[Episode 4 and individual fights available on ABC.com]
I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was was a mixed bag of things; on Friday some bullshit went down at my job, but my father’s birthday was over the weekend so I got to visit and hang out, get some neat old stuff of mine (for this site!), and eat at a Cajun boil. That was pretty cool. I couldn’t get Monday off even though it was a special occasion, so I retaliated by just going straight to the company’s VP and having a sit down with him. No, I don’t normally think things through before I do them. Yes, I am almost certainly 100% certifiably fucked.
Also I missed BattleBots on Sunday and couldn’t find a torrent when I started this article so shoutouts to Maxtheking who was rad enough to upload episode four in HD on YouTube. Your account is cruisin’ for a bruisin’ buddy but you’re alright in my book. ABC, I’m sorry that I’ve perpetuated media piracy. Just for this show I bought a $2 television antenna from a hilariously seedy place called “DOLLAR $TORE” so I don’t exactly know how much of that two dollars you get; I’ll make up for it by getting a pizza at Pizza Hut as an homage to that god awful commercial during the first episode that I casually forgot to talk about.
Let’s see what happened this week.
Molly “Pretty Blue Dress Lady” McGrath welcomes us to a secret base hidden under the Golden Gate Bridge where illegal robot street fights happen, if the opening establishing shots are to be believed. Tonight’s episode is the last half of the Semi-Quarterfinals (she calls it a “Round of 16” or something) and Molly’s all about the big prize, the BattleBots Giant Nut (trademark pending) that she is standing about a half mile away from for some reason. Chris Rose shows up with Hitmonchan and does a fake laugh, then uses the word “epic” to describe something. By this point I’ve already stopped listening.
There’s a recap of what’s to come tonight as the pants-shittingly exciting Tombstone vs. Radioactive match is mentioned, but then the hosts are all like “the winner of that match will go on to face the winner of Overdrive and Witch Doctor”, which is a really dumbass way of saying “Tombstone will go on to fight either Overdrive or Witch Doctor”. There’s also the matter of Bite Force and Hypershock battling, and then the rematch of Overhaul and Diesector’s slightly autistic brother because oh wow, who could have seen that coming. I mean, really, you guys. A rematch. A rematch of a fight that ended in drama when Overhaul’s driver gave Donald Hutson the old “high five down low, hah too slow” treatment. That’s so crazy. What are the chances. I just can’t wait for this. Pizza Hut.
Just to piss me off, and to keep the rest of the country watching, the first fight is actually Witch Doctor vs. Overkill, because that’s what I want to see when I’m hyped up; 4 Non Blondes fighting Michael fucking Cera.
WITCH DOCTOR vs. OVERDRIVE
Busted Nuts Robotics (Miami, FL)
Weapon: Spinning disc with flamethrower
Look at that fucking skull paintjob on the weapon. It’s like a blacklight poster for potheads.
C2 Robotics (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Weapon: Articulated lifting plow
Christian Carlberg is also the builder of Minion, two-time BattleBots champion.
We’re reminded of the journey these two robots have taken as we’re shown footage of Bronco’s ass being lit up like a bonfire, then watching Bronco throw Witch Doctor out of the arena. That was pretty much the whole fight summarized in one half of a sentence and about 15 seconds of replay footage. We didn’t get to see Overdrive vs. Chomp, probably because Chomp sucked louder than an inexperienced whore blowing a vacuum cleaner, but I’m sure it was a… spirited fight. Christian Carlberg’s daughter provides life-altering advice such as “dad you have to hit it”, completely forgetting that her old man has fucking won BattleBots before. Twice. His daughter has a terrible camera presence. For some reason, Overdrive is given 89 fake points in the “Control” category; that’s pretty goddamned generous for a driver who once drove their robot literally up the fucking wall and knocked itself out.
Fuhruq recites a dumb rhyme while introducing Witch Doctor. Christian adjusts his “dad glasses”. Ughhh.
Remember what I said about Shaman’s balls? Yeah, they’re still as big as ever because it tries the same kamikaze move as last time and sneezes butane all over the fucking place when Overdrive clips right through it and runs into the arena wall. Overdrive’s unique mixture of speed and completely fucking erratic driving allows it to be the only robot that can exist in at least three places simultaneously, one of which is always crashing into the fucking wall. Witch Doctor is able to get a couple of glancing blows in while Shaman does donuts and appears to be discharging a fire extinguisher it stole from under the arena. Overdrive runs into the screws again, then gets t-boned by Witch Doctor, sending the heavyweight robot soaring in the air. A huge hit, then Witch Doctor barely fucking taps Overdrive and and flips it over. Remember when you used to win fights, Christian?
Overdrive can apparently drive upside down, but looks like a jacked up wheelbarrow when it does. Christian suddenly has an epiphany that inclined planes tend to only work when they’re pointing in a certain direction so he raises up Overdrive’s lifter and rams the robot into the wall. This works about as well as you’d imagine, meaning that Overdrive is now somehow stuck on its fucking side. Christian Carlberg balanced the bottom half of a pyramid on its side, congratulations man you just broke math. Shaman comes over and sprays some Axe on Overdrive because thus far its performance has been absolute shit. Christian’s daughter, whose name I did not pay attention to when it was said, informs her dad to “get out of there”.
Swear to fuckin god…
So Witch Doctor comes in and starts wailing on Overdrive, each hit sending the robot ass over head and visibly fucking up one of the wheels in the process. Christian’s daughter yells for her dad to “goooooo!” because I guess he only showed her his taped copies of the first season of BattleBots. Shaman manages to light something inside of Overdrive on fire, and as Witch Doctor comes in one last time and whacks its opponent, fucking sparks start coming out of one of Overdrive’s wheels. Jesus fucking christ Overdrive even your non-electrical parts are shooting out sparks what the fuck did you do wrong? Overdrive is knocked out colder than ice cold and Angelica Pickles or whatever they said her name was is visibly distressed. Little did she know that this was only the beginning of her emotional downfall, as Christian ended up using this battle as a buffer before showing her the Atomic Wedgie fight.
Winner: Witch Doctor, KO
TOMBSTONE vs. RADIOACTIVE
Hardcore Robotics (Placerville, CA)
Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade
Tombstone’s weapon weighs over 70 pounds.
Make Robotics (Hemel Hempstead, UK)
Weapon: I write the jokes here
The robot’s chassis and drive system are modular and can shift positions and formation.
Disclaimer, I’m probably going to say a lot of mean things about Radioactive, and I mean a lot. For as admittedly as cool of a design as it is, Radioactive is such a piece of shit in the arena that a three year old with a shape sorter could beat the damn thing. Radioactive won its first fight by a landslide because its opponent’s weapon broke down before it ever got started; during said fight Radioactive somehow managed to fuck up its drive system by doing nothing more than driving around the fucking arena. Holy shit. The drive system in this robot is so fucking bad that the warranty on its parts is measured in feet, not miles. Somehow, they also broke their weapon that fight. Jesus dick. Sweet Revenge was pretty much a stationary goddamned object and they still broke their hammer. Radioactive’s victory should have been one of those fluke “yep all we gotta do is charge the batteries” matches, but instead the team is scrambling to take everything apart. This is a level of shittiness that I am legitimately unable to process. I do not understand how this robot even made it across the ocean because it seems like the kind of bad luck magnet that would’ve downed the whole fucking plane.
Tombstone’s team charged their fucking batteries. That’s it.
Look at those fake stats. If you added up all of Radioactive’s points the robot is still nine short from matching just the “weapons” rating of Tombstone. The hosts even start casually insulting Radioactive by reminiscing about how utterly ineffective its weapon was in its previous match and making fun of it by drawing comparisons to basketball and the fact that a 16 seed has never beaten a 1 seed. You know you’ve lost when even the hosts just say fuck it and start taking pot shots for Reddit karma. According to the hosts, Radioactive is sporting “reinforced plastic” armor to protect it against Tombstone’s weapon because that’s totally a thing and not just two words put together. Also, they can’t figure out the arena “ready” button. I’ve already burned up a “dropped the spaghetti” joke on this website and I really wish I hadn’t, because these guys are fucking Italian by proxy.
Also I just want to point out that being ranked 16th means that the wildcard robots are all ranked higher than Radioactive. Robots that lost their very first fights are still ranked higher than this turd. Even when it wins Radioactive still manages to fuck it up.
Tombstone rolls out of its square and doesn’t even spin its weapon. Like a bitchy little cat playing with its prey, Tombstone just sits there and watches Radioactive not winning. Then, one hit. One hit sends an entire side panel of Radioactive flying across the arena and a battery of some sort left hanging out of the gaping wound. Ray gets a bit too cocky and misses a second pass on Radioactive, but that’s okay because in order to match the level of cringe of his opponent Ray would need to stop the fight, look into the camera, deny that the Holocaust happened, and then say 9/11 was an inside job. Remember when the hosts said that Radioactive had locked its driving pods in place? Yeah, about that. Tombstone kind of undoes the whole “locked in place” thing for one of them and then asks the drivers if they “want more”.
One of the guys of Make Robotics flinches hilariously at the question, and then Ray comes in and ruins their shit, sending huge pieces of plastic bullshit all over the place. Radioactive, who is surprisingly somehow not fucking dead, has a new trick up it’s sleeve. It starts to spin around. That works. Tombstone tells them to cut it out and makes a fucking curly-Q out of Radioactive’s “Shitty Frenzy” hammer. That hit also kills Radioactive’s drive, knocking it out in 69 seconds. That’s about 69 seconds longer than I was expecting, mostly because I assumed Radioactive would just catch fire when the fight started. It’s a miracle the robot kept its trefoil shape because I was honestly expecting there to be three pineapple chunks and a goddamned road dot in the arena by the time this shitshow was over.
THAT WAS FUN WOO HOOHOOHOO.
Winner: Tombstone, KO
LOCK-JAW vs. OVERHAUL
Team Mutant Robots (San Diego, CA)
Weapon: Articulated clamping jaws
Donald Hutson built a robot for Comedy Central’s “It’s Your Battle” Sweepstakes.
Team JACD (Cambridge, MA)
Weapon: Lifting piercing jaw
The robot is capable of self-righting, but was unable to do so in its previous fight due to time.
“I think they understood that it wasn’t intentional,” says Donald Hutson as we are shown Overhaul’s drivers
discovering the monolith banging on the arena wall. Sure Don, and the judges probably gave Radioactive’s team a participation ribbon to make them feel better.
I’ll be straight, I don’t know how much of the buttmad that followed the previous iteration of this fight was manufactured, but I’ll be damned if that’s not a television producer’s wet dream. Whoever it is at ABC that signs the production checks for BattleBots busted a nut when he saw that late hit. Really. He was so shocked that he backed up into the Dr. Claw Dildo Table™ and knocked it over, breaking the BattleBots trophy in the process and they had to go get a new one. That’s probably why Molly is standing so far away from the trophy table in all the shots. That shit’s expensive.
Both teams are getting ready for this fight by making unnecessary sparks with their Dremels and adjusting their motors with what appears to be an alan wrench. This is the robot combat equivalent of every single time they show someone using a computer on Law and Order. Lock-Jaw is the green one, Overhaul is the not green one. Donald mentions that he’s adjusted the clamping jaws on his robot, which is a good thing because if memory serves me right three weeks ago I used the descriptors “fucking” and “shit” to describe them. Team JACD also adjusted their robot I guess? They did so until they got kicked out of the pits which I guess happens at the same time that Trey Roski has to go home to tend to his secret collection of pictures of Ginsu not winning any fights ever. Overhaul has almost the same fake stats as Radioactive because whoever came up with the stats probably just eyeballed everything and said fuck it. No really, how’d they come up with those numbers? Rolling a bunch of dice? Checking the backs of fortune cookies? They’re probably changing these fucking things as they go along and no one is even noticing because their gaze is fixated on Kenny’s open shirt.
Before the fight even starts Lock-Jaw charges forward and… no wait, they’re just testing the controls. Shame on me for making assumptions. Actually when the fight starts, Lock-Jaw barely does a goddamned thing and lets Overhaul mosey on over and nearly rip one of its fucking wheels off. The commentator that always says the things I don’t like makes a spare tire joke and somehow the universe has not yet re-established equilibrium by dropping a stage light on this guy. That one specific tire must have been Lock-Jaw’s secret weak point, because for absolutely no discernible reason the robot starts smoldering over the Killsaws, which thus far have only popped up to point Warhead in the direction back to England. Overhaul’s driver asks his team if he should let go because the person in charge of the arena saws picked a bad time to check his Twitter.
Lock-Jaw manages to break free and appears to still be mobile, but only just barely. Seeing an opportunity to carpet dime or whatever the fuck it is pretentious college fucks say after class, Overhaul swings back in and takes another nibble on Lock-Jaw. This time the robots tango over by the red Pulverizer, which also isn’t coming down because either the MIT team can’t figure out the difference between red and blue or they think Donald is stupid enough to drop the hammer on his own robot. He may have been dumb enough to contort his robot into whatever fucking yoga position that is and get it
jammed up stuck like that, but no, he isn’t that much of a knuckledragger to Judge Judy his own creation. Realizing their plan failed, Overhaul carries Lock-Jaw over to the saws again. Do they come up? I’ll let you answer that. Actually, scratch that.
Was that fucking fire that came out of Lock-Jaw? Lock-Jaw’s packing a couple of goddamned flamethrowers that it forgot to mention? What the fuck Donald, why are you holding out on us? Overhaul has like, no armor. This is the literally the only time when that kind of weapon is remotely relevant. Also how are you hiding all of this shit in your robot? Lock-Jaw manages to pull a 180 in Overhaul’s grip and begins burping out flames into the front of its opponent. The guy with the earring on the Mutant Robots team smirks, like this is somehow some bullshit retribution for something, but I guess he can’t hear the referee behind him screaming the knockout countdown into his ear.
I was so certain Lock-Jaw was going to win that I had prepared a killer “guess you should’ve shaken that hand after all” zinger for the end of this section. I don’t have anything ready for this moment now. God damn it Donald, you let me down. Now I have to admit to the four people (plus Ray Billings) reading this that I don’t have my act together. I look like an asshole, moreso than the guy on Team JACD with the fucking anime ears.
Winner: Overhaul, KO
HYPERSHOCK vs. BITE FORCE
Shenanigans & Co. (Cambridge, MA)
Weapon: Dual spinning discs
Hypershock’s first match was against a robot operated by the builder’s brother.
Aptyx Designs (Mountain View, CA)
Weapon: Grappling claw
Bite Force is the only robot this season to use tank tracks.
Hypershock made it into the Round of 16 by sinking Mohawk in a single blow. Mohawk, one of the robots in the “looks like Razer” family, had a claw that lit on fire for some reason. No, not like a flamethrower in the claw, but like, the claw itself caught fire? I don’t fucking know, it didn’t win. The robot also had headlights but one of the smartasses who built it stuck ’em on backwards. Hypershock’s driver mentions that at the end of this giveaway match his robot pulled a Radioactive and all of its drive controllers quit working. Will, don’t admit things like that. Didn’t you just see what happened to the last guy? They had a fucking broom in the arena when the hosts were talking after the fight. Meanwhile, Bite Force’s driver talks about his fight with Warhead and how he wasn’t surprised that he won. Yeah, neither were any of us dude. Bite Force had one of those “I only had to charge my batteries” fights so one of the robot’s team members demonstrates how magnets work because the producers were desperate for B-roll.
Hypershock crawls out of its starting square, discs static, while Bite Force comes in and immediately begins not giving a fuck. If this is anything like Bite Force’s last fight we won’t see its lifting prongs deploy until the last thirty seconds of the match. Bite Force’s magic magnetic tank treads look to be performing pretty well, but Hyperforce turns the tables and uses its… appendages… to get its opponent over to the Pulverizer where Bite Force takes three big hits straight onto its weapon. Two things; one, what the fuck are those little insect arms on the front of Hypershock and why are they there, and two why can’t they just put a camera on the far side of the arena so the hosts don’t have to stand up like retards at a little league game whenever something happens over there?
So far, this fight kind of sucks. Bite Force isn’t a total piece of shit, but if I wanted to see an armored tank with a wedge cruise around I’d go find a construction site and watch the bulldozers like some autistic train lover who religiously watches that Hard Hat Harry’s Real Life Construction for Kids VHS from the early nineties. I’ve never typed the name of that video out before. Wow, it’s kinda long. Anyway, Hyperforce also isn’t doing much until a distinctive whirring sound starts to echo through the arena. That’s those discs finally working. The spinners catch a corner of Bite Force and toss the whole robot upside down Witch Doctor-style. Even worse, Hypershock starts to push its opponent over to the screws; Bite Force finally reaches them and gets all “nah I got this man” and drives down off of the screws, breaking it in the process. What the fuck, man.
Bite Force gets hit once and the hosts immediately start claiming Hypershock is “winning”. They seem to have not yet noticed that the mega hit bent up one of Hypershock’s insect dicks and the robot now looks like it’s perpetually hailing a cab. They’re also talking about how the “dancing around” the robots are doing isn’t scoring any points, ignoring the fact that the robots actually are scoring points by alternating who’s currently in control of this nightmare tractor pull. Sensing the fight is getting boring, Hypershock lights one up and calls it quits.
Here’s the part in the fight where I legitimately paused the episode and took a fucking walk because the commentary pissed me off. Chris, the host whose every joke falls flat, says that Hypershock’s driver is trying to fool the referee into thinking its moving by asking Bite Force to lift/flip his robot over. Paul “takes the bait” as he starts dicking around with Hypershock, and then suddenly smartens up and backs off. Look, I get it. You’re playing this shit up for ratings; “this is not what I expected in a 3 [seed] 14 [seed] matchup”, talking about “upsets”, etc. There’s a line between commentating a fight and just making shit up and exaggerating retarded speculations; this doesn’t just cross that line, it bangs its mom. What’s next, are we going to find out that Bite Force’s driver is not the father? Fucking hell. These are the people they hired to do the commentary.
Winner: Bite Force, KO
Wow, every fight tonight ended with a KO. Every match was also bizarrely destructive or featured spontaneous combustion, too. The semifinals are locked in and the hosts begin introducing the fights that we’ll see next week. Since everyone’s doing it, here are my quick thoughts on the fights. I’ve avoided reading/seeing spoilers, so if you know the outcome you’re free to laugh internally at how much of a moron I am if I’m wrong.
Tombstone vs. Witch Doctor: I’m going for the long shot on this one. I think Witch Doctor is going to advance, but without Shaman. What I see happening is the minibot running interference, getting its massive balls stuck in Tombstone’s weapon, and shedding its mortal coil. While this is happening Witch Doctor is able to land a strong blow to Tombstone and either breaks something or causes the force of Tombstone’s weapon to work against the robot.
Bronco vs. Stinger: As much as I love Stinger, I don’t think it’s equipped to handle a bot like Bronco. Stinger is great against spinners, but even though it can drive upside down and self-right I’m expecting Bronco to be on Stinger’s ass so much that the drivers won’t be able to maintain their forward heading. They’ll put up a strong fight, but lose to Bronco in a split decision.
Icewave vs. Ghost Raptor: Ghost Raptor’s got nothing. The only way it’s getting past this match is if Icewave suffers another catastrophic failure and shits its battery juice out onto the floor again. Assuming Icewave’s weapon works, this is going to be a repeat of its fight against Razorback, missing wheel and all. Sabertooth cat.
Bite Force vs. Overhaul: Both robots have similar designs, it’ll be back and forth until Overhaul gets a pinch on one of Bite Force’s tracks and breaks it. Overhaul won’t be able to knock its opponent out because it’s not Razer, but it’ll still skate by with a judge’s decision after kneecapping Bite Force.
The Killsaws will not deploy at any time during these four fights.
That’s another week down. Feels like only yesterday I was shouting expletives at my shitty TV antenna for working just fine during the Steve Harvey Power Hour but fucking up in the middle of the Plan X fight and not coming back up for the rest of the show. I had waited 13 years for that day, I feel that shouting “fuck” at the top of my lungs was completely justified. That’s the same thing as making it through K-12 a second time and the principal losing your diploma as you walk on stage, except rather than apologize he shoots you the finger and the valedictorian kicks you in the dick. That’s how I felt.
I’m excited for the semifinals, out of the 8 teams left only a smattering of vets remain, and only one former champion team is left. This project has kept me focused and kept me positive in light of a continuously deteriorating situation in my personal life, and I know I say it every single article but thank you for your support and for checking out my website. The sport of robot combat has given me the privilege of meeting tons of great people and I’m genuinely happy that this continues to ring true.
See you next week!
PS: The “neat old stuff” that I retrieved for this website is footage of a 2001 robot competition I [REDACTED]