[BattleBots: S7 E8 is available online through ABC GO and Hulu.]
Congratulations, you survived the Olympics hiatus. The good news is you’ll never have to hear anyone whine about them in the context of robot combat for exactly four years from this date. Unless, of course, robot combat becomes an Olympic sport. It probably won’t because it’s not a “sport”, but to that I have only one thing to say: curling. BattleBots’ broadcasting schedule is kind of all kinked up because this week’s episode was supposed to be the quarterfinals. However, instead it’s the end of the Round of 16 because there was a presidential address that I totally made the time and effort to watch. Uh huh.
Because it’s become a running gag on this website I am now going to complain about BattleBots’ placement on ABC’s website. We’ve already been made aware that BattleBots has performed well enough against opposition and when its seventh episode aired it was the only show that week whose ratings improved. That said, the show is still buried in ABC’s list of shows and hasn’t yet made it into the “Popular” category, an elite velvet rope section of TV shows that includes such fantastic programs as Tastemade Get Cookin’ and Celebrity Family Feud (also known as “the show where Steve Harvey does a ‘white people be all like ________’ joke for 22 minutes straight”). New on the board this week is something called I Can Find $3,000 in Your Home. I don’t even know what the fuck is real anymore. Is this a game show? Is it American Pickers? Here’s an idea, why don’t you have the host of this show visit some of the BattleBots teams so she can find $10,000+ in someone’s garage in the form of their fucking robot from the show ABC absolutely refuses to promote.
At this rate I’m expecting to see another new show next week named something retarded like What Color Is This Ball.
TOMBSTONE vs. BRUTUS
Up to this point Tombstone’s builder Ray Billings has focused his rage solely on space travel by shutting down Black Ice and Escape Velocity. This time around, however, Ray will need to contend with Brutus, an opponent who isn’t opposed to no-scoping his ass from across the map. In a scene that totally isn’t staged Ray is hanging out in the pits with his team watching one of the monitors with footage from Brutus’ match against Lock-Jaw superimposed and motion-tracked onto the screen. Shoutouts to the Lock-Jaw guy preemptively celebrating before the decision since we now all know how this fight turned out. Justin Billings immediately shouts “short S7 bar” which is a secret codeword for Tombstone’s vertical spinner killing bar, a weapon so thick and heavy it requires Ray to use entirely different lightweight tires to keep his robot under the 250 lb cap. After slapping on his Brutus-beater, Ray kicks back with a plate of nondescript food that I’m assuming is at least passably edible since he’s going to town licking his fingers clean in front of the cameras.
Brutus is a machine that manufactures controversy and honestly I’d expect no less from Adam “No Hand Shake For You” Bercu. To make it to this stage in the competition Brutus employed some unconventional weaponry against Moebius in the form of literal guns and in a “rematch” against Lock-Jaw skated away with an extremely controversial judges’ decision. He did shake Donald Hutson’s hand afterward, though. Brutus’ method of attack, when it isn’t performing actual drive-by shootings, is its dense vertical spinning blade. Essentially, Brutus is like a blacker version of Overdrive except with an even whiter builder. I am wholly convinced Adam would’ve named his robot “Straight Thuggin’ Nigga For Real” if ABC let him. In a shocking example of counting your chickens before they hatch, Brutus is equipped with only enough batteries to last two minutes. In case you forgot, BattleBots fights last for three.
Adam says his robot is all about the “box rush”, the iconic move pulled by fast robots where they aim to floor it into a spinner at the start of a match to prevent them from getting up to full speed. Brutus’ rush incorporates a crazy drift all the way around Tombstone that actually leaves goddamned skid marks in the red square as it passes before connecting head on with its opponent, the hit causing all of Brutus’ extra front armor to just fucking blow up. More importantly the hit also sends Tombstone reeling backward which Brutus capitalizes on by following up with yet another slam. Likely due to the fact that its extra armor has returned to the fucking cosmos, Brutus isn’t able to take the second hit and loses power in one of its wheels. Sensing blood in the water, Ray cruises in and shoves his robot’s blade all the way up Brutus’ ass.
Somehow Brutus is still mildly functional after receiving an ass whooping of this caliber. Tombstone continues its assault and promptly blows Brutus’ front right wheel back to the stone age. Unhappy with its opponent still putting up a fight and potentially ruining its 53-second KO time, Tombstone meets weapon-to-weapon with Brutus which sends the, uh, “urban” robot ass over head and onto its back. As Brutus flips through the air its life flashes before its eyes; Rob Zombie concerts, not shaking Donald Hutson’s hand, tweeting about #BlackLivesMatter. Then, as its carcass comes tumbling back down to earth Brutus drops its iconic golden pistol as its last vestiges of life disappear. Thuggin’ ain’t easy. Pour one out for my homie.
WINNER: Tombstone, KO
NIGHTMARE vs. BETA
Nightmare is a robot that we’ve only seen highlighted on this blog because I made it a point to do so in last week’s article about fights that didn’t make it to TV. I still have no idea why either, because Nightmare’s battles have been absolutely insane. In case you missed it, Nightmare originally lost to Stinger but not before literally tearing Stinger a new asshole and came back as a wildcard to face Icewave where Nightmare was absolutely trashed but still managed to pull off a miraculous KO win. Nightmare’s fight with Icewave was so brutal that the robot’s own weapon ended up getting pushed back into the robot’s frame and fucked it all up, rendering Nightmare’s self-righting mechanism toast. Jim Smentowski’s been at this game a hell of a long time and he was able to patch Nightmare up and getting running with a special “Beta Blocker” shield covering its motor. Shoutouts to Smithy. Every time they plug these sponsors the team who used them ends up losing. Preemptive “rip in peace” for Nightmare inbound.
John Reid is ecstatic that his robot Beta is performing to expectations and I can’t blame him because otherwise he’s been sitting on a 14 year old dud and that’s a realization I wouldn’t wish on my mortal goddamned enemies. Formerly a cursed robot doomed to never compete in the Battlebox, Beta broke free of its shackles and sent Lucky packing back to
Canada New Hampshire before shutting down Overhaul’s illegal anime smuggling operation. Beta whacked Overhaul so hard that its fucking paint started rubbing off on Beta’s hammer. John is wary of Nightmare’s disc and knows that a direct hit on his hammer will more than likely shut it down; he’s probably having flashbacks to the time Killerhurtz had its hammer ripped away and thrown at the fucking wall by Mauler. A neat fact about this match is how both Nightmare and Beta use the same motor to drive their weapons, Nightmare uses it for rotational movement while Beta uses it for linear. They have also both demonstrated the ability to rain hellfire down on their opposition and rip apart their enemies like a spoiled brat opening presents on Christmas Day.
Nightmare’s killer wheel immediately starts spinning though mere seconds into this fight it’s readily apparent that without a straight-on collision Nightmare probably isn’t going to be able to land any hits, the robot’s “wide stance” rivals that of Republican politicians soliciting for blowjobs in airport bathrooms. Is that even still a relevant reference? Beta dances around Nightmare as Jim tries to find his bearings. Of note is how Nightmare’s entire chassis seems to be shaking, and that “Beta Blocker” looks rickety as fuck. I’d honestly be impressed if that resisted Beta’s hammer period, because I know it’ll be toast in a single hit. Nightmare gets a glancing blow before finally getting the shot it needs face-to-face with Beta, the impact of which shatters the fucking shield that I was just talking about so I guess we can just pretend like the Beta Blocker never happened.
Kenny Florian thinks Nightmare is off balance. Since he’s made a living punching people in the face I can forgive him for not knowing what centrifugal force looks like. Meanwhile, Chris Rose starts complaining that Beta hasn’t fired its weapon yet because I’m sure he’s looking for a new Big Time Hammer now that Blacksmith is out of the contest. Shoutouts to Chris throwing down the phrase “PRIMARY WEAPON“. Speaking of primary weapons, Nightmare is able to line up another solid blow that actually connects with the pivot point of Beta’s hammer for a brief moment before slicing through Beta’s upper plastic armor. Nightmare follows through with a hit that catches Beta’s hammer and just absolutely thrashes it. One of Nightmare’s crew members starts woo’ing like it’s a goddamned truck rally while John tries to see if his hammer still works. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t.
John’s teammate goes into a full-on panic shouting “we’ve lost the hammer” about thirty times. You’ve also lost some more armor as well because Nightmare rides up the side of Beta and clips another three pounds of it off. Beta has been keeping in tight around Nightmare in the vain hopes that the force of Nightmare’s disc will slow its turning down to allow them to get in on Nightmare’s side. This strategy finally pays off in the final few seconds of the fight as Beta connects with Nightmare and starts shoving it around. Chris’ voice starts cracking as he starts having an ADHD fit while Beta actually manages to tip Nightmare onto its side, the impact of which causes Nightmare’s weapon motor casing to explode and its decorative lights to come loose. Had this happened literally just four seconds later Nightmare would’ve survived to the end of the fight and likely won because PRIMARY WEAPON.
WINNER: Beta, KO
MEGA TENTO vs. YETI
Depending on who you ask, Mega Tento either should or should not be here right now. Lisa Winter’s robot is one of the few surviving wildcards after its brutal loss to Poison Arrow in the qualification rounds. Mega Tento turned the tables on Stinger — of all robots — in its next round, however. A good many fans were upset that Stinger lost, but it’s important to note that Mega Tento’s cutting wheel was responsible for clipping off one of its opponent’s wheels. That isn’t superficial damage, that’s a whole goddamned wheel. Mega Tento’s spinning disc might be small but it’s nothing to fuck around with and Lisa’s hoping to slice off all of Yeti’s wheels. Okay, that much is bullshit, but overall it’s still an oft-underestimated weapon. You don’t even really need to hit Yeti’s wheels for them to come off, either. They do that on their own because Inertia Labs sold them a bunch of lemons for pizza money. Shoutouts to Mega Tento’s Kurt Russel cosplay for this fight.
Can you believe that Yeti was a reserve robot that almost didn’t get to compete? This Alaskan nightmare, moreso than Sarah Palin, has been steamrolling its opponents into fucking parking lots while throwing more sparks than a fireworks factory fire. Lock-Jaw was Yeti’s first victim in a fight that saw Yeti throwing its opponent over multiple times and fucking up its drivetrain; Lucky as a wildcard was next in a battle that was even more brutal where Yeti straight up tore its flipping arm off. Gregory Gibson describes his battle strategy as “all offense” and says he’s the type of guy who plays games like Street Fighter by just mashing all of the buttons. Let me tell you something Greg, this is a fucking hilarious strategy because it works and salty motherfuckers who play these games “professionally” fucking hate that. Keep mashing those buttons my man.
I still don’t fully understand Lisa’s reasoning for mounting her robot’s weapon on its ass, but whatever reason she has it’s a bad one. Yeti wastes absolutely no time getting purchase on Mega Tento’s massive rear surface area and if you watch closely you’ll see its entire back end split open in the middle. Yeti also somehow manages to reach across to the other side of its opponent and break Mega Tento’s right wheels. With Mega Tento’s left side all jacked up and its right wheels literally broken this fight is over in exactly one goddamned hit. Greg doesn’t know this though because his strategy is just to keep doing shit until he wins, so Yeti drops Mega Tento off on the screws before coming in and just absolutely shattering Mega Tento’s right wheels into at least a gorillion pieces. Fucking Colsons.
Since we’ve got time to kill now I guess it’s worth pointing out Chris’ absolutely cringeworthy “jokes” about bugs being splattered on their windshield. He hammers that punchline twice after not getting a response from Kenny until Kenny just fucking groans. You’d think that was the end of it, but Kenny makes a “Mega Tento wasn’t ready” rhyming pun and it becomes Chris’ turn to shut it down by joking about Kenny getting fired for that one. Does that mean I can send in my resume now?
WINNER: Yeti, KO
BITE FORCE vs. CHOMP
Hey look it’s Bite Force. The reigning champion. It’s about goddamned time. I know we’ve had about a dozen reasons thus far as to why the seeding system is utter bollocks, but if you were holding out for a true smoking gun then look no further than Bite Force; the current champion is seeded fourth. Sure, Tombstone, Bronco, and Witch Doctor are all great robots, but they didn’t win the Giant fucking Nut last year did they? Anyways, during the show’s Olympic hiatus I made it a point to at least highlight one of Bite Force’s battles, namely the one against Mohawk where all Bite Force had to do was wait for its opponent to pull a Blacksmith and explode. Paul Ventimiglia took his robot to the Round of 32 where he filed a cease and desist against the circus and killed The Ringmaster, but not before it burned out its own weapon drive. Shoutouts to Paul in the pits casually suggesting his team buy four replacement E-Tek motors. Those things are like $500 each.
If there was ever a robot that people loved to hate so much, a robot that wins against all odds when its design begs to differ, and a robot whose team members bring out the absolute worst in the people who criticize them… it’s Chomp. Designed by Zoe Stephenson and featuring a pneumatic hammer engineered by Jascha Little (of The Judge fame), Chomp has made it to the Round of 16 whether you like it or not. After starting the “PRIMARY WEAPON” argument in its fight against Disk O’Inferno, Zoe successfully drove her robot to a KO victory over Captain Shrederator meaning that I no longer have any desire to write this fucking blog anymore now that America has lost. There’s just… so many parts inside of Chomp. It’s insane that something — anything — hasn’t broken and incapacitated the robot, or that its air tank hasn’t detonated and blown Chomp into its principle atomic particles. Chomp shouldn’t win. It’s as tall as the people who built it. It can’t fire its weapon without pulling off a high score in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. And yet… it’s here.
Commercial break. Now’s a great time to buy whatever bullshit ABC is trying to sell you. (For me it was a bunch of cancer vaccinations with emotionally manipulative commercials, yay!)
During the pre-fight pit segments Zoe mentioned her plan against Bite Force was to try and strike the motor/chain that drives its weapon. Chomp has spent the entire season swinging its hammer and bouncing up to the goddamned moon yet somehow she manages to swing Chomp’s hammer perfectly and snipe Bite Force’s weapon chain on the first fucking try. Paul, my man, I love you and all but you’ve just gone the way of Disk O’Inferno. After landing the one hit it needed, Chomp goes right back to pretending it’s a dragon with full body Tourette’s and writhes around breathing fire everywhere. Despite having no weapon, Bite Force doesn’t let up. Without a motor to worry about burning up Paul is just straight up using Chomp’s erratic behavior against it and manages to keep Chomp on its side and against the wall.
There’s exactly one thing in the arena that Bite Force needs to be mindful of, however, and it’s not the hazards because those don’t exist. Bite Force’s weapon chain is chilling in the middle of the Battlebox and the robot ends up driving on top of it and gets high centered. On a fucking chain. Kenny thinks the chain has been “sucked into” Bite Force’s treads. That was last year, Kenny. Bite Force doesn’t have those anymore. For fuck’s sake man, you’re literally sitting right there. Now that Bite Force has inhaled a chain Chomp has ample time to spend forty minutes flipping itself back over so it can come get some free hits. Not only does Chomp get a free whack (which dents in the weapon motor casing on Bite Force) it also takes a few seconds to shit fire directly into the reigning champ’s face.
Bite Force recovers and manages to get off of the chain and tosses Chomp on top of the screws, but since Chomp’s whole design philosophy was based around being built out of a Bumble Ball filled with helium it climbs down from the hazards and resumes swinging its hammer. Paul manages to shove Chomp under one of his team’s Pulverizers and shouts a wake-up call to his teammates to have one of them press some fucking buttons but of course they manage to miss. In the final few seconds of the fight Bite Force runs over its chain again but mercifully doesn’t end up getting it sandwiched between its ass cheeks while Chomp hits the Killsaws and topples over. Chris starts freaking out about Chomp ending the fight on its side but honestly does it really make any difference? Chomp spends approximately 70% of all of its fights either on its side or otherwise not in a position of controlled movement and seems to do just fine.
Case in point, Chomp wins this bout and erases Bite Force from history. In case you’re wondering where all the salt went in your kitchen shaker (which you just filled up the other day) it, along with all other salt on the planet, teleported to the basements of numerous homes across the United States. Also, I really hope you didn’t go through with ordering four E-Teks, Paul. Also, in the footage leading up to and including the fight itself the commentators used the phrase “PRIMARY WEAPON” a grand total of three times. I heard them say it at least twice more in the Nightmare vs. Beta fight but if I went back and counted all the occurrences for the whole episode I’d probably just get pissed off. Enjoy your new meme.
WINNER: Chomp, Judges’ Decision
(If you pay attention to the shot of Bite Force being taken out of the arena I’m the asshole in the red flannel saluting it during its exit.)
We are down to just eight robots remaining: Tombstone, Beta, Chomp, Yeti, Minotaur, Bronco, Bombshell, and Poison Arrow. Bite Force is out, so somewhere in that list is the new BattleBots champion. Who’s going to take it all? Will it be the #1 seed Tombstone? Or Brazil’s Minotaur, a robot whose won dozens of other championships? Or Yeti, the alternate? Or Bombshell, the only remaining wildcard? Has the Beta curse really been broken for good? The quarterfinals start next week with the two-hour season finale. A champion will be crowned next week. Also, I’ve got my work cut out for me because these two-hour specials literally take all fucking day to write.
There’s still plenty of content in the pipeline for BattleBots Update. Make sure you’re following the site on Facebook if you aren’t already. This site costs about $150/yr to host and takes a few full days of work per month to create content for, if you’d like to pitch in there’s the Donate button at the top of every page.
See you next week!