10 of the biggest Robot Wars upsets
Like any sport, Robot Wars had its fair share of upsets - underdogs overcoming all the odds to beat more established and successful opponents. Here's a recap of 10 of the biggest surprises that occurred during the show's run.
Also, if you haven't already, be sure to check out all our other Robot Wars coverage in preparation for the new series that will be airing on BBC Two later this year!
The 10 biggest upsets in Robot Wars
Here is our list of the biggest upsets that occurred throughout Robot Wars' original run, along with accompanying videos to the fights in question.
1. Mace vs Chaos (Series 2)
The predecessor to the future double UK Champion Chaos 2, the original Chaos garnered reasonably high expectations in the lead up to the Second Wars due to team's previous machine, Robot the Bruce, reaching the Grand Final of the First Wars.
Things started well in the Trials, with a strong performance in the Gauntlet and a pitting of Dead Metal during the Tug of War. An easy victory over Wheelosaurus in the first round of battles set Chaos up in the Heat Final against newcomers Mace.
With similar designs, the two robots looked evenly matched until Mace used its superior power to push Chaos into the House Robot Matilda, who flipped it over. At this point Chaos could have become the first robot ever to "self-right" on UK Robot Wars, by using its flipper to jump back onto its wheels.
Unfortunately driver George Francis had forgotten to attach some small pieces of angled plastic to the rear armour panel, which helped Chaos get back up again. Chaos therefore got stuck pointing upwards, wheels off the ground and immobilised. They did get bumped back onto their wheels a short while later, but too late to change the outcome of the battle and Mace went through to the Semi-Finals.
2. Hypno-Disc vs Nasty Warrior (Extreme 1)
Repeat UK Robot Wars Grand Finalist Hypno-Disc suffered a number of reliability problems during Robot Wars: Extreme Series 1 due to a wiring problem with the electrics. None of the resulting breakdowns were quite as embarrassing, however, as their UK vs Germany match against newcomer Nasty Warrior.
Up against the slow, weakly armoured and not particularly destructive German machine, a victory for Hypno-Disc seemed almost certain. Sure enough, as the fight began pieces of Nasty Warrior went flying all over the arena as Hypno-Disc tore into it. Slowly however, Hypno-Disc started to to get slower and slower, weaker and weaker, before eventually stopping altogether and being counted out.
3. Tornado vs Diotoir (Series 5)
After an impressive debut in Series 4 reaching the second round of the Semi-Finals, and an even stronger showing during the first series of Robot Wars: Extreme, Tornado was expected to perform well in the Fifth Wars.
After breezing past Gravedigger in the first round they found themselves up against the highly flammable, fur-covered Diotoir in round two. Diotoir had competed since the Third Wars, without any real success and were therefore not expected to be able to withstand the powerful and tenacious Tornado for long.
At the start of the battle Tornado was on top, pushing Diotoir around the arena in their usual style. The tide began to turn however, when Tornado began to ride up a small wedge positioned on the front of Diotoir under their flipper. This caused Tornado to lose traction and allowed Diotoir to suddenly gain control of the fight.
With some good driving and great positioning from Diotoir's driver, they were able to scoop Tornado up and push the highly fancied 12th seed into the pit, earning themselves a place in the heat final and their joint-best performance in the main UK series.
4. Chaos 2 vs Bigger Brother (Series 5)
There was a time throughout Series 3 and for most of Series 4 that Chaos 2 looked unbeatable. When the weight limit for competitor robots increased to 100kg from 80kg for Series 5 however, it started to struggle. Despite this, Chaos 2 went into Series 5 as the reigning and only double UK Champion.
After a nervy Heat Final against SMIDSY and a narrow victory against Wild Thing in the first round of the Semi-Finals, Chaos 2 then had to defeat Bigger Brother to reach their third consecutive Grand Final.
Bigger Brother had been on an impressive run up to get to that point, however few people considered them Grand Final material. Opinions may have changed during the opening few seconds of the bout, as Bigger Brother not only out-flipped its opponent but Chaos 2 also then struggled to self-right. For the next few minutes Chaos 2 then reigned supreme, getting several powerful flips on Bigger Brother and almost throwing it out of the arena.
The pair eventually ended up near the flame pit, and Bigger Brother took advantage of Chaos 2 being slow to move out the way and flipped it over. Due to the amount of gas it had used up in the first half of the battle, Chaos 2 did not have enough power left to self-right and Bigger Brother claimed victory, dealing Chaos 2 its first ever loss in the UK Robot Wars Championship.
5. Cassius 2 vs Pussycat (Series 3)
Many people's favourite to take the title in the Second Wars, Cassius eventually ended as the runner up. The team returned with Cassius 2 for Series 3, which featured a wider, more powerful flipper and a 100cm long pneumatic spike at the rear.
It was claimed that this spike would enable Cassius 2 to jump back out of the pit, providing it went in backwards. Sadly the robot never had a chance to demonstrate this innovation, as during its round 2 battle against Pussycat Cassius 2 lunged for its opponent only to miss and tumble into the pit (and sadly at the wrong angle for the anti-pit device to be effective).
6. Bigger Brother vs Iron Awe 2.1 (Series 7)
Bigger Brother had performed strongly in both the Fifth and Sixth Wars, reaching the Grand Final and the second round of the Semi-Finals respectively. A similarly impressive performance was expected from them in Series 7.
After dominating the Round 1 melee, they came up against the experienced but not ever particularly successful Iron Awe team. While Iron Awe had the more potent weaponry, Bigger Brother went in as the favourites and used their superior speed and manoeuvrability to get off to a great start.
However, after becoming tangled in a CPZ with Shunt, Bigger Brother chose to escape by driving over the full pressure flipper on the front of Iron Awe. The following flip was powerful enough to send Bigger Brother crashing out over the nearby arena wall, in their least successful appearance in Robot Wars since a gas valve let them down in Series 4.
7. Cassius vs Panic Attack (Series 2)
Cassius was the favourite to win the Second Wars, especially after providing one of the most memorable Robot Wars moments of all time when it demonstrated its "self-righting mechanism" or "srimech" for the first time during the Semi-Final Pinball trial. In contrast, Panic Attack was seen as the underdog and even the team themselves were surprised to have gotten so far in the competition.
The final started off in an exciting fashion, both robots were fast and manoeuvrable (a rarity during the early series of Robot Wars). At one point Panic Attack drove right over Cassius' flipper but fortunately remained the right way up. Eventually, Panic Attack's Kim Davies managed to line up behind Cassius and push it straight into the pit to claim the UK Championship and a very famous victory.
8. Hypno-Disc vs Pussycat (Series 4)
After coming second in the Third Wars and bring whole new levels of destruction to Robot Wars Hypno-Disc, now featuring a self-righting arm and even more powerful disc, were one of the firm favourites to win the Fourth Wars. Things certainly looked like they were heading that way, when Hypno-Disc came up against the very agile Pussycat in the first round of the Grand Final.
Victory for Hypno-Disc looked likely, as Pussycat was not as well armoured as some of their previous opponents and its wheels were very exposed. The battle went wrong for Hypno-Disc mere seconds after Activate was called however. Pussycat flew across the arena and caught Hypno-Disc, who had turned sideways in an attempt to out manoeuvre their opponent, on one of its rear wheel arches.
The wheel arch buckled downwards onto the wheel, jamming it and immobilising the whole machine on one side. Hyno-Disc ended up spinning round in circles in a CPZ, and House Robot Shunt wasted no time in puncturing the still spinning disc with its axe, stopping it instantly.
The now-weaponless Hypno-Disc was picked up and pitted by Sir Killalot and Pussycat went through to meet Chaos 2 in the Grand Final, denying fans the opportunity of seeing a rematch of the Series 3 final.
9. Razer vs Pussycat (Series 4)
After twice underperforming in the UK Championship due to mechanical breakdowns, many people expected the Fourth Wars to be Razer's year. By this stage it had already won the First World Championship and the International League, and looked in great shape to challenge for the UK title too.
In turned out not to be, however. After a relatively easy ride through the earlier rounds, in the Heat Final Razer found themselves up against Pussycat. The fight started quite evenly, both robots were fast, manoeuvrable and agile. Then Pussycat's blade caught Razer on the side, initially not appearing to have caused any damage but it soon became clear the shock from the impact had caused Razer to get stuck in forward drive.
Razer was pinned on the side wall of the arena and immobilised, while Pussycat repeatedly laid into them with their powerful saw blade. Razer's rear wheels were also damaged, before they were finally pitted by the House Robots.
10. Hypno-Disc vs Bigger Brother (Series 5)
After they took out two-time champion Chaos 2 in their previous fight, perhaps more people should have expected for Bigger Brother to give Hypno-Disc a hard fight when they met in the first round of the Series 5 Grand Final.
For the first three quarters of the fight however, it didn't seem to be going Bigger Brother's way at all. Hyno-Disc was causing huge amounts of damage, tearing into the armour and buckling the flipper.
Despite the severe damage, Bigger Brother remained mobile throughout and in the final few moments of the battle, just as all hope seemed lost, they managed to open the pit and push Hypno-Disc in. Not only did this put Bigger Brother through as the surprise winner, it ended any hopes of a much anticipated Hypno-Disc vs Razer final that many fans had longed to see.