Two more great matchups this week on the road to $100,000 and the title of Robot Combat League champion!
The first matchup pits the tank-like Commander against the sharp-edged Scorpio (Seriously, though, Scorpio looks like it was birthed from your Mortal Kombat nightmares). Team Commander is made up of Jeff and Paulo, who come armed with their notebooks full of ideas and strategies. Jeff is a fencer, too, which can't hurt. Team Scorpio is no slouch in the smarts department, though: Toy designer Chris is a Carnegie Mellon grad, while Diana is an industrial-design student.
Jeff and Paulo finished second in qualifying, so the bigger, sturdier Commander is a pretty heavy favorite to win this matchup. Our robot expert, Mark Setrakian, certainly agrees, calling Jeff and Paulo the most impressive of all the teams. He says Team Scorpio is easily underestimated, but when Diana shows up to train in her Prada boots, she really surprises him and picks things up quickly. Still, Scorpio's going to have to rely on agility and its knife-like fists to do whatever damage it can.
In the first round, Scorpio emerges as the aggressor. Diana is just whaling away, using those razor-fists to slice into Commander's armor. Commander manages to land some jabs to Scorpio's midsection, but it's spending a lot of time defending against those knives. Scorpio seems to be able to stick and move better, and repeated blows knock Commander's armor off. With its arm exposed, Commander is soon bust open -- hydraulic fluid everywhere! Loks like those notebooks couldn't help Commander in Round 1.
In between rounds, Team Commander scrambled to patch up the actuator on its arm, but they can't get the armor back on before the 20 minutes are up. So, round two begins with an exposed Commander trying to angle it arm away from Scorpio. Scorpio doesn't have to be evasive, though; it can just attack. And so it does! Both teams land shots, and it looks like Team Commander's strategy is to just keep Scorpio at bay, then move in with some midsection jabs. But Diana is not letting up AT ALL, and soon enough, another Scorpio right cross busts Commander's arm open again. That second-round bell can't come soon enough for Commander. Team Scorpio plans to do major damage in Round 3, while Team Commander worries that all that hydraulic fluid will give their robot slippery feet and poor traction.
In Round 3, Commander is the walking wounded, while Scorpio keeps landing crosses. Diana is a beast! Commander fights back, landing a big shot to the side and knocking a blade off of Scorpio's hand. But as we move into the wild finish, Scorpio backs Commander into a corner, punching away, and then BREAKS COMMANDER IN HALF. Literally. The crowd is going nuts, and host Chris Jericho goes crazy at the announce table. Your winner, by KO: Scorpio.
Our second match pits one-eyed demon Brimatone (the 4th seed) against Thunder Skull, with its giant Hulk-like fists. Team Brimstone is made up of All-American athlete Devonric and Australian competitor Jeff. Devonric, who wants his winnings to go to his non-profit organization to help troubled kids, is so aggressive in training that he actually breaks his own robot's arm by punching too hard. The other teams seem to think he's treating this like an ACTUAL fight, which could hurt his team's chances. Maybe aggression just comes naturally when you're born in prison.
Team Thunder Skull features Heather and Brandon. Heather, or "Daredevil Barbie" per fellow competitor Keisha, is an X-Games athlete with all sorts of broken bones and metal plates in her back. She's basically a Bionic Woman at this point, which should really help her relate to her robot. Brandon is an IT guy, not an engineer like some of these other guys. Heather wonders if that puts them at a disadvantage, but she likes that he's a goofball too. He's just going to dance the other teams to death!
In the first round, Devonric has Brimstone roaring out of the gate, uppercutting like crazy and backing Thunder Skull further and further into its own corner. Brimstone's huge barrage of shots has fluid gushing out of Thunder Skull by the one-minute mark. The judges actually have to stop the round due to excessive damage. In between rounds, the damage to Thunder Skull's arm is so severe, they can't fix it in the 20-minute window, so they have to go back out to the arena with one dead arm.
Round 2 doesn't go much better for Thunder Skull. Brimstone immediately nearly knocks Thunder Skull over and busts it open again. If this round were a movie, it would get a hard-R rating for excessive violence and gore. Thunder Skull is painting the arena with its hydraulic fluid and Heather is swinging that dead arm like a club. She's in desperation mode. So desperate, in fact, that when the end-of-round bell rings, she keeps on swinging! With all that added damage -- by that point, Devonric has stopped fighting, so Heather did significant damage to Brimstone -- both robots are in rough shape. Devonric is PISSED about it too! He goes down to the arena floor to holler at Heather.
Rules are rules, and since all that damage to Brimstone came after the bell, Team Thunder Skull is disqualified. They were going to lose anyway, from the looks of it.
Get Chris Jericho's mid-season thoughts on RCL & much more.