BattleBots: Sin City Slugfest – Episode 5 Review

Howdy-do everyone, and welcome to the fifth installment of BattleBots: Sin City Slugfest, coming at you on a ludicrously overdue date, just as the new season is about to start. I could make a whole series of excuses surrounding the holidays, mental health, general business, but really this whole escapade has been a bit of a mess – but we’ve made it this far!

Speaking of messes, this episode review will be a hot mess of epic proportions. For all these prior reviews, I’ve gone fight-by-fight, giving an overview of each fight as we go. However, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I cannot for the life of me find these fights anywhere on the internet. Nowhere. They’ve fallen into the void. All this punishment for having the audacity to live in the UK. So, since I last watched this episode several months ago, I’ll be relying mostly on what the BattleBots wiki has to offer, as well as my own very selective memory of events. I know, I had the chance to watch this again ages ago, and I just didn’t. Sucks to be me, I guess.

Anyway, some of your absolute favourite bots such as Black Dragon, Whiplash, and Ghost Raptor for some reason, fought it out in a stacked pool of talent to try and earn the right to fight Witch Doctor. So, without further ado, let’s get this ahem unique review on the road…

First Round

Yup, we’re even condensing the fights into round-by-round sections. We all have lives to get on with, y’know?

Starting things off, Black Dragon, fresh from a pretty underwhelming regular season, were given, on paper, a free hit against construction site reject Overhaul. I’m obliged to use the term ‘on paper’ here, since Overhaul actually controlled the first half of the fight, picking up Black Dragon and bashing it into the floor before delivering a mighty suplex. However, things took an inevitable turn for the worse from here on in, as Black Dragon targeted Overhaul’s wheels, flipping it over and taking it into the short corner before time ran out. The damage to Overhaul was the telling factor, and Black Dragon went through.

Perfect Phoenix returned for a cameo having been absent from the regular season. They faced off against SubZero in round one, following a predictably SubZero-style season. Armed with their meaty front plough and flipper, SubZero came charging at Perfect Phoenix and managed to get a solid flip in, before doing what SubZero does best and kamikaze-ing itself straight into Perfect Phoenix’s weapon. A wheel was lost, the flipper was lost, and, ultimately, the fight was lost. Although Perfect Phoenix lost its weapon and was struggling towards the end of the fight, it look the judges’ decision unanimously.

The next clash, between two season one veterans, is probably one of the strangest fights to have ever taken place on BattleBots. The Captain Shrederator team admitted prior to the fight that they may have been out having some ‘what happens in Vegas’ shenanigans, meaning they didn’t have time to fit the shell they wanted against Ghost Raptor. It showed in the fight, as it struggled to spin up, struggling to do any real damage to Ghost Raptor… apart from when its weapon inexplicably came flying off. It also caught fire, but somehow Captain Shrederator seemingly wasn’t responsible for any of this, and Ghost Raptor took the judges’ decision because… well, reasons I guess.

The final fight of the first round ended up being the closest, quite surprisingly. Whiplash, pretty much everyone’s champions-elect before any tournament even begins, took on Hijinx, an awkward bot you would expect Matt Vasquez to be able to control relatively easily. But it was Hijinx who came out with some pro gamer strats, leading with its tail to high-centre Whiplash, but was unable to do anything meaningful to it. As soon as Whiplash managed to get a hold of proceedings it dominated Hijinx, flipping it over and sending it into the screws. In the fourth judges’ decision of the night (gotta keep ‘em busy, eh), Whiplash took it unanimously.

So, Black Dragon, Perfect Phoenix, Ghost Raptor, and Whiplash are the four survivors. Overhaul, Captain Shrederator, and Hijinx will all be back soon enough in season 7, but SubZero won’t be back for some time. I’m sure all three of its fans will be fine.

Second Round

Phew, that was a rollercoaster wasn’t it? Well, stay strapped in because the years truly do not stop coming.

Black Dragon and Perfect Phoenix were subsequently drawn together in round two, and played out one of the most predictably one-sided fights in recent memory, owing to the facts that 1) Perfect Phoenix only entered the arena half-functional, and 2) it was about ten years out of date to begin with. Oh, it was also about 100 lbs. lighter than its opponent. So it was little surprise to see its front wedge torn off, its bar to be chewed up and caved in, and to be launched about ten feet into the air before crashing back down in a crumpled mess. The first KO of the night belongs to Black Dragon, and it was a pretty routine one.

The second fight was as straight-forward as the previous one, with Whiplash taking Ghost Raptor into the screws and consummately putting it on its back, leaving it at the mercy of the referee’s countdown. There isn’t much else to say really, that’s pretty much all that happened.

So, we get the final clash we all predicted, Black Dragon vs. Whiplash. Perfect Phoenix and Ghost Raptor won’t be returning for season 7 – in the case of the latter, ever. Thank f**k.

Whiplash vs. Black Dragon

So, it’s the one we predicted from the start, a rematch of the 2020 semi-finals, USA vs. Brazil, Whiplash vs. Black Dragon. What a fight we would have here, thought everyone. And it was a good fight, just a lot more one-sided than we may have expected, as Black Dragon spent most of the fight on its back, in a combination of awkward positions, most spectacularly when it was grappled by Whiplash’s lifter and plonked on top of the upper deck. Having spent most of the fight upside-down and without its weapon doing anything significant, it was another easy judges’ decision to be handed to Whiplash.

Black Dragon may be out, but they’ll be back for the next season, stronger than ever or some generic nonsense like that.

Whiplash vs. Witch Doctor

So, here it is, the final fight for the final spot in the coveted Golden Bolt Tournament, which I definitely remember in its entirety and am definitely not basing anything off what I read on the internet… jeez, this is more of a mess than I thought.

From what I recall, Whiplash, for the fourth fight in a row negating the use of its spinner, was able to control Witch Doctor for the first bit of the fight, pinning it against the wall, but struggled to do anything meaningful to disrupt Witch Doctor’s momentum. Whiplash was able to pin its opponent against the upper deck and, in a spectacular display, sent Witch Doctor somersaulting on top of the deck before it came back down with a vengeance. A few good shots to the side of Whiplash left one of its wheels hanging off and, perhaps more problematically, left it upside down with it’s lifter out of commission. A knock-out, somewhat surprisingly, for Witch Doctor, which left it free to go marching on into the final bracket.

And so, that mercifully brings this speedrun review to an end. I hope you all enjoyed reading it more than I enjoyed writing it, which was a pretty low bar to set. But this episode is yonks in the past anyway, and we’ll have a new season to look forward to before you know it. There’s still one more episode of this current series to get through first though, but who knows how long that’ll take.

Anyway, one more to go and then we’re all done. And next up it’s the finale; eight of the very best slugging it out for the Golden Bolt, which will apparently decide once and for all who is the one bot to rule them all… despite the whole last season we just sat through and the new one that’s going to start in a couple days’ time. Maybe it’s best not to overthink it.

Thanks for reading everyone, and see you all again soon.

All images belong to BattleBots.

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