6-1 last week, that doesn’t happen very often. If the trend continues I could hit the magical 7-0 this week…we’ll see.
Anyhow, calling this one panic city, because we have Panic Bowl #2 to start things off, and then we have the defending champs already at 0-1 going against Hydra in the main event. Talk about stress.
Alright let’s get crack-a-lacking.
Panic Bowl #2
Jackpot (0-1) vs Rotator (0-1)
Yikes! Someone is going down 0-2 and in serious trouble. These two met in the playoffs in 2020 and it was kind of a great match. At the time Jackpot was coming off a 3-0 debut season while Rotator struggled mightily in the qualifiers (1-2), but the vets pulled it together and won the playoff fight. It was back and forth initially but Rotator’s offense/defense strategy (alternating with intent between his weapon and his very formidable wedge/wedgelets) eventually took things over and he got Jackpot on his back with no self-righter to save him.
I think it will be close but I’m predicting a similar outcome here. Even if we give Jackpot a pass for getting pinned in fight #1 there’s still the fact that Jackpot isn’t especially low, while Rotator has some of the lowest and most effective wedges in the sport. Hydra (normally the lowest) drove right up Rotator’s back! Now, Rotator couldn’t translate that into success, but he should be better off against Jackpot. I expect he’ll push him around, push him into a corner, then take swiping shots with the spinner.
The Pick: Rotator by Knockout
Switchback (1-0) vs Deathroll (0-1)
Hmm. Well, after Deathroll lost to Cobalt I opined that they would do well in most matchups, that they ran into a buzzsaw in Cobalt and that was more the exception than the rule. Here’s their chance to prove it!
There’s stuff to like about Switchback, they have a brand new design this year so not sure about toughness or reliability, things looked good in week one. The weapon has been trimmed down but that might be smart. Overall though, I just think once he starts getting hit by Deathroll then he’s going to struggle to recover or punch back. D’s weapon is much, much more powerful, and I don’t see how Switchback’s weird design does them any favors in this one. Taking the Aussies to right the ship at 1-1.
The Pick: Deathroll by KO
Big Dill (0-1) vs Skorpios (1-0)
I don’t really remember Big Dill’s first match at all, just like I struggled to remember Switchback’s first match – turns out they were consecutive fights on the back half of episode two. I guess I don’t recall that one very well. Anyhow.
I think Skorpios is going to absolutely roll here, and probably give us one of those Skorpios fights where they continue to dominate and eviscerate the opponent for the entire three minutes (even though it’s clearly over after the first min). After the big win over Jackpot I see no way they let their guard down and lose to this pickle thing. Yes, apparently BD has a vertical spinner now – they lost to Hijinx in their opener, it couldn’t have been very effective. Let’s go.
The Pick: Skorpios by Judges Decision
End Game (1-0) vs Ripperoni (0-1)
Oh, huh, ok.
This is about as extreme a favorite/underdog scenario as you will ever see. End Game should be given something like 95% chance to win this fight, if there were such calculators out there.
I don’t know, I guess I could be discounting Ripperoni, they do have a big scary weapon. But it didn’t do much in a loss to Gruff, and End Game is like 20 times better than Gruff. Unless Rip lands some insane lucky hit that sends EG flying, I don’t see any way this doesn’t go down as a convincing (but far from revealing) win for the former champs, and current #1 seed.
The Pick: End Game by KO
Valkyrie (1-0) vs Banshee (0-1)
Damn, now I can’t remember Banshee either, I really need to rewatch that episode.
If Banshee was a better flipper, even Lucky, I would take them here, but I think Valk will pull this out. They kind of stumbled their way through their first win against Mammoth and benefitted from some self-destruction. Hmm, maybe I don’t really have a strong reason here, outside of doubting Banshee’s acumen (the flipper was not good in the first fight). It’s a long fight card and sometimes you gotta mail in a pick or two. Give me the team with experience, and a big sharp blade.
The Pick: Valkyrie by KO
HiJinx (1-0) vs Captain Shrederator (0-1)
Ugh, I have even less interest in reviewing this fight.
I really want to take somebody to knock out the thoroughly dull HiJinx, the key with them if that their mobility is terrible. But they’re really tough and the design keeps the hard metal on the outside so it can be hard to land a shot.
Bah, Shred really isn’t very good. HiJinx going against an inferior and flawed opponent, where the opponent has a chance but can’t pull things together well enough to land the win? Yeah, I’ve seen this movie before, many many times.
The Pick: HiJinx by “KO”
And then, we have the big one…
Tantrum (0-1) vs Hydra (1-0)
If it needs repeating – these two fought in an epic and bitter battle last playoffs, the winner made the finals (and won). It was Tantrum. Many (Hydra, and a bunch of fans) thought Hydra won and the judges should have declared it so. I did not.
Anyhow, a season later and the champs are facing adversity for the first time in, wow, a long time. Basically two full seasons. Meanwhile Hydra looks stellar and easily won their first fight against Rotator. Now: in the case of a rematch (and a recent one at that) where the outcome was close, I tend to lean towards the team that lost, figuring that they can turn it around and/or have better luck next time.
And yet – I came out of that fight thinking Tantrum should have performed better! I thought overall it was their worst performance in a fight during the championship run (of course those first two were Wars and extremely close, but that wasn’t because Tantrum disappointed). They were timid to start, and tight with the driving, and missed opportunities, and only pulled it together late and scored the big hits while they were running out of time. I think this is the robot best built to beat Hydra consistently – glued to the ground, with a tight front that can push against them, and a flexible weapon that can reach down and punch where other can. The Tantrum spinner was precise enough to break Hydra’s flipper, that’s only happened twice in history (IIRC). I think this is a good matchup for the Hill Squad, and furthermore – while Hydra looked great in their opener they drove up Rotator’s wedgelets more than once. Last year that was unthinkable – Hydra might be better and more mobile while being less low, that usually won’t hurt them. I think it hurts them in this case.
Upset(?!?) Pick of the Week: Tantrum by Judges Decision