So now everyone’s had at least one match and we have some idea of what these steel warriors are capable of. Now it’s separate-the-men-from-the-boys time…and I get the feeling we’re going to be some very small and sad boys pretty soon.
PRELIMS DAY 6 1/14/21
Valkyrie (1-0) vs. Rotator (0-1)
With any disk spinner stability is key as the wide blade generates so much gyroscopic force that it’s easy to send the machine places the driver doesn’t want. This lesson strikes particularly hard early on as Rotator manages to stay firmly grounded while Valkyrie does lots of involuntary gymnastics. But despite Valkyrie seemingly doing more damage to the floor than its adversary, it seems like Rotator is taking the worst of it. The fight continues, more shots get landed, and Valkyrie seems to have settled down. Then…oh. Part of Rotator’s wedge comes off. That’s the “big knockdown in the 10th round” moment of the fight, and while Rotator can still more, there’s no coming back from that. The judges make a show of carefully examining the bots, continuing fallout from that one really bad decision sometime in the past that surely must have happened. Easy yooner for Valkyrie when all is said and done. Thanks for convincing me that the Beta decision was 100% correct and you deserve absolutely nothing in life, Victor Soto!
Gigabyte (0-1) vs. Extinguisher (0-1)
Both bots looked hapless in their openers; time to see which one’s leaving here everything-less. Big collision which has Extinguisher spinning like a platter. Hammer blow from Extinguisher which misses. Another miss…ooh, and now it’s badly bent and all but useless. I’m thinking if Gigabyte can take out Extinguisher’s tires, that should seal it…and just like that, the left front tire comes off. Extinguisher spins uselessly counterclockwise as the countdown of doom reaches its conclusion. Damn, that is one weak machine.
Sharkoprion (0-1) vs. Slap Box (0-1)
The weeding-out process continues! Sharkoprion does a lot of tail spins, Slap Box moves around a bit, and no, we are not, in fact, at the good contestants just yet. Sharkoprion finally gets a clamp on the lifter, which its driver, Edward Robinson, shrieks and howls like he just won the Giant Nut and the Giant Bolt at the same time (and too in all likelihood). But then Slap Box turns the tables by flipping its foe over! It can still move, but its big jaw doesn’t work inverted, and dammit, there’s still a minute left? It mercifully ends when Sharkoprion has enough and stops moving, allowing Team Slap Box to get that all-important knockout before it drops off the planet.
Robinson admits that he never was going to win the Giant Nut, but he’s glad to inspire children to get into Battlebots. Yeah, might want to aim even lower than that, buddy.
Malice (2-0) vs. Madcatter (2-0)
Now this match is a pretty big deal; heck, it could have been the main event. Both were dominant in their first matches but had to work in the second. Whoever takes this one will have a big leg up in the tournament, while the loser will have a serious uphill climb. (The fact that Bunny Soriel and Martin Mason are two of the biggest windbags in the sport just adds to the tension.) They start off with a few head-on shots, and…Malice is hung up! It got knocked on its back edge, which happens to be flat enough to balance on, and it’s stuck in that position! The driver furiously tries to get it back on its broad side, either broad side. Malice rocks back and forth but can’t drop! Meanwhile Madcatter circles around. We’ve seen drivers who catch lucky breaks early on free their opponents just so the crowd can get a decent fight. Will Mason…come on, get real. An incredibly elementary design flaw turns a slobberknocker into a boring anticlimax. Yeesh.
Tantrum (0-1) vs. Atom #94 (0-1)
I’m fairly certain Atom #94 is not going to score a knockout here. Just a gut feeling. Atom #94 does get a couple good hits at the onset, but Tantrum quickly turns it around, and despite running into the side of the screws area for some dumb reason, flips its adversary and knocks it around a bit, and that’s enough to cause Atom #94 to fail completely. Some fights are every bit as lame as they sound.
Sm(e) (1-0) vs. Pain Train (0-1)
Oh, good Battlebots is doing that city thing. Because that’s such a compelling story in American Ninja Warrior. Pain Train rushes right into that belt, accomplishes precisely zilch, and backs off, thereby setting the tone for this dreary excuse for a fight. Both machines are slowly moving around, a stalemate which abruptly ends when one of Sm(e)’s spinners just kind of falls off…then a few whatevers later, the other spinner runs into Pain Train’s drum, blasting both out of commission. And they shuffle around listlessly and patiently wait for the clock to put a blessed end to this. Terrible, terrible showing on both sides. It is pretty damn sad when the matchmakers feed you creampuff after creampuff after creampuff and you still manage to continually embarrass yourself. Splitter goes to Pain Train, and with that we are completely free to stop giving a damn about either of…oh, right, this is just the second match. Crap.
Main event - Sawblaze (1-0) vs. Uppercut (1-0)
Some guy on one team is a former mentor of some guy on the other team. If I ever find a reason to care, I’ll dig into this a bit more. Uppercut takes the early advantage by knocking Sawblaze onto the screws, but trips over a damn killsaw slot, flipping itself completely around (that gyroscopic forces thing), and can’t follow up. Sawblaze struggles to extricate itself and does so. And then the second blow hits, which causes Sawblaze’s flamethrower mechanism to completely blow up. The show’s going to replay this a gazillion times, of course, but the important point is that using an opponent’s strength against him can work in this sport. Uppercut, despite still being a little crazy-legs, manages to take off a couple more pieces before Sawblaze goes completely dead. Man, you want a bot to beat, this is it, folks!
The victorious driver, Alex Satori, is a tad overwhelmed by what happened. No doubt “instant starmaker” wasn’t what he was going after tonight. He may have some regrets about getting such a signature super shot, as the real story should be the kind of damage he did after that. Remember, that only took out the secondary weapon; it was losing the arm and belt and a bunch of other little stuff that ended Sawblaze’s pretensions.