[BattleBots: S7 E6 is available online through ABC GO and Hulu.]
Welcome back to another BattleBots Update: Late Edition. This is unprecedented, because I normally don’t have a life outside of pretending to be an alligator monster on the Internet or whatever, but once again some prior arrangements resulted in me being unable to post this article when I had originally planned. Previously this was because I had to go blow shit up in the name of freedom, however this time I went to a convention for classic video games wherein I joined a tournament for the 1979 game Combat and ended up winning because I flunked out of everything else except for literally the first home console video game. Optimistically, I can only go up from here.
Last time on BattleBots, Son of Whyachi was laid to rest in a single blow, Warhead channeled its inner Zangief and let loose a finisher for the ages on Complete Control, Tombstone grounded the space program, and Ghost Raptor was finally put out to pasture. Dicks out for Ghost Raptor. This week’s episode is the official conclusion of the Round of 32 by means of four full fights and four recaps meaning that I’m once again going to have to wheel out the fucking “What Got Cut” segment. I promise I did not intend for that to become a running gag this season, it just happened that way because television.
BETA vs. OVERHAUL
“Fourteen years in the making.” That’s the angle that the commentators are going to use to spin this robot until it either wins the fucking tournament or gets wrecked. Beta is a heavyweight robot that was formerly cursed for the better part of a decade and a half as the universe conspired against it to ensure that it would fail to compete at not just one but two separate BattleBots events spanning two generations of the show. To most people this would be a sign to throw in the towel, but John Reid & Co. channeled their inner Abbatoir and toughed this one out until the bitter end. Unlike the famed French super heavyweight however, Beta has managed to win a fight after it used its giant suppository of death to beat Lucky into submission and send its builder Rob Masek back to
Canada New Hampshire. John ended up being stationed right across from Overhaul in the pits which gave him an opportunity to try and get into Charles’ head, but this failed when Charles decided to sit there and play Stepmania on his laptop or whatever. Shoutouts to Chris Rose’s Brexit joke.
Overhaul is a robot that is really good at one thing: winning wildcards. After getting KO’d by Cobalt in the qualification rounds the producers decided that Charles Guan’s anime waifu robot deserved a second chance; its performance was “spirited enough”. Totally rebuilt from last year, Overhaul returns and makes its TV debut this season sporting a more powerful lifting clamp and a paint job that I can only describe as “Hatsune Miku blue”. Oh, I’m sorry. You must have assumed that I knew nothing about anime. You were wrong. Deep down Charles knows that his robot girlfriend is a fragile mistress as both he and John seem to know that a direct hit on the robot’s lid would definitely not be kawaii desu. Shoutouts to Fuhrook’s cat noise.
We all know just how powerful Beta’s hammer is; after all, it clipped a piece of Lucky’s armor off in a single blow. John throws the first punch of this match and manages to achieve what looks like hitting Overhaul’s back right tire so hard that goddamned sparks get thrown off of it. Overhaul is clearly on defense here as its ground clearance isn’t low enough to get underneath Beta from the front, allowing Beta to pop the robot a couple more times for good measure. One of Beta’s hits connects with the rear panel of Overhaul — which is exactly what Charles doesn’t want — so he’s going to have to transform into a magical girl in order to put this one away quickly before his robot gets hammered like a princess in a bad hentai.
Beta swings and misses, causing the robot to upend itself and lets Overhaul drift in and take a nibble. Despite getting its giant tooth all up in Beta’s business, Overhaul doesn’t seem to be able to cause any substantial damage to its opponent and Beta is able to not only break free but also spin around and start whaling on Overhaul’s face. Kenny Florian believes Overhaul’s face, much like his own, to be the strongest part of its body. More fists have been broken on Kenny’s face than in all of history’s juiciest firecracker accidents. Beta swings yet again and connects with Overhaul’s front end and visibly fucks up its lifting forks. The editors cut to a shot of the MIT Anime Club to let us know who isn’t winning before we get to see Beta finally bring the hammer down right on the face of the Overhaul character decal. The hammer connects twice with the second hit destroying the small radio box on its opponent’s back, killing Overhaul’s drive system.
John Reid is understandably, and visibly, happy with this outcome. The crowd starts chanting his robot’s name and he gets so amped up that he decides to go full Gundam Wing on Overhaul’s ass and whacks it again, killing its twitching weapon system. The refs count Overhaul out while Beta performs a perfect twist right into the Round of 16. And the Killsaws.
WINNER: Beta, KO
HYPERSHOCK vs. WARRIOR CLAN
Weapon: Spinning ring & flipping arm (main), flamethrower (drone)
Will Bales is a bit of an enigma. Haunted by the ghosts of his past, he’s returned to BattleBots this year with the hopes that taking the Giant Nut will also allow him to have one wish granted, to finally be free of his inner demons (which inexplicably look and sound like Chris Rose). Will has taken the reins of Hypershock and has already defeated one opponent by means of the brutal massacre he unleashed on Ultraviolent. The screams of his fallen foes are only a temporary respite from his ailment however, so once again Hypershock enters the Battlebox knowing full well it could be him that leaves in a fireproof garbage bag. In his quest to come one step closer to Calypso and winning the tournament, Will has stolen a rake from… somewhere… and attached it to his robot as a makeshift deterrent against his opponent’s flying drone. Chris Rose beckons. It is time to fight again. (Also, yes that’s me with one of the “NO DRONES” rakes.)
Warrior Clan is another returning competitor this year. After a humiliating loss to Ghost Raptor’s “train mode” last year, the Team Whyachi spinner/flipper hybrid has elected to forego on their twin flamethrowing minibots and combine their weight into “Warrior Dragon”, their ornate drone. With their older and more successful brother Son of Whyachi officially out of the tournament the responsibility to reinstate the Whyachi dynasty falls upon Warrior Clan’s shoulders. Although Warrior Clan has won one match to get here it was not an easy road; its fight against Splatter went the distance and required a judges’ decision after the robot’s spinning ring stopped working. Since Warrior Clan’s weapons were built on the principle of Christmas lights, this also took out their flipper in the process and reduced the fight to a pushing match when Splatter’s weapon also shit the bed. There’s a reason why this one didn’t make it to TV, folks.
The red lights begin to count down the start of the match. A smile forms of Will’s face. Immediately, Hypershock charges the primary robot of Warrior Clan and shoves it into the wall, throwing sparks off of its titanium armor with its spinning drum and generally treating its opponent like the world’s deadliest speed bump. Remembering that there’s a drone flying around somewhere, Hypershock swings its rake and wrecks Warrior Dragon on the first try. Because Will’s slaughtering machine fights with the grace of an escaped convict his robot starts to wrestle with the drone not giving two shits about the possibility of being burned. I’ll be honest, I never really considered a tackle to be the best possible course in doing battle with aircraft but okay. It’s working I guess because Will has basically pulled this thing straight out of the sky and bodyslammed it into submission. What’s next is even more incredible because Will doesn’t just stop at grounding the drone, no way. For a moment the drone turns into a mirage of Chris Rose and Will responds by using Hypershock’s drum to literally blow it the fuck up to kingdom come.
Warrior Dragon has ceased to exist. What was once a beautiful flying machine is now literally a pile of parts and some crumpled up aluminum foil in the middle of the fucking arena. Hypershock turns its attention back to Warrior and smashes into it headfirst allowing Warrior to do some minor damage in the form of ripping off Hypershock’s self-righting arm. That’s okay though, because RAKE. Hypershock starts trying to either ward off or tickle Warrior with its rake, it’s hard to say, but in any case this makes Hypershock a hard target and lets it connect with its opponent’s backside and split it open. Even though its ass has just been dilated, one of Warrior’s crew members reassures the driver that he’s “got this all day long”. Ha.
One final hit blows Warrior’s asshole wide open and sends the heavyweight into the great beyond. In a brief moment of clarity, Hypershock looks around the Battlebox at the amount of carnage and murder it’s unleashed and feels a tinge of remorse. Remorse for the cleanup crew by the way, not Warrior Clan. Using its rake, Hypershock starts sweeping up Warrior Dragon’s parts into a nice pile before pushing Warrior over to the Pulverizer to make sure the robot dies this season exactly like it did last year because running gags are funny.
WIll Bates cackles like a madman while a crestfallen Clint Ewert becomes the saltiest motherfucker to ever have their jimmies rustled by a fucking rake.
WINNER: Hypershock, KO
STINGER vs. MEGA TENTO
Team Plumb Crazy
Weapon: Lifting fork & flamethrower (main), flamethrower (minibot)
Both of the robots in this fight are making their TV debuts this season despite both of their qualifying battles arguably being ones that should’ve been aired. Stinger is Matt Maxham’s six-wheeled killing machine that’s been kicking ass and torching people for years. Last season Stinger wrecked Captain Shrederator and Warhead before making its exit from the contest by means of getting flipped out of the arena and exploding courtesy of Bronco. Hopefully Matt and his crew have been able to figure out and fix the whole “blowing up” thing. After being severely damaged by Nightmare in its qualifying round, Stinger returns in tip-top shape as usual because Matt secretly worked as a NASCAR pit crew member for a century. Stinger’s primary method of attack is it’s top-mounted flamethrower which sounds like a retarded idea at first until you realize that it’s very easy to get stuck on top of an opponent. Matt pretty much built a portable BBQ pit, in other words. Tagging along with Stinger this round is a minibot in the shape of a
fire ant spicy boy that also breathes fire. Get it?
Mega Tento is the next evolutionary step in the lineage of the lightweight robot Tentomushi, whom we’ve seen already in what limited coverage of the first season of BattleBots that I’ve been able to write. As incomprehensibly stupid of a design as Tentomushi was, Mega Tento is still somehow a step above Plan X, Lisa Winter’s robot from last year. From what I’ve collected, Plan X was built from a “BattleKit” that the team just tacked a bunch of stupid shit onto due to time constraints. This time around there’s at least some cohesion to their robot’s design even if said cohesion is just “that fucking sandbox again”. Mega Tento isn’t completely defenseless this time around as it’s sporting a small vertical drum to shred opponents with. Despite losing to Poison Arrow in its qualifying match, Mega Tento’s weapon was able to cause more damage to Poison Arrow than Son of Whyachi could, so it’s best not to underestimate the drum just because it’s the size of a Cheese-It.
Mega Tento’s weapon is mounted on the robot’s back for this fight because Lisa is convinced that she lost her previous round because the judges’ couldn’t see when she made contact with her opponent, not because Poison Arrow shredded her robot to pieces and its drone melted the plastic on Mega Tento’s capturing dome and broke it. She leads in with the drum which winds up fitting nicely between Stinger’s forks and lets the robot blast a mixtape directly into the ladybug’s ass. It’s like a butt bong except louder. The sheer size of Mega Tento is making it difficult for Stinger to effectively use its lifting arms, but that’s okay because Stinger is more than capable of pushing its opponent under the hammer to score some easy points. While Mega Tento is busy getting some back alley brain surgery from the Pulverizer, Stinger’s spicy boy joins the fray and starts nibbling at the ladybug’s wheels.
Lisa gets away, but not for long as Stinger once again smashes its opponent into the wall bending it almost in half. For a robot that’s literally built from a goddamned sandbox I will give credit where due and say that Lisa’s robot has lasted a lot longer than I was expecting it to in this fight, especially considering the tracks that the capturing dome is mounted on look flimsy as fuck. Mega Tento finally gets its voreaphilia on and covers Stinger which of course prompts the yellow bot to let loose a constant stream of fire. As Mega Tento backs away from the heat it ends up running over Stinger’s minibot, killing it.
rip spicy boy
As Mega Tento is trying to master the art of driving forward to get away from the flaming carcass of Stinger’s minibot, Stinger flies in and just casually loses a tire. The two robots start having a tug of war on top of the minibot, which is still spitting fire, because either both of these drivers secretly know deep down that fire-based weapons are a total fucking joke or they are both really, really dumb. Somehow, despite not being armed with a weapon capable of flipping an opponent over, Mega Tento manages to roll Stinger onto its back. I mean, I said not to underestimate the power of that little drum but this isn’t what I meant. Stinger retakes control of the fight and once again puts Mega Tento in the wall complete with the fire effects we’re all used to by this point. Losing one of its front wheels has destabilized Stinger to the point where its lifter can’t get even purchase anymore; there’s a brief demonstration of this in the final few seconds of the fight as Stinger tries to lift up Mega Tento and ends up flopping around the arena instead. At least it didn’t explode.
Also, you might be surprised to hear this — because I sure as shit was — but Stinger doesn’t win this fight. Cue yet another fight this season where the crowd almost started a fucking riot.
WINNER: Mega Tento, Judges’ Decision
WHAT GOT CUT, PART 4
We’re four installments into a running gag this season that I sincerely assumed would last literally two times. You know the drill by now, ABC has advertisement space to sell and not even the audience wanted to see Chrome Fly vs. Bucktooth Burl so here’s what I am hoping is the final run of this season’s “What Got Cut”.
Icewave vs. Nightmare: What Got Cut mainstays Icewave and Nightmare were destined to of course do battle in a fight that wasn’t going to make it to television. When you get two of the deadliest spinners in the tournament, both of them spinning at opposite orientations, you’re going to get one or two mega hits before someone dies and the dust settles. Icewave destroyed Nightmare’s chassis in a single blow, breaking its self-righting mechanism and causing its disc to hit the floor when it spun up. This hit also broke an entire chunk off of Icewave’s weapon, but it was still balanced enough to continue. Icewave proceeded to indiscriminately fuck Nightmare up until its transmitter randomly gave up the ghost, knocking it out. What’s sadder is immediately after being counted out Icewave became mobile again. Too bad buddy, you lost. Time to go back to those iPad-on-a-stick robots they talked about last year.
Brutus vs. Lock-Jaw: Adam Bercu’s robot had its qualifying round against Moebius televised because who wouldn’t want to see someone pop a cap in some emo punk band’s robot, watch it self-destruct, and then whack it with your weapon hard enough to split a crack all the way up its shell? Lock-Jaw’s qualifying round against Yeti was also televised and was a match that could’ve gone either way. Donald Hutson is the master of improvisational attachments (sorry Chuck Pitzer) and his robot rode into battle with a perfectly designed snowplow that didn’t allow Brutus to get any purchase with its weapon. However, Lock-Jaw still lost this fight even though it out muscled its opponent in every possible way. This probably has something to do with the “new scoring system” where no points are awarded for attacking with a “non-primary weapon”. In other words, the new scoring system is cancer. (Adam and Donald did shake hands after this fight though.)
Cobalt vs. Bombshell: Cobalt is one of the many robots this season making their tournament exit without a single fight being shown on the air in full. After knocking out Overhaul in the qualifying rounds Cobalt tried to use the same aggressive tactics against Bombshell who made it in on a wildcard after being burned alive by Complete Control. It’s a good thing they received that wildcard because Bombshell has a lot of tricks up its sleeve and had they gone out in round one we wouldn’t have been able to see their horizontal blade attachment which expertly ruined Cobalt’s wheels. Bombshell took some serious damage to one of its wheel pods in the process, but since this whole robot is basically just “Lego for engineers” they’ve got replacement parts out the ass.
Bite Force vs. The Ringmaster: Hey do you even remember Bite Force? The guy who fucking won BattleBots last year? I know I already burned up this observation with Tombstone, but we’re in episode six now and we haven’t seen a single fight with Bite Force in it yet. Back in the Comedy Central days the editors couldn’t wait to show us every single time a robot like Biohazard or Ziggo entered the arena, even if the match was total ass, but now we’re more than half way through this season and the reigning goddamned champion is still nowhere to be seen. Granted, this match with The Ringmaster was a total snoozefest, but they could’ve at least shown us Bite Force’s match against Mohawk where Korey Kline and his team were showing off their fire and then their robot blew up before the match even started. God damn.
CHOMP vs. CAPTAIN SHREDERATOR
If you could take Tumblr and give it a hammer, you’d get Chomp. With a weapon fueled by the ghosts of thousands of dead Patreons and a drive system that runs on male tears, Chomp has successfully made a name for itself after a decisive victory over Disk O’Inferno in the qualifying round. It’s not a good name, but a name nonetheless. Chomp is the Ghostbusters 2016 of BattleBots meaning that you can’t talk about it one way or the other without causing someone out there to have a fucking aneurysm. “There’s always going to be haters, there’s always going to be someone talking trash.” Hi, Zoe. What’s weird is that this isn’t a phenomenon that started this season or anything, the seeds of this robot were sown last year and nobody really paid it any attention. Hell, someone gave me shit specifically over “sexist” shit I said about Chomp and only Chomp and I just called him an idiot and laughed it off as nothing. If we could only have read the writing on the walls, you guys. We fucked up.
Brian Nave fucking gets it. After breaking Deathroll into more parts than it initially took to build the damn thing, his robot comes in with a paltry seed of 20th. He calls bullshit on it immediately, and rightfully so. Captain Shrederator is the latest and greatest installment of his Phrizbee lineage of robots what have been wrecking shop in multiple weight classes for well over a decade and “20th” is the best he gets? He’s talking some mad game by claiming Chomp is overengineered and how his robot is “all muscle, no sophistication”. At least he acknowledges the spaghetti self-burn he just dropped. His goal is to strike Chomp from the side and make it explode. Yes, hell yes. 100% yes. Do it, Captain! BUILD THE WALL! Captain Shrederator was wheeled into the arena sporting its “secret” helicopter blade weapon, which would’ve done wonders for slicing into Chomp, but apparently that blade doubles as a flagpole sitter. Lame. Shoutouts to the ref that compliments the prettiness of Brian’s robot.
The trick with Chomp is that you need to wait for it to fli– oh, Chomp has already done its best impression of interpretive dancing and has opened itself up for attack. Captain Shrederator wastes no time making American great again and goes to town on Chomp’s girly bits sending pieces and sparks flying across the floor. After a couple of swings and misses Chomp manages to go full Lee Harvey Oswald on the captain and blasts it right in the head which visibly shakes the spinner and causes it to intermittently stop working. Chomp also somehow manages to get one of its side “wings” stuck in the Killsaws which Zoe manages to fix by swinging her robot’s hammer like a goddamned maniac. I’m not saying she probably broke the Killsaws or anything, but she almost definitely probably broke the fucking Killsaws.
“Hit ’em,” Zoe says… before missing. Isn’t her robot supposed to be able to automatically target or something? Captain Shrederator has died in the middle of the arena, but a follow-up blow from Chomp causes the robot’s lights to spontaneously come back on and Captain Shrederator springs to life. I didn’t know CPR was a thing you could actually do in robot combat. Color me impressed. Another hit kills Captain Shrederator and by this point you can make a game out of watching the lights flicker on and off on the robot with every tap and bump. The refs eventually count the spinner out while Zoe does her best Xena impression. America has fallen, it will never be great again.
WINNER: Chomp, KO
Just 16 robots are left now that the Round of 32 is over and done with. That’s how math works. We’re one step closer to finding out who wins this thing and for a good many of you it looks like some of your top picks have been eliminated already. For those of you cheering on Nightmare, Tombstone, and Bronco however, you might just be in luck… or we can expect to see you chimp out on Reddit or something when your favorite loses. In any case there’s still a ton of action just ahead and you don’t want to miss it! The good news is the show’s ratings did have a bit of an upturn after Minotaur literally blew Blacksmith’s mind. Hopefully Hypershock’s rake sodomy can do the same.
Again, my apologies for running late this week. That tank game wasn’t going to win itself though, you know. If you haven’t followed BattleBots Update on Facebook yet make sure you get in on that ground floor meme so you can be one of the cool kids. You can also pitch in to help pay for the site’s hosting (or buy me a drink if you like) through the Donate button at the top of the site.
See you next week!