Welcome back to BattleBots Update. We’re in the middle of checking out the fights that didn’t make it to TV, the ones I affectionately dub “What Got Cut”. Last week we wrapped up the second half of the unaired Fight Night qualifiers so that means all that’s left are the tournament matches that did not air. I actually recapped all five of these fights very briefly in the tournament articles as the season went on but now that the fights are up in full we can properly take a look at them and assess what went down.
I’m of the volition that these tournament matches should’ve been included with the episode that was broadcast because now with them missing the episodes are “incomplete” in a sense; anyone looking to go back and watch season 11 at a later date is just going to see the highlights instead of the full battles unless they go to BattleBots’ YouTube page and dig through fights that aren’t helpfully named. That sucks ass. We could’ve used a little less conversation and a little more action in these tournament episodes. Yes that was an Elvis reference.
Again, the season is over and we know Tantrum’s team hoists the Giant Nut high but going over these fights is more about completion than anything else. Let’s hop back into the Round of 32 to kick things off.
ROUND OF 32
HUGE vs. UPPERCUT
Huge is a robot that struggled to gain traction last season and I’m not saying that because its wheels are made out of fucking plastic and have bike tire chunks bolted onto them. The robot dealt with some bullshit matches that resulted in losses in ways such as getting one of its wheels stuck behind the arena light panels. This season Huge sported its white wheels for all of one fight before bringing out the big guns in the form of Tegris wheels. Tegris is made of layered carbon fiber and it’s the type of shit you see on high end race cars. Those giant wheels didn’t come cheap. Huge lost to Riptide in a similar bullshit manner when its wheel got stuck behind the screws but it was able to come back and hack up both Retrograde and Switchback to make it in as the 28th seed.
One of the “privileged” robots that was able to just take two wins and go with it is Uppercut ranked #5 overall. Huge had two wins and a loss and it’s a full twenty-three seeding points lower than this robot. Someone explain to me how the fuck this works. Anyways Uppercut’s victories came over Gigabyte and Free Shipping wherein the Upper Deck corner fucked Gigabyte over and Uppercut blasted Free Shipping so hard that its flamethrower tank exploded. For some reason one of the guys on the Uppercut team feels the need to carry out an unused disc-type weapon for Uppercut and present it like it’s fucking Simba or something. Dude, you’re going to have to hang onto that for like the next 20 minutes at least. Nice work. Next time leave that dumb shit in the pits.
Alex Hattori says his robot was designed with Huge in mind, his weapon is big enough to reach Huge’s chassis. He also says he’s unafraid of hitting weapon-to-weapon. The consequences of this mentality flourish in the opening seconds of the fight where after some posturing the two robots collide face to face and Huge is thrown backward into the front of the Upper Deck and Uppercut is sent flipping and reeling into the fucking wall very nearly falling out of the arena. That would’ve been a slam dunk from half goddamned court if Huge was turned just a few more degrees to the right. Uppercut is extremely lucky to have survived this shot and is able to get back onto its wheels and get right back in Huge’s face.
Uppercut’s stabilizing bars are easy targets for Huge to slice off and that’s exactly what goes down; Huge shreds one of them and knocks the other clean off. As Huge pivots around and flips one of its rear braces karate chops what’s left of Uppercut’s remaining stabilizer pole and bends it straight down. Apparently not much was left of its structural integrity if a chunk of cutting board plastic is able to bend it off. Uppercut is able to stay flat on its wheels despite Huge’s blade trying to kink it up diagonally and the red spinner takes the massively wheeled machine into the blue Pulverizer corner. The hammer swings but no contact is made, though as Uppercut is backing away it strikes Huge directly on the underside of its chassis and this hit completely kills the robot. Huge is knocked out but nobody’s taken notice of that yet despite this giant fucking robot coming to a complete halt.
Uppercut isn’t satisfied with Huge just dying in the corner so it comes in for some more damage and chops off one of Huge’s rear bracing legs. Uppercut just continues through this hit and smashes into the wall behind Huge which flips it up onto one wheel. We know Uppercut can get down from this position, even without the stabilizer bars that were blasted off a few seconds ago, but unluckily for Uppercut its wheel skates right into the side of the shelf and actually buries itself in the red part of the spike strip.
Now the refs notice something is awry. Huge isn’t moving and Uppercut has part of its drivetrain jammed in the worst hazard in BattleBots’ fucking history. Rather than count out Huge, which is a process that should’ve started five goddamned minutes ago, we get another one of those dumb “simultaneous knock outs” that sends the fight to a judges’ decision. I wonder why they went through the trouble of ruling this a double KO if they weren’t going to show it on TV for the added drama like they did with Mammoth and Tombstone which, for the record, also wasn’t technically a double KO either.
The fight goes to the judges who score it for the robot who should’ve won. You know, the one who knocked out its opponent before getting stuck in the wall.
WINNER: Uppercut, Special Judges’ Decision (3-0)
ROUND OF 32
LUCKY vs. COPPERHEAD
Lucky has more losses than wins at BattleBots which serves as a reminder as to why you should never name your robot something like “Lucky” because that just means the complete and total inverse will happen to it. Either pick a neutral name or name the robot something like “Sir Lose-A-Lot” and pray the inverse law also applies to negatively named robots. Lucky actually very nearly beat Tantrum in the opening rounds by getting it stuck on the wall but Lucky just had to free it and couldn’t leave well enough alone. You could’ve prevented a load of bullshit controversy in the finals Lucky but you fucked it all up. This is all your stupid goddamned fault. Anyways against all odds Lucky did muster a winning record in the Fight Night rounds this season when Blade’s weapon embedded itself in the wall and Mammoth got its tire punched off.
After being seeded 3rd last year Copperhead was destined for greatness; its debut match of the season was a main event qualifier against Lock-Jaw where both robots beat the everliving shit out of each other in a battle that was so close it went to the judges who returned a split decision favoring the snake. Copperhead was then dealt an underhanded pitch with Team Whyachi’s Fusion, a robot notorious for breaking down and catching fire. Fusion’s front vertical spinner seemed DOA so the robot tried to stay effective with its horizontal blade but Copperhead wasn’t having any of that bullshit; Copperhead dispatched Fusion with extreme prejudice and managed to win by KO when Fusion eventually did its usual thing of breaking down and dying.
The difference in size between these two robots is staggering; Copperhead is like a step stool and Lucky’s big enough to double as a goddamned card table. Lucky is equipped with some extra armor and scooping blades up front but right off the bat Copperhead is already flipping the massive machine over with stray blows from its drum. These aren’t even direct hits and Lucky’s already in trouble. Lucky starts getting in Copperhead’s face and we’re seeing a lot of sparks getting shed but so far the flipper is holding up. It goes for a couple of flips but Copperhead isn’t where it needs to be on Lucky’s face in order to get thrown. Lucky’s armor finally starts to give way as its right wheel guard is plucked backward by Copperhead exposing the tire in the process. This is now a weak point for Lucky but Copperhead seems content to just keep meeting its opponent face to face because it comes out ahead every single time. No that wasn’t a face pun, but I’ll point it out in case you thought I was trying to be coy.
Lucky is relentless in its pursuit of Copperhead but the issue is Copperhead is just too compact and too maneuverable to expose its backside to Lucky. Lucky’s no slouch despite its cumbersome size, there’s an RC car racing legend behind the wheel of this robot but he just can’t find the opening he needs. Copperhead begins to bully Lucky against the red square wall not into any of the hazards in particular but of note here is the sheer amount of damage done to Lucky’s face. Those hinged spike wedgelet things that Lucky was trying to use to win the ground game? Gone. Busted right the fuck off. Now Lucky’s entire front end is just begging to be chewed up by Copperhead and the snake goes to work throwing the flipper around. Copperhead eventually busts the left wheel guard off of Lucky and takes the wheel with it, completing my prediction for this match in the process.
Copperhead surprisingly doesn’t muster a knock out in this battle but there’s no question who wins the fight; Lucky was able to flip Copperhead an impressive zero times meanwhile there’s parts of Lucky all over the goddamned arena.
WINNER: Copperhead, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
ROUND OF 32
CAPTAIN SHREDERATOR vs. ROTATOR
There have been six seasons of the BattleBots reboot and despite participating in all of them this is the first time Captain Shrederator has qualified for the main tournament. A step above Huge too, I might add, which just lends credence to the notion that these “seedings” are just a farce and an easy way for production to create match-ups that they like. Captain Shrederator did admittedly take out Tombstone at the beginning of the season so maybe that does play into its seeding somewhat but from here we’ve got a loss to Gigabyte in a Battle of the Beyblades that went south fast and a win over Jager where Captain Shrederator legitimately struggled to even spin up to top speed to whack some minibots around. The Captain is as good as dead as far as this fight is concerned.
Rotator didn’t need to do this but it did it anyways; it armored up for this battle. Captain Shrederator can barely open a can of beans but Rotator’s not taking any chances. There was that freak accident with Tombstone so who knows maybe Rotator is next in line to spontaneously combust and die. Rotator’s equipped with its rear plow similar to the one we saw it use against Valkyrie last year except this new one looks to be engineered from one solid piece of metal so it’s not going to fall apart after three minutes of carnage. Speaking of carnage let’s talk about Rotator absolutely destroying Kraken. That robot got laid the fuck out in a way I’ve never seen before. The fight went to the judges but god damn. Rotator then dinged up Black Dragon’s wedge to render its weapon mostly useless. Black Dragon also caught on fire, too… that was another judges’ decision win.
Chris Rose says Rotator is “letting” Captain Shrederator spin up but I don’t think that’s intentional; I don’t think we’ve ever seen Rotator do a full box rush on someone before so this is just Rotator coming out of its square in a controlled and precise manner. Captain Shrederator spinning up to speed has nothing to do with it. Rotator jams its back plow into Captain Shrederator and the robot pops up just like what Captain Shrederator was doing to Gigabyte in their battle, it’s all about the slant. It’s physics. Rotator eventually comes in and lands a shot with its spinning disc even though Captain Shrederator is going full blast. Seems like a bad idea but hey I’m not Victor Soto so he can do whatever the fuck he wants. I will say that Captain Shrederator looks to be much more mobile and active in this fight than we saw in its previous battle with Jager. Maybe that switch on the transmitter has been flipped the right way or something.
Captain Shrederator seems to be actively driving at Rotator to attack it and try to perhaps hit the side of it where the wheel guards are. Rotator is slowly guiding Captain Shrederator to the wall but in a brilliant example of driving ability Brian Nave is able to spin the Captain around and duck away between Rotator and the arena side wall. No joke that is legitimately some good driving from Captain Shrederator, it successfully brings the fight back to the middle of the arena. This is good for Captain Shrederator. What’s bad is that Rotator pursues it with its blade end and collides with the spinner and this hit busts an entire fucking tooth off of Shrederator’s outer shell. It’s only got two of them so now the robot is off kilter as fuck but it just keeps spinning.
Rotator comes in again with its disc and kicks Captain Shrederator into the Upper Deck. Captain Shrederator bounces off of one spire and hits the middle one hard enough to shear the fucking bolts holding it in place meaning it’s successfully knocked part of the arena wall off. As impressive as this hit is it came with a cost: Captain Shrederator’s other tooth. Captain Shrederator is sent reeling across the box and into the entrance corner where it hits the wall, stops spinning, and just straight up fucking dies. There are massive chunks of metal missing from Captain Shrederator’s shell where its teeth used to be as well as cracks leading up the top of the robot and along the upper rim. This is probably perhaps the worst we’ve seen Captain Shrederator lose and according to the BattleBots Wiki this is something we’ve seen happen 13 other times. Holy shit.
WINNER: Rotator, KO
ROUND OF 32
ICEWAVE vs. WHIPLASH
The last time we saw Icewave in a BattleBots season it was splitting robots in half and still kicking ass. It’s been two seasons now and Icewave is still around attempting to show it’s a force to be reckoned with. Right out of the gate Icewave lost its opening fight to Black Dragon in a quick KO that saw the spinner shed its weapon chain and then lose a drive chain and subsequently just die in the corner. Icewave rebounded by hacking up Deadlift and managed to whack Fusion so hard that its batteries eventually melted. Seriously the hit on Fusion didn’t even look like it did any damage whatsoever but I guess it was like the Vulcan nerve pinch or some shit because a few seconds later Fusion just melted near the Upper Deck and gave Icewave the win.
Whiplash is seeded #3 because of course it is. It’s fucking Whiplash. This thing is driven masterfully and with the intent to kill, hence the seeding. Yet another member of the “only two Fight Night fights club” we saw Whiplash put on a clinic against Bloodsport where it won by KO after leaving the defeated deadly spinner to die on the shelf. It’s match with Skorpios was a lot more active though and was an absolute nightmare for the budding “fork meta” cancer that’s becoming a thing in the sport now. Skorpios kept entangling itself in Whiplash which meant Skorpios couldn’t hit with its blade and Whiplash couldn’t lift with its arm but when the dust settled the judges couldn’t unanimously agree on a winner but Whiplash still got the nod via split decision. Now if I were in charge I’d have given Whiplash a third fight to really “prove itself” but whatever I’m not in charge of this clown show.
There’s no fucking way Icewave is going to get through Whiplash’s front armor. It’s not going to happen. The opening shots are proof of this; Whiplash will just get swatted away and Icewave’s weapon will slow down and require some more juice to get going again. After a couple of hits Icewave lands one that somehow causes Whiplash to pop a wheelie and in doing so all of Whiplash’s front hinged wedgelets start scraping on the ground. Seems like a pretty goddamn glaring design flaw when your wedgelets have that kind of range of motion. All Whiplash has to do to fix this is drive in reverse for a second and they all reset but if this were any other fight aside from Icewave whose weapon takes a full calendar year to get spinning Whiplash would be in serious shit.
Whiplash jumps on Icewave again and Kenny Florian says “he’s not taking his foot off the gas”. I don’t know who he is talking about in this scenario because Whiplash is driving around like a maniac but Icewave’s weapon is literally powered by gas. Er, I’m sorry let me translate that into Florian, “made of gas”. Icewave is shoved into the exact same screw that nearly fucked it while it was fighting Fusion except this time it’s not able to just climb down off of the hazard. No, this time Icewave is sucked upward and topples over onto its lid. Icewave has a lot of things; four wheel drive, a gasoline-powered weapon, and an aluminum chassis. But one thing it doesn’t have is a solution for when exactly this happens to it. Icewave ends its season on a depressingly low note and Whiplash moves on.
WINNER: Whiplash, KO
ROUND OF 16
COBALT vs. WHIPLASH
“Cobalt’s weapon cost $55,000,” says Kenny Florian. I pray that man accidentally put an extra zero on the end there because that is buttfuckingly ridiculous. The reason why it costs so much is because it’s an experimental tool steel alloy that’s meant to be impact resistant. Metallurgy isn’t cheap, you don’t just melt random crap in a crucible and then go “oh look we invented X”. I mean that’s probably how mankind figured out how to make bronze or whatever but still the point stands. That was like thousands of years ago when we didn’t know shit about shit. $55,000 apparently buys you a lot because so far Cobalt has been rocking the charts this season. Here in the Round of 16 it’s fresh off its victory over Yeti that was pretty much over in one hit and I’d be remiss not to remind you of what this thing did to Ghost Raptor.
Huh, it’s Whiplash again. Whiplash is a top tier robot but it seems like all of its tournament fights aren’t being aired. I’m sure the team’s sponsors are real cool with that. “Oh we won’t be on TV where a couple million people will watch it, we’ll be on YouTube where maybe a couple hundred thousand will.” It’s shit like this that gets teams to not come back next year. Robert Cowan from Copperhead’s team is quitting BattleBots because of how teams are treated and he only had one fight go unaired. Whiplash has two! Anyways we kind of just saw Whiplash dispose of Icewave a second ago in this article so there’s not much to talk about here. Just pretend I’m saying something deep or important or better yet funny. Funny is what I’m supposed to be, this isn’t a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. To this day I’m impressed people will buy toilet paper with words printed on it.
Both Whiplash and Cobalt are bringing out the forks for this match. Joy. Whiplash has got a million of ’em and Cobalt has like six or something. The robots lock heads in the middle of the box and no hits are landed though Cobalt does tweak sideways and allow itself to be lifted up and tipped backwards by Whiplash. This results in Cobalt’s really expensive blade hitting a likely equally expensive floor and the robot bouncing back onto its wheels. Cobalt ducks away but Whiplash is in pursuit and manages to ram its lifting arm straight up Cobalt’s ass and raise the spinner up off the ground. Whiplash goes for another lift this time on approach to the Upper Deck and as Whiplash makes contact with the hazard its longest front forks get stuck in the seam between the deck and the floor.
This is bad. This is very bad. Cobalt is on the back step right now with these lifts so Whiplash’s juicy ass stuck in the wall is just begging to be torn into. Cobalt breaks Whiplash’s anal cherry and digs a massive gash into its backside while throwing the lifter bot into the air. As Whiplash comes crashing back down its underside lands on Cobalt’s spinning blade and the robot is thrown off of the top of its opponent. Whiplash is now crabwalking in place because that hit to its ass end has damaged a drive motor. Cobalt starts cleaning up shop taking as many pot shots as it can with Whiplash in its crippled state. Cobalt pushes Whiplash back into that short corner of the arena but as it turns it gyros up and happens to land directly on top of that chunk of Whiplash’s ass that it bit off.
This tiny piece of metal high centers Cobalt and knocks it out. Meanwhile Whiplash is trying to get away from the area and sticks its long forks into the side of the Upper Deck again and the right one gets jammed under it. Real good hazard, BattleBots. It’s really made this fight fair and fun. I’m having fun watching this battle all thanks to the Upper fucking Deck. The officials try to pause the fight to free Whiplash from the wall (no idea where the fuck that rescue effort was about 10 seconds ago) but Cobalt’s weapon is apparently “stuck” on. There’s a piece of debris inside the little hole to access its master power switch so it cannot be deactivated. Matt Maxham says that by turning off the power to the robot’s drive it will also turn off the weapon but that’s apparently not good enough. So even though we can visibly see Cobalt’s weapon slowing down in one of the shots the refs say the fight’s going to the judges.
With barely a fight to review the judges return a split decision favoring Cobalt. I had Cobalt pegged to win the whole shebang because I was anticipating a miracle shot like the one Cobalt landed on Whiplash’s rear end to happen. I just wasn’t expecting it to win like this. No one’s happy with this outcome.
WINNER: Cobalt, Special Judges’ Decision (2-1)
And with that piece of controversy squared away that’s all of the unaired Fight Night and tournament rounds from the season! All 15 of them! Now I’ve heard some rumblings that there are 10 additional unaired fights that were grudge matches or whiteboard matches but that hasn’t yet been substantiated so I don’t know what to make of it. If there are 10 more battles unaccounted for then I’ll write two more of these posts to cover them but as it stands we’ve wrapped up the season and now I can breathe a sigh of relief.
Or can I? Because there’s been demand for The Giant Washer Awards to return to BattleBots Update and I think I can do it this season. I fell off the horse in seasons past because of mental health reasons and then since I missed a year I didn’t want to “skip” one and have a hole in the series, etc. But let’s do one for this year. Let’s fucking do it. And maybe I’ll rewatch the seasons I missed and write up Giant Washer articles for them as well to make it complete. For now though let’s just focus on this season’s awards… and whatever else I might have in store for all you bot fans. You might want to keep your eyes in the vicinity of this website because I’m working on something Huge. No, not the robot.
Let’s do one more “favorite fight, least favorite fight” of the season. My pick for best of the lot is going to go to Copperhead versus Lucky. I don’t understand why the hell this didn’t make it to air? This fight had everything! Lots of sparks, lots of flips, lots of damage, you name it! Copperhead was firing on all cylinders for this battle and really socked it to Lucky. Least favorite battle is probably Icewave versus Whiplash. Yawn. I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting Icewave to get flipped over but at least in doing so it saved me the trouble of having to keep thinking up ways of iterating “Icewave hits Whiplash’s plow, this does nothing”.
That’s it for BattleBots Update this week! I might take a well deserved break after 17 weeks of non-stop content but I’ll be back. I need to double back to do season one of Bounty Hunters and then get ready for the next one from this season. I also need to finish season one of BattleBots proper because I stopped when my house got blown down. There’s also a second season of Antweight Anarchy to cover too. 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. To get some BBU stickers check out Redbubble, and follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for everything else.