Remember that one season where BattleBots would start almost every episode with a cold open featuring some kind of skit grounded in the sport? The only ones I can think of off the top of my head are the one where Sharkoprion destroys a bathroom with fetid shark shit and Faruq eating a PB&J sandwich. That’s two separate cold openings by the way, those didn’t happen at the same time. That would be distressing. Much like how we had the “save a minibot” opener a few weeks ago this episode features a goofy skit as well. Anna Zolnikov and the Ripperoni team appear in a spot for Ripperoni Pizza, a restaurant that serves pizza with clams on it. They also roll dough with a tire which isn’t as upsetting as the clams thing because I’m pretty sure that’s how Dominos rolls their dough too. More skits like this, please. It reminds me of the Comedy Central era where the producers and writers would just do whatever the fuck popped into their heads on a whim.
This week’s episode is loaded with spinners of all kinds. The main event features End Game facing off against Hypershock in a battle that probably won’t go the distance. Ripperoni from the opening skit is also in this episode (because it would be weird if it wasn’t) and it’s going to dispose of Hijinx. Yeah, I’m calling that fight right now. Witch Doctor looks to go 3-0 against Gruff and a newly repaired Malice does battle with Valkyrie. Big Dill is back in this episode to fight Mad Catter so we’ll see if Big Dill can actually make it through a full fight for once. Ribbot battles Jackpot in a match that we all know will have massive damage in it because a promo picture spoiled that ahead of airing. Finally Skorpios and Sawblaze will see who’s hammer saw reigns supreme. I’m guessing it’s Sawblaze’s but we’ll see I guess.
Also is it just me or is the audio mixed really strangely in this episode? Like the background music is louder than Kenny Florian and the audience noise is louder than Faruq. Nothing is louder than Faruq. The man’s got some fucking pipes on him.
GRUFF vs. WITCH DOCTOR
In our first fight we have a couple of tough robots looking to finish their third Fight Night match on a positive note. Gruff stands to lose the most here because unlike its opponent Gruff is 1-1 right now. Gruff kicked off the year with a win in round one against Ripperoni largely because Ripperoni had a critical weapon failure resulting in the robot becoming unstable and bouncing across the arena like a goddamned Bumble Ball. All Gruff had to do was show up to the fight and make it look like it was attempting to chase Ripperoni around and the win was in the bag. Gruff’s second fight was against Quantum and this time around Gruff couldn’t bank on winning by way of rookie jitters. Gruff is a fucking tank but Quantum’s hydraulic crusher puts out 17 tons of force so understandably even the steel shell of Gruff couldn’t hold up to that kind of bullshit. Gruff lost the match and now it’s here to face Witch Doctor and it’s armored up for the occasion.
Witch Doctor is 2-0 right now and is one of the robots I pegged as a potential perfect 4-0 for the qualifier rounds. This robot just gets shit done; it’s been a mainstay of the show since the reboot in 2015 and prior to that it fought as a middleweight with success too. Witch Doctor doesn’t fuck around, except for in this fight where it’s using forks which it normally never does so I guess that counts as “fucking around” on a technical level. I guess Andrea and Mike Gellatly see this match as an underhanded pitch that they can use to try out a new configuration. Witch Doctor opened the season with a dominant KO win over Ribbot but its second round match with Fusion was a real nail biter that was only won in the last 20 or so seconds of the fight. Witch Doctor took some serious damage but it looks like it’s been patched up and the weapon has had its power reduced just a little bit to avoid kickback damage.
Witch Doctor veers toward the drivers’ booth to spin up its disc because that’s the only direction it can go on account of there being a big ass stupid shelf in the way on the opposite side of the arena. Gruff actually makes contact with Witch Doctor’s side but its forks catch Witch Doctor’s wheels as the robot drives by and the impact causes Gruff to spin out. Witch Doctor turns around, disc roaring, and hits Gruff on its front left corner ripping the little wedge piece clean off in a single shot. Well, this fight is certainly going places for Gruff. Witch Doctor also lands a hit to the side of Gruff and it looks like there might be some kind of rebar or keystock attached to the sides of Gruff to absorb hits from Witch Doctor’s disc. In any case the impact causes the right side to start to come loose. Gruff is able to spin around and successfully get a lift on Witch Doctor but it fails to flip it over and Witch Doctor lands on its wheels ready to strike again.
As Gruff peels out to get away Witch Doctor bites it on the ass. It’s only a glancing shot but a proper hit to the backside could have bad ramifications for Gruff. Hell getting, uh, “ramificated” in the ass would be bad for pretty much any robot, just ask End Game. Gruff gets pushed into the center of the red square screws and Witch Doctor unleashes a hit that sends Gruff flipping backwards through the air. Gruff lands on its wheels and as Witch Doctor charges forward Gruff uses its reach advantage to stick its forks under its opponent and lift it up again. No flip, and Witch Doctor lands back on its wheels ready to attack. Gruff catches Witch Doctor with its front end and gets shoved into the wall where it misses with its lifting arm and winds up pulling down part of the BattleBots sign. Chris Rose makes some kind of joke about Kenny Florian getting docked pay for every time the sign gets broken but the sound mixing is so weird in this episode that I can’t actually hear Kenny say anything other than “minimum wage”. In Nevada that’s $10.50. Still miserably low but at least it’s not like Texas where we have the federal minimum of $7.25. We’re over here living in the nineteen fucking eighties or something with minimum wage that low.
Gruff gets thrown off course by a frontal attack from Witch Doctor that bends up its remaining front wedgelet and this allows Witch Doctor to cruise in and land a follow-up hit that kicks Gruff under the Pulverizer. It’s a miss but it’s an effort I guess. Witch Doctor gets a hold of Gruff and careens into the center of the blue square screws this time and blasts Gruff square in the ass. This hit is enough to slice into Gruff’s armor (!!!) and damage its back wheel. Gruff gets thrown onto the screws but rolls back down and is able to right itself but Witch Doctor comes right back in and catches the bent wedgelet with its disc and flings it into the fucking air. Gruff lands upside down again and when it tries to right itself it falls onto the side of the Upper Deck leaving it wide open to attack. Witch Doctor takes the shot and hits Gruff’s side and taking a page out of Uppercut’s playbook hits Gruff’s flamethrower fuel tank causing the robot to just fucking detonate. Gruff goes up in a massive goddamned fireball and lands in the short corner. Amazingly this thing is still somehow working.
Witch Doctor plows Gruff’s ass yet again and Gruff does a complete flip before landing on its wheels, again still mobile. Gruff has a damaged drivetrain from the hit that cut through the armor into the tire but it’s still able to shuffle out of the short corner and face Witch Doctor… who just blasts Gruff in the goddamned face and throws it onto the Upper Deck. Gruff’s lifting arm is splayed open and the robot lands face down, still on fucking fire, and it appears the robot is finally dead. One of those massive shots took out the lifting arm and without it Gruff can’t flip itself back over. Not sure it would even want to at this point because the robot is like two solid hits away from being a total write-off. Sam McAmis shakes his head in despair and watches on as his robot burns on top of the worst hazard ever invented.
Witch Doctor is now 3-0 and it’s final qualifier is against Minotaur who is also 3-0. One of these two robots will have a perfect season, and both of them are bots I’ve predicted to win the Giant Nut this year.
WINNER: Witch Doctor, KO
MALICE vs. VALKYRIE
This fight is between two 1-1 robots but it’s one of those situations where the losses were kind of dire and the wins weren’t impressive so depending on who you ask they might as well be 0-2 in the eyes of the “selection committee”. Malice is in the red square for this fight and it’s had a rough time getting to the mid-way point of its season qualifiers. Malice’s first fight was against Lock-Jaw and that was action-packed for the first minute until both robots lost their weapons, as predicted, and the battle turned into a shoving match which Malice was ill-equipped to handle. Lock-Jaw snagged the victory in the end. Malice’s second fight was against Emulsifier and it actually won this battle but did so in the literal worst way possible. This was Emulsifier’s fight to win; Emulsifier had blasted Malice so badly that Malice’s fucking frame was broken and twisted out of shape. Emulsifier wanted to go in for the kill but all of a sudden the robot just stopped working. Lost a side of drive and apparently got stuck on arena debris. Malice, barely functional, won the fight by “KO”. The fact that the robot is even back in the arena is a testament to Bunny Sauriol and her team.
Valkyrie is under new management this season and its new captain, Lucy Du, is also the robot’s new driver since the previous one fucked off to go drive Ripperoni. Lucy is an experienced team member who cut her teeth working on Sawblaze but being in charge of a team and also being the primary driver are some serious shoes to fill. Like I said even the prior team arrangements for Valkyrie had a separate captain and driver so doing both roles at once is commendable. Valkyrie “beat” Mammoth when a stray shot from Mammoth flipped the massive robot over and while trying to self-right Mammoth’s rotary lifter just fell the fuck apart. Valkyrie went on to face Banshee and this fight could’ve been a real spectacle but what wound up happening is Valkyrie got flipped over and this made its blade too high off the ground to hit Banshee. Then Banshee’s flipper turned out to be a piece of total shit so the robots just bumped around into each other for three minutes. The fight went to Banshee purely because of the opening flip. Valkyrie hasn’t had an impressive season so far and this is a robot that has delivered some killer fights in years gone by.
Malice goes on the aggressive to start the fight spinning up and flooring it across the arena to reach Valkyrie who’s hung back in its square to spin up its much larger blade. Valkyrie clearly has the reach advantage here so Malice needs all the help it can get to strike early. The two robots trade some hits in the blue square before Malice gets kinked sideways into the screws giving Valkyrie an opening to retreat and spin back up to speed. Malice looks to be aiming for Valkyrie’s sides as that’s really the only part of the robot it can feasibly hit without getting fucking blasted by Valkyrie’s big ass ninja star thing. Valkyrie turns into Malice’s attack and hits Malice’s wheel resulting in a poof of friction smoke but no major damage. Malice gets in Valkyrie’s face and lands a couple of blows to the far ends of Valkyrie’s front while also taking some glancing shots to its own frame in the process. Malice has some AR500 steel tips on its corners to protect the bolts keeping the entire robot together and right now they appear to be holding up well and serving their purpose.
Malice lines up another run on Valkyrie, misses, and then tries again this time connecting with Valkyrie’s front end resulting in the first proper big hit of the fight. Valkyrie spins around from the impact letting Malice rev back up again and repeat the same fucking move a second time slicing into Valkyrie’s left side. Malice hangs back looking for an opening as Valkyrie returns to the center of the box before scooting in close and taking a big hit that separates both robots once again. As Valkyrie turns back toward the center of the arena Malice swings wide and floors it into Valkyrie hitting the robot hard enough to pop Valkyrie’s entire fucking weapon off with one major blow. Jesus tittyfucking Christ, Malice! This is unlike any fight we’ve seen from Malice as it’s really bringing out the big guns and not holding back. The impact causes Valkyrie to also flip over however it appears Malice has lost its right side of drive from the force of the hit.
Valkyrie stumbles back into the fight and hits Malice from the back causing the robot to ride up and roll back over. Valkyrie might not have a weapon anymore but now its front end is scraping the ground like a V-shaped train plow. It’s probably not winning on damage for the remainder of this fight but it might be able to control the battle against a crippled Malice. Scratch that thought because with its dying breath, since I can see the belt has slacked and the pulley appears to be crooked or something, Malice catches Valkyrie’s right tire and pulls it off of its hub. This gums up Valkyrie’s right side meaning both robots are now crabwalking around. Chris Rose says despite being “mobile” as per the new rules this season both robots have to show that they can engage with each other. Kenny Florian, who whipped out the exact article and section of the rules when Quantum got its dick stuck in Black Dragon last week, doesn’t throw the numbers at us this time around even though he’s supposed to be the expert. I would like to know what section of the rules state that, Kenny.
Whatever. The referees start their double countdown, despite the two robots “engaging” with each other toward the end of it, and send the fight to the judges. For some stupid fucking reason Lisa Winter and Fon Davis say that Valkyrie won the fight giving it the win by split decision. Were they even watching the goddamned battle? There’s a 70 pound ninja star laying on the arena floor and last time I checked that wasn’t Malice’s weapon. Not only did Malice castrate Valkyrie it was also the aggressor in this fight initiating the blows that were dealt. Bunny immediately says she’s challenging this bullshit leaving Chris and Kenny to lead an awkward post-fight interview with Lucy because she knows what’s about to happen. The editors save the result of the appeal for later on in the episode but for the sake of keeping things succinct and on track here I’ll just go ahead and tell you that the appeal was successful and Malice won the fight upon further view. It shouldn’t have even needed to come to this, though.
WINNER: Malice, Appealed Judges’ Decision
MAD CATTER vs. BIG DILL
Good news, the team behind Mad Catter was able to put the robot back together after its run in with Riptide! Mad Catter is a bit of a mixed bag of a robot because it’s one of those robots that teeters between B and A tier. It’s capable of demolishing opponents and turning heads but there are quite a few robots out there that would just absolutely mop the floor with this robot and Mad Catter would have no recourse. Case in point in Mad Catter’s opening match it faced Whiplash and Whiplash is one of those robots that you’d think would beat Mad Catter… except Mad Catter wrecked Whiplash so savagely that the team had to transplant Whiplash’s surviving parts into a new chassis. But then Mad Catter had to face Riptide and in a matter of seconds the drum spinner had dismantled the kitty cat and thrown it behind the pneumatic bumpers next to the screws while Ethan Kurtz said “fuck” in the post-fight interview.
Big Dill is 0-2 so far but it’s not for a lack of trying. The robot came out this year fighting Hijinx and entered the arena equipped with long plastic forks to scoop up Hijinx and carry it around except this didn’t work at all and Big Dill wound up suffering some kind of electrical failure and died after about a minute in the ring. Big Dill’s second opponent was Skorpios and while this might seem like a free throw of a fight for Skorpios, Big Dill was actually able to hold its own. Big Dill’s new weapon this year is a compact vertical spinner so it was landing some hits to Skorpios that even went as far as to bend up Skorpios’ plow. Dare I say it but Big Dill was on track to win the fight until it just randomly stopped working again and crapped out leaving it open to retaliation from Skorpios. If Big Dill can deliver hits like that and also manage to not die from internal gremlins then this robot just might graduate upward in the tier list.
There are a lot of minibots in the arena for this fight and it seems… unnecessary. Mad Catter has a small horizontal spinner and a flexible wall of UHMW plastic while Big Dill has a small vertical spinner. Realistically these pissant robots aren’t going to do anything to help or hinder the big robots at all. If you want to include minibots that actually do shit and might give you a much needed edge, especially in a battle for low ground, then take a page from Team Whyachi and build yourself a couple of little doorstops. This hokey shit isn’t going to do anything except get in the way. If the drivers are hoping to have a “B fight” going on between the minibots alongside the big robots then knock it off, this is BattleBots not NHRL. The minibots all charge out into the center of the arena first followed by the heavyweights and as Mad Catter lands the opening shot against Big Dill it pulls one of the wheels off of the horizontal spinner it came into this fight with. Great fucking job, really came in clutch for you and turned this fight around in the opening two goddamned seconds.
Big Dill immediately retaliates and is able to pop Mad Catter up and hit it from underneath before taking it across the floor. Big Dill is aiming for the Upper Deck but its forks hit a seam in the floor and the robot gets hung up. No matter though because inertia keeps Mad Catter sliding across the arena and it hits the Upper Deck anyways causing it to do a flip and land on its face as its right fork snaps off. Big Dill has done more in the first 10 seconds of this fight than it ever has in its entire BattleBots career. Every time Mad Catter tries to get in Big Dill’s face it loses the ground game and Big Dill is able to push back and gain more points on the scorecards. Mad Catter gets pushed into the corner of the arena and as Big Dill tries to capitalize on this its dumb ass minibot gets in the way causing Big Dill to go around it and in the time it takes Big Dill to do this Mad Catter has gotten away and is able to catch Big Dill from the side.
Mad Catter starts being the more aggressive robot and continuously floors it into Big Dill but every time it gets onto Big Dill’s forks and any hits that are dealt don’t result in the robot flipping over backwards. Big Dill catches Mad Catter from an angle and starts landing some hits with its spinner and as the robot peels out to push against its opponent you can see its disc right in front of Mad Catter’s weapon belts and pulley. Unfortunately for Big Dill its weapon has stopped from the previous hits but if it were still going this could’ve been a decisive move. The two robots lock together again and smoke starts coming out from Big Dill’s sides because it’s literally burning fucking rubber on the arena floor trying to shove against Mad Catter’s incoming attack. Mad Catter slams its face into Big Dill yet again and this results in a hit that kicks the lifter across the floor. It also appears to have damaged Big Dill’s drivetrain because the robot starts pulling to one side as it moves.
More burning rubber smoke from Big Dill as it strains against Mad Catter before getting knocked against the blue square screws. With a minute left to go and a failing drive system Big Dill starts taking pot shots from Mad Catter all while its minibot does donuts in the background. Really helping out. Big time. For sure. Big Dill catches a second wind as it spontaneously floors it against Mad Catter and shoves it into the center spire of the Upper Deck. A strong showing from a wounded robot, however almost immediately Mad Catter goes back on the attack and is able to strike Big Dill on its left side peeling back its side panel a bit. Big Dill spins back around and tries to hold Mad Catter against the screws and plumes of white smoke start coming off of its wheels as Emmanuel Carrillo pushes his robot to its absolute limit. Big Dill gets Mad Catter into the corner for another quick pin before Mad Catter assumes the upper hand.
Mad Catter is starting to visibly slow down as it lurches around the arena with literal sparks coming out of its fucking face. Mad Catter gets behind Big Dill and shoves it over the Killsaws causing one of Big Dill’s twisted up forks to get stuck in the hazard. Big Dill rides up Mad Catter’s front end and Mad Catter lands a crucial shot to Big Dill’s back left wheel. Big Dill loses one of its shorter forks from its right side and its back right wheel also falls off of its axle as it pushes against Mad Catter and tries to lift it up one last time before the buzzer.
The fight goes to the judges and for once I think Big Dill had a chance here. Yeah it’s Big fucking Dill the robot I previous lampooned as being a total piece of shit but I’ll eat those words because Big Dill fucking brought it to this fight. If this is how Big Dill is going to fight from now on, and assuming it doesn’t just crap out like it did in its previous two battles, I’ll jump ship and stan Big Dill. It winds up losing the fight though which is a conclusion I can see agreement with but this fight was a landmark one for the pickle robot. It’s come a long way.
WINNER: Mad Catter, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
RIBBOT vs. JACKPOT
If I told you both of these next robots were 0-2 in the qualifiers you’d probably call bullshit on that and tell me to check my notes, but it’s true; Ribbot and Jackpot are both halfway through their Fight Nights with nary a win between them. The season got off to a rough start for Ribbot because its first opponent was Witch Doctor. Never a good draw right out of the gate. Witch Doctor took a wheel off of Ribbot and busted it up leaving it knocked out in the corner of the arena. Ribbot’s second fight was against Claw Viper who for all intents and purposes should’ve been a free win, but not this season. This year Claw Viper is on the fucking juice or something because it was able to bite down on Ribbot, lift it up, and take it all over the arena. Claw Viper even slammed Ribbot into the arena wall face first so hard that Ribbot’s vertical spinner broke a goddamned panel of inner Lexan. Real shit. In order to win the weapon reach game Ribbot is using its undercutter for the first time this year. Rotator just beat Jackpot with a similar weapon so we’ll see if Ribbot can do the deed too.
Jackpot is a robot that up until this year had never lost a single fight in the qualification rounds. Yes that includes its rookie season too. Jackpot was easy money if you’re the type of person to bet on these fights because historically it just wins its qualifiers. Not this year. Jackpot’s first opponent was Skorpios which is admittedly kind of a tough match-up. Jackpot landed a blow to Skorpios’ front end however the impact from the hit kicked Jackpot over onto its backside opening it up to a dick shot from Skorpios’ hammer saw. Skorpios took the easy hit and won the fight. Jackpot’s second battle was a rematch with Rotator and unfortunately for Jackpot it wasn’t able to settle the score this time; Rotator ripped off Jackpot’s front armor plating and left it dead on top of the Killsaws. A win here is urgent for both of these teams. Not just this fight but also their next one too because a 1-3 record might not be good enough to make it into the Round of 32.
Both robots leave their starting squares but Ribbot seems to have the most confidence because as a collision becomes imminent Jackpot starts to back away from the advance of Ribbot until it gets caught and struck on its front plow. This misstep very nearly opens up its backside to a hit from Ribbot. Jackpot turns to face Ribbot and Ribbot turns straight into Jackpot’s weapon for the first major blow of the fight. Ribbot spins outward to the side and in the process lands on top of Ace, Jackpot’s minibot, and kills it instantly. Hell of a way to go. Jackpot charges Ribbot as Ribbot is backing away to get some distance and manages to miss. While it’s still in close to Ribbot though it pivots and manages to slice off Ribbot’s front left tire reducing Ribbot to just three wheels. In case you were curious if Ribbot is still deadly with three wheels the answer is a resounding yes because Ribbot catches Jackpot from the front and the resulting blow violently twists and yanks Jackpot around until it’s flipped over in the corner of the Battlebox next to its dead minibot.
Ribbot tries to come in for a second shot while Jackpot is self righting and manages to pull a Rotator and rip off Jackpot’s left plow. There was only like six bolts holding that thing on so that was probably a lot easier than this hit made it look. Ribbot gets in Jackpot’s face and starts shaving off massive amounts of sparks before Jackpot’s spinner hits Ribbot’s front end and separates the robots. Jackpot pursues Ribbot and tries to strike it from a vulnerable angle but misses and as Ribbot swings wide to land a shot I believe Ribbot’s undercutter actually hits Jackpot’s weapon perpendicularly because Jackpot gets rustled real hard and as the robot lands back on its wheels its whole ass weapon is just bent. I’m talking like the frame itself is literally jacked up. Somehow this doesn’t seem to impede Jackpot at all so it keeps revving its weapon back up to stay in the fight. Jackpot’s srimech is fully extended though and it’s not resetting so if that thing is dead then another hit from Ribbot like the one that bent Jackpot’s weapon might take it out of this fight.
Ribbot gets in close presumably to try and destroy Jackpot’s lifting arm self righter thing but misses its mark. Jackpot pivots around and hits Ribbot on its left side ripping its remaining wheel off and reducing it to just the wheels on its right. Apparently David Jin gets driving lessons from Gary Gin because even with just two wheels on one side of the fucking robot Ribbot is still able to drift and slide around the arena. It’s definitely still a threat. Ribbot is able to cruise around and get near Jackpot and Jackpot tries to back away from its undercutter nearly getting slashed in the process. Ribbot gets hung up on the arena wall and Jackpot takes this opportunity to rip Ribbot a new asshole and the resulting chaos from this blow flips Ribbot over and throws it onto its back. I think Ribbot’s undercutter riding along the floor added to its maneuverability with only two wheels because now that the robot is upside down it’s going nowhere fast. Jackpot is hurt and backs off presumably to see if it can get a count out going but as long as Ribbot is still twitching around the ref won’t call the fight.
Jackpot cautiously comes back over to Ribbot and lands a weak hit with its spinner that does absolutely nothing to its opponent. Jackpot’s spinner looks weakened from all the massive fucking shots in this fight (and plus it’s, you know, bent) because it comes in for a second shot after appearing to spin up and upon contacting Ribbot the disc just stops completely. Ribbot appears to be stuck on a piece of chain in the red square and is no longer able to move around but it keeps spinning its back tire and is able to get enough purchase to creep around and connect with Jackpot for a massive hit that throws Jackpot across the floor and on its lid. This is all Ribbot by the way, that’s not Jackpot’s weapon causing this kind of kick back. Luckily for Jackpot it’s srimech isn’t dead and the robot is able to flip back down onto its wheels. After this collision Jackpot seems hesitant to resume contact with Ribbot but it kind of doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. The ref will not count Ribbot out because it’s still moving according to the rules.
Ribbot’s weapon operator shouts out for another hit and Jackpot reluctantly obliges landing a hit that rattles the frog robot and throws it atop the Killsaws. Ribbot is still creeping around with its one good tire and as it drives in circles something is leaking out of the robot. It’s definitely not hydraulic fluid and I don’t think it’s the contents of a sealed lead acid battery because those haven’t been allowed for years now. Best I can do I say that Ribbot is literally pissing itself as the clock runs down on this fight. Whatever is leaking out of Ribbot gets on its back tire and hinders its traction so the referee does start to count it out but against all odds Ribbot comes back to life stopping the KO count and sending the fight to the judges. I think it’s pretty obvious who won the fight but at what cost? Jackpot’s entire frame is twisted and Ribbot is in pieces all over the arena and leaking some mysterious substance from its ass.
WINNER: Jackpot, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
SKORPIOS vs. SAWBLAZE
This match has been hyped up so much that it even gets one of those fake ass “messages from the fans” animations before the robots are introduced. There are signs in the audience dedicated to just this one single fight. It’s the hammer saw battle of 2023 2022! Except not quite because Zach Lytle isn’t playing by the rules here and is using a different weapon for Skorpios other than the hammer saw. As Faruq introduces Skorpios with an elaborate reference to one of the shittiest bands to ever walk this planet Skorpios emerges armed with… Overkill’s blade? Yeah, the Skorpios team just so happens to have Overkill’s blade from the Comedy Central days of the sport. It’s on backwards (on purpose), but that’s what it is. Skorpios’ hammer saw has been pretty shitty this season so far anyways because against Jackpot it seemed under-powered and against Big Dill the robot was arguably losing until Big Dill shit itself.
Jamison Go has armored Sawblaze up with the assumption that his opponent was going to be toting a hammer saw as well; there is some extra padding on top of Sawblaze and then there’s also the more obvious chunks of white UHMW plastic on its plow. Sawblaze didn’t change its weapon out for this fight because Sawblaze only has one setting and that’s “kicking your ass”. Sawblaze is also 2-0 coming into this battle because how could we forget its run-in with Hypershock that was so cursed the robots had to be disassembled in the pits in order to separate them? Sawblaze also fought Lock-Jaw and managed to strike it from the bottom as well except this time Sawblaze mercifully didn’t get its fucking hammer saw lodged in its opponent’s asshole a second time to hold up production again. Sawblaze’s newly redesigned components have been working well for it and unless Skorpios can drag that serrated knife across Sawblaze’s weapon belt I think this might be another easy win for Sawblaze.
At the start of the fight Sawblaze leaves its square and suspiciously doesn’t spin up the disc of its hammer saw. Jamison knows what Skorpios is trying to do and having the belts moving plus contact from that giant knife means no more weapon belts. Meanwhile Skorpios pops a fucking wheelie out of its square because of the weight distribution being all wrong from the massive goddamned blade sticking out of its face. Sawblaze tries to get around to Skorpios’ side and wrestles with its opponent for a bit. Skorpios swings its knife down and hits Sawblaze right about where it wants to but since the belts aren’t active the edge doesn’t shred them up. Your master plan has been foiled by the simple fact of Sawblaze not turning its weapon on. Now all you have is a goofy as robot that can’t keep its front end on the ground rendering its plow useless.
Sawblaze finally catches Skorpios from the side and slams it into the screws behind the blue square the impact of which rolls Skorpios over onto its face. Now Sawblaze spins up its disc – because it knows Skorpios can’t fuck with it now – and throws a punch that connects with the underside of Skorpios next to its left wheel. Man what is up with Sawblaze and being able to expertly snipe the baseplates of its opponents this year? Sawblaze backs off and you can see both of Skorpios’ wheels still turning but I guess the robot is stuck on the screws in such a weird way that its weapon can’t tip it back over? Or maybe it’s not strong enough to tip the robot over in this configuration?
Jamison knows he’s won this fight so just to be a dick he shouts out “I want a new sword baby” and drops his robot’s hammer saw directly onto the priceless artifact known as Overkill’s giant Rambo knife. The hit cuts into the metal and breaks one of the links in the blade prompting a surprised gasp from the teammate standing next to Diana. The ref starts to count Skorpios out and while the countdown is going Sawblaze slices into the Overkill knife a second time just because it can. The fight is over and Sawblaze is the winner. We are left wondering what a proper hammer saw contest could’ve been. Maybe next season?
WINNER: Sawblaze, KO
RIPPERONI vs. HIJINX
I think it should come as no surprise that Ripperoni is the robot the house is cheering for in this fight, after all it got a fucking opening skit. At only 1-1 Ripperoni looks to be the most impressive rookie this season so far because everyone else is literally at 0-2. Horizon. Starchild. Triton. Emulsifier. The only exceptions I can think of are Banshee and Shreddit Bro but those wins were lame as fuck and shouldn’t count. Ripperoni stumbled out of the gate against Gruff when its rear stabilizing flywheel failed resulting in the robot becoming an unstable mess of god knows what that jumped and flipped all over the place. Ripperoni then went on to have possibly the hardest match-up of any rookie this season in End Game. End Game exposed its weak point immediately by getting caught in the floor but in the end it landed a shot to Ripperoni that damaged a wheel. Ripperoni won however because End Game simply sustained too much damage and couldn’t continue the fight. That pizza wheel is meanacing.
“I think everyone in the building is expecting us to lose.” God damn, Jen Herchenroeder just comes out and says that in her pre-fight segment. I mean I know I harp on this robot because it kind of sucks but I guess everyone else just dogpiles on it too and now I feel kind of bad. Only 14% of the teams in the pits think Hijinx has this one. I mean we just saw Big Dill have a hell of a fight with Mad Catter and I never thought I’d see that out of Big Dill and I used to call that thing a piece of shit all the time, but Hijinx? …I don’t think Hijinx is about to do to Ripperoni what Big Dill tried to do to Mad Catter. I just don’t see it happening. Hijinx actually has a win, ironically, over Big Dill because Big Dill broke down even though it stood to win the fight. Hijinx also lost to against Captain Shrederator but that fight was a total disaster and was one of the ones where I implore the officials to enact a new rule change where it’s possible no one wins a fight.
Hijinx takes for-fucking-ever to spin up so it goes wide toward the drivers’ booth in an effort to get as much distance and time to spin up as it can. Meanwhile Ripperoni just peels out and loses control as it reaches the center of the box. Hijinx gets to somewhere around half power before Ripperoni is approaching it and Orion Beach just has to shrug and say to himself this is as good as it’s going to get. I’d imagine the dude probably held his breath for a moment to see how the hit was going to play out and what winds up happening is Ripperoni smashes Hijinx head-on and rips its goddamned face off throwing the robot into the glass. That’s it for Hijinx’s weapon. It’s done. It is now a mobile fucking bench whose chassis sits at exactly the right height to get absolutely thrashed by a robot styled after a goddamned pepperoni pizza. Hijinx tries to back into Ripperoni with its tail fin but Ripperoni just gets in from the side and starts ripping up the appendage. Eventually it catches Hijinx from a good angle and flips the whole robot over before landing a hit directly onto Hijinx’s wheel that rips up part of the hub cap.
As Hijinx is backed into the blue square screws guest commentator Bunny Sauriol says from her vantage point she can see that the gears of Hijinx’s weapon have separated so yeah that thing is fucking toast. Ripperoni tangos with Hijinx some more and catches the robot from the front blasting its right half and knocking loose its top armor panel. Almost immediately Hijinx’s exposed innards go up in literal flames and it naturally loses that side of drive. Ripperoni charges forward taking whatever hits it can get even if that means riding up Hijinx’s tail and grinding off a ton of sparks in the process. Ripperoni driver Fred Moore has this look of intensity on his face as if he can control this goddamned beast and as the cameras cut back to the action Ripperoni tears off Hijinx’s left plate of armor and tosses it into the ceiling. Hijinx is totally wrecked and its electronics are now just out in the open. As the robot fruitlessly stabs its tail into Ripperoni’s face Kenny Florian optimistically says “this is what Hijinx needs to do” as if this is going to make a lick of fucking difference.
The hosts exclaim Hijinx’s blade is still spinning because they weren’t paying attention to the hit from Ripperoni that struck the blade from below and kicked it around a few times. Hijinx comes to a rest in the corner and that’s all she wrote for the bird bot. This is just about exactly how I predicted this fight to go in my head. As the buzzer sounds and the match ends the cameras cut to Ripperoni’s team and the guy holding what appears to be a power drill with a Tootsie Roll pop on it looks pleased with the outcome.
WINNER: Ripperoni, KO
END GAME vs. HYPERSHOCK
Firstly, the balls on this team to do this a second time. In End Game’s previous fight it showed up with some of the most goddamned ridiculous forks I’ve ever seen and in a cruel twist of hilarious fate the first thing it did was plant them directly into the fucking Killsaws costing it the fight. End Game rolls into this fight with two of the exact same forks I guess assuming lightning doesn’t strike twice. If that were me after what happened the first time I’d have recycled the remaining forks as scrap and bought some beef jerky or some shit. End Game is 1-1 up to this point in the season with an early win over Blip in a battle that went its way almost immediately. Blip barely stood a chance against the former champion. However in End Game’s second battle against Ripperoni this is where it all went pear shaped because that’s where Jack Barker drove the robot straight into the hazard and got the forks stuck. End Game did do some crippling damage to Ripperoni in that fight and it was a battle it could’ve won but End Game sustained too many big hits and stopped working.
I don’t envy Will Bales coming into this fight because End Game is essentially the replacement Bite Force and not only did Bite Force defeat Hypershock (twice) End Game has beaten Hypershock as well; these two robots met a couple seasons ago and it ended very badly for Hypershock. Winning this fight will be like climbing a mountain for Hypershock. Hypershock is also 1-1 coming into its third battle because it lost in round one to Sawblaze. Hypershock may have had an early lead in that match but it all went down the drain when Hypershock got flipped over and Sawblaze buried its blade in Hypershock’s underside. Hypershock had yet another hard draw in round two with Whiplash as an opponent but Hypershock actually managed to come out ahead and win the fight. Whiplash didn’t have a response to Hypershock driving around like a fucking maniac and with a couple of well placed hits Hypershock managed to dislodge Whiplash’s batteries and cause the robot to burn itself out.
I don’t know what it is but something on End Game is so low to the ground that it eats the fucking paint off of the floor. Whole chunks of red paint are pulled up from the starting square. I think it’s just the additional layers of paint that keep getting painted on over the tire marks and damage, the arena clean-up crew is making a paint lasagna in those starting squares with how often they get redone. Hypershock goes wide and tries to catch End Game from the side but End Game anticipates this and winds up catching Hypershock from the side instead. Hypershock is struck and knocked upside down in the short corner but winds up doing a flip as End Game takes it into the wall ultimately landing on its wheels. Will tries getting out of the corner though and in his haste he floors it in reverse and drives up and over End Game into the arena wall which thanks to its big tires causes Hypershock to flip over onto its lid. Hypershock escapes back into the arena and you can see it try to gyro itself back right ways up but this fails and as the robot collides with End Game there’s an explosion of sparks and Hypershock loses a whole fucking wheel.
Hypershock can still operate with three although now those front forks of it aren’t going to do a damn thing. Hypershock charges End Game and manages to knock loose one of End Game’s ridiculous forks but ultimately the attack is a wash. Hypershock escapes the short corner a second time and lines up another charge but since it’s missing a wheel its dominant side of drive causes the robot to curve to the left and the robot winds up pointing its front right wheel at End Game instead of its weapon. End Game takes the free hit and mangles the tire leaving Hypershock to bounce around as it drives. If those forks were useless with three wheels they’re even more worthless with two and a half. Hypershock continues to stay in End Game’s grill but that one stupid fork is doing a good job of preventing Hypershock from getting squared up for a weapon-to-weapon hit.
Hypershock ducks out into the arena to try and get a charge or something going but it looks like its ability to turn has been greatly hindered because it’s turning about as well as my truck and that thing turns like the fucking Titanic. End Game hits Hypershock from the side and doesn’t seem to do much damage but as the robot gets pushed into the corner End Game reaches Hypershock’s damaged tire and finishes it off. Now with only two wheels Hypershock is basically a semi truck when it comes to maneuverability but it’s also now upside down and reeling from the hit. It tries to gyro its way back onto the floor but the robot only manages to ride up onto its side. Usually this wouldn’t be a problem and Hypershock could spin its wheel into the ground to help it flip back over except there’s one teeny problem; if you watch closely you’ll see the drive chain for that back tire fall off of the robot. Hypershock has just parked itself on its side which is an accomplishment only Will Bales could have done.
End Game improves to 2-1 and as it enters its fourth and final qualifier it looks primed to make it into the Round of 32. Hypershock on the other hand might be able to muster a lower seeding but I doubt it’ll fail to at least make it in.
WINNER: End Game, KO
As this episode comes to a close Chris and Kenny take a few moments to talk about “The 3-0 Club”, robots whose records are, surprise surprise, 3-0 for the season. These are the robots who could potentially qualify with a perfect record. Some of them we’ve already been over like Claw Viper and Quantum but from this episode two more robots join the ranks in the form of Sawblaze and Witch Doctor. Between Witch Doctor and fellow 3-0 robot Minotaur someone’s not going to make it but that will be decided later on in the season. Also worth keeping an eye on are the 2-0 robots such as Beta, Copperhead, Riptide, and Lucky. Out of those four robots I think Riptide definitely has a good chance to make it to 3-0 because its next opponent is Captain Shrederator, a.k.a. “Automatic Points”. Copperhead might also be able to make it in because it fights Kraken and Kraken has been having a miserable season so far.
Next week’s episode marks 2/3’ds of the way through the qualifiers. I swear these episodes are coming out faster than one a week. Emulsifier faces Banshee in a match that could finally go the tracked vertical spinner’s way for once. Mammoth and Deathroll battle it out to see which zoo animal is better. Horizon has apparently been put back together after its battle with Monsoon and will be facing Shatter, both of those robots currently winless. Ominous and Shreddit Bro play catch up and have their second fights. Whiplash tries to course correct its 0-2 record and fights Monsoon. Then finally the two fights featuring Copperhead and Riptide that I mentioned in the previous paragraph will take place as well.
Supposedly once the Fight Night episodes are over there will be a break of sorts for three weeks before the main tournament episodes air. I can definitely use a break, but I’ll also try to put something special together during the downtime. BattleBots Update is supported by fans so if you would like to contribute you can make a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-off donation with Ko-Fi. I keep saying I’m going to turn these Google ads off but just you wait. When I get real good and bored and I have something to replace them with I will. Until then shop at Macy’s or whatever it says it do. Also you can follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for everything else.
See you next week!