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Super heavyweights? I've never once seen them save somebody's life!


This episode takes us through the super heavyweight quarterfinals. What the heck -- since the show doesn't tell us and since I kind of enjoy making these, here's another ladder:

              
  Diesector   |
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              |              |
  Hammertime  |              |
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                             |              |
 New Cruelty  |              |              |
              | New Cruelty  |              |
              |                             |
 No Apologies |                             |
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                                            |
  Vladiator   |                             |
              |                             |
              |              |              |
 Codebreaker  |              |              |
                             |              |
                             |
   Maximus    |              |
              |              |
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   IceBerg    |


Bil and Tim have changed their ties. And they tell us that it's time for tonight's first fight -- Vladiator versus Codebreaker. The two robots look the same as the last time we saw them, so let's get to the fight.

Fightin' time. The two robots charge each other and miss. Codebreaker turns around and reaches Vladiator while Vladiator is still turning around, and tries to attack Vladiator's side with the drum. Vladiator escapes and drives into the corner. Vladiator backs up, going directly over Codebreaker's drum, which throws Vladiator into the air.

Vladiator lines up for a charge. Codebreaker comes over and hits it with the drum. Vladiator goes to the other side for a charge. As Codebreaker approaches, Vladiator moves forward, wedging under Codebreaker and using the lifting plate to give Codebreaker some hang time.

Codebreaker charges Vladiator again, goes up the lifting plate again, and drives over Vladiator's body again.

Vladiator charges, but Codebreaker drives out of the way. Vladiator activates the lifting plate.

Vladiator turns around as Codebreaker charges. Vladiator wedges under Codebreaker and pushes it under the hammer. Both robots get hit.

Vladiator tries to wedge under Codebreaker again while Codebreaker is trying to escape the corner. Codebreaker slips off and Vladiator slams against the wall.

Vladiator backs up. Codebreaker leaves the wall, realizes it's heading toward Vladiator, and turns. But Vladiator wedges under the side of Codebreaker and knocks it around a little more.

Codebreaker is at a severe disadvantage here -- in a fight between drum and wedge, wedge will almost always win because it can easily get under the drum while only taking cosmetic damage. We see this happen again as the two robots meet face-to-face. Vladiator gets under the front of Codebreaker, and up goes the lifting plate. Vladiator starts pushing Codebreaker, though the weight of Codebreaker is lifting Vladiator's rear wheels off the ground. Codebreaker drives off before Vladiator can place it against the wall.

Vladiator wedges under the drum, lifts, and pushes Codebreaker to the wall. Wham.

Vladiator leaves to place its lifting plate back against the ground. Codebreaker comes over to attack while Vladiator fiddles with the plate. One hit. Codebreaker briefly drives up the plate, but drives off. Another hit as Vladiator keeps moving its lifting plate.

Vladiator backs up across the Box, stopping in the corner. The sledgehammer hits Vladiator. When they switch cameras, I can see a black strip of something go flying, but I can't figure out where it came from or what it was caused by -- whether it was caused by the hammer hitting Vladiator, by Codebreaker driving its drum into a screw, or by something else. Since both robots continue to function for the rest of the fight, I guess it doesn't matter too much.

Codebreaker hits Vladiator as Vladiator escapes the hammer. Vladiator drives away. Codebreaker chases and rides over Vladiator's wedge again.

Vladiator charges, but misses. Vladiator lines up for another charge, but Codebreaker drives out of the way. Vladiator drives over to Codebreaker and briefly lifts its side with the lifting plate.

Vladiator charges under Codebreaker's drum again. Codebreaker slips off and Vladiator hits the wall. Codebreaker, feeling sorry for ruining Vladiator's attack by falling off, drives into the wall.

Back to the center of the Box. Vladiator charges but misses. And again. Codebreaker momentarily reaches Vladiator's side.

As Vladiator lines up, Codebreaker comes over. Vladiator does some turning to avoid Codebreaker's drum. Codebreaker gets a small hit on Vladiator. Vladiator drives away.

Vladiator tries lining up another charge, but Codebreaker is weaving, making it difficult. Vladiator misses on a couple of charges.

The two robots circle in close proximity, trying to reach a weak point of the other. Vladiator gets under Codebreaker, lifts the plate, and charges. A nice, long charge across the Box, slamming Codebreaker into the corner wall.

The slam forces Codebreaker onto Vladiator's body, and Codebreaker slides off with its drum facing Vladiator. Vladiator backs into the drum and is tossed over Codebreaker.

Codebreaker gets its drum against the side of Vladiator's lifting plate. Vladiator bounces up and down as the drum hits the plate and Vladiator's body. Codebreaker gets underneath Vladiator and starts to push, but Vladiator escapes.

Vladiator lines up, its rear against the spikes. It charges Codebreaker. But the saws pop up as Vladiator charges over them, tipping Vladiator onto its side and giving Codebreaker an easy chance to attack Vladiator's body with the drum. Codebreaker does so, and knocks Vladiator upside-down.

Vladiator quickly wedges under Codebreaker and lifts, but Codebreaker slides off and Vladiator takes the full brunt of its charge into the wall.

Vladiator charges Codebreaker. As it does so, Codebreaker turns and grazes Vladiator with the drum as Vladiator quickly slows down before hitting the wall. Codebreaker approaches the rear of Vladiator, attacking with the drum. Vladiator is bounced around by the drum and by the killsaws.

Vladiator charges, but Codebreaker dodges. Codebreaker drives kind of onto Vladiator's wedge. Vladiator lifts, and Codebreaker slides off to attack the side of Vladiator.

Codebreaker drives around to the other side of Vladiator and attacks there, sending a small chunk of Lexan flying. Vladiator wedges under Codebreaker and starts to push, but Codebreaker slides off again. Vladiator screams into the wall.

A bump between the two, and Vladiator drives off. The buzzer sounds.

Carmen, then replays. Then to the Box for the judges' decision. The score is 25-20, and the victory goes to Vladiator. Handshakes are exchanged.

Post-fight interviews. Gage Cauchois tells us that he's excited, though his tone of voice really suggests "tense and stern" more than "excited." If that's excited, then it can't be good for his health to keep winning. The other super heavyweight builders tell him he would be better off not building such successful robots.

Then we go to visit Gage and his teammate, Terry, who has built a trebuchet. For those of you not familiar with medieval weaponry, a trebuchet consists of a long piece of wood (a boom) mounted to a pivot point. On one end of the boom are some weights. The other end is attached to a string, which is attached to a sling that contains something heavy. The non-weight end of the boom is locked into position near the ground. When that end is released, the weights on the other end fall, thanks to a little-known physical force called "gravity" (you'll have to look that one up, as I can't explain it). This causes the other end to quickly pivot upward, pulling the sling with it. As the sling reaches the end of its rotation, the heavy object is released. In today's demonstration, that heavy object is a watermelon half. The watermelon completely misses the statues or mannequins that have been set up to be hit with fruit, but as we see the sloppy watermelon chunks on the ground, they dub in Gage saying "Bullseye!" anyway.

And of course, the usual disclaimer: Don't go building one of these things unless you know what you're doing or unless you can stand to make a lot of money in a lawsuit after being hurt by what you're doing.

They hype the upcoming fights, and then it's time for BattleBots trivia. "How many judges officiate a BattleBots match? A. Two, B. Three, C. Five, or D. Seven." They give us multiple choice on this, but not the hammer weight question? I was watching this episode with someone who normally pays little attention to BattleBots, and even they knew the answer, because Mark Beiro just told us about three minutes ago.

After the suspenseful commercial break, we discover that the answer is "Three." Next week, they'll ask how many robots are in an average BattleBots match.

The next super heavyweight quarterfinal match is between Diesector and Hammertime. We're back to Classic Diesector for this fight -- the tail is back on, and so are the hammers. As happens every tournament, Diesector has new hammers. They're not as big as the mini-sledgehammers from last year, but they're bigger than the chisels. And they look a lot fancier. As for Hammertime, I think it looks about the same as it did the last time we saw it. I can't remember. If you don't remember Hammertime at all, it's a robot with a pneumatic overhead hammer (hence the name, obviously). To the best of my knowledge, it has no ties to the rap industry (unless it was acquired in an auction held by Stanley Burrell).

Fightin' time. The two robots head toward each other. Diesector doesn't go barreling into Hammertime, though, since it doesn't want to be punctured. Diesector does a bit of up-close evasive driving. Hammertime overturns and fires its hammer toward nothing. It then releases its excess CO2 in a funny little burst through a hole in the top of the robot -- it looks like Popeye at the end of his cartoons.

Diesector pushes against Hammertime while the hammer is still down, but doesn't get underneath. Hammertime raises the hammer, so Diesector hightails it out of there.

Diesector drives around in a circle, then wedges under the side of Hammertime. It starts pushing Hammertime around the floor. The upper jaw is starting to rise, and Hammertime is starting to tip over. Hammertime is tipped onto its side.

Diesector continues to push Hammertime, and now its side hammers start swinging. Hammertime fires its hammer, so now its body is completely upside-down. Diesector clamps its jaws around Hammertime's body, and, while wailing away with its hammers, pushes Hammertime toward the sledgehammer (okay, the word "hammer" is being used way too much here).

Actually, Diesector stops over the ramrods, but they never appear, so then it pushes Hammertime against the wall. Diesector drives around for a better angle and then pushes Hammertime under the sledgehammer. It looks like Diesector wants to position just the hammer part of Hammertime under the sledgehammer.

Diesector drives away. The sledgehammer drops once, but we can't see whether it hits Hammertime's hammer or not. And I think it did land on the stick part.

And there's the awesome Diesector victory dance! Now it's hammer time!

Hammertime gets the countdown. Walt Lenard draws a cross in midair for the robot, so I'm not expecting any last-second comebacks here. There's zero, and Diesector wins.

Post-fight interview with Donald Hutson. There is no mercy in the quarterfinals.

Commercials. Then Carmen tells me not to build a robot, like she's my mom or something. Carmen as one's mom... talk about your Oedipus complex.

Speaking of Carmen, it's time once again for "This Date in Bot History." If these episodes had run two per week like they did last season, then approximately one year ago, we saw Vladiator free itself from the spikes in a most dramatic fashion in the super heavyweight finals. I didn't have anything funny to say about it then, and I still don't have anything funny to say about it, so I'm moving on.

It's time to see a fight with a robot "that many experts are comparing to Vladiator." What experts? Do you mean the people who watch robots fight? I hope so, because I've always wanted to be an expert at something.

Here's a feature of Maximus that you may never have noticed -- it has two hooks on the side of its wedge. If I'm not mistaken, the idea is that an opponent will quickly ride up the wedge and hit the hooks, which will cause the wedge to lift off the ground, tossing the opponent into the air. I think. If that's not the intention, well, the hooks are still pretty good at doing that.

IceBerg is Maximus' opponent. IceBerg has reattached its plow, but not the two tires it lost in its previous fight. Instead, now the single tires are in the middle of each set of wheels, so each side goes double-single-double.

Fightin' time. The two robots collide in the center of the Box. IceBerg presses and ends up driving up Maximus' wedge for a moment. IceBerg drives away.

Maximus charges, but misses. Then IceBerg rams into Maximus from the side, bouncing Maximus onto IceBerg's body. IceBerg shoves Maximus against the wall. Maximus tries to escape, but IceBerg pins it there.

IceBerg continues to pin Maximus. The ramrods pop up, but don't quite hit IceBerg. IceBerg continues to pin, since Maximus can't score any points while pointed up toward the ceiling. IceBerg finally releases. As soon as Maximus' tires are back on the ground, it zooms away. IceBerg rams the spot where Maximus used to be. IceBerg's plow hits the spikes so hard, it comes very loose.

IceBerg hits Maximus in the side. Then the plow comes completely off, and IceBerg discards it in the corner.

The two bots collide, no advantage to either. Then IceBerg rams into one of Maximus' tires. The two spin in place, and Maximus leaves. Then IceBerg hits Maximus in the side again. IceBerg briefly gets under Maximus, bouncing Maximus around.

IceBerg drives over the spike strip. Maximus is on the other side of the Box. The two meet again, face to face. Maximus' wedge momentarily gets under IceBerg's body. As IceBerg drives around, Maximus upsets it with the wedge again.

IceBerg rams the side of Maximus, but ends up on Maximus' wedge. Maximus starts pushing, and IceBerg quickly finds itself against the wall, bending its rear left wheel. IceBerg comes back and runs into Maximus a couple of times.

Maximus wedges under IceBerg and starts pushing, but that increasingly annoying spinner hub stops Maximus in its tracks.

Iceberg struggles to drive. Maximus charges, wedges under IceBerg, and slams IceBerg against the wall. Now it's Maximus that stays put to pin its opponent for a few seconds.

Maximus releases. IceBerg is having some trouble driving now. Maximus backs off, then goes back over to IceBerg. The saws impede Maximus' progress. Iceberg drives itself into a screw.

Maximus bumps into IceBerg, then drives itself into a different screw. Iceberg drives up onto the spike strip. IceBerg gets off, then has to deal with the ramrods.

But now IceBerg isn't moving. We can see its center tire spinning, but the others refuse to follow suit. Mostly because it appears that that bent wheel in the back is getting worse and inhibiting movement.

IceBerg keeps spinning its tire, but only produces smoke. The ramrods try to hit IceBerg, but can't. Maximus relaxes back in its square.

Only the center two wheels of IceBerg are spinning, and that's not enough to move the bot. Maximus performs some victory spins in the center of the Box. And IceBerg is counted out.

Replays. Then we visit Maximus builder Pat Lidstrom and his remote-control airplanes. We see airplanes fly and we see a small grill cooking some more of those small BattleBots toys that are bugging me because I can't figure out what they are. They're about the size of the Battle Bashers, but that's not what they are. Oh, wait -- are those the McDonald's Happy Meal toys? Okay, sure, if they're from McDonald's, then go ahead and step on them and burn them.

Commercials. And more commercials.

Post-fight interviews. The stands are empty, so I'm guessing that was the last fight of the day. Either that or right now, there's a long line at the Porta-Potties.

The show ends, and we see another shot of that "crystal" nut. Interestingly, the show is using forced perspective here -- that nut is really only three inches tall. It's similar to how they made Brad Wollack look taller than four feet in his interviews last season.

So there we go. Only two more episodes until no BattleBots for a long while. One hour. Six fights. I'm already starting to go through withdrawal, despite the fact that I just finished watching an episode that didn't end the season. Here's some of the unusual behavior I'm exhibiting:

Yelling "It's robot fightin' time!" at inappropriate moments, such as when I'm introduced to a new person, sitting in a meeting, or attending Wimbledon.

Painting red and blue squares on my kitchen floor for my RC toys, followed by creating a hole so I can install my own set of killsaws. After the incident, none of my guests are willing to go get themselves a drink from the fridge.

Dressing up like Mark Beiro.

Building a second shrine to Toro.

Attending a demolition derby, placing a radio transmitter in the hands of a complete stranger, and demanding that they pretend to operate it while the cars are smashing into one another.

Repeatedly calling the "Jeopardy!" offices and suggesting that they do a weekly category devoted to combat robots. I've already been visited by the police twice.

Painting pictures of robots on the inside of my glasses, so it seems like I'm always watching a fight.

Writing summaries of fights that never took place. For example, here's an excerpt from my World Peace vs. Son of Whyachi summary: "World Peace is going to drive into Son of Whyachi with its rear. Son of Whyachi approaches... and tears a huge chunk out of the armor! The dove's head is missing! But now Son of Whyachi has driven itself under the sledgehammer! One hit to the center of Son of Whyachi's spinning cage, and the robot explodes! But, wait! World Peace is smoking! And it explodes! Tiny robot parts are all over the Box -- you can't tell which one is which! And there's a shot of one of the screws! It explodes! This is the most amazing thing I've ever seen! And there's a fan waving a homemade sign!..." And so on. At least this'll save me time when this fight really does take place.

Running around Home Depot with a large saw blade, yelling, "I'm Minion! I'm Minion!"

Actually watching the twenty minutes of replays in every episode of "Robot Wars" with rapt attention.


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