Hey, thanks for all the positive responses. I wasn’t really sure how far I wanted to go with this, but now that I know there are fans here, I’m definitely going to keep going for the rest of the year. And I’ll have more detailed opinions and analysis in the future, but for now I’m just trying to get through the early episodes.
EddyTeddyFreedy - Glad you enjoy it! I am eventually going to cover Bounty Hunters (which Discovery is now currently airing on TV after its original streaming platform run).
PRELIMS DAY 4 12/24/20
All right, here’s where we’re at right now. With three days in the books, it’s now time for some of the competitors to have their second matches. Some, understand, not all. And since this, like any other reality show, needs to excise some of the less entertaining matches () to save time (), that means we’re going to be seeing some of these machines for the first time. And since they’re not posting records yet, that means some of the records are a mystery. I have the feeling a lot of them are going to remain mysteries, but let’s not dwell on that.
Tombstone (0-1) vs. Slap Box (?)
Slap Box sports neon-colored wheels, the team is a family affair, and the driver really hates that he has to take on a hungry Ray Billings right off of the bat. The weapon appears to be some kind of inverse flipper thing. Hoo boy, this will not end well. It starts off by tossing around Tombstone at the cost of both of its wedgelets, then promptly loses both its front tires, followed soon by its left rear tire. In a rare show of restraint, Billings decides that’s enough and backs off; Slap Box, unable to do anything but weak left turns, gets counted out.
Pain Train (?) vs. Slammo (?)
Pain Train has a long “rolling pin” style spinner, while Slammo is a heavy lifter (it’s owner claims it has a maximum lift of 1,000 pounds). The match begins, and…hoo boy, the learning process continues. Pain Train’s driver can’t control his machine at all; it keeps spinning out of control. This allows Slammo to get an easy grapple and…repeatedly lift itself up trying to raise its foe. After numerous it attempts…yes…YES…it does an amazingly weak throw which wouldn’t faze a 9-year-old judo white belt, which the announcers compare it to The Body Slam Heard Around The World!
OKAY, TIME OUT - Quick refresher, folks…the one critical factor into determining how much damage a throw does is speed. The faster the object is moving at the moment it hits the ground, the greater the impact, and hence the more damage done. There are a number of techniques which can maximize the speed of a throw, such as utilizing gravity by lifting the body higher or following the opponent’s momentum. However, the fact remains that simply lifting the opponent about a foot and feebly plopping it on the ground is never going to do serious damage. In fact, unless the rules specifically state that contact with the ground is defeat (like in sumo), such a maneuver is essentially worthless. In short, there’s really no reason to get all hyper over thoroughly unimpressive throws like what Slammo just did. Let’s keep things in perspective, shall we?
A bunch of bumper-cars later, Pain Train, which has shown zero effective offense so far, comes to a halt, and it looks like this one’s in the books. Incredibly Pain Train lurches to life on just the count of 2, but it dies for good just a few seconds later, and Slammo, down to one working arm, is victorious.
Perfect Phoenix (1-0) vs. Skorpios (0-1)
Skorpios holds back with the saw at first, not wanting to risk a clash against Phoenix’s whirling blade. It takes a few minor hits on its armor, and…the strategy seems to work, as Phoenix’s spinner is soon silent. Generally when one bot has a working weapon and the other doesn’t this early in the match, it’s all over but the bellyaching. It ends when Skorpios shoves its foe into the screws, where it remains until it’s counted dead. Equality, yo!
Ribbot (1-0) vs. Madcatter (1-0)
Trivia: Madcatter’s driver, Martin Mason, is a loudmouth who blows a lot of smoke in prematch comments. Generally these are the types of competitors 1. I hope get creamed at some point and 2. usually do. Ribbot gets some nice hits in the beginning, but Madcatter fires back with a big tumbling shot. Ribbot loses most of its cosmetic face, which happens pretty much every time and I wonder why they keep putting those useless parts on. Madcatter flips Ribbot over! It can still move but its handling is severely compromised. And…both their weapons shut down, and we’ve just entered the “Break! Box! Break! Box! Break! Box!” portion of the fight. A bit of pushing, and…Madcatter’s weapon fires up! And gets another hit…which does little but flip Ribbot right side up. And Ribbot pushes Madcatter back, and…they get locked up. Will…no, disengage, more maneuvering. And…time. If nothing else, we got to see different flavors of ineffectual futzing around. Predictable UD for Madcatter.
Now a sneak preview of one of the most unusual entrants we’ve ever seen here, Chomp, a machine with no wheels whatsoever. It’s a walker, moving around via two rows of three jointed legs; perched atop it is a rotating turret bearing its weapon, a pick-hammer. (And some little torch thing, which I expect to accomplish precisely jack and squat.) By rule a walker has double the weight maximum of a normal bot, 500 pounds. This allows it to be as sturdy as a turtle, which is fortunate as these things are about as quick as one as well. Rose calls it an impressive feat of engineering, which I’m guessing is the only time the word “impressive” will ever be used in association with this cement-foot. (1-2, all decisions, almost no real damage dished out or taken, manages to avoid being a total embarrassment which counts as its “triumph”. You heard it here first.) Its first opponent is Gamma 9, a…wedge lifter? Oh gods.
Chomp vs. Gamma 9
Gamma 9 moves around a lot! Gamma 9 slams into the wall for no apparent reason! Gamma 9 goes for a lift! Gamma 9 lifts Chomp a few inches! Gamma 9 drops Chomp! Chomp fires the pick-hammer and misses! Chomp fires the pick-hammer again and misses again! Now Chomp is atop Gamma 9! What was that about these not being sumo bots? In the end, Chomp gets the nod by the score of Didn’t Not Do Any Damage to Did In Fact Not Fail To Do No Damage. Learning process!
Malice (1-0) vs. Shatter (1-0)
Malice’s owner, Bunny Soriel, is going with a more compact spinner for this match, while Adam Wrigley of Team Shatter has switched to a shorter hammer arm. There’s plenty of fine tuning in this sport; making adjustments is simply a necessary part of staying competitive. (Got that, Ninja vs. Ninja schmucks? ) The first few seconds see several of Shatter’s panels fly off, but don’t worry, that’s supposed to happen! Then a weapon-to-weapon…and that certainly wasn’t. Shatter’s hammer head goes flying off, reducing the remainder of the weapon to ineffectual karate chops, but Malice also loses a belt and its spinner stops functioning. In valiant “Double Monty Python And The Holy Grail Black Knight” style, they whale away on each other with aplomb. The furious struggle sees both of them smoke a bit, and still they push and shove like stubborn rams. And that’s how it ends. If any fight deserved to be called a straight-down-the-pipe draw, this one did; honestly I wouldn’t be surprised by any decision. Splitter for Malice. Soriel is literally so joyous she’s crying, and…ooh, I have a feeling she’s going to regret calling out Tombstone.
Oh, take your medicine like a damn man, Wrigley. You lost a close one. It happens. Geez.
Main event - Endgame (1-0) vs. Bloodsport (1-0)
Featuring two of the heaviest hitters we’ve seen so far, this is definitely a match with tournament implications. The start is energetic, the two bots chasing each other and trying to get a favorable angle. After a few seconds, they say the hell with it and slam into each other headfirst. Bloodsport’s driver eases off, apparently trying to save energy or avoid burning out; Endgame gets hung up on the killsaw notches and can’t press the attack. Both get fired up again, and…it’s another head-on collision. A wepper (my shorthand for “weapon to weapon hit”…hey, I like this show, may as well get started on these now! ) duel is the most brutal type of fight there is and usually ends quickly, with the edge going to the team that prioritized durability. And…it’s Bloodsport. Endgame’s weapon slows down and it’s all downhill from there, first the weapon stopping, then a lot of smoke pouring out, and then half of the steering shutting down. An agonizing slow death. Well, minus the “slow” part.