YMMV / BattleBots

  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The ABC version's first season was much derided for the endless amounts of padding used to make four three minute fights fit into an hour-long episode. The second season remedied this by removing much of the interminable analysis by the commentators and adding more fights to each episode.
    • They attempted one after some fans were disappointed by Bite Force winning ABC Season 1 with a wedge. They added a new rule that effectively kills wedges... though it didn't exactly work out in pleasing fans. See Scrappy Mechanic below.
  • Badass Decay:
    • Ghost Raptor was a massive underdog in the first ABC season due to Chuck Pitzer's improvisational ingenuity, reaching the final four before losing to eventual champions Bite Force. In season 2, they fought twice and lost twice- badly. In the first bout they were torn apart by Son of Whyachi when they tried to tank its attacks before striking back, only to have its blade get caught up in its design. After getting a wild card into the next round anyway, they got convincingly beaten by Razorback when they got turned over and were unable to self-right.
    • Icewave suffered from a similar scenario. In its first appearance, Icewave was seen as a massive contender for the Giant Nut, and placed at #2 on the seeding. It made mincemeat out of Razorback and Chomp before losing in a Shocking Elimination to the aforementioned Ghost Raptor in the quarter-finals. However, due to a combination of this and the fact that it was virtually unchanged from before, it suffered heavily in Season 2. Icewave barely won its initial battle over SubZero, having lost the use of its weapon and only won because SubZero couldn't get under them to flip them over. In its second fight however, it wasn't so lucky. They lost in an endurance battle with Nightmare of all robots, dishing out several hits before promptly shutting down, losing the Round of 32. Now Icewave isn't nearly as popular as it once was, when it was initially considered to be almost unbeatable.
  • Broken Base: The revival has created plenty in the community.
    • The removal of weight-divisions. Before it was lightweight, middleweight, heavyweight, and superheavyweight. Now the tournament is based entirely around the heavyweight division. This either kills the variety, or adds more focus to the tournament aspect of the game.
    • Modifications before battle. Some say it's unfair to modify your robot before a match to give you an edge, going as far as to call it "cheating". However, others argue that it is necessary to adapt to an opponent in order to survive (Ghost Raptor vs. Icewave is often brought up) and that the fixes and modifications make for a fairer, more interesting fight.
    • Multibots. Like the above, some people don't think it's fair for one team to fight another two or three vs. one. But weight has to be divided into multiple bots, meaning there are disadvantages to doing so.
    • Weaponless robots are sometimes considered boring as they cannot inflict any direct damage, dependent on stage hazards. They didn't become the dominant type of robot until the time BattleBots went off the air, but there were already plenty of strong contenders in the Comedy Central run, such as The Big B, Zion, IceBerg, New Cruelty, Bad Attitude, Punjar, War Machine, Turtle, Electric Lunch, and Double Agent. At the same time, however, these robots gain admiration from some other fans due to their dependence on good piloting skills by their operators in order to perform decently.
      • Weaponless bots are a lot more popular among British fans, as Robot Wars competitor Storm II went almost completely undefeated in their original show using only good driving and unrivaled speednote , and is still a fan favorite.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Tombstone, once the most universally loved robot, eventually moved into this by the second season. While it finally won, as many had hoped, it was certainly helped by the new rules put in place to make sure that it wouldn't be able to lose, which rubbed many the wrong way. This has left many claiming Tombstone to be a blatant Creator's Pet, whose victory was solely attributed to BattleBots excessively nerfing the one effective means of countering its spinning bar, likely in hopes to produce more ratings.
    • Chomp for much of the second season, for reasons discussed in The Scrappy entry.
  • Creator's Pet: Tombstone is starting to get this reaction to some, despite having a large fanbase. This is primarily due to the fact that when it lost ABC Season 1 to a powerful wedge in the finals, Battlebots responded by changing the scoring system to make it so that defensive add-ons like the one Bite Force used will make you lose points for aggression, attacking without a primary weapon contributes no points whatever, and recoil damage doesn't count as damage towards the robot. It was all a completely transparent attempt to make sure their fan-favorite and rating puller wouldn't lose again, much to the dismay of the audience. They got their wish when, as expected, Tombstone steamrolled the competition to the Giant Nut with little effort.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Minion, along with his "brother," Overkill. Diesector and TazBot were also insanely popular if merchandise sales were anything to go by.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Between fans of technically-minded, precision driven bots (Bite Force, Lock-Jaw), and fans of more carnage inclined spinners (Tombstone, Icewave, Minotaur).
    • For that matter, Tombstone fans vs. everyone else.
    • Also, Inertia Labs fans vs. those of Tombstone and Minotaur, who took down Bronco in reboot seasons 1 and 2, respectively.
  • Friendly Fandoms: There is little rivalry between fans of BattleBots and Robot Wars, although occasionally they get into relatively good-natured arguments about which show has the better robots. Most fans of robot combat just watch both shows.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Surgeon General's introduction in this fight qualifies as its builder died in a car accident a few years later.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: From the reboot, the biggest "Holy SHIT!" moment was probably at the end of the battle between Tombstone and Bronco, where Ray Billings taunted his already-disabled opponent with "You want more?" while Bronco was being counted out, went in for one more vicious attack on the crippled machine, and hit it so hard that Tombstone hurled ITSELF across the arena, tearing open its casing and spilling its internals across the floor, probably ending the battle in an even worse condition that its opponentwith the Grand Final still to come!
    • The 2016 season has seen a couple of these moments so far, especially Red Devil's sawblade cutting deep into Witch Doctor's battery, filling the Battlebox with choking smoke and spilling a spreading pool of battery acid across the floor, Warhead flying across the Battlebox floor balance upside-down on its disc to slam into a shattered and flaming Complete Control one more time, and Poison Arrow's clash with Son of Whyachi sending the favourites flying ten feet through the air, knocking them out with a single blow!
    • Another 2016 episode featured HyperShock knocking Warrior Clan's drone out of the air with a rake.
  • Love to Hate: Hazard. It dominated the middle-weight division and won three tournaments without losing once. Naturally, it got a little annoying for some viewers. It made it all the more satisfying when it was finally defeated by T-Minus. Mark Beiro himself even lampshaded it right before that fateful match.
    • The Complete Control team deliberately cultivated this reaction in the 2016 ABC season.
  • Memetic Badass: Tombstone has achieved this level within the fandom, to the point where many still see it as unbeatable despite losing the finals. Bronco has gotten this reputation as well. Icewave was initially almost on the level of Tombstone, until it got uphanded by a weaponless Ghost Raptor.
  • Memetic Loser: Radioactive in ABC Season 1, since it was literally made of plastic, broke down just from driving, and got torn apart by Tombstone. Chrome Fly got this reputation in ABC Season 2, because its weapon broke just by hitting its opponent and literally got ass-handed by Bronco. Icewave has fallen to this level as well after losing a battle of endurance to Nightmare of all robots.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Reinforced plastic" quickly became an in-joke with the community following Tombstone's "fight" with Radioactive.
    • "Jam up", due to co-host Kenny Florian's repeated use of the term.
    • The net in the box from Complete Control, joked so much that Derek Young may Never Live It Down.
    • Ghost Raptor having a sabretooth cat logo is commonly joked about.
    • Lucky's team being Canadian but the team captain being an American who yells "CANADA!".
    • "Win goes to Chomp", due to Chomp winning against The Disk O' Inferno despite being the obvious loser in the fight. The primary joke being that Chomp will always win a judges decision, just because the driver is female.
    • "PRIMARY WEAPONS", after the number of times the commentators would use this term during battles, as this was apparently the only judging criteria that was worth anything under the new rules.
  • More Popular Spin-off: Borderline case, but this is the show that introduced basic-cable viewers (and producers) to the people who would become the MythBusters.
  • Never Live It Down: Icewave was a Memetic Badass seen as an equal to Tombstone until it went up against Ghost Raptor. Team Icewave will never be able to escape the fact that they lost to a robot that broke its weapon in a Curb-Stomp Battle, where they were universally predicted to win. Now, hardly anyone is betting on Icewave to win a championship.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Although BattleBots didn't air its first season until 2000, there were two tournaments the year before: the first was a webcast, and the second was a PPV that added veteran boxing producer Lenny Stucker to the fold. The PPV was packaged into a Pilot that was used to pitch BattleBots to networks as a television series. The whole thing has its roots in Robot Wars, which began in 1994 in the USA. The Robot Wars USA tournaments continued until 1997. In 1998 The BBC took over the "Robot Wars" name to produce the TV show fans are familiar with, and the next year BattleBots began.
    • Some robots in the reboot fit. For example, most people think Icewave is a new robot that was introduced in the show, but it's actually been competing since 2004. Tombstone, under both that name and as Last Rites, had been competing for longer than that.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman and Grant Imahara were competitors before MythBusters (and before Imahara worked for Hyneman's shop). Hyneman and Savage - who had known each other in special effects circles for years - collaborated on a bot called Blendo, which was considered to be too dangerous for competition several times. Imahara built Deadblow, a popular and beloved middleweight bot that often dominated its weight class (or would have if not for being in the same weight class as Hazard.)
  • The Scrappy:
    • Evil Cheese Wedge, a robot Comedy Central bought off eBay, decorated, and used in several filler shorts in the fifth season.
    • To some viewers, Carmen Electra.
    • Voltronic, mainly because of its Boring Yet Practical design that wasn't fun to watch, but highly successful.
    • Overhaul, due to its team being considered Sore Losers and completely over-reacting to being accidentally bumped into by Lockjaw a second or so after the buzzer ran out- to the point where they flat-out refused to shake hands with their opponent afterward.
    • Chomp has quickly gotten into this zone for several reasons. The first being the fact that builder Zoe Stephenson is often used to push the "women can be just as good at Battlebots" agenda down the throats of viewers. Moreover is the fact that Chomp won against The Disk 'O Inferno despite being dominated the whole time because of the skewed new rules (see Scrappy Mechanic below). It's telling when the audience booed when Chomp won.
      • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Some of the heat was dissipated after Chomp cleanly KO'd Captain Shrederator in the next round, especially after its captain Brian Nave had delivered a fair amount of rather personal Trash Talk to Zoe and Chomp before the battle, only to promptly get his ass kicked.
      • Completely done away with after taking out last year's champion (Bite Force) with one precise hit to the center, even if the battle still ended up being close.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: A new rule was added in the ABC Season 2 of Battlebots, stating that damage done without use of the primary weapon does not count toward aggression points, as an Obvious Rule Patch to Bite Force winning the last season with a wedge. In theory, this would mean that fights would no longer become pushing matches and would instead rely on the use of weapons. In reality, this takes driving skill completely out of the equation and more-or-less depends entirely on who has the most functional weapon by the end of the match. As a result, Disk 'O Inferno, Bite Force, Lock-Jaw, and Sawblaze lost to Chomp, Yeti, and Razorback respectively, despite completely controlling their fights and making their opponents look like amateurs. This rule change has become one of the most reviled changes in the sport, as it completely nullifies three of the deciding factors (aggression, strategy, and control) in favor of one (damage) — and even the "damage" aspect is called into question, as Chomp and Razorback did practically no damage with their primary weapons as they were being tossed around the entire fight. It's to the point where Battlebots themselves has to do damage control, defending their decisions over social media. However, very few outside Battlebots like this, including the audiences, who booed when Chomp and Razorback were announced the winners (the former of which was edited out of the show when broadcasted). Particularly egregious was Lock-Jaw's second fight against Brutus. Despite having controlled the entire fight while taking absolutely no damage, Brutus won for literally no other reason than that it used its primary weapon despite being completely ineffective. Under literally any other ruleset Lock-Jaw would've been the obvious winner. To say that there was a backlash when the fight was shown in full would be putting it nicely. Additionally, this makes the competition completely biased in favor of horizontal spinning blades, since a powerful one can destroy any other weapon and now officially has no counter due to the skewed judging decision. Some have even gone as far as to speculate that this was a deliberate decision — after fan-favorite Tombstone lost last season to a wedge, they wanted to make sure something that wouldn't happen again for the sake of ratings (which actually seems to be doing the opposite). The whole change basically hammers home that BattleBots is a reality show first, and a legitimate sport second.
    • Solidified with the Defending Champ losing to Chomp after one precise hit on its blade. Nonetheless the technique Bite Force used was the exact same as it used to defeat Tombstone.
    • Further solidified when, just as the producers wanted, Tombstone won the series with minimal effort; literally the only robot left capable of withstanding its weapon was beta, who gave it their best shot but just couldn't win the judges' decision despite controlling almost the entire fight. Not that Tombstone or its driver Ray Billings should be blamed for this — at the end of his fight with beta, Billings embraced its driver John Reid, having believed Reid had both given him a good fight and possibly beaten Tombstone.
  • Seasonal Rot: ABC Season 2 is getting this reaction despite being on a much bigger playing field. This is largely due to the new rule (explained in detail above) that's completely ruined strategy and control, making the obvious loser in a fight win despite being completely ineffective. On the other hand, the rise of interesting new competitors like Minotaur has resulted in several matches that have gone internationally viral. Notably, the most popular fight from the entire season, Minotaur vs. Blacksmith, was one where the new rules never came into play.
  • Tear Jerker: Sometimes you can't help but feel a little sorry for the builders when they lose. A good example of this is Witch Doctor losing to Red Devil in ABC Season 2. While a CMOA for Red Devil, being a #30 seed that knocked out a #3, you could tell that the team behind Witch Doctor were saddened, having clearly expected to go far in the tournament this time around.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • The 2015 revival has four fights, a maximum of three minutes each... but the show is an hour long. Padding hell ensues, for those who are only interested in the fights. On the flipside, almost all of the fights in the tournament are shown, compared to the original where they skipped a lot of them.
    • The most common reaction to the new scoring system in ABC Season 2, see Scrappy Mechanic above.
  • Tough Act to Follow: After Vlad was retired, he was replaced by the less memorable and less win-prone Vlad II. His superheavyweight sibling Vladiator, on the other hand, was Lightning Bruiser incarnate and remained a serious contender right to the very end.
  • What an Idiot: Common criticism for Carmen Electra being made a presenter by many fans. After Warhead (a robot designed by the team behind famed Robot Wars champion Razer) was defeated by Overkill in its final fight, Electra stated the team "Could really use some driving lessons", despite the fact that the Razer team was renowned for their driving ability, and that Warhead, despite being incredibly difficult to control due to the gyroscopic design of the weapon, had decimated every other robot it had faced due to its precision attacks.
    • This was made even more glaring because Electra had replaced Baywatch star Donna D'Errico. Although hired for similar reasons to Electra, she proved her mettle quickly and became regarded as an excellent interviewer who did extensive research on the robots and their teams. The mistake Electra made above was one D'Errico certainly would not have.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/BattleBots