French and prevent its drum from getting up to speed. Pardon My French pivots away and continues trying to get its drum going and in the process dips one of its front forks into the Killsaws and touches the hazard from above. Yeah, the saws are always spinning just in case you were wondering. They just don’t pop up until there’s a minute left in the fight because the hazards are treated as a joke these days.
Claw Viper cruises in and slams into the front of Pardon My French and rather than dig in and damage Claw Viper the drum just sorta comes to a halt as if there was just no muscle behind it. The drum must only work when its literally at full blast and it just wasn’t there. Claw Viper grabs Pardon My French by the corner, picks it up, and throws it over its backside. Pardon My French cannot self right nor can it drive upside down so this is pretty much it for the French-Canadian machine. Good design. Claw Viper kicks it into reverse gear and slams Pardon My French into the wall the impact of which very nearly puts Pardon My French back onto its wheels but it’s not meant to be and the robot instead sits in the corner totally dead.
But Claw Viper isn’t content with winning in 15 seconds. No, the snake cruises back over and continues to fuck with Pardon My French even going as far as to flip the robot back over before carrying it all the way to the blue square screws and slamming it into the hazard. Look closely as the robot is picked up and you’ll see a drive chain hanging loose underneath Pardon My French, this robot has had enough. Pardon My French gets sucked into the hazards and the ref goes ahead and starts counting it out which is kind of weird but whatever it’s not like Pardon My French has any fight left in it. The robot is spit back out by the screws when they reverse and Claw Viper comes back in carrying Pardon My French’s minibot to do some more work and interrupts the KO countdown. When Claw Viper backs away the count resumes and Pardon My French is officially out of the contest.
Knowing what we know about how the season unfolds this is the most we got to see out of Pardon My French’s weapon. Think about that. That fucking sucks.
WINNER: Claw Viper, KO
RETROGRADE vs. RAMPAGE
Bloodsport isn’t the only robot that Team Bots N’ Stuff Robotics has brought with them to BattleBots this year. They’re introducing Retrograde in this fight, a lifter/spinner combo robot with dual weaponry. Retrograde sports some lifting fangs up front and on its ass there’s an undercutting spinning disc that runs with a tip speed of 250 MPH. This is the fastest that BattleBots will allow as per the design rules outlined in the official handbook. This is Retrograde’s first battle and they’ve kind of tossed it an underhanded pitch by pairing it up with Rampage all things considered; these two robots are basically opposite each other when it comes to design philosophy. Retrograde was probably designed entirely in CAD and machined out precisely. Rampage was put together in a garage.
We’ve seen Rampage before. Well, the team at least. Last year when there was no live audience due to COVID we saw a lot of shots of Team X in the stands but we never actually saw their robot. That’s because Rampage was relegated to an untelevised exhibition fight I believe where it was paired up with the equally as invisible Black Widow. Rampage managed to lose this fight. Then we saw it in Bounty Hunters where Fusion just absolutely obliterated it. This fight marks Rampage’s proper debut in the Fight Night rounds however and the robot has admittedly been redesigned. The weapon looks a little more fierce and overall the design is more stout and looks like it could take at least a few hits from some of the mid-tier robots out there before dying. Hey, it’s a step up from the robot that lost to fucking Black Widow.
You know the fight’s going to be over quick when Pete Abrahamson shows up to break down Retrograde’s design and the video’s already half over. Either Rampage lands a one in a trillion shot that melts Retrograde’s batteries… or exactly what we’re expecting to happen winds up happening.
Rampage starts spinning its weapon up as it leaves its square. It kind of stops and repositions itself to perhaps better come at Retrograde but this doesn’t matter because Retrograde is on the attack and it’s not about to let up. Before the fight Retrograde’s driver noted that his two forks would win the ground game over Rampage’s big ass wedge and that’s exactly what winds up happening; Retrograde digs in underneath Rampage and lifts it up before rolling its opponent onto its back. Looks like that 0-2 career record is about to become 0-3. Rampage lands with its back wheels sort of touching the ground but it’s not going anywhere. I don’t know if Rampage is supposed to be able to drive around when inverted or not because its design is just so shitty but I’m going to guess it’s legitimately meant to drive upside down but just can’t.
Retrograde starts spinning up its undercutter disc and pulls off Rampage’s back left tire in a single shot. It then connects with Rampage’s spinner but it looks like no real damage has been done to Retrograde because Retrograde just keeps attacking and takes a few more stray blows from the spinner to its backside. The ref starts to count out Rampage and as Rampage lays in the blue square totally dead it actually spins around slightly when its only surviving back tire makes contact with the ground. But only for a second. So again I raise the question, is Rampage supposed to be able to drive upside down? Maybe we’ll find out next season.
Retrograde cashes in its free win and advances onward in Fight Night. Meanwhile the producers try to figure out just what the hell they’re going to do with this robot called Rampage that they’ve accepted for two seasons now.
WINNER: Retrograde, KO
VALKYRIE vs. TRIPLE CROWN
“Modular” is not really a word that comes to mind when you think about Valkyrie but really the robot’s primary weapon is something that can be changed around to suit different opponents. Yes it does actually matter somewhat. Valkyrie’s got the double-toothed disc that we’ve seen which is largely meant for sturdy wedges, it has the big bar for dealing out bigger hits to robots with exposed wheels, and then it has this ninja star thing that it’s using for this fight which is mostly used for shredding and attacking robots that just have a lot of exposed parts to attack. Add it all up and you’ve got last season’s recipient of the Most Destructive Robot award: Valkyrie. Accept no substitutions. Except for Rotator which is loosely a similar design. Rotator is still cool in my book. Also Rotator just has the one disc.
I don’t know why the fuck Chris Rose starts talking about Triple Crown’s builder Todd Mendenhall like he’s a rookie. Yeah he’s new to the reboot seasons but this is a man who’s won both Robot Wars and Robotica in years gone by. Hell he’s even competed in BattleBots with robots like Slappest and Wrath! But no, go on and tell me about how much of a rookie this man is when his robot is literally named after a fancier way of saying “hat trick”. He’s here to win BattleBots and earn his triple crown. This is a weird fidget spinner-esque robot that features “swerve drive” meaning its wheels can spin and rotate around 360 degrees inside their pods. Triple Crown’s weaponry consists of an offensive spinning bar and a defensive spiked plow. There were supposed to be more weapons but Triple Crown actually showed up to the season incomplete and 35 pounds underweight. Todd, my man, maybe you should’ve held off on the name “Triple Crown” until you’ve brought something serious.
It only takes Valkyrie a few seconds before its weapon is up to top speed. This is bad for Triple Crown because Valkyrie is literally this robot’s counter design. Triple Crown dodges and swings its red side at Valkyrie to attack with its spinning bar. No damage has been done as far as I can tell. Valkyrie for some reason feels compelled to avoid Triple Crown’s spinning bar despite the fact that it’s as big as a fucking Snickers bar and probably weighs as much as one too. Valkyrie circles around Triple Crown and strikes the swervy robot’s defensive wedge. The hit is landed to the side of the attachment which rips it off and throws it across the arena. Todd Mendenhall would later address this hit as bending the part only a fraction of a degree which in his mind is pretty serious. Yeah I guess if you’re launching rockets or something being off by that much is bad. Otherwise just eyeball it. It worked out for the Rampage team I think.
Triple Crown seems dazed after that last hit from Valkyrie and to seal the deal Valkyrie cruises in and attacks the wheel of Triple Crown’s white drive pod. Watch closely and you’ll see the aluminum shell and tread of the custom wheel rip and pull out from under the robot. If there was any locomotion left in Triple Crown this hit just killed it because the robot needs all three wheels working in order to move and twist about and with one of them completely shredded that’s it for the novel design. In the same breakdown video where Todd talked about things bending by fractions of degrees he also stated that although the wheel was destroyed the swerve drive mechanism itself was completely intact. I think that was his way of calling Valkyrie a little bitch.
Todd will be back. Mark my words, this might be the last we see of Triple Crown but it’s not the end of Todd’s run. Either through this robot or another one he’s going to get that championship and lay claim to being the only competitor to win all three major televised robotics events in the United States. Godspeed you crazy bastard.
WINNER: Valkyrie, KO
Like I said in the article opener we already know the outcomes of these fights because the season is over and throughout the episodes Chris and Kenny brought up these untelevised matches in passing when referring to competitors’ win/loss records. But I think it’s still important to feature them here on BattleBots Update for the sake of completion, and who knows it might spur me to go back through their YouTube archives and do articles for the fights I missed from previous seasons… I’ll just have to figure out which ones are Fight Nights and which ones are exhibition battles. I’m sure it can’t be that hard.
I know this wasn’t a proper episode of the show but I feel compelled to still pick a favorite fight out of the lot. For that I’m going to go with Shatter vs. SubZero because it’s always thrilling to see a hammer bot work as expected, to see their weapon either slam down or pierce opponents and cause damage. SubZero may have been a sitting duck but Shatter’s weapon was busting off armor panels and everything before eventually stabbing a battery and that’s the money shot people want with a hammer bot. Worst fight would be Claw Viper vs. Pardon My French. Pardon My French was just never in the fight. It tried to spin up its weapon and achieved fuck all before being flipped over by its opponent and that was pretty much it. Triple Crown’s fight was pretty dire as well but I’ve gotta give credit where due and commend the 2.4 million views on YouTube. People really did come out to see what Triple Crown could do even if that turned out to be “absolutely nothing”.
That’s going to do it for BattleBots Update this week, thank you for swinging by! If you’d like to support this project you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. Special shoutouts to Alex T. for joining the Patreon crew! Stickers and shirts are available through Redbubble and for everything else follow BattleBots Update on Facebook.
See you next week!