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/20 September 2000
Battlebots by E.C. Ostermeyer




Screw the Olympics.
Forget Wrestlemania.
Welcome to the "Sport of the Future!"

This is the BattleBots report for Wednesday, 20 September 2000, and I'm your Master of Disaster, "Cracka Slee-zee EeeCee" himself.

Coming to you live on tape from beautiful, deceptively idyllic Fort Mason Pier on fog-shrouded San Francisco Bay. Your hosts are ESPN's Sean "I'll- do-anything-for-a-buck!" Salisbury, and "Neutron Blonde" Bill Dwyer.
Ably assisting Comedy Central's answer to Joey Styles and Joel Gertner are the lovely former Baywatch-ian Donna D'Errico, and evil twins Randy and Jason Sklar.
Bill Nye, "The Science Guy" is along to keep the techno-weenies happy.

"Remote control technical wizardry, ingenious strategy, and heart-wrenching drama!" is the way Sean Salisbury describes the show.
My British friends would describe Mr. Salisbury as being "a bit too wet!"

Our first bout is from the Lightweight Division, and features Backlash, a Jim Smentowski-built little brother to the now-destroyed heavyweight, Nightmare. Backlash, looking like what you'd get if Freddy Kruger and a pizza cutter had a child, has a spinning fifteen -inch stainless steel disk as its primary weapon system.
It's opponent, the Crusher, is a 52-lbs steel and plastic wedge driven by it's designer, 10-year-old Gus Steyer.
A short biopic of Jim Smentowski paints a picture of a kindly, friendly neighbor that builds engines of destruction in his garage. Jim's slightly uneasy neighbors are constantly checking the whereabouts of their children and pets. His wife, the lovely long-suffering Erica, says that Jim's got a lot of fingers in a lot of pies, but that she is getting comfortable with the idea of being the weird family on the block.
Up in the stands, Randy and Jason Sklar interview NBA star Tom Tolbert, who's attending tonight's event with his family. Tolbert's enjoying the organized mayhem.
"Everybody loves to see a good ass-kicking, especially if it's not on them!"
Tolbert's also glad that
"...these people have an outlet for their viciousness, because if they didn't, they'd be on the streets, and I want to get these people off the streets. Get 'em in the ring. Let 'em do their thing!"

Over to ring announcer Mark Biero, who introduces the principals for our first match of the evening.

Match #1: Backlash (LW58) d. Crusher (LW52), (K.O. 1:43)

Crusher zooms out of the starting box with tremendous speed. Backlash begins a deliberate quartering of the ring like a malevolent pizza cutter, it's whirling steel disk making an evil hissing sound. Backlash finally succeeds in cornering the twisting, turning Crusher. After a few tentative ranging swipes, Backlash scores a definite Jab that flips the Crusher onto it's side panel. The Crusher hangs there for a few seconds, and then topples over onto it's top.
10-year-old Gus Steyer's no fool, however, as he's built Crusher's drive system so that the wheels work just as well top or bottom, and his 'Bot scuttles away. Upside down, it's true, but none the worse for wear.
Crusher goes careening around the Arena, avoiding the various hazards, and occasionally zooming in for a quick Slam on Backlash.
Oops, Gus wasn't watching where he was going, and Crusher's now-inverted wedge strands the 'Bot so high and dry on one of the safety rails, that the wheels aren't touching the floor.
Backlash moves in, but it's Jab knocks Crusher free of it's predicament. Crusher scuttles away...
...only to get zapped big time by a Kill Saws hazard and tossed a good twenty feet across the Arena!
Crusher appears to be unhurt, and zooms in for a quick Slam, but Backlash blocks the move and counters with a Jab of the whirling steel disk. Another jab from Backlash sends Crusher spinning into the safety rail, where it gets Jabbed again. Backlash moves slowly in for the kill, and rasps a long jagged line across Crusher's stern. Another whirling lunge by Backlash rocks Crusher up off the safety rail, and stands Crusher up on it's side again. Backlash is just toying with Crusher before dropping it back onto the rail. Because Crusher hasn't moved in thirty seconds, the referee slaps the buzzer to stop the contest, and Backlash does it's signature whirligig victory dance.
The instant replay shows Crusher being flung about six feet up in the air off the Kill Saws.

Match stats:
Backlash scored 8 Jabs (weapon hits), 5 Slams (ramming hits) and 1 Hazard Damage (the spectacular Kill Saw shot).
Crusher only managed to score 1 Jab before "turning turtle."

Down to ringside where Donna D'Errico has the two designer/operators. Smentowski, ever gracious in victory, presents Gus Steyer with the remains of the carbide steel drive-shaft off Backlash's primary weapon. Smentowski shattered the drive-shaft on the Crusher's carapace, and he'd like Gus to have it as a trophy.

Dwyer hopes Smentkowski's real proud of himself for beating up on a ten-year old in a parka.


Match #2: Blade Runner (MW114) d. Bad Attitude (MW115), (Drive train destroyed/referee stops contest, 1:24)

Bill Dwyer runs down the fight card for this match, showing Tom Petruccelli's "Bad Attitude" utilizing an efficient wedge design, augmented with a couple of nasty saw blades. Tom hails from San Jose, CA.
Ilya Polyakov's Blade Runner, the pride of Dix Hills NY, looks like an old push mower armed with a pick-axe.
Bill Nye's got a TechSpecs spot on Bad Attitude, paying special attention to the wedge's stationary saw blade customize job, the 5mm-thick aluminum decking armor, and the dual 500W electric motors used to power the hellish contraption.

The match opens with Bad Attitude looking for the quick kayo by ramming Blade Runner a couple of times. Blade Runner shakes off the two Slams, then turns into a "Whirling Dervish o' Doom." Blade Runner pauses momentarily to reverse direction, allowing Bad Attitude to get in another Slam. Reversing itself, Bad Attitude gets a little too close, and takes one tremendous wallop to it's starboard-side fender. The dent cramps up the wheels on that side, restricting Bad Attitude's movement to a slow circle to the right. As Blade Runner moves in to inflict more damage, we get a member of Blade Runner's Team Carnivore explaining how the 'Bot can spin at over 60 mph, which translates to a "buncha pounds per square inch, and whatever gets in the way gets broken!"
Meanwhile, Blade Runner's busily whacking the tar out of the now- stationary Bad Attitude, after momentarily getting bumped by a Ram Spike floor hazard. Blade Runner's last lunge apparently got it hung up on Bad Attitude's custom saw blades, because he's spinning his wheels to no effect. The referee finishes his 30-second immobilization count on Bad Attitude, then hits the buzzer.

Match stats:
Blade Runner got in 7 Jabs with it's whirling pickaxe, and 1 Slam. Bad Attitude only managed to score 2 Slams before it's drive train melted down.
Randy Sklar interviews Ilya Polyakov and Team Carnivore, who attribute their win to "beating the crap" out of their opponent.


Match #3: Grendel (SHW325) d. Diesector (SHW325), (R/C burn-out/ referee stops contest, 1:36)

Pre-match, Dwyer runs the fight card on the contestants. Grendel, ugly as it's namesake, wields an actuator arm tipped with a steel spike that's powered by a garage door spring. It's builder, Team Malicious' Daniel Rupert, is a high school teacher from San Diego, CA, who let his students help him with the construction. San Diego's Team Tazbot has brought Diesector to the party, a 325 behemoth armed with two independently working custom pick-axes, and some wicked-looking grillwork.

The Sklar brothers are dispatched to San Diego to do a live on tape biopic taking the pulse of San Diegans about the upcoming match. Donald Hutson, Diesector's creator, wants the bragging rights as the best killer robot designer of San Diego. Jason Sklar asks Daniel Rupert if the winner of the Battle of San Diego will have his pick of women. This thought that apparently hadn't occurred to Rupert until just now. Sklar then asks, if Grendel goes to Mexico, is he forced to wear some kind of mask? Rupert's still choosing his words carefully.
Jason then asks what Grendel's goal is, to which Rupert replies, like a shot:
"Total robotic domination of the world!"

The match begins with both robots stalking each other, each looking for the quick kill. Diesector sneaks in under Grendel's guard and sticks a couple of Slams for openers. It then jams Grendel over the Ram Spikes for some Hazard Damage. Another collision between the two bumps Grendel onto the Kill Saws this time. There's another Slam by Diesector, with a couple of pick-axe Jabs. Grendel cranks back its actuator arm sl-o-o-o-w-ly, and hits Diesector's front carapace a tremendous wallop! A Slam by Grendel jams Diesector against the spiked safety rail, temporarily immobilizing it.
As Diesector continues to flail away with it's port-side pick-axe, Grendel slowly winds up the spiked actuator arm for another blow...
...and punches a hole clean through Diesector's carapace!
Diesector' not moving, and Bill Dwyer thinks that it's R/C (radio control) circuit may have taken a hit with that last blow. It's still taking swings with the port-side pick-axe though.
Grendel winds up again, and hits Diesector another massive blow with the spike, though it doesn't penetrate this time. As Grendel backs up and positions itself for the killing blow, the referee hits the 30-second buzzer, ending the bout.

Signs in the crowd:

"I Love the Smell of Metal in the Morning"
"The Junkyard is --> --> -->That Way!"

Match stats:
Grendel scored 2 Slams, and 6 Jabs.
Diesector had 0 Slams, 7 Jabs, and 2 Hazard Damage.
Ahead on points, Diesector would have won had it been able to last the course. Dwyer says that it was those two Slams Grendel got in that decided the match.

Salisbury and Dwyer recap the victors who move on to the next level,(Backlash, Blade Runner, and Grendel), and the losers, who move on to the scrap pile, (Crusher, Bad Attitude and Diesector.)

The "Hit of the Week" is the Crusher hitting the Kill Saws and being tossed end-over-end across the Arena.

See you next week.

E.C. Ostemeyer
[slash] wrestling

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Guest column text copyright (C) 2000 by the individual author and used with permission