[Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars, Part 2 is available here.]
Last week I covered the first half of Robot Wars’ “Battle of the Stars” special where we saw two horizontal spinners level everybody else before facing off against each other in a battle that basically came down to a coin toss. All four of the robots were built like shit which pretty much guaranteed the horizontal spinners were going to win even though both of them were literal definitions of the term “glass cannon”. Scott Mills’ Arena Cleaner eventually took the gold, but it could’ve just as easily have gone to Suzi Perry and The Cat. The runners up included the incomprehensibly awful hammerbot JAR as well as Interstellar: MML, a robot designed by a professional engineer that turned out like a shittier version of Firestorm and ended up getting completely destroyed. This week four more British “celebrities” enter the arena with their mentors and a robot of their own. I can’t wait. I’m so excited. This totally isn’t the kind of fake excitement you see out of children whose parents force them into doing toy reviews on YouTube, either.
Dara O’Briain and Angela Scanlon have traded places for this episode’s introductions because I guess as it turns out the producers of this show were only able to find a grand total of two locations inside of this massive goddamned warehouse where they could shoot B-roll of Dara slurring half the words that come out of his mouth. The rules of this episode are no different from last week’s special, and much like last week I am going to need to defer to Robot Wars News to help me figure out who the fuck these people are that are competing today.
ROBBIE SAVAGE is introduced first and at first glance this guy just looks like a fucking chode. As it turns out, he is; this guy is a former Welsh football player (that means he plays soccer) who racked up 89 yellow cards, the most anyone had ever received in the Premiere League. Look, I don’t know the first thing about this sport but how hard is it to just play by the fucking rules and not be a goddamned retard? I mean, you’d think maybe after the second or third yellow card you’d smarten up and quit acting like a twat but no, this ended up going on for 89 penalties. Robbie Savage is what happens when a system fails. This winner should’ve been ejected from the team and replaced with someone who wasn’t a dumbass. It’s not that hard to kick a fucking ball, I’m sure they could’ve found a replacement. KADEENA COX shows up next and it’s a good thing I got all those profanities and anger out of my system with Robbie because otherwise this would put me in a really awkward situation. Kadeena is a gold medalist Paralympian, and because she’s also a physically handicapped woman of color Kadeena is what we call a “Tumblr bingo”.
JORDAN STEPHENS is one half of the musical act Rizzle Kicks. I’ve never heard of this band before which probably has something to do with the fact that none of their songs have charted over here in the United States. Jordan and his group are best known for their 2012 single “Mama Do The Hump” which… I guess isn’t that bad of a song? Compared to what gets passed off as “music” these days, that is. Rizzle Kicks might be the stupidest name I’ve heard since Bucktooth Burl but their music is surprisingly listenable even if their latest single “Slurp!” just consists of a couple of Millennials bitching about trite shit. At least they got Dom Joly to appear in it. Points for that. NEIL OLIVER is last in line and much like last week I get the impression they purposefully put their “most qualified” person at the end so we’d be wowed by the presence of an archaeologist and conveniently forget that he was preceded by the worst football player in the world and a guy from a band named fucking “Rizzle Kicks”.
ROBO SAVAGE vs. KADEENA MACHINA
Normally I’d poo-poo Robbie Savage for having either the ego or lack of creativity (or both) to name his robot after himself, but Kadeena Cox ended up doing the same thing and since she’s “differently abled” I’m not allowed to make mean jokes about her because that would mean I’m a racist misogynistic ableist Nazi… which is also a “Tumblr bingo”. Instead I guess I’ll just have to swallow my pride here and say that Robo Savage looks like a pretty decent robot, the best T-Minus rip off I’ve seen in quite some time. Since it’s such a good robot however I’m assuming this means Robbie didn’t actually design it and he’s just here because “he’s Robbie Savage”. I get the impression he spent more time figuring out who in his social circles to invite to come with him to Robot Wars than he did in designing his goddamned robot. Robo Savage’s primary mode of attack is its giant flipping arm while its secondary weapon are its pointy
bat dragon wings which successfully prevented Dara from pulling the sheet off of the robot. Shoutouts to the guy front and center whom Robbie needs to ask to clap.
Angela lost the backstage round of Rock Paper Scissors and ends up being the person to finagle the social faux pas minefield that is “speaking to someone in a wheelchair without accidentally coming off like a total asshole”. Angela’s got a good bedside manner though, and while I’d normally imply she adopted a slightly too friendly tone for this conversation she honestly just sounds like that all the time so whatever I guess. Kadeena Cox and her brother help unveil her robot, Kadeena Machina, which honestly looks like they just took PP3D and rotated its blade 90 degrees. It doesn’t look like the sturdiest robot — because none of the competitors do — but if I had to put money on which robot wins this week’s special it would be this one even though I haven’t even seen the other two. I don’t need to see the other two because the one from the Rizzle Kicks guy probably just fires out cassette tapes or something.
Despite what I’ve said about Robo Savage thus far it doesn’t put on that bad of a show at the start of the match and is able to ward off Kadeena Machina’s initial attack using its bright ass green wedge. As much as I wish Kadeena Machina would just pull a 180 and demolish this piece of shit that isn’t happening and instead Robo Savage is making a damn good attempt and getting up in its opponent’s ass to throw it upside down. My faith in Kadeena Machina isn’t waning however, because I can visibly see Robo Savage’s tires spinning a lot faster than the robot is moving which means that Robbie isn’t so much “driving” his robot as he is just kinda letting it skid wherever the fuck it wants to. Robo Savage gets lucky enough to scrape some sparks off of Kadeena Machina but that’s it, another bad turn sends Kadeena Machina’s disc perpendicularly into Robo Savage’s flipping arm and just fucking wrecks it. That’s a real hit, too, none of these “play it up for the camera” fake ass hits that you see in professional football all the goddamned time.
“Out drive ’em,” coaches Jason Marston of Thor fame to Robbie. Considering how poor this robot’s traction is Jason might as well have told Robbie to kick a goal without being fined ten thousand dollars because he’s completely fucked by this point. Kadeena Machina cruises in and clips Robo Savage’s left wheel obliterating it into more pieces than there were atoms holding it together. As you might imagine, this hit knocks Robo Savage out and the officials count it down while Kadeena Machina gets ten free seconds to do as much fucking damage as possible to its opponent.
“I think Robbie was pretty upset by the loss,” Kadeena says as she makes her way back into the pits. Yeah dude, he just got fucking schooled by a cripple. A man with an ego that big and fragile can’t handle a roast of that caliber. Just be glad you beat him at Robot Wars and not that shitty dancing reality TV show he broke his nose on because I’m quite certain he’d go fucking nuclear.
WINNER: Kadeena Machina, KO
SOLDIER ANT vs. DEE
Neil Oliver seems like an alright guy; he’s here to get his kids amped up for the sciences and to hopefully inspire them to pursue great futures. Can’t go wrong with that. He looks like a weirdo but his heart’s in the right place and that’s what counts. Neil even has that “dad” mannerism where he pantomimes playing a video game as he explains to Dara why his kids have a coordination advantage over their opponents. Now that I’ve gotten the niceness out of the way I feel compelled to bring up that Neil is about two decades too old to be wearing that leather jacket. His robot, Soldier Ant, is decent I guess? It’s clearly “another Razer clone” with some hints of Tiberius and Ming thrown in to avoid YouTube’s Content ID system but honestly a pincher is a pincher. Poor old Soldier Ant also seems to have the worst half-assed paint job I’ve ever seen; they couldn’t even paint the whole thing properly, and even worse the color they went with is literally turd brown. Shoutouts to the kid with the transmitter acting cool during the team’s introduction who gets scared by the CO2 jets.
Angela meets up with Jordan Stephens and his friends who are dressed like a bunch of five year olds that picked their own clothes. She immediately asks John “I Built Terrorhurtz, I Don’t Have Time For This Shit” Reid if Jordan and his cronies were a handful. You might be shocked to hear this but — oh my god — they were! Jordan is taken aback by this remark because at only 25 years old he’s incapable of introspection and can’t figure out why dealing with an asshole wearing heart-shaped sunglasses might be just a teeny tiny bit aggravating. Also, the best design that this platinum-selling artist could come up with was a fucking heavyweight thwackbot. I caught a lot of shit from Robot Wars fans for ragging on that stupid Gabriel robot because “it has motors that can allow it to swing its axe without moving so it has an active weapon”. Yeah, okay, explain this one shitheads. Don’t tell me Dee has some secret active weapon loophole that I don’t know about because my response to that is just going to be playing “Mama Do The Hump” at you until you shut up.
These two robots barely make it ten seconds into the fight before Jonathan starts making puns with the names of RIZZLE KICKS’ GREATEST HITS. Mama do the hump? No, more like mama take a dump because as far as I’m concerned Dee is basically weaponless and Soldier Ant quickly cruises in and bites down onto Dee’s pink shell unopposed. Sadly, Razer it ain’t because little to no damage is actually done and Dee escapes and tries hiding behind the spike hazards. (This plan doesn’t work.) Neil’s son Teddy starts getting an itchy trigger finger because he apparently can’t stop fucking with Soldier Ant’s claw. Dude, he’s like eight years old and he’s behind the wheel of a killer robot give him a break. I’d be dicking with all the buttons on the radio too and I’m almost 30. Soldier Ant finally gets a good grapple on Dee and sticks the tip of its claw right into the vents above Dee’s electronics but again there’s no bite force and Dee gets away.
Jordan retreats and lines up a charge on Soldier Ant which fails spectacularly because rather than attack his robot somehow flips upward into Soldier Ant’s claw and affords Neil and his kids a perfect shot at one of its wheels. Since Jordan was also dumb enough to go with pneumatic tires on his heavyweight thwackbot this spells certain doom. I’ve also just put it together in my head that Dee is actually Mjollnir from BattleBots except painted pink because this fight is playing out identically to all of Mjollnir’s failures. It takes having a flat tire but Joshy from Dee’s team finally figures out how a fucking thwackbot works and encourages Jordan to start spinning circles when Soldier Ant comes close. This is something you and I already know, but it’s not very often that you get to witness someone have this kind of “no shit Sherlock” epiphany on (inter)national television. Savor it.
Also, Soldier Ant’s drivers are so sure of their victory that they just openly diss Rizzle Kicks after the fight.
WINNER: Soldier Ant, Judges’ Decision
ROBO SAVAGE vs. SOLDIER ANT
Before this fight even starts Jonathan starts screaming about mistletoe when Matilda appears. Fucking weirdo. Also before the fight starts Solider Ant shuffles just a bit. Now, since Neil’s kids are pretty much master trolls I’d like to imagine that this was an intentional false start just to spite Robbie “89 Yellow Cards” Savage. Seriously, this guy has so many penalties in his football career he’s 10 away from Nena writing a goddamned song about it.
Jonathan mentions that in order for Robo Savage to be effective in this match it’ll need to tackle from behind, of which he then goes on to say he’s seen Robbie do that plenty of times. I’m only pointing this out because Jonathan literally said the same thing in Robo Savage’s last fight, so I guess we can look forward to more Rizzle Kicks song puns in Dee’s second fight as Jonathan reuses his patented “robo fact trivia cards”. Anyways, Robo Savage isn’t getting in a lot of tackles from behind, instead it’s just venting CO2 so chances are this is the first and last we’ll be seeing of its flipper in this fight. Even worse for Robo Savage is how Soldier Ant has already slipped around behind it and bitten it right on the ass. Soldier Ant wastes absolutely no time going to town and as it opens its jaw back up Robo Savage clings onto the claw with its new anal piercing. Now this is the knock-off Razer action I signed up for!
Things are going amazingly well for Soldier Ant until Robo Savage comes in and does them dirty by using what little CO2 is left in its chamber to raise the insect up onto its side and straight down onto the fire. Before the fight Neil Oliver said his robot’s hydraulic jaw could potentially double as a srimech, but sadly that doesn’t appear to be the case. Solider Ant is dead on its back while Robbie Savage and his friends lose their fucking minds over beating a couple of children. Soldier Ant is counted out and Matilda comes in to bully the losers while Teddy Oliver exclaims “that’s not fair!” His dad is there to remind him that this is Robot Wars and that there’s pretty much no rules here, so Teddy understands this as permission to bite Matilda on the fucking face. I fucking love these guys.
WINNER: Robo Savage, KO
KADEENA MACHINA vs. DEE
In the pits John Reid contemplates the choices in his life that led to him, a robot combat legend, changing a tire on a 200+ pound glittery pink thwackbot. Meanwhile, Ellis Ware from Team Ranglebots sharpens Kadeena Machina’s weapon disc and charges its batteries to get ready for what I’m going to go out on a limb and assume is a free win. Jordan Stephens has a sit-down with the camera crew to talk about his robot wherein he says he has the hardest robot to drive and he doesn’t know how that happened. Bro, you’re the one who supposedly designed this thing. If you didn’t want to have to deal with something that flips upside down and reverses its controls all the time maybe you should’ve just built a fucking wedge.
Jonathan leads in with “can Jordan get the hand-eye coordination right?” No, Jonathan. No he can’t. Dee floors it forward and I assume this is to absorb a hit from Kadeena Machina’s disc using its super heavily armored rear end and slow the weapon down but they fuck it all up and instead Dee loses its right tire immediately. Theoretically Dee could still “move” by alternating the direction of its remaining wheel and skidding around but I guess that’s not good enough for the officials because the 10 count comes up for Dee and Kadeena Machina sits this one out because it’s not very often you get to brag about having a genuine one hit KO under your belt.
At 4 seconds this also qualifies the knock out for one of the fastest immobilizations in Robot Wars history. There are only five battles with shorter KO times. Congrats, Dee, for being among the worst robots to ever enter the arena. Dreadnaut would be proud.
WINNER: Kadeena Machina, KO
ROBO SAVAGE vs. DEE
Oh goody, it’s a fight between the two drivers vying for the esteemed rank of “most insufferable person in this episode”. Will it be Robbie Savage, who took a heckle too far with Jason over his robot’s pneumatic system? Or will it be Jordan Stephens who hasn’t had a non-passive aggressive thing to say since his robot was one hit KO’d by Kadeena Machina? At least Robbie and his guys are taking the time to come up with a plan, though. Sure, they might be doing this by tossing a bunch of pieces of wood around on a table but when the leader of the pack has more football fouls than there are games on that shitty NES Classic you take what you can get.
Robo Savage’s driver does exactly what he said he was going to do when he demonstrated his plan with a block of wood: he drives straight for the empty starting chevron to the robot’s left… and then that’s it. There’s no follow through because they didn’t get that far with the wood simulation. While this is going on Jonathan mentions Dee’s driver originally wanted to arm the robot with a water pistol. Are these people fucking for real?
The flipper on Robo Savage seems to stop working properly, assuming that it ever “worked” to begin with, but thanks in part to Dee’s tendency to bounce all over the goddamned place the team is still making things work by deflecting the pink thwacker away. They’re also able to shove Dee over near Dead Metal and since Dead Metal’s surface area consists of approximately 100% sharp and pointy objects this spells bad news for Dee’s air filled fucking wheels. Again. For the third fight in a row one of Dee’s wheels springs a leak and flattens out. It’s hard to tell what effect (if any) this has on Dee because the robot has barely driven in a straight line once this episode, but for reasons unknown Robo Savage also starts to break down and visibly spins its wheels against the arena floor at a few points.
Robot Wars battles are three minutes long, right? Well going by the timecodes on the video of this episode the clock ran down after only two meaning that a staggering third of this match’s gripping back and forth battle was left on the cutting room floor. What a shame.
WINNER: Dee, Judges’ Decision
Because Dee is the one who shoved Robo Savage into the house robots and flattened one of Robo Savage’s tires. After the match Robbie went up to the judges with a pair of glasses to say “I think you need these”, but Noel Sharkey shut him down immediately because he’s already wearing glasses. I take back what I said. Can we just advance both of these robots into the finals so Kadeena Machina can destroy them again?
SOLDIER ANT vs. KADEENA MACHINA
Soldier Ant and Kadeena Machina are arguably the better two robots out of this heat; neither one has had to make any major repairs to their robots after their first two battles. Then again, for both of these robots their “first two battles” were against Robo Savage and Dee, two competitors legitimately incapable of winning against a stationary boulder. The most Dee was able to do to Soldier Ant was pop a small hole in the side of it. Neil and his kids know the heat is on and that they need a victory to ensure a place in the finals… so they can immediately rematch Kadeena Machina who’s already earned enough points to be in the finals. Kadeena meanwhile is just hanging out like the Professor Xavier of Robot Wars breaking things left and right with her mind powers. Her younger brother is driving the robot for this match and he says he’s just going to go break shit. It’s worked thus far.
Teddy and Archie Oliver know that unless they can get around to the back of Kadeena Machina they stand no chance. Likewise, Kadeena Machina’s driver knows that it would be in his best interest to also avoid the front end of his opponent so this is going to boil down to who fucks up first. This is probably the most calculated match we’ve seen this episode because neither team is willing to just roll the dice and say “fuck it” like Dee keeps doing. Kadeena Machina reels away from a couple of close calls with Soldier Ant’s claw, Soldier Ant takes a couple of glancing blows to its armor. The fight finally takes a firm turn when Soldier Ant gets a little too tenacious and ends up losing half of its left wheel to Kadeena Machina’s blade. Smelling blood, Kadeena Machina waits patiently to dodge its opponent’s claw before coming in and just busting the goddamned thing apart. Soldier Ant keeps what’s left of its wheels, but its weapon takes a blow it can’t recover from and just unravels.
This hit seems to have damaged Soldier Ant too badly because the insectoid robot is dead in the water. Kadeena Machina comes in for one final blow right inside where Soldier Ant’s wheel used to be and lets loose one hell of an ass kicking that sends Soldier Ant confetti all over the place. Soldier Ant’s removable safety power link also comes out, just in case you needed concrete proof that it was toast. Sir Killalot seems to be acutely aware that Soldier Ant is about to puke its guts up, so before the robot vomits hydraulic fluid all over the floor he throws it out of the arena to make the cleanup someone else’s problem.
WINNER: Kadeena Machina, KO
KADEENA MACHINA vs. ROBO SAVAGE
If there was ever a robot to irrefutably earn its place in the finals Kadeena Machina would be it. Three back to back wins, all of them by knock out. In its first match Kadeena Machina actually wrecked Robo Savage pretty good; Robo Savage lost one of its wheels and most of its top armor all while Kadeena Cox was figuring out how the fuck to drive her robot. Dee was next to the gulag and there’s not much to say about this fight because there wasn’t really a fight. Dee drove forward, blew up, Kadeena Machina entered the Robot Wars record books, and that was the end of it. Soldier Ant probably posed the biggest threat to Kadeena Machina mostly because it wasn’t a shitty thwackbot or a flipper driven by some guy with douche hair but even then it just couldn’t hold up to the spinning disc of doom.
As for Robo Savage, I really don’t know how the fuck this thing made it here. I mean, I guess I sort of do know how, but it just seems insane. Robo Savage got its asshole ripped apart like toilet paper by Kadeena Machina and somehow managed to lose to fucking Dee, but because it was able to flip Soldier Ant over and score 3 points for the KO win — and because Soldier Ant and Dee only had 2 points each for judges’ decision wins — this played out in such a way as to let Robo Savage reach the finals. I guess in summary what I’m trying to say is Robot Wars’ round robin scoring system is fucking broken. Anyways, whatever the case I guess you’ll know if Robo Savage ends up winning this fight because if so you won’t be reading this article since I’d have punched clean through my computer monitor and then gone to the hospital.
Robo Savage goes for a bit of clever driving but because the robot is actually totally incapable of driving correctly this doesn’t pan out and Kadeena Machina T-bones its opponent and fucks up one of the wheels. This hit also breaks Robo Savage because whoever built it didn’t know what the fuck they were doing and we have yet another Battle of the Stars match that ends with a single blow. Since this is the title match however, Kadeena Machina take some liberties with Robo Savage and again goes for the ultra Fatality kill and lands a few more whacks during the 10 count, but really that’s the end of it. In an outcome that has surprised literally only Robbie Savage, Kadeena Machina takes the title and joins Arena Cleaner as Battle of the Stars champion!
WINNER: Kadeena Machina, KO
So, since this article is coming to a close I guess now’s as good of a time as any to casually bring up the fact that all eight of these robots appeared to be the same exact “base” design with different things bolted onto it. The first thing that tipped me off was how every single robot had identical stats provided for things like “drive power” and “batteries” on their initial info cards. (Two NPC motors, 8s LiPo batteries.) Furthermore, all of them with the exception of Dee appear to have used the same goddamned wheels, and all eight robots had paint jobs that weren’t even what I’d argue were a “quarter-ass” job. As it turns out the robots were built by Robo Challenge or something? I’m not 100% sure on the details, but basically this whole special was just something fabricated by the producers and we just witnessed two episodes consisting of nothing but stock robots fighting. Bah humbug.
These two specials were also officially a part of the 2017 Robot Wars series coming later this year (Series 9). Yes, I do plan on covering that series. Sadly however, there’s been no news of another season of BattleBots on ABC which is a damn shame. I don’t really know why ABC treated the series as poorly as they did last year but their dicking around ended up hurting the ratings in the long run. Well, that and the fucking Olympics. And the election. And that “preseason football” (the American kind, not soccer) that fans were so worked up about. Point is, I don’t see the BBC fucking up Robot Wars anytime soon so I guess I’ll probably have to change the name of this website or something.
As always, be sure to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for updates, and if you enjoyed this two-part Battle of the Stars special I do accept donations via PayPal. Thanks for hanging out with me during the Battle of the Stars, see you next time!