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Series / BattleBots

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BattleBots is a popular show about fighting robots that first aired on Comedy Central for five seasons from 2000 until 2002, and then on ABC from 2015 to 2016 and Discovery Channel from 2018 onwards.

The show is an American version of Robot Wars, which makes sense since they both share a common ancestor in the original Robot Wars competitions in the United States during the early and mid 1990s.

It was hosted in the first two seasons by Bil Dwyer and Sean Salisbury. In the third season Sean was replaced by Tim Green. Mark Beiro did the robot announcements in all five seasons. An oral history of the show, and combat robotics in general, can be found here.

The show had strong ratings for most of its run on Comedy Central, especially for a (mostly) non-comedic and unscripted sports program, but declining viewership and network interest led to its cancellation in 2002. BattleBots Inc. ran a few untelevised tournaments in the years following, but the show did not return to TV for another thirteen years.


A six-episode revival season premiered on ABC in 2015, hosted by commentators Chris Rose and Kenny Florian and in-ring announcements by Faruq Tauheed. Some changes were made to the rules, notably allowing flamethrowers and the overall removal of weight divisions - with one division set between the limits of the original Heavyweight and Super Heavyweight divisions. ABC renewed the series for a second season that premiered on June 23, 2016, with a revised, 56-team tournament format, and the addition of drones.

ABC did not renew the revival for a third season, but Discovery Channel's sister network Science picked up reruns of the ABC seasons in 2017, and then greenlit a third season which premiered May 11, 2018, on both Science and Discovery. The Discovery iteration of the show now features a new setup (dubbed "Fight Night") in which all robots compete in four matches, and their record from those fights determines their qualification for a 16-seed tournament at the end of the season. A fourth revival season began airing on Discovery in June 2019.


A fifth was to air in May 2020; due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, filming of the season was delayed until later in the year with its format temporarily adjusted: three Fight Night matches per bot and no qualifier events like the Desperado Tournament, instead expanding the tournament to a 32-seed bracket. The season also added a series of side tournaments (BattleBots: Bounty Hunters) hosted after the main event. A sixth season (plus a second season of Bounty Hunters), keeping this format, was filmed in 2021 and began airing January 2022, from a new venue in Las Vegas with a revamped arena.

BattleBots champions (unmarked spoilers below):

    Original Comedy Central run (2000-2002) 
  • Season 1 (2000):
    • Lightweight division: Backlash
    • Middleweight division: Hazard
    • Heavyweight division: Vlad the Impaler
    • Superheavyweight division: Minion

  • Season 2 (2000):
    • Lightweight: Ziggo
    • Middleweight: Spaz
    • Heavyweight: BioHazard
    • Superheavyweight: Diesector

  • Season 3 (2001):
    • Lightweight: Dr. Inferno Jr.
    • Middleweight: Hazard
    • Heavyweight: Son of Whyachi
    • Superheavyweight: Vladiator

  • Season 4 (2001):
    • Lightweight: Ziggo
    • Middleweight: Hazard
    • Heavyweight: BioHazard
    • Superheavyweight: Toro

  • Season 5 (2002):
    • Lightweight: Dr. Inferno Jr.
    • Middleweight: T-Minus
    • Heavyweight: BioHazard
    • Superheavyweight: Diesector

    Revival ABC/Discovery run (2015-present) 
  • Season 1 (2015): Bite Force
  • Season 2 (2016): Tombstone
  • Season 3 (2018): Bite Force
    • Desperado Tournament: Lock-Jaw (eliminated by Minotaur in semifinal)
  • Season 4 (2019): Bite Force
    • Desperado Tournament: Black Dragon (eliminated by Lock-Jaw in round of 16)
  • Season 5 (2020): End Game
    • Bounty Hunters: Rotator (defeated Bronco), Skorpios (defeated Icewave), Gruff (lost to Tombstone), Lock-Jaw (defeated Beta), SubZero (lost to Witch Doctor), Gigabyte (defeated Son of Whyachi)
  • Season 6 (2021): Tantrum
    • Bounty Hunters: TBA

This show provides examples of:

  • Aftershow: From reboot Season 2 onward, the show got Tale of the Tape, hosted by members of the Hypershock and Witch Doctor teams. The show was broadcast over Twitch the night after an episode aired, and were later added to the show's (and later, Team Witch Doctor's) official Youtube account.
  • Animal Motif: Various robots, but most notably...
    • Black Dragon, Copperhead, DUCK!, Hydra, and Mammoth each resemble their namesakes.
    • Warhead resembles a scorpion, and in ABC Season 2, it has a large T. rex head.
    • Chomp's name, flamethrower, and color make it resemble a dragon. Its 2020 iteration seemed to opt for "fire-breathing horseshoe crab" instead.
    • Lock-Jaw's color and weapon make it resemble a lizard.
    • A bit more subtle than the rest, but Beta somewhat resembles a stingray.
    • Despite Kraken's name, the bot itself resembles an anglerfish.
    • Pretty much every robot entered by Craig Danby is based off of a fox.
    • Quantum's weapon looks like a wolf.
    • Death Roll is modeled after a crocodile.
    • Ribbot is a frog, natch. In an exhibition match against Valkyrie, its opponent had decorative wings attached to look like a fly.
    • Sharkoprion: Take a guess.
  • Artifact Title:
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Many of the bots, including some of the most dangerous, have some sort of weak point that will completely cripple the bot if the competitor can land a successful hit on it. Exposed or lightly-protected wheels are the most common, but others had specific weaknesses:
    • beta has its weapon mechanism. Any weapon that could reach over its wedge and hit its completely unprotected actuator would eliminate its hammer immediately, something both Nightmare and an upside-down Tombstone were able to do.
    • Long-time veteran Nightmare has no ability to self-right and its elevated design and high center of gravity make it very easy for wedges to tip over. It tends to lose more matches to getting tipped than being damaged. beta in particular exploited this to gain a win after Nightmare broke its hammer.
    • Tombstone tends to damage itself with its own recoil. Most of The Dreaded bot's injuries throughout the ABC seasons were self-inflicted due to the enormous force placed on it whenever it hit something solid with its spinner, including a hit in Season 1 that ripped it open and spilled its guts on the floor, And in the Discovery Channel seasons where it actually lost in the regular season to Rotator, the multi-planning double-horizontal spinner, who used this very idea to his advantage, learning from a past fight using their unique wedge configuration to beat Icewave. Subverted in that Tombstone still has an excellent driver and has won many a match with a broken or disabled weapon.
    • Any bot with a flamethrower has its fuel system. This resulted in Warrior Clan's drone Dragon exploding in a fight with Hypershock after Hypershock hit a pressurized fuel tank and in Complete Control having a literal meltdown after Warhead severed a fuel line, which caught fire.
    • Minion from the original series had a 1 inch radio receiver located at the top of the robot, which was covered by some lexan armor on top. During one match in Season 4, it went up against No Apologies, which had an overhead spike. No Apologies proceeded to use that spike and you can guess where that spike actually hit.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Walkers. Mechadon and Snake, two robots built by combat robot pioneer Mark Setrakian that competed in the early seasons, and Chomp in the later series, are excellent examples: They were all gorgeous and marvels of engineering, but they weren't exactly useful in a combat setting. Son of Whyachi is a heavy aversion though, being a walking robot that plowed through a competition undefeated due to its spinning armor and tiny but rapid steps.
    • Tracked robots to a lesser extent (one side always seemed to give out or rip, leaving the robot going in circles). Averted heavily with Bite Force, who had durable tracks with magnetic material that gave it extra traction. Its superior control and maneuverability led to it winning the competition in the first season of the reboot (though not without close calls).
    • Many weapon designs fell into this category as well. Those spikey drop-hammers, toothed grills, and Spiked Wheels looked very fearsome, and would wreak havoc against humans; since the show wasn't "Robots Vs. Humans", and the other robots usually had some level of armor plating, they usually proved slightly less effective.
      • Flywheel-powered flippers, like Warrior Clan's main robot in the ABC reboot, are very difficult to design and build due to the complex and robust mechanical linkage needed to transfer the flywheel's stored energy to the flipper arm. It's much easier to just hit the other robot with your flywheel - which is the basic principle of spinners like Nightmare.
    • Multi-bots, teams of robots working together functioning as one unit, rarely perform well due to them requiring excellent teamwork from the operators, the tendency for at least one unit to get taken out of commission mid-match, and their size disadvantage against their non-multi adversaries. Averted in the ABC run with Witch Doctor and Shaman, a two-bot team that has advanced to the quarterfinals due to their asymmetry.
    • Some robots also fit- a notable example of this is Warhead. Whilst perhaps one of the most iconic robots in the franchise, it's considered by some to be more 'show' than 'go'. Shaped like a scorpion with sectioned armor plating, a raising/lowering tail, moveable "wings" and a spinning dome-shaped blade on the front, it certainly looks fearsome- to the point where it resembles a bio-mechanical creature rather than a combat robot. While it performed well in the original series, it was curbstomped twice in the first series of the reboot.
      • Warhead may qualify even more in the ABC run's second season, as its original spinning dome is now interchangeable with a giant clamp/lifter/flamethrower system that resembles the head of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, designed to crush down onto and burn opponents as well as giving it a means of more effectively fighting the Stone Wall anti-spinner designs that plagued it previously. It did prove effective in burning down Obwalden Overlord (see below), but it truly found its time to shine in the 2018 competition in which it completed its season with a record of 3 wins and 1 loss, resulting in Warhead's team receiving an invitation to the Top 16 (out of 55) despite them arriving late and having to rush. note 
      • The Obwalden Overlord, from Series 2 of the ABC run, is another excellent example. A humanoid bot with articulated arms that were operated by motion control, it was too slow to put up much of a fight. Its attacking arm didn't even work and simply dragged along the ground. It ended the battle with its internals on fire and a good portion of it melted.
    • Drones were introduced in the ABC run's second season. While cool, they turned out to be unmaneuverable and more of a hindrance than a benefit. Bombshell's drone ended up wedging one of its props on the side of the arena and couldn't take off again. By the following competition, drones had largely disappeared from the competition, with the exception of a camera drone from a noncompetitornote .
      After a drone drops out of the air and flips upside down, rendering itself immobile
      Chris Rose: What's the point of those drones, Kenny?
      Kenny Florian: I'm not sure, Chris.
    • "Untethered projectile weapons" (Such as cannonballs, bullets and arrows) were long considered to be the ultimate taboo in robot combat, and they were banned outright at the very start of the sport. For the reboots, these rules were relaxed and the first projectile robot, Double Jeopardy, competed in 2018. Double Jeopardy could have been a game-changer, but it was inaccurate, unreliable, had only one slug per match and didn't seem to do a whole lot of damage. The team had committed to the 2020 tournament with an upgraded projectile system, including carrying multiple shots, but withdrew due to the pandemic; time will tell if they return for another event.
  • Battle Trophy: A common occurrence. If a bot shreds parts of another bot during their fight and wins, the losing team usually allows the winning team to keep the shredded parts as a souvenir. Best exemplified by the fight between Bite Force and Tombstone in Discovery Season 2: Bite Force snapped Tombstone's blade in half (which in turn knocked off a wheel), and as Tombstone was being counted out, Bite Force collected the broken half of the blade to take back to its square, intent on keeping it as a souvenir. Tombstone's driver Ray Billings allowed Bite Force's driver Paul Ventamiglia to keep the part.
  • Best for Last: The main tournament are seeded this way to allow the highest ranking bots to face each other in the end after the "fodder" has been cleared. The reboot explicitly shows this, as the Top 4 robots (Tombstone, Icewave, Bite Force, and Bronco) all make it to the quarter-finals and most of them got there through Curb Stomp Battles (with the exception of Bite Force, see below).
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Wedges. Voltronic in particular screams this trope. Its weapon was a slow lifting arm that had small spikes pop out from the bottom when it grabbed something. It would then carry the opponent around, with them unable to retaliate because their wheels weren't touching anything. Voltronic won most of its fights by doing this, even after a rule was added stating robots could not "pin" another for more than 30 seconds: If the trapped robot could still move, they had to let go.
      • One of the most pioneering robots in the history of combat robotics was La Machine, built by Battlebots creators Trey Roski and Greg Munson. It was a wedge with no weapons that dominated competitions in the earlier '90s through its superior pushing power and the excellent driving of Gage Cauchois, who later built Vlad the Impaler.
      • Bite Force's tactic in the 2015 final match was to remove its lower jaw and replace it with a heavy-duty wedge as a defense against Tombstone. Bite Force's go-to maneuver for the match was to come in close from the side and and harry Tombstone to keep the latter bot's spinning blade out of play. Not flashy, but it did make for a rather tense match that lasted the full three minutes.
    • Weaponless robots. So what if they won't cause the thrilling robot destruction a giant flywheel does? Without a big heavy weapon to take up a considerable amount of your weight allotment, you can really pile on the armor to render the opponent's weapon ineffective, or add more motor power, letting you run rings around the other robots or easily overpower them and push them into arena hazards. It's no wonder that Biohazard, Diesector, and Vlad all won multiple Nuts, while Mechavore and Surgeon General got none.
      • In order to combat the "boring" part, the ABC revival added a requirement that all robots must have at least one active weapon system. They took it to an even bigger extreme next season by adding a new rule that any attacks without use of a primary weapon don't count for any points at all. Unfortunately, it didn't work out as well as they had hoped in making fights more entertaining. Instead it just robbed the obvious winner of a fight, and made the game extremely biased towards spinners. Audiences and builders alike hate it.
      • This new rule was removed when the show moved to the Discovery Channel, allowing virtually weaponless robots like Duck! to win fights.
    • Some people actually consider Tombstone to be pretty boring, as it's just a devastating spinning weapon attached to a black box with a pair of wheels, with no style or aesthetic appeal to its design at all. It's massively destructive of course, but all it does it turn its weapon on, drive towards its opponents, and let the weapon destroy them (especially since the only counter to it, heavy wedges, have been nerfed so heavily by the scoring changes they might as well be banned outright). If all you want is destruction, you'd get the same effect by watching robots simply drive into a rock crusher. This is not a new train of thought about a dominant horizontal spinner — some fans thought the same of the nearly-undefeated Hazard in the Comedy Central era. However, with other teams catching on towards using Tombstone's recoil to their advantage, these fights are not seen as boring as they used to be; Tombstone has been on the receiving end of some knockouts due to skilled driving by Ray Billings' opponents.
    • Vlad The Impaler was basically a box with a tiny flipper on the front. That simple and somewhat bland looking Bot went on to be a dominating force and multiple time champion.
    • Spinners. Simply put, the reality of the laws of physics makes spinners the most destructive weapon you can attach to a bot, to the point of making any other weapon a case of Awesome, but Impractical. It's most evident in the revival seasons, where practically every contestant has their bot use a spinner at some point.
  • Bullfight Boss: The only real strategy for pure wedge designs. A favorite of the various Vlad designs, who could make it work. Sharkbyte's owner was a bit savvy about it though.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Robots with rapidly spinning weapons like Son of Whyachi, Ziggo, Turbo, and Tombstone inflict huge amounts of damage with each hit they deal, but each time they do so, they tend to get flung back and take some internal damage too. Opponents with high durability and superior maneuverability can pretty consistently render these spinning weapons useless by repeatedly hitting them until they stop working, which is what No Apologies, The Big B, Buddy Lee Don't Play in the Street, and Witch Doctor did to them, respectively.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "HOLY MOLY!"
    • "The box is locked, the lights are on: It's robot fightin' time!" note 
    • "Let the bot battle begin!"
    • "Uh oh, UH OH!"
    • "HUGE HIT, THERE!"
    • Faruq Tauheed has a habit of introducing bots with the Mad Libs Catch Phrase: "If this bot were a [insert profession or thing], it would be called '[insert Incredibly Lame Pun]'."
      Faruq: If this bot were a radio station, its call letters would be K-I-L-L.
      Faruq: (on Razorback) If it were a rapper, it would be 'The Notorious P.I.G'.note 
      Faruq: (on Yeti) If this bot were a rock band, it would be called 'Tom Yeti and the Bot-Breakers'.
  • Cheerful Child: The ever-adorable "Little" Joe and Ellie Watts of "Bigger Brother"/ "Little Sister" fame.
  • Cherry Tapping: Jabberwock vs. Mauler 51-50. Jabberwock defeated Mauler 51-50 by lightly nudging it. Because Mauler fights by rapidly spinning its entire chassis, this nudge sent Mauler off-balance and ultimately flipped it over with no way to right itself.
  • Combat Break Down: Some fights would start out with two sophisticated machines trading shots from axes or saws. Three minutes later, two dented boxes are pushing each other, the weapons having broken long ago. Example: Mechavore vs. Mauler 51-50.
    • A perfect example is Tombstone vs. Bite Force, the final match of the ABC season. The former's weapon was disabled and its battery was heavily damaged, while the latter had driving problems due to the damage inflicted and could barely move. By the end, both were shoving each other with what little life they had left.
    • And the next year, Tombstone vs. Yeti. Tombstone ripped apart one of Yeti's front tires and the supports for its drum, so it couldn't spin up without hitting the floor, but the chain driving Tombstone's weapon came loose, leading to a pushing match.
    • This essentially was DUCK!'s way to win during the 2019 season's Last Chance Rumble. He still lost.
  • Combat Commentator: Two. Bil and Sean/Tim provided banter for every single match. The reboot features Chris Rose and Kenny Florian doing the same.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Flamethrowers. They look flashy and seem very dangerous, but are really only good for show. They rarely do any damage, and could only have any real impact if the opposing robot's engine is exposed, but you wouldn't need a flamethrower if you get to that point.
    • Averted with Shaman (the minibot of Witch Doctor), which managed to cook at least one of Bronco's motors through the armor.
    • Also averted with Complete Control, which incorporated the flamethrower into its jaws. This design allowed the operators to let loose a targeted jet of flame against a stuck opponent.
    • The second season of the ABC revival introduced drones, which are usually armed with flamethrowers. At this writing, there has only been one case where one such drone has possibly done something to an opposing bot (when Poison Arrow's drone tried to burn down Hypershock while it had Poison Arrow pinned against the wall- Hypershock started smoking and its drive packed it in shortly after this, but it hasn't been confirmed whether the drone was responsible or if it was just a coincidence).
  • Crazy-Prepared: Many robots brought (or improvised) different armor configurations, or different weapon bars, for different types of opponent, but Bombshell brought four completely different weapon modules: a lifting arm (never used), an axe, a vertical spinner, and a horizontal spinner designed to outreach other horizontal spinners and destroy their wheels or weapon chains.
    • Ultimo Destructo also had multiple weapon modules, but only the flipper configuration ever fought due to it losing in the preliminary round to The Ringmaster and not receiving a wild card.
    • Famed robot builder Donald Hutson brought two complete, operational and identical models of his Lock-Jaw robot to the first Discovery Channel season, just in case the first was incapacitated. He eventually needed it due to Lock-Jaw having fought 9 fights, more than any other robot that season. To a lesser extent, Lock-Jaw is one of the few robots to be armored on the inside (Minotaur is another one), as well as just below the vent holes and around its wheels, which was how it was able to withstand Kraken's repeated attempts to target its internals.
    • Not to be outdone by Donald Hutson, Ray Billings brought enough parts to construct three models of Tombstone during the 2019 season. Good thing he did, the Tombstone that fought Rotator caught fire and burned so intensely that everything, including the frame, was considered to be a writeoff.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Usually averted (if a robot was KO'd by taking a lot of punishment, it would usually slow down or lose weapon functionality along the way), but played straight when robots broke down due to internal problems despite looking just fine on the outside. See the Season 5 fight between Tazbot and The Ringmaster for a perfect example. Another good example of this is Son of Whyachi vs. Mechavore in Season 3. Also happened with Bite Force vs. HyperShock in ABC Season 1, in which HyperShock had the advantage (despite being seeded much lower) until it completely gave out, allowing Bite Force to win.
    • One fight should have ended when the loser's robot was disabled; the winner thought it would be funny to smash it to pieces and drop what was left into an arena hazard. The crowd found that... unsporting.
    • HUGE was the only bot to actually put Bite Force on the defensive in Discovery Channel Season 1, and it looked like it was set to actually defeat the former champion—until HUGE just suddenly broke in half, seemingly all on its own. Even Bite Force's team captain Paul Ventimiglia thought he was going to lose, quietly whispering that he attributed this win to luck. It was inferred by both the show and the fans that the team behind HUGE hadn't restored all the damage that Icewave caused to them in their last fight in time for the tournament.
    • In a different sense of this trope, Warhead and Skorpios, despite qualifying for the Top 16 in Discovery Channel Season 1, ultimately did not compete in them as both robots had taken too much damage to continue fighting, and both of their repair teams had run out of spare parts.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Several bots have design flaws due to their favored battle style. Nightmare suffers big time from this. With most of the design being put towards its' deadly vertical spinner, Nightmare has no self-righting mechanism and it's slow and awkward to where a skilled driver can easily get behind it and attack its' three wheels.
  • Crossover: Several robots from the British counterpart show, Robot Wars, entered Battlebots as well. Bigger Brother managed to defeat Mauler in a surprisingly short fight, as did Killerhurtz, and the Razer team built a completely new robot (Warhead) to compete, which ripped Nightmare to shreds. The reverse crossover (Battlebots robots entering Robot Wars) was expressly forbidden by Battlebots' exclusivity clause; Son of Whyachi had to be turned away from the American edition of the show for this reason.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Hazard vs. Zion in Season 5. Despite taking ludicrous amounts of damage, Zion somehow managed to cling to life long enough to send the fight over to the judges. The score? 43 to 2. Arguably a CMOA for Zion, since very few going up against Hazard even made it that far. Out of the 18 robots Hazard faced in its whole career, only six have survived the whole 3 minutes with him (with the one exception noted directly below.)
    • And Hazard vs. T-Minus later in Season 5. Only this time, Hazard was on the receiving end of it.
    • In the ABC season, Bronco's first two matches both consisted of it flipping the other robot upside-down and into the screws on the side of the arena, rendering them unable to move. In the same season, the horizontal spinner bots Tombstone and Icewave's first matches consisted of them starting up their weapons and ripping apart their opponents like they were made of tissue paper.
    • Icewave, in particular, had his wins during the 2018 season as utter destruction, splitting 2 of its opponents (HUGE and Vanquish) in half and knocking a third (Yeti) out in less than a minute. In fact, a lot of fights, especially in the modern reboots, would just go under here.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Ghost Raptor vs. Icewave. To recap, Icewave was The Dreaded throughout the season, having been seeded at #2 (just behind Tombstone, and compared to Ghost Raptor's #10) and reached the quarterfinals through two massive Curb Stomp Battles where it literally tore its opponents to shreds. Ghost Raptor had lost its primary weapon in the first round, and had been forced to improvise jury-rigged replacement weapons, narrowly making it that far through a combination of cunning, guts, and luck. Nearly everyone was certain that Icewave was going to win without a shadow of a doubt. Ghost Raptor then pulled one of the biggest upsets by scoring an awesome KO against Icewave, thanks to an arm attachment called the "De-Icer". It flipped Icewave over, and won the match in less than a minute.
    • The biggest upset of ABC Season 2, #30 seed Red Devil knocking out #3 Witch Doctor. Complicated grab and cut mechanisms usually don't work, but Red Devil's front wedge and claws held Witch Doctor's drum spinner at a safe distance while its circular saw cut through Witch Doctor's top armor and into its batteries.
    • From the very next episode, #27 seed Poison Arrow knocking out #6 seed (and legendary veterans) Son of Whyachi. Despite its lower seeding, SoW's spinning hammers had been looking terrifying so far in the series and was considered a possible serious contender for the Giant Nut, but when its horizontal hammers met Poison Arrow's vertical spinning drum, the resulting release of energy sent Son of Whyachi flying ten feet through the air, knocking it out in one shot.
    • In the 2018 competition on Discovery Channel, Sharkoprion is a robot designed to look and move like a shark and does not appear to be a serious competitor but emerged victorious on its debut match: Deviled Egg was flipped upside-down and its frame was bent in a way to prevent it from moving, and Kraken suffered a sudden mechanical failure. As Sharkoprion was still able to move, albeit extremely slowly, it was declared the winner by knockout.
    • Also in the 2018 season there was Skorpios beating Icewave by a judge's decision. In that fight, Icewave regularly delivered significant damage to its opponent, but Skorpios easily controlled the fight by chasing Icewave around the arena, pushing it into the spikes and screws and not allowing its weapon to spin up to full speed. Skorpios winning the fight for its performance outside of the damage category proved once and for all that "primary weapon" damage is no longer the be-all and end-all in judge's decisions like it had been in ABC Season 2.
    • Once the 2018 season hit the Top 16, the #1 seed and The Dreaded, Tombstone, was eliminated on its first round by Bombshell, a bot that failed to win any matches prior and managed to barely sneak a qualification into the Top 16 via the Last Chance Rumble. In the quarterfinals, the #2 seed, Bronco, which had been undefeated up to that point and managed to do the seemingly impossible by knocking out DUCK!, was then completely manhandled by Whiplash, which used Bronco's curved deflecting bars against it to shove Bronco into corners in ways that rendered Bronco's powerful flipping arm useless.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: T-Minus beating the undefeated Hazard in Season 5.
    • Specifically, Hazard had won 17 fights in a row and claimed three tournament trophies. 12 of its fights ended in KOs. It's quite fitting that its showdown with T-Minus was the last fight Hazard ever had on the show.
    • The 0-4 Bombshell defeating the 4-0 defending champion Tombstone in the Final 16 of the Discovery Season 1 Tournament.
    • Bite Force only lost once in its whole active career. The bot that beat him, and how? Chomp, by snipe-hammering its weapon chain.
  • Demoted to Extra: Bite Force in Season 2 of the reboot. The robot that won the championship the year before had just one televised fight. Which it lost, for reasons stated above.
    • Icewave, who was a serious contender for the championship the previous season, had neither of its fights televised. This one partially has to do with its decreased reputation.
  • Determinator: Zion. Several other robots are also like this.
    • In Season 4.0's lightweight division, The Big B began in the Round of 512, the very bottom of the preliminaries. It defeated Cold Chisel in the Round of 512, Shockwave in the Round of 256, Space Madness in the Round of 128, and Fang in the Round of 64 to escape the preliminaries. It then defeated Gamma Raptor in the Round of 32, Das Bot in the Round of 16, Slap 'Em Silly in the quarterfinals, and Carnage Raptor in the semifinals to face Ziggo in the finals. The Big B then became the first and only bot to survive the three minutes against Ziggo and barely lost by the judges' decision, 24-21. The Big B would not go down for any reason.
    • Discovery Channel Season 1 has Minotaur pitted against Tombstone in their debut matches. Most bots are destroyed in one hit from Tombstone's spinning blade, and while Minotaur's spinning drum was quickly taken out of commission, it was still able to move and thus kept getting hit by that spinning blade over and over, refusing to go least, until luck would have it, Minotaur got stuck on a piece of twisted-up floor (which the bots themselves caused due to their weapons being that powerful) and couldn't get out.
  • Deus ex Machina: Some robots get dominated for most of their match, but win in the end because their opponent's engine suddenly stops working.
    • Surgeon General vs. OverKill in Season 4.0. The former had been tearing the latter apart for most of the match, but then it got its spinning blade stuck in OverKill's knife, and was driven over the killsaws where it got incapacitated.
    • Bite Force vs. HyperShock in the reboot. Despite being seeded much higher by the professionals (#3 vs. #14), the former was being tossed around the entire match and the latter was the clear winner... until its engine gave out.
    • This can also apply to the rules governing BattleBots competitions themselves. On ABC Season 2, they put in a new rule that stated that only damage from the primary weapon would be counted for points. This led to cases where a bot would be completely overwhelmed by another but still win because the other bot did not have a primary weapon and this bot did. Thankfully, this rule was removed for the Discovery Channel.
    • For Discovery Channel Season 1, they had the Last Chance Rumble for an entry into the tournament of 16. Despite DUCK! playing the Rumble better than anyone, the winner turned out to be Bombshell who, while dealing the most damage, spent almost the entire match high centered in the arena, and was only in consideration because it was able to move before the time expired.
  • Divide and Conquer: An occasional tactic used during the three-way preliminary matches and rumbles.
    • During ABC Season 2, Invader and Lycan fought each other and disabled each other's weapons, then found themselves unable to move, allowing Mohawk to advance.
    • In Discovery Channel Season 1, though Duck! was a participant and contributed from beginning to end, it spent most of its debut match keeping some distance from Mecha Rampage and Free Shipping duking it out. Mecha Rampage was then set on fire as it tore away one of Free Shipping's wheels and one of its lifting arms, allowing Duck! to come in and knock them both around with ease.
    • DUCK! would attempt to try this again in the Last Chance Rumble. After the other robots dealt massive damage to each other, DUCK! then proceeded to manhandle the robots still remaining. It only lost because Bombshell did the most damage initially, but then proceeded to high center itself for most of the fight, only coming back with mere seconds left.
  • Double Knockout:
    • A lot of robot combat fans remember the awesome One-Hit KO Nightmare dealt to Slam Job in Season 3. What some may forget is that Nightmare broke down when it delivered that attack. You can tell by watching: After the hit Nightmare's weapon slows to a stop, and Nightmare doesn't budge at all for the rest of the match.
    • Icewave's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Razorback is often seen as its brightest moment, but many forget that Icewave knocked itself out in the process. At the end, tons of smoke emit from the engine and it stops moving. The whole thing had to be replaced.
    • Averted by the Tombstone vs. beta quarterfinal in season 2. At the end of a brutal, close match, both robots completely stopped moving in the final seconds. For a week after the show aired, It was ambiguous as to whether both had simultaneously stopped working, or their drivers simply opted to not move their robots anymore. It was then discovered that the match clock had malfunctioned in the final seconds and as a result, the match had to be stopped. In a Reddit AMA, Tombstone driver and builder Ray Billings said that Tombstone was still operational when the match was called and he had every reason to believe beta was too. However, he added that this error had no impact on the actual match.
    • Discovery Channel Season 1 has the three-way fight between The Four Horsemen, Double Jeopardy, and Gamma 9. Double Jeopardy was knocked out about halfway through and War of The Four Horsemen stopped moving later, but Gamma 9's final charge to knock out Pestilence of The Four Horsemen knocked itself out too. A real nail-biter, as this happened with less than 10 seconds left in the match, meaning it went to a judges' decision rather than a declared knockout as usual.
    • This almost happened again in Discovery Channel Season 1 with Monsoon vs. Petunia. Monsoon stopped moving due to recoil damage striking against Petunia's heavy armor. A few seconds later, Petunia stopped moving too due to its insides having caught on fire. Monsoon was able to move a bit during the countdown though, averting this trope.
    • The second instance in Discovery Channel Season 1 did happen with Yeti vs. Whiplash in the Round of 16, however. Despite having spent most of the match at the mercy of Whiplash and breaking down, Whiplash started smoking and simultaneously became unresponsive too. Like in the match between The Four Horsemen, Double Jeopardy, and Gamma 9, this double knockout happened within the final 10 seconds of the match, so no actual knockout was declared.
    • In Discovery Channel Season 2, Deep Six hit Nelly the Ellybot hard enough to knock both bots out of the fight, with the two referees counting down simultaneously to declare a simultaneous knock out. But because the tournament's rules state that a winner has to be declared, Deep Six was given the win on account of how much more damage it did.
    • Discovery Channel Season 4 saw Tombstone vs. Mammoth, in which a heavy hit from Tombstone sent itself rebounding into the arena wall and left both bots crabwalking without controlled movement (which under the new rules that season constitutes a knockout). This led to both Tombstone and Mammoth being counted out simultaneously, although Tombstone was later declared the winner by judges's decision.
  • Drop the Hammer:
    • Quite a few robots, although most used a pointed tip instead of a blunt end. The Judge played this trope straight, though.
    • The Pulverizer, the most destructive obstacle in the arena. If the bot designer does not have a plan for getting away from the giant hammers, then you just know that's where they will end up.
  • Duel to the Death: Every single fight.
  • Explosive Overclocking:
    • Mauler 51-50 was notorious for this.
    • An accidental version was Hellachopper in Season 2 of the ABC reboot. According to Word of God, its ferocious spinning blades were supposed to be set to 1600rpm, but were accidentally geared higher, and during its spin-up test it supposedly exceeded 2000rpm. This may not sound like much of a difference, but given the diameter of Hellachopper's weapon that's a huge increase in weapon speed, to the point it was actually fighting wind shear. The resultant strain burnt out its speed controller. Literally.
    • Battle Royale With Cheese had a bacon-shaped spinner that was so fast that they were asked to dial down the speed in order to participate. Unfortunately, they dialed it down too much.
    • This tends to happen to Fusion since it uses both a vertical drum spinner and a horizontal spinner. In Discovery Channel Season 3, all its losses had it smoking if not outright bursting into flames.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Most people favored cool, often out-right intimidating names for their robots, but there are some examples of this in the opposite direction. Examples include Sunshine Lollibot, Mouser Mecha Catbot, Timmy, Sallad, Ziggo, Tentomushi, Crash Test Dummy, Huggy Bear, Buddy Lee Don't Play in the Street, Subject to Change Without Reason, and Little Sister.
    • The Four Horsemen have War, Pestilence, Famine, and...Buttercup. It's a tiny wedge bot note  that's dandelion yellow and covered in flower stickers. However, Buttercup was the only one of its brothers to survive their first televised match of the 2018 season, so...
  • Follow the Leader: In-Universe. Any time a successful design was created, the next season would have several imitators.
  • Foreshadowing: Warhead actually tried to do its now-famous "spinning on its head" move in Season 1, during its battle against Stinger. Stinger didn't give it the chance. Of course, Complete Control the following season could do nothing to stop it, and the rest is history.
  • Fragile Speedster: Stinger and Bite Force are remarkably speedy robots, but they have comparatively less defense than most others.
  • Friendly Enemy: Outside of a few personal rivalries, most teams are friendly with each other and will provide assistance and lend parts to help others get ready for fights. One good example is how Rusty became a pit favorite in the third Discovery Channel season and both Team Hurtz (beta) and Team SawBlaze (SawBlaze) immediately helped David Eaton rebuild his bot after fighting him in the box.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Nightmare, whose huge vertical spinning blade was definitely one of the nastiest weapons on the show... but the bot had two completely exposed wheels that were ripped off plenty of times in the course of the show, and to top it all off, its shape made it very easy to tip over. Nightmare was involved in some of the most spectacular knockouts in the history of BattleBots, but more often than not, it was on the receiving end of those knockouts. Nightmare's lightweight companion, Backlash, which was lower to the ground and consequently had better balance, was far more effective and made it to the lightweight finals more than once, winning in Season One.
      • Given its infamous instability, Nightmare's lack of a self-righting mechanism before the 2016 season made things even worse. An opposing robot didn't really have to have a weapon to defeat Nightmare: all it really had to do was survive a couple of hits. The terrific forces involved would typically either disable Nightmare's weapon or throw it across the arena. It finally did get a srimech in 2016, but in its first battle, Nightmare was thrown on its back and the srimech failed to work. While it received a wildcard into the next round and didn't need the srimech in its battle against Icewave, it was destroyed completely in the battle and was unable to be repaired, which ultimately cost them the battle against beta.
    • Tombstone, mainly because it trades in stability for power. When it first rolled onto the scene in the reboot, it seemed invincible. It won its first two matches by tearing through its opponents like they were made of tissue paper. However, when it hits something with actual armor, the recoil is insane. It literally knocks itself across the arena. When it hits something hard enough, its own blade snaps in half.
      • Averted in the 2016 series, though. Tombstone simply does not break down any more. The only damage it ever suffered in the entire series was its weapon drive chain slipping off against Yeti, and while it hadn't been able to completely disable Yeti, it had already done enough damage to it to take the judges' decision easily.
    • In ABC Season 2 it's easier to name the spinner robots that aren't this trope. Many, many spinning weapons have landed a single blow and then simply stopped working, in many cases costing the robot the match (Disc-O Inferno, SawBlaze, Overdrive, The Ringmaster...). Ironically, Tombstone isn't one of them, as its fights tend to be over before anything has a chance to go wrong.
  • Glory Days:
    • Son of Whyachi dominated the heavyweight division in Season 3, winning all seven of its matches en route to a championship. After a rules change forced it into the superheavyweight division, it struggled to replicate its earlier success, losing in a first-round knockout in Season 4 and in the second round in Season 5. When it returned in ABC Season 2 it tore through the qualifiers with ease, but was Punched Across the Room by Poison Arrow and knocked out in the Round of 32. Son of Whyachi had a strong showing in the first two Discovery seasons, though was still stymied in the championship tournaments and was eventually retired (and unretired for one last bout in 2020).
    • This applies to a number of bots that did well in early seasons but whose designs became outdated later on, such as Backlash, Mauler, El Diablo, Deadblow, and a number of others. Later, even bots such as Biohazard would become subject to this in post-Battlebots tournaments, as fierce young teams with updated designs and more money began taking over the sport on the independent scene.
    • Warhead in Season 5 in the original series performed well, winning five fights and making into the quarter-finals. Then, thirteen years later it returned for the reboot almost completely unchanged externally. It was utterly curbstomped in the qualifiers against Bite Force. Then it got a second chance thanks to the Wild Card and competed in the Round of 16, where it was subsequently curbstomped again, this time by Stinger. To be fair however, it did have a very unlucky draw against two of the top spinner-killer designs in the series, the former of which ultimately went on to win the series after tanking fellow spinner and competition favourite Tombstone with similar effectiveness.
      • Warhead is so far subverting this in Season 2 of the reboot, however, mauling Obwalden Overlord with ease before subjecting Complete Control to one of the most spectacular curb-stompings in Battlebots history, showing that the power of the spinner has increased a lot. Sadly, this was demonstrated when Minotaur's circular spinner ripped it off, which sent the disc into the screws and then all the way across the arena.
    • Several of the robots that had been feared, strong contenders in the early days of robot combat had become functionally obsolete by the time of the Comedy Central show. The most notable case was of Jamie Hyneman's Blendo, one of the first full-body spinners and a robot that was at one time considered so vicious and dangerous that Hyneman was twice asked to remove it from competition and given a special award. As early as the 1999 Las Vegas pay-per-view, Blendo had begun to show its age, as robots began to be built with modifications to specifically counter it. Additionally, advancements in the full-body spinner field made Blendo - which never received significant updates and kept using an internal combustion engine that was started by Hyneman manually inserting a power drill into the top of the robot - seem like yesterday's news. In the three television seasons it competed in, it never won a single match, despite receiving byes into the first round each time due to its reputation. Other very early, pioneering robots like La Machine and The Master went through similar decay, although The Master did well enough in season 3 to make it all the way to the quarter-finals.
    • Bronco, built by Inertia Labs, had previously lived up to its predecessors (i.e. Toro and T-Minus) success, making at least the Quarter Finals in the previous 3 seasons of the reboot. Come Season 4 however, it seems the other robots have its number as it lost all its fights and thus ended the season with a 0-4 record, including a fight with Free Shipping which saw Bronco's flipper break off.
  • History Repeats: After the underrated control bot Bite Force used its thick wedge to tank the spinning blade attacks of #1 seed Tombstone and win the first reboot series on a judges' decision, the producers changed the scoring system for the second season so that actions taken with defensive add-ons like wedges and shields are worth no points at all, damage is the alpha and omega of scoring points rather than control or aggression, and self-inflicted damage (such as recoil shocks taken by a spinner when it hits something) isn't counted as damage against a robot unless it's actually knocked out. Those two rules work in favor of the fan-favorite (read: ratings puller) Tombstone, as they served as the perfect counter to the deadly robot. In the first few episodes of the second series, spinner and blade robots are all over the place and several control bots have lost controversial battles (most notably Lock-Jaw, which lost two back-to-back fights against spinner-armed robots that the fans think they utterly dominated). Fans of robot combat who remember the infamous Seventh (and for more than 12 years, final) Series of Robot Warsnote  are getting a horrible sinking feeling in their stomachs...
    • On a less negative note, ABC Season 2 wasn't the first robot combat tournament in which the 19th seed reached the final by beating a highly-fancied spinner in a shock upset, only to lose to the top seed in the final. It happened first in Robot Wars Series 4.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Son of Whyachi in Season 4. In preparation against a bot with a spinning blade that could theoretically cause damage to its own hammers, they tried to raise the hammers to hit just above the blade and attempted to compensate by adding weight to the base of the robot so it would not go off balance. At the start of the fight, it immediately helicoptered into the battle box wall before it could even get out of the starting square. Even its team was amused.
    Terry Ewart: Well that didn't work for shit!!!
    • Tombstone could get overly aggressive in the ring, which occasionally come back to bite it in the ass due to its extremely powerful spinning blade. It sheared off its first blade due to a hard hit in one match and managed to blow itself open (spilling out its batteries and wiring) in another match, although in the first case the hit that broke the blade also won it the match by flipping its opponent over, and in the second it was right before the buzzer when its opponent was already being counted out. In the latter case however, it would end up costing it the championship, going up against Bite Force with a damaged battery that left its weapon useless halfway in.
      • Laser-Guided Karma: The hit that had blown Tombstone open in the battle against Bronco was totally uncalled for as Bronco had already been completely immobilised. Roboteer Ray Billings was fond of showing off the destructive power of Tombstone by laying into already defeated robots to maximise the damage, often cheekily asking the camera things like "One more for luck?" You could tell he regretted it immediately when he went in for one more shot on the smoking carcass of Bronco and nearly blew his own robot apart. In Season 2, Billings learned from his mistake: Instead of pulling gratuitous killshots once the other robot was immobilized, he'd find chunks he'd taken off earlier in the match and have Tombstone fling them around while its opponent was counted out. Fans got the ooh-and-aah moment of Tombstone knocking stuff around the arena, and Tombstone didn't risk serious damage from relatively needless hits.
      • And then it happens again to Tombstone in 2018. Ray's first match of the season ends with a knockout victory against Minotaur in the season premiere by high-centering Minotaur onto a piece of the Battlebox peeled up from the base. After reaching the postseason tournament as the #1 seed with a clean sweep of knockouts, Bombshell gets revenge for 2016 by high-centering Tombstone on its weapon chain that was severed and flung off after a series of head-on collisions.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • While tiny by most "humongous mecha" standards, Mechadon towered over every other robot in the show, thanks to its huge legs.
    • The record tallest bot in the entire competiton's history, however, was the appropriately-named Tower of Power, which stood 7 feet (2.2 meters) tall. Interestingly, despite its large size, it was in the middleweight division, though it failed to win any battles and was retired the year it was introduced.
    • HUGE made its debut in the Discovery Channel era and is the tallest bot in the competition, boasting 44-inch (1.1 meter) wheels, which is necessary due to its highly unusual weapon layout. By defeating SubZero rather decisively, though, it has already surpassed the other very large, tall bots in its potential.
    • Mammoth joined the tournament in 2019, boasting a body even taller than HUGE. After falling just short of the bracket, Mammoth's team returned for the 2020 tournament, where their first fight would be against HUGE, a fight that their team and many fans were hoping to see booked.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: After Warhead pulled off its spectacular KO against Complete Control in ABC Season 2, slamming into it while balancing on its disc, the team admitted during the post-match interview that they'd always known it could do that and had always wanted to but had never gotten the chance. They then joked that now that they'd done it, they could go home.
  • I Know You Know I Know: It's standard practice for bots with multiple configurations to pick the one that's best suited for a particular opponent. When both bots are modular, and the best matchup for each team depends on what the other team uses, it occasionally devolves into this. The showrunners eventually had to crack down on it after certain teams allegedly went back and forth with their respective loadouts for hours, causing a massive headache for the production crew.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: See Spikes of Doom.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Bambino was a robot that never made it to the TV rounds. The reason might have been that it used two baseball bats as its weapons. Bats are fine and dandy against humans, but against robots? Forget about it.
    • To the incredulity of most viewers, Hypershock brought a leaf rake into the arena versus Warrior Clan and its flamethrowing drone, Dragon. About 20 seconds into the battle, Hypershock used the rake to knock Dragon out of the sky. A couple of taps with its spinning drum weapon caused Dragon to violently self-destruct. This became of the most iconic moments of the entire season, to the point that when Hexbug made a Hypershock toy as part of their Battlebots line, they made sure to include the rake.
  • Improvised Weapon: In Season 5, two of the champions decided to modify their bots beyond their expectations in anticipation of fights ahead. Diesector removed its hammers, added a plow to the rear, and a proboscis to its nose in its fight against Final Destiny. Later on, T-Minus uses an extension of its flipping arm against Hazard. In the reboot, Ghost Raptor's primary weapon was destroyed, and the team built an anti-spinner weapon with scrap that was available around the pit, with which they managed to defeat Icewave.
    • The designer of Bite Force states that his robot is designed to have interchangeable weapons and defenses in order to adapt to whatever he has to face next. This became standard practice for several teams in the coming seasons, though some weapons have been more "improvised" than others, like Hypershock's infamous rake.
  • Joke Character:
    • In general, minibots and drones tend to fall into this category. They're largely ineffective and usually get taken out in one blow.
    • Chinkilla, a ridiculous-looking robot with a Jay Leno face. It's main method of attack was flipping robots over by pushing the chin underneath. Unfortunately it was too heavy to enter any of the standard tournaments so it was only seen in exhibition matches.
    • The Wacky Compass
    • At least the Wacky Compass's followup Son of Wacky was a decent robot. On the other hand, Stewbot, an RC toy truck with a trailer filled with LEGO bricks, was not. It was no match for the Pulverizer.
    • Also Crash Test Dummy, As seen here
    • SimCity creator Will Wright entered Chiabot, which was essentially a potted plant on wheels. Its unusual, eye-catching design made it one of the most iconic robots on the show for a time (he entered it in four seasons), but nowadays is largely only known for the time that Complete Control lifted it completely perpendicular to the floor.
      • He also entered Kitty Puff Puff into a 1995 pre-Battlebots Robot Wars competition. This was a mobile block of packing foam that used tape dispensers as weapons.
      • Wright was part of the "Robot Action League", a team that put design, innovation and general uniqueness ahead of destructive power. This had mixed results in their performance on Battlebots: Between the twelve robots they've entered in the seven seasons of the show, they've wound up with a 32-30 winning record.
      • Most of the Robot Action League's wins are courtesy of their best known robot, Tentoumushi, Lisa Winter's famous ladybug sandbox robot. It and its ABC reboot successor Mega Tento owe their moderate success to being well-driven and were difficult to actually KO due to their shape and size, but their main weapon is engulfing the opponent in a ladybug-themed plastic sandbox cover.
    • Radioactive is bulky, slow, and has a single small hammer as its only means of attack. Its normal configuration, shaped like a radioactive symbol, gets in the hammer's way. Amazingly, it actually won the qualifiers and advanced to the main championship. However, it only did so with dumb luck as its opponent was having functioning issues and was rendered useless in its fight. Then it faced Tombstone... where it wasn't so lucky. This was, to boot, from one of the most persistent teams in British Robot Wars, who have competed with Behemoth in every UK-aired series of it bar the first.
    • In the Comedy Central run's later seasons, Battlebots proved so popular that hundreds of entries showed up for each weight class. Not making it to the televised rounds were some truly ineffectual robots:
      • Green Dragon rammed into Scrap Daddy LW55, which caused Green Dragon's right wheel to fall off. It was brought back the following season and was pitted against Death By Monkeys. Green Dragon was defeated again when it drove past the killsaws, which incapacitated it instantly.
      • Alpha Crusader's weapon, a metal pickaxe-like protrusion, got bent when it swung it against the floor.
      • The Black Knight's spinning flails were too weak to be of any effect, with its opponents just plowing straight through them like they weren't there.
      • Hat Rack was a full-body spinner with a huge set of metal pipes attached to its top to resemble its namesake. Its bizarre shape prevented it from winning any battles.
  • Large Ham Announcer:
    • Mark Beiro in the original series provided hammy announcements for each robot before they fight (these were written by the bot builders for him to read). The reboot features Faruq Tauheed in his place, except this time, Faruq is using improv to ham it up.
    • Calling the action is Chris Rose, who can make a fight between two wedge bots sound exciting with his sheer level of ham. Kenny Florian is no slouch either, often getting just as excited as Chris.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: One of the most significant changes made in the 2015 revival were the addition of drones. While still having a ways to go before they could be viable competitors, they would have been unimaginable in the show's original run, where the technology for drones simply wasn't available at the time.
  • Lethal Joke Character / Fighting Clown:
    • Dr. Inferno Jr, to the surprise of everyone including the builder! It looked cute and top-heavy but enjoyed tremendous success thanks to its masterfully designed wedges and locomotive power on par with middleweight robots. It is one of only seven bots to win multiple championships, and even won the lightweight rumble in Season 4.
    • Buddy Lee Don't Play In The Street could qualify for this. While it did look like a toy RC firetruck on the outside, in reality that was just a shell and underneath it was a solidly built robot. All it could do was push opponents, but the operator drove it incredibly well to get some hits in while dodging the opponents' attacks. The result? Buddy Lee made it all the way to the middleweight quarterfinals in season 2.
    • Huggy Bear was a slow, difficult-to-maneuver bot with an H-shaped body. Its schtick was that a bar could slide across the middle part of itself, potentially trapping opponents that wandered into what the operator referred to as its "hug zones" (meaning trapped between the sliding bar and one of the sides of the "H" shape). With this setup, Huggy Bear was able to reach the third round of the competition by moving to the center of the arena, then always turning to face the opponent at all times. Since projectiles are not allowed, the opponent would eventually have to come in close and into a hug zone. Huggy Bear would then take the opposing bot to a stage hazard, usually the Pulverizer in the corner. Huggy Bear was also one of the flattest middleweight competitors, able to No-Sell most spin-bots by slipping right underneath them. Huggy Bear was one of the least aggressive bots, but it didn't need to be.
    • Wrecks is powered by an awkward and extremely slow walking (or rather, waddling) system and equipped with an incredibly powerful and nasty flywheel that has a tendency to dig into the arena floor and send the bot flying across the room. It's been the butt of many jokes by fans, drivers and the commentators, and lost all of its tournament fights in humiliating fashion. But then came the rumble in ABC Season 2, where it was a non-entity until the action between Bite Force and Witch Doctor came closer to it. With an assist from Bite Force, Wrecks was finally able to demonstrate the power of its blade — by knocking Witch Doctor into the air and out of the arena.
    • Chomp in the second season of the reboot. It looks awkward and top-heavy, its hammer arms appear to be made of thin, flexible metal, and due to the team's magnets that were supposed to hold the robot to the floor not working, it does somersaults every time it fires the hammer... but it's also easily the most powerful hammer in the competition at full power, it's guided by a LIDAR system that gives the hammer impressive accuracy, and it can take a surprising amount of punishment due to the hammer arms deflecting like leaf springs when hit instead of permanently bending or snapping, and its sturdy lower belt of AR500 steel. It ended up reaching the quarter finals after putting its hammer through the lid of Captain Shrederator and ripping out a power wire, and severing the weapon chain of Bite Force on the first attack.
    • HUGE is a full-body vertical spinner, the second of its kind in history after the poorly-performing Gyrax and has gigantic plastic wheels (high-grade polypropylene, a tougher version of what 7-Eleven drink cups are made of). It has an incredibly high center of gravity and those wheels are always bending and look like they're about to snap...but they never actually collapse under the weight of the 250-pound bot and allow it to be flexible enough to stay balanced at all times. Said height also proves to be an asset in its debut match against SubZero, whose launching arm is unable to actually reach the main body. Indeed, so little of HUGE is touching the ground that it is near impossible to actually flip or lift; only Mammoth (a bot sporting a massive frame inspired by HUGE's own strategy) has managed to heave enough of HUGE out of the arena to immobilize it.
    • Free Shipping, appropriately enough, looks like a miniature forklift. However, it is backed up by some rather solid armor, a flamethrower, and the excellent driving skills of Gary Gin.
    • After a runner-up finish in 2016, nobody expected Bombshell to get shut out in the regular season in 2018. In a miraculous twist of fate, it wins the six-bot Last Chance Rumble then proceeds to knock out Tombstone in the round of 16...before promptly receiving a One Hit Knock Out from fellow automatic bid winner Lock-Jaw in the quarters.
    • Rusty, an awkwardly-shaped Giant Scrap Robot armed with a pneumatic drill, debuted in 2020 with little fanfare. Rusty's surprising resilience, and solo builder David Eaton's earnestness to compete, immediately endeared it to other teams and the audience alike, and the bot even managed to notch a couple wins under its belt between the regular season and side events.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Happened to Diesector of all bots. It got its hammer stuck in the slot for the killsaws somehow. Naturally, it let the saws cut the hammer off.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Superheavyweight Vladiator relied on its powerful armor and killer speed to ram opponents into submission. Diesector also qualifies, slightly slower than Vladiator but still pretty fast and with a great driver at the controls. Hazard is also one for the middleweights, what with its good speed, toughness, and crazy-high offensive capabilities.
    • Minotaur in the reboot. It has a fast drivetrain, is pretty durable due to its frame being made from very thick aluminum plates, and it sports one of the most destructive spinning weapons in the competition.
  • Limited Sound Effects: The wall of Lexan between the arena and the cameras tended to muffle the robots. To add impact, sound effects were added in post-production. Strange how lightweights and heavyweights with completely different weapons and armor make the same "pop" sound when striking a light hit.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Hundreds of robots have competed, but only a fraction of those have made it to television. Season 2 of the ABC reboot had 56 different robots competing. Discovery Channel's run had seasons with more than 60 robots. If not for the COVID-19 pandemic preventing several teams from travelling to the event, 2020's field would likely have been even larger.
  • Long Runner: Several teams currently active in the Discovery Channel era competed in the original Comedy Central run, but only one - Donald Hutson's Mutant Robots, which currently competes with Lock-Jaw - has appeared in every season since 2000. The team first appeared in the second Battlebots pay-per-view in 1999 and have had perfect attendance ever since.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Son of Whyachi famously exploited the walkers rule in Comedy Central Season 3. The rule stated that any bot that uses a form of motion other than wheels gets an additional 50% weight allowance over the limit. Given that Son of Whyachi's initial form of motion were several sets of lengthy alternating pads continuously driven by a camshaft, it was classified as a walker and allowed the weight allowance which it used to add weight to its weapons systems. Not surprisingly, the bot tore through the heavyweight tournament and won. Obvious Rule Patch came into play and the bot was forced into the super-heavyweight division in the next season where it promptly lost its first fight.note 
    • During the Comedy Central seasons, each team could enroll only one robot per division. Several teams however, have gotten creative in entering two robots in the same division, most notably Team CoolRobots, which owned both Minion and Dreadnaught. Minion was entered under Team CoolRobots while Dreadnaught was entered under Team C2.
    • For the 2015 season, the crew of Complete Control found that the "No entanglements" rule seemed to have been dropped and proceeded to bring in a box filled with fishing net in its fight against Ghost Raptor. Ghost Raptor is immediately tangled and the operators called them on it. The judges decided to restart the match minus the net.
    • The Whyachi's were at it again in the 2020 season. The rules permit pinning an opponent for up to 30 seconds before you must release them, but the rules don't say for how long or how far you must move as part of that release. For Hydra's match against HUGE, they attached a large framework to the front of Hydra allowing them to trap HUGE in the corner, and then just sat there and didn't let HUGE move. When the referee instructed them to release HUGE, they just backed up a few centimetres (not enough for HUGE to actually get away) and then immediately re-engaged a few seconds later.
  • Lovely Assistant: Carmen Electra, Traci Bingham, Donna D'Errico, and Heidi Mark in the original series. Molly McGrath and Samantha Ponder in the reboot.
  • Made of Iron: Most of the competitors if you take it literally. In terms of taking obscene amounts of punishment and still moving, Iceberg and Zion both qualify for their fights against Phrizbee-Ultimate and Hazard.
    • DUCK! is made of a solid aluminum billet with a titanium face shield/lifting arm. Its entire battle strategy is to be the robot that cannot be taken out, and many robots have broken their own weapons on its face.
  • Man on Fire: Less common than in Robot Wars because none of the hazards involved fire. Still happened a few times though, like in Eradicator vs. Swirlee and The Judge vs. No Apologies.
    • With the allowance of flamethrowers in the ABC reboot, this trope is much more common. Most notably and most spectacularly, the fight between Warhead and Complete Control ended with the fuel line for Complete Control's flamethrower rupturing and getting ignited by Warhead's flamethrower.
    • And then outdone in Mecha Rampage vs. Duck! vs. Free Shipping, during which Free Shipping's flamethrower not only set Mecha Rampage on fire, Mecha Rampage was unable to put it out, causing it to slowly burn and melt away over the course of the match and severely depowering it as the match went on.
    • The first episode of Discovery Season 4 saw a lot of bots catching fire in the arena, including Minotaur, Free Shipping, Blacksmith, and Tombstone. Only one of them was knocked out due to fire damage.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Some multibots are designed this way, with one 'main' bot doing the combat while a smaller bot (or even multiple bots) distract the opponent.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The Rumbles at the end of each Comedy Central tournament gathered up all the robots that were still working and threw all of them in the arena at once. One Rumble in Season 2 had about twenty heavyweight robots in it. Twenty. In an arena meant for two. It got confusing.
    • Rumbles are played mostly literally to this trope in the Discovery tournaments, as three-way Fight Night contests with an informal "green square" (just a green box of light shining on the floor rather than a painted square) and adjusted rules to account for the third team. A few exceptions, such as the last chance qualifiers in 2018, do stick closer to the spirit of the Comedy Central Rumbles in terms of mass capacity.
  • Mighty Glacier: Son of Whyachi, at least during season three when its primary method of propulsion was its slow walking feet. Wrecks for the modern reboot version of this.
  • Mutual Kill: Several, see Double Knock Out above. However, the straightest example was Lycan vs. Invader in the pre-qualifiers of ABC Season 2. The former was a Stone Wall that took out its engine by repeatedly hitting it. However, after the latter stopped working, Invader kept spinning, while Lycan continued hitting it for more points. One misaimed attack led to Invader taking out Lycan's drivetrain, rendering it helpless with seconds left. Essentially a case of Taking You with Me, as it allowed the third competitor, Mohawk, to basically take the win without doing anything until the end.
  • My Greatest Second Chance:
    • The reboot featured the "Wild Card" during the qualifiers, where four losing teams were given a second chance to compete in the main event. The four robots that got it were Warhead, Chomp, Overhaul, and Witch Doctor. The former two lost spectacularly on their second chance. The latter two however, won spectacularly.
    • The Discovery Channel tournament system features a mini "Desperado Tournament" where eight teams with losing records could compete in a three-round knock-out tournament with little time for repairs in between bouts. The winner receives a guaranteed spot as one of the Final 16 bots in the post-season tournament. They also receive a Giant Bolt trophy as opposed to the Giant Nut the season winners traditionally receive (Donald Hutson has proved that an old Comedy Central Giant Nut is indeed threaded to fit a Discovery Channel Giant Bolt).
    • While the 2020 season didn't have a Desperado Tournament, it did have Bounty Hunters, six separate tournaments with a similar eight-team bracket. Each winner got one additional "bounty" match against a veteran team, with a larger share of the prize money if they prevailed. While it was filmed after the championship tournament, it gave several teams that didn't have as strong a showing in the regular season another opportunity to impress.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: It'd be easier to name the 'bots this doesn't apply too. Notable examples: Hazard, Vlad the Impaler, Bio-Hazard, Diesector, Nightmare, Deadblow, Overkill, Warhead, Mechavore, Mauler, Techno Destructo.
  • Nerf: Not to any of the bots themselves, but to the arena: The killsaws were previously active the entire match (but rarely used in the ABC era), but in the Discovery Channel era, they are active only during the last 60 seconds.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Happens frequently, if one driver is outmatched, a weapon is particularly effective against the other bot, or if one bot takes significant damage/internal malfunctions early on.
    • Hazard again. The only exception is its fight with T-Minus. It was still a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, but Hazard was on the receiving end of it.
    • In season 2 of the ABC reboot, the Obwalden Overlord took one of these in its qualifying battle against the new Warhead, as its weapon arm was having issues and Warhead's new flamethrower managed to melt some of the "tendons" letting the Overlord move, stopping it from moving.
    • After being virtually untouchable for the entire 2018 season, HUGE suffered one of these to Icewave. Icewave's horizontal spinner ripped HUGE's virtually unbreakable wheel into pieces, and HUGE ended up literally breaking itself in half trying to fight on one wheel.
    • Gigabyte suffered a "box rush" at the hands of Witch Doctor. Before the announcers could even finish saying "Let the bot battle begin!", Witch Doctor was already thrashing Gigabyte around the arena, launching it up in the air several times before trapping it under the Pulverizer.
  • Not the Intended Use: In Discovery Season 4 an 'upper deck' was added on one side of the arena to create an incentive for flippers and lifters, who could launch other bots onto the deck and get them stuck or stranded. However, the space the deck took up in the otherwise-square arena also created a 'short corner' on one side of the Arena. The short corner has seen much more use than the upper deck because, as drivers quickly learned, a front-mounted or full-body spinner bullied into the short corner doesn't have the space to spin up their weapon without the risk of hitting a wall with it. Larger bots even have trouble turning around in it while being bullied.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • The active weapon rule added in the reboot was to ensure that fights wouldn't devolve into three minute bouts of moving ramps jumping over each other. After Bite Force won the first season with a wedge and lifting arms, they made it even more extreme by adding a new rule stating that damage done without using your primary weapon doesn't count towards aggression. However, they clearly Didn't Think This Through, as it completely eliminated factors such as strategy and control in favor of outright damage, making it extremely biased in favor of destructive bots, and fights were won merely by turning on the weapon without hitting anything. It quickly become reviled by both audiences and builders, and was reversed in later seasons.
    • During Comedy Central's original run in Season 1, Voltarc (the same bot that would later be named Voltronic) went up against Biohazard. Using his trademark lifting arm, Voltarc proceeded to lift Biohazard (the fingers on his lifter got caught in the cavity between Biohazard's frame and his wheel, ensuring that the lift was secure unless Voltarc let go), and carried him around the Battlebox, constantly hitting Biohazard with the killsaws during the entire match. Voltarc won the match and Biohazard's driver thought that the match was not played fairly. After that season, the show put in a rule that said that a bot can only "hold" another bot for a maximum of 30 seconds after which the match would be stopped and the bots physically separated. This rule had an additional benefit of freeing bots that were completely stuck to each other.
    • Season 2 of the Comedy Central show had Ziggo versus Backlash for the Lightweight Finals. Ziggo not only managed to knock Backlash onto its side, but it also ended up high-centered near the ramp entrance to the arena. Backlash lost through knockout, but Jim Smentowski said that Ziggo should have been counted out as well. Come Season 3, they added in a rule that stated if both bots were incapacitated at the same time, the match would have to be decided by the judges. And just in time too, as one of the first matches was the Nightmare vs Slam Job hit, which also incapacitated Nightmare as well, forcing the match to be decided by the judges who ultimately awarded Nightmare the win.
      • This nearly impacted the heavyweight final later that season. Son of Whyachi's opponent for the final was Biohazard. During that match, Son of Whyachi did so much damage to Biohazard that not only did it lose the right side of its drivetrain, it also ended up high centered and unable to move. The countdown was issued, and just before the countdown was finished, Biohazard was able to move, albeit in a circle. Biohazard was counted out anyway, causing some level of consternation amongst his team. The executives decided that instead of awarding Son of Whyachi the win by KO, they decided to allow for a judge's decision, in which Son of Whyachi would end up winning anyway. After that season, they put in another rule that stated that if any robot was unable of transitive motion without driving around in circles, they would be classified as incapacitated. Given that Biohazard was moving around in circles during the final moments of that fight, that meant that Biohazard would have lost anyway.
    • Prior to Season 4, walker bots (defined as bots that do not use wheels and use other forms of locomotion to move) had a 50% additional weight allowance. A new contestant in Season 3, Son of Whyachi's initial form of motion were several sets of lengthy alternating pads continuously driven by a camshaft. Because the Walker rule was specific about no wheels, Son of Whyachi was classified as a walker and allowed the weight allowance which it used to add weight to its weapons systems. Not surprisingly, the bot tore through the heavyweight tournament and won. The show stepped prior to Season 4 and not only reduced the weight bonus to 25%, but also wrote in a rule that stated any use of camshafts in locomotion were automatically considered as equal as wheeled bots, meaning that Son of Whyachi could no longer qualify for the weight bonus and was thus forced into the Super-Heavyweight division for the last 2 seasons of Comedy Central's run.
    • During the reboot seasons, certain rules were implemented in response to specific bots:
      • A maximum limit on weapon speed and weight, colloquially named the "Deep Six rule" after a notorious Glass Cannon whose massive spinner destroyed the test box floor during a test gone awry.
      • A ban on polyurethane foam implemented because of Ribbot; while its foam "frog suit" was mostly decorative and offered little protection in combat, it did litter the arena with foam debris that took a great deal of time and effort to clean up after every match.
  • One-Hit KO / Single-Stroke Battle: There are a lot of matchups that featured these. Some of the most notable ones include:
    • Nightmare vs. Slam Job, as outlined above (which actually was a double KO).
    • Son of Whyachi vs. Nightmare, which ended in Son of Whyachi's favor.
    • Any of Team Inertia's flippers against any bot without a self-righting mechanism.
    • Bite Force vs. HyperShock in the third reboot season was technically a two-hit fight, but the first hit was the one that really mattered.
    • Bite Force vs Tombstone in Discovery Season 2. Bite Force happened to snap Tombstone's heaviest blade in half, also taking out his wheel in the process.
    • Blade vs. Dragon Slayer was also technically a two-hit fight, as the latter get a good hit on the former first, which sent flying in the air for a bit. But then Blade spun around and got its first and only hit on Dragon Slayer, knocking off Dragon Slayer's right wedge, denting its right wheel, and sending it to the wall where it rested all the way through the countdown, and the newcomer Blade finally got its first win ever.
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    • In Season 5's Lightweight tournament, Dr. Inferno Jr. lost one of its arms in its very first battle. It covered the broken tip with a wad of bandages and gauze, along with some red food dye to simulate blood, then went on to win the whole darn tournament with half its weaponry!
    • The same thing happened to Minion losing its saw in Season 1 against Gray Matter.
    • Ghost Raptor's spinning blades were severely damaged in the ABC tournament going up against Complete Control. The operators chose to remove the blades entirely, and they managed to get all the way to the semi-finals without them.
    • In S2 of the reboot, Stinger and Yeti both won fights despite losing wheels, and Beta tipped Nightmare over after its hammer got hit hard enough to nearly rip it off the bot. In the next fight, it fought Tombstone to a judges' decision despite its weapon motor and supports being torn apart leaving the hammer flopping around uselessly and only held on by a chain.
    • This didn't work out for Bronco against Minotaur: it kept fighting after losing wheels, but just like King Arthur, Minotaur systematically removed all six of them one by one.
    • Speaking of Minotaur, a closeup on it in a match after losing to Tombstone during the first Discovery Channel season had the phrase "TIS BUT A SCRATCH" stuck on the front.
  • Opening Narration: Previews of the upcoming fights.
  • Out of Focus: The original Comedy Central version of BattleBots was criticized for this, often skipping lower-seeded bot fights in favor of more "TV-friendly" matches, later adding comedy sketches and player backstories that took more time away from the bot fights. As such, even bots that made the TV rounds got ignored, which had the effect of making the tournament seem really disjointed. The Big B is a perfect example of this in Season 4.0, having been completely ignored until its last battle despite the fact that it reached the finals. The ABC reboot thankfully averts this, showing almost every fight in its glory and thankfully avoiding the comedy sketches. The only matches that were skipped were a few in the qualifiers, and they were uploaded online. Only averted in the Discovery seasons further by showcasing at least 5 fights in their first season, and a minimum of seven fights in the second season.
  • P.O.V. Cam: Some robots are fitted with Slam Cams, cameras mounted somewhere on the robot that give a ‘bot’s eye view’ of the battle. The only problem is that they tend to fall off or stop working after the first few hits.
  • Retool: The Channel Hop to the Discovery Channel was accompanied by a revamp of the tournament system, with the season beginning with a round robin competition where each bot gets to participate in multiple battles before those with the most wins proceed to the post-season where they participate in a bracketed tournament. Each episode is also featured like a fight card with a main event between star bots as the climax. There is also a rumble round where three bots face off against each other.
  • Ring Out: Rarer than on its British counterpart, but since the ABC/Discovery seasons' arena has more gaps around the boundaries than that of the Comedy Central seasons, there have been more of these dished out by flippers and vertical spinners, with the first notable instance being Bronco dealing one of these to Stinger TKB in ABC Season 1.
  • Roses Are Red: Parodied in one of Faruq's introductions for Cobalt in ABC Season 2 (the fight was reduced to highlights, so the line wasn't aired, but the full fight plus the introduction was later uploaded to Youtube):
    Faruq: Roses are red, this bot is blue... poems are dumb, you're gonna die!
  • Rules Lawyer: Multiple builders have commented that nobody knows the rulebook as well as the members of Team Whyachi. They have a reputation for exploiting loopholes, oversights, and poor phrasing to do things they're not supposed to do but aren't technically banned, and a read over the Loophole Abuse and Obvious Rule Patch sections will show how they earned it.
  • Running Gag: In the Discovery Channel era, the team drivers will often find goofy ways to ready up for their match, hitting their lock buttons either through silly body language or with props they have in their ringside stations.
  • Russian Reversal: Another of Faruq's introductions, this time for Bite Force in ABC Season 1:
    Faruq: This bot's so tough, when it goes to the dentist, it drills him!
  • Scenery Porn: Viewers were often treated to shots of San Francisco and Las Vegas (depending on where that season's tourney was being held) with no real point except to fill a little time. It happened Once an Episode.
  • Schmuck Bait: Ghost Raptor vs. Complete Control in the reboot. As the robots are being introduced, Complete Control's crew places a large wrapped birthday present in its grip. Ghost Raptor obviously goes right for it with its blades, only for it to contain a net which immediately renders Ghost Raptor's blades useless. However this was declared to violate a long-standing entanglement rule, and the judges decided to restart the match.
    • Ghost Raptor itself would pull one later in the game. Matched against Icewave without any weapon, it seemed like a Curb-Stomp Battle in the making. To counter its design, the team installed the "De-Icer", a metal bar designed to keep Icewave at bay. It worked, throwing Icewave off-balance and rendering it completely incapacitated.
  • Serial Escalation: The second season of Battlebots ABC featured 56 robotsnote , all of whom received televised appearances. This is almost unheard of (in Battlebots at least; Robot Wars went up to 128 entrants in some series).
    • The wedge lower to the ground has the advantage in lifting the other bot, so bots have been pushing their wedges lower and lower, which has backfired when bots briefly get stuck in the killsaw slats or hitting a bump in the floor with their wedge. After the Battlebox was rebuilt for 2020 and removed most of the imperfections, the ground game suddenly became much more prominent, particularly in the final rounds of the championship.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Wedges to those who like them. Otherwise, they're Boring Yet Practical.
  • Skill Gate Character: Icewave. With a spinning bar that reaches three hundred miles an hour and surrounds the whole body, it might seem unbeatable at a first glace and is terrifying to the less-durable bots out there (as Razorback and Chomp can attest to). That being said, Icewave is also very fragile, can't self-right, and does insane recoil damage to itself on each hit. Against less-fragile robots with deadly weapons, or those of much greater durability, Icewave quickly becomes one of the weaker bots in the competition. It's telling when Icewave was first introduced, the robot was thought to be unstoppable, dealing Curb Stomp Battles to the aforementioned Razorback and Chomp. Then it lost to Ghost Raptor in a Darkhorse Victory (and an embarrassing one at that for Icewave, having been flipped by a piece of metal welded to the robot), and in the second season Icewave only barely won against SubZero after taking heavy damage, only to lose in a Victory by Endurance by Nightmare of all robots, the iconic Glass Cannon of the franchise. Icewave has gone from being considered "one of the fiercest robots in the competition" to "overly weak to handle its own weapon" over the course of the series.
  • So Last Season: Warhead suffered from this in the first season of the reboot on account of not improving a great deal since its original appearance in Season 5.0. In the original series, it did very well, reaching the quarter-finals and becoming a very iconic robot to the series. In its next appearance 13 years later, it got curb-stomped twice. However, then there was Season 2...
    • In the second season of the reboot, Ghost Raptor suffered from this more so than anyone else. Despite making the final four in the previous series, taking out crowd favourite Icewave along the way, and supposedly having a much stronger blade weapon in this series, it got completely humiliated twice— first by Son of Whyachi mauling it in Round One, and then making the Wildcards, where it was quickly flipped and left for dead by Razorback.
  • Spikes of Doom: The wall of the arena was lined with them. Several robots used spikes as weapons, but they usually weren't effective. The best moment for spikes was probably the finale of Ankle Biter vs. The Master. Ankle Biter managed to get under The Master and proceeded to ram it into the wall, impaling it on a spike.
  • Spin-Off: BattleBots: Bounty Hunters was aired as a separate show, premiering as an exclusive on Discovery's streaming platform.
  • Spiritual Successor: Several robots in the ABC reboot serve as the successor to previous robots:
    • Bronco is the successor to both Toro & The Matador.
    • Lock-Jaw is a green-painted heavyweight version of Diesector, with the hammers removed and replaced with extra wheels.
    • Complete Control was brought back as a heavyweight version of the middleweight bot with a flamethrower.
    • Invader is this to Megabyte, with Gigabyte as a successor to both bots.
    • Mega Tento is a heavyweight version of the iconic lightweight Tentoumushi from the original series.
    • Ultimo Destructo, the successor to the iconic Techno Destructo from the original series.
  • Stone Wall: New Cruelty, Turtle, Iceberg and Zion, if not in looks. In the reboot, Stinger, Bite Force and DUCK!. Petunia was built as one, and team captain Misha de Graaf admitted that this was a necessary approach due to the nature of its weapon, a crushing spike.
  • Swiss Army Weapon:
    • Diesector's jaws could be used as clamping tools, a wedge, or a lifting arm.
    • Overkill's blade was originally intended to thwack bots into submission, either from above or from the side by spinning around and hitting them with it, but its most successful application has been as a "spinner killer". Particularly in the case of horizontal saw spinners, bots have cut through the blade only to find that in doing so, they've rendered their own weapon useless, allowing Overkill to dominate the rest of the fight by pushing them around. This has happened to MOE, Mechavore, Surgeon General, and Warhead, and is a big reason why Overkill has never lost by knockout.
    • The reboot saw an increase in versatile weapons, such as Whiplash's spinner/lifter arm.
  • Tank-Tread Mecha: Obwalden Overlord from the reboot's second season is a humanoid robot mounted on a motorized wheeled platform. The upper body itself is about the size and proportion of an average human and the robot overall stands half as tall as one. Each of its anatomically accurate (as the builders of this 'bot states) kevlar-spear-fishing-line-for-muscles arm is remotely controlled by separate individuals via a wearable motion capture device.
  • Technical Pacifist: Flippers and lifters. Yeah, they're fighting, but they usually didn't destroy their enemies because they couldn't - flinging a robot into the air does a lot less than you'd think.
  • Teen Genius: Several bot builders were teenagers. Andy Sauro was only 13 years old in his first appearance, and fared pretty well. Subverted with Chrome Fly in the ABC reboot, as while its builder was a teenage prodigy whose drone company had made him a multi-millionaire, Chrome Fly itself was not a particularly good bot.
    • In 2020, Tyler Nguyen entered Perfect Phoenix (itself a reboot of Brutality, effectively a heavyweight-scaled Hazard at the hand of Paul Ventimiglia). Tyler was 11 years old during the taping and is not only a MENSA member, but already had a proven record in sub-lightweight robot combat before joining the big show. In addition, Ray Billings would mentor Nguyen in Perfect Phoenix's run, making Nguyen a star student of the reboot's two champions to that date.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Dr. Inferno Jr's driver, Jason Bardis, claimed that his robot was retiring after its Season 3 tournament win. It entered the Season 4 tourney and lost in its first battle (and it was never aired, so viewers actually thought Bardis DID retire), then returned in full force in Season 5. See Only a Flesh Wound for what happened next.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: El Diablo vs. Ra, Hazard vs. Sabotage. There was also a competitor named Overkill, but its weapon was rather lacking and it won most of its fights by perseverance and not destruction.
    • Especially when Overkill beat Mechavore and Surgeon General during Season 4 by using the big blade to break their weapons. When the teeth on the blades hit the circles in Overkill's blade it bent the tooth and stopped the blade.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • MOE (stands for Marvel of Engineering) was most certainly NOT a marvel in the early seasons. It was seemingly Made of Plasticine and its weapon was totally useless. Then Season 4 rolled around. Cue MOE ripping the wheels off its opponents and smashing large chunks out of them, advancing deep into the tournament. The only reason it went out early in the fifth season is because it had problems with its weapon. Ray Billings has said that MOE's season 4 design was the direct inspiration for his robot Tombstone.
    • Billings himself entered the middleweight Darkness in seasons four and five of the Comedy Central show. The robot was a thwackbot with a pickaxe weapon that had a fair-to-middling record and never went further than the round of 32. After the show went off the air, Billings' next robots were Tombstone and its indie counterpart Last Rites, and that should tell you everything you need to know about how his reputation as a builder improved.
    • Another builder whose reputation greatly improved after an unimpressive run on the Comedy Central show was Paul Ventimiglia, who built the lightweight robot Tantrumnote  which lost its first and only fight in season 3. His next robot Green Wave went 1-1 in season 5. But then, after Battlebots went off the air, Ventimiglia became one of the top competitors in the indie circuit. Green Wave won an untelevised Battlebots competition in 2005, and then his next robot Brutality won another Battlebots event in 2009. When the show returned to TV, he entered Bite Force and proceeded to win the first ABC season, and then the first two Discovery seasons, making Bite Force the second three-time television champion after Hazard.
    • Megabyte, a full-body spinner from the heavyweight division, was eliminated early in the preliminary rounds of the fifth season tournament. After the show's run ended, its builders continued to work on it for non-televised tournaments in later years. A couple years after the end of Battlebots' run, Megabyte fought the Biohazard (who dominated during Battlebots' TV run and is often thought to be the "face" of American robot combat) and completely obliterated it (even worse than Son of Whyachi had done back in season three).
    • Slam Job is another bot whose success in the box has increased significantly after Battlebots' TV run ended. Remembered mostly for being the victim of Nightmare's Crowning Moment Of Awesome, Slam Job is now known as one of the highest-ranked heavyweights on the independent circuit. It even has a victory over the aforementioned Megabyte.
    • The Screws got teeth in season 5, effectively turning them into Killsaws lining the edge of the arena. While they still weren't encountered often, they were much more potent of a hazard than before. Said screws played a big role in the knockout by Iceberg against Phrizbee-Ultimate.
    • Pressure Drop was a walking robot that was meant to lift opponents vertically, then drop them. It didn't stand a chance. Derek Young then rebuilt Pressure Drop as a wheeled bot whose clamp now lifted opponents over and behind itself, like a body slam, and renamed it Complete Control. Complete Control would then live up to its name, repeatedly performing suplexes on its opponents, peaking in Season 4 when it reached the finals. It went up against Hazard, but few robots could stand up to Hazard anyway.
    • Though Ankle Biter had a strong showing at the 1999 Long Beach event, it then suffered a rather long series of first-round losses due to getting tipped over on its rear (not its back, as it's invertible) or getting its wedge stuck on something. Then, for Comedy Central's Season 5.0, Ankle Biter had its wedge swapped out for a self-righting mechanism on its rear and enjoyed six consecutive victories. Ankle Biter's wedge-with-a-spinning-saw-at-the-top design is now one of the more popular ones in robot combat, with several bots sporting it in the Discovery seasons and winning three consecutive Giant Nuts (Bite Force in 2018 and 2019, End Game in 2020).
    • The Australian robot DeathRoll first competed in the second ABC season, where it badly lost in both its only tournament qualifying fight and an exhibition rumble. The team took the next season off, and when the team returned in the second Discovery channel season it had a sturdier, more compact design with a much more damaging weapon. DeathRoll proceeded to sweep its regular season matches and survive all the way to the semifinals, owing to its new weapon power and durability.
    • Multiple robots that underperformed in the first few Discovery seasons had their breakthrough in 2020 with improved designs and more experienced drivers, the most notable being Tantrum (debuted as a weak flipper bot, later evolved into a Pint-Sized Powerhouse with a unique weapon that lasted all the way to the semifinals) and End Game (showed potential in its first two seasons but was plagued by technical issues, later developed into an incredibly tough bot that won the entire championship).
  • Too Powerful to Live: Hellachopper got a double dose of this ahead of Season 2 of the ABC reboot. Firstly, the ridiculous speed of its spinning weapon (up to 430mph at the tip of the blades!) caused so much strain on its internal mechanics that it kept catching fire. Secondly, the Battlebots staff took one look at it and decided there was no way they were letting that thing in their arena; the blades were so powerful they would have smashed straight through the wall.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: No official merchandise exists for Hazard despite it being a three-time middleweight champion.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • The first episode of the 2015 season had a clip of Tombstone up against Bronco. If you look at the brackets, this clip indicates that those two robots would meet in the semifinals.
    • Similarly, a highlight reel at the start of the 2020 season gave away one of the quarterfinal matches (Shatter! vs End Game) and one of the Bounty Hunters finals (Gigabyte vs Son of Whyachi).
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Battlebots shares a core concept with the BBC's Robot Wars although the execution is different. This show's successful reboot led to Robot Wars being revived.
  • Victory Pose: Most robots are capable of performing a "Victory Spin" by spinning in place. It doesn't really work for full-body spinners, though, and most walkers can't do it either because they would have to turn on a dime to pull it off.
    • Diesector in particular has an excellent victory dance that uses all its weapons to great effect. Bigger Brother and Little Sister also loved to do this.
    • Sometimes, the victor will return back to the location it started in as well, as if to say, "All in a day's work." Codebreaker, after defeating Techno Destructo, did both the spin, then the return to the red square.
    • In the reboot, Stinger and Beta have performed breakdancing moves using their lifter and hammer respectively. Minotaur is also known for performing a variant of the victory spin where due to the gyroscopic forces generated by its drum it tilts onto its side and pirouettes around the arena.
  • Wimp Fight: Averted for the most part in the original series, as those fights were left unaired. The reboot features more of these, and while often left to the highlights, are usually posted on the internet for people to see (and react to negatively).
    • Season 1 features:
      • Radioactive vs. Sweet Revenge — The former was a Joke Robot made of plastic and could barely move around, armed with a slow and ineffective hammer. The latter was unable to use its weapon, and was left completely useless. The fight ended with three ineffective strikes from Radioactive. Its telling that this fight wasn't shown even on the internet, because apparently it was that boring.
      • Ghost Raptor vs. Complete Control — The former broke its blade after one hit, while the latter hit a crack in the floor and damaged its driving system. This left both bots largely ineffective during the fight. That said, it was much more entertaining to watch than the usual example in the series.
    • Season 2 features more:
      • Chrome Fly vs. Bucktooth Burl — After the initial attack that took out both of their weapons, they were left as two ineffective machines slightly nudging each other whenever they even made contact. It was so boring that audiences booed at them, and the video of the full fight has more dislikes than likes.
      • Escape Velocity vs. OverDrive — The former was an Action Duo consisting of an ineffective flipper/spinner combo, while the latter had a spinning bar... that broke after one hit. The whole fight was basically a weak shoving match where the Escape Velocity kept trying (and failing) to flip OverDrive (the spinner was a non-factor having flipped itself over at the start of the match) and only succeeded at the very end.
      • Warrior Clan vs. Splatter — After a long period of the two robots trading weak blows, both of their weapons stopped working. This left them as simply two slow robots bumping into each other, even getting stuck at one point.
      • Bite Force vs. The Ringmaster — Both of their weapons broke after the former traded hits with the latter at the very beginning. The next two minutes and forty seconds were spent having The Ringmaster run away defenseless while Bite Force chased after it and shoved it around a little.


Video Example(s):


BattleBots - Mammoth vs. HUGE

Everyone was expecting a battle between two big bots to be awesome, but NOBODY was expecting one of them to be flipping in the air throughout the match!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / ImpossiblyGracefulGiant

Media sources: