BattleBots Pro Championship (partially found footage of robot combat tournament; 2009)
The BattleBots Pro Championship was one of three BattleBots tournaments held in 2009. Occurring from 21st-26th April 2009, the Final saw Brutality of Aptyx Designs claim the title by defeating Mutant Robots' Root Canal. Ultimately, despite being fully filmed, it would never air on television after a proposed Fox deal fell through.
Following the cancellation of its television deal with Comedy Central in 2002, BattleBots continued sanctioning untelevised tournaments throughout the 2000s. For example, the BattleBots NPC Charity Open consisted of eight tournaments featuring robots ranging from the Antweight to the Super Heavyweight, having been held by the Minnesota Manufacturing Educational Resource in 2004 as an educational charity event. This tournament was actually filmed as a possible basis for a sixth televised BattleBots season, although this ultimately did not transpire.
In 2009, BattleBots co-founders Greg Munson and Trey Roski came up with three tournaments which they hoped would secure a television deal with the CBS College Sports network. To encourage a diverse set of competitors, the 2009 championships were split into three classes; the Pro Championship, consisting of BattleBots veterans entering machines up to 220lbs; as well as the Collegiate and High School Championship, which as the names imply featured college and high school teams entering 120lb combatants. The Pro Championship certainly lived up to its billing, as various Comedy Central veterans like Mutant Robots and Team Nightmare made their return to the sport, entering new machines like Root Canal and Breaker Box. It was deemed by Third Law Sports as being a "stacked tournament".
Initially, the CBS deal was to feature exclusive coverage from the Collegiate Championship, airing the episodes over the holiday season. However, negotiations collapsed after CBS was unable to secure adequate commercial spots to justify carrying the tournament. Nevertheless, Munson and Roski persevered, eventually beginning discussions with Fox Television Studios regarding obtaining possible timeslots. These talks proved more encouraging, as Fox was also interested in airing the Pro Championship in addition to the Collegiate Championship. Alas, the Fox deal also broke down, with speculation persisting that issues concerning advertising deals was to blame. This left the three tournaments without any television deal, despite having all been filmed. Subsequent 2010 BattleBots Championships were later cancelled, and it would not be until 2015 that the sport finally returned to television, courtesy of an ABC deal. Had the tournaments been televised on either CBS or Fox, they would have become the first since Robot Wars: Series 7 to have received timeslots from a national television outlet.
As for the Pro Championship itself, 24 robots fought in a double-elimination tournament that commenced from 21st-26th April 2009. If a machine won a battle, they would remain within the Winners Bracket, but losing relegated them to the Losers Bracket. Losing a match in the Losers Bracket would result in a robot's elimination from the tournament. Naturally, the objective was to stay in the Winners Bracket for as long as possible, as it not only provided additional security in the wake of a loss but also would mean a successful combatant would fight fewer battles on-route to the Final. Fights occurred within a compact BattleBox, its most notable feature being two Pulverizers, one of each being operated by the teams during battle. All three tournaments commenced within the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California.
This is perfectly demonstrated by the roads to the Final Brutality and Root Canal experienced. Root Canal, a bar spinner from Aptyx Designs, entered the second round after receiving a bye. It required just four victories to reach the Final, beating Breaker Box, Megabyte, Surgeon General, and VD6.0. In contrast, Root Canal, a machine with a fork and jaw combination entered by Mutant Robots, fought Eugene in the opening round, and lost. Its road therefore saw it overcome eight competitors: Drumble-B, Breaker Box, Stinger: The Killer Bee, SubZero, Warrior, Surgeon General, Tombstone, and VD6.0. Admittedly, Root Canal's campaign was somewhat easier than it appeared, considering Warrior and VD6.0 both could not compete any further, granting Root Canal two byes.
In the Final, Root Canal was equipped with a plow, harnessing it to deflect some of Brutality's attacks. To avoid causing possible recoil damage, Brutality initially avoided spinning up, instead using its wedge to maneuver underneath its foe and win a pushing battle. Brutality eventually spun up, though it appeared Root Canal had successfully been tanking the blows. In actuality, two of its wheels became buckled, although they were still functional. Suddenly, another blow inflicted by Brutality ripped a wheel off. However, Root Canal remained mobile, deflecting a powerful hit before proceeding to shove its opponent into a corner. Concerns over Brutality's sudden smoking proved short-lived before the machines ended up beaching each other. After being separated, the pair engaged in further pushing which ended when time expired. Brutality was declared the victor via a unanimous decision.
In total, 41 battles commenced during the tournament, not including five that ended in withdrawals and a post-tournament exhibition battle between Stinger: The Killer Bee and Breaker Box. But while the Pro Championship went untelevised, some battles were uploaded to YouTube in 2009 and 2010 by the official BattleBots YouTube channel and Autodesk Inventor. This also included the Brutality-Root Canal Final, uploaded as a "rough live line-cut" according to the video's description. Additionally, some footage of the Tombstomb-Megabyte battle in Losers Bracket Round 6 was briefly included during Episode 4 of Discovery Season 3. As of the present day, eleven battles have footage that is publicly available, leaving 30 with none whatsoever.
- 1995 Robot Wars UK Open (partially found rejected robot combat TV show pilot; 1995)
- American Robot Wars 2000 (lost MTV pilot of British robot combat game show; 2000)
- BattleBots (found Comedy Central robot combat game show; 2000-2002)
- BattleBots (partially found footage of robot combat show dress rehearsal battles; 2015-2021)
- BattleBots (partially lost build of unreleased GameCube/PlayStation 2 game based on robot combat TV series; 2003)
- BattleBots Collegiate Championship (partially lost unaired spinoff of robot combat TV show; 2009)
- BattleBots High School Championship (partially found footage of robot combat tournament; 2009)
- The Big Breakfast (lost appearance of Robot Wars team on Channel 4 breakfast show; 1998)
- Blue Peter (partially found segments of Robot Wars teams on children's television series; 1998)
- Mechanoids (partially found BBC robot combat game show; 2003)
- Plunderbirds: Talk Robots (partially found unfinished robot combat mockumentary film; 2019)
- Robot Wars (found cameos of robot combat-themed BBC 2 ident; 1999-2000)
- Robot Wars (lost footage and HSE documentation of behind-the-scenes accidents of BBC robot combat game show; 1998-1999)
- Robot Wars (lost near-death footage of Jeremy Clarkson from robot combat game show; 1998)
- Robot Wars (lost work on unfinished cartoon series based on robot combat game show; existence unconfirmed; 2002-2004)
- Robot Wars (partially found footage of robot combat show qualifying auditions and battles; 1998-2003)
- Robot Wars (partially found unaired or partially aired battles of BBC robot combat game show; 1998-2017)
- Robot Wars (partially found uncut battles from BBC robot combat game show; 1998-2017)
- Robot Wars Extreme: Series 1 (lost original BBC Choice version of robot combat battle; 2001)
- Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors: Season 1 (found TNN robot combat game show; 2001)
- Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors: Season 2 (partially found behind-the-scenes footage of TNN robot combat game show; 2002)
- Robot Wars Revealed (found BBC Choice spin-off of robot combat game show; 1998-2000)
- Robot Wars: Series 8 (lost unaired pilot of BBC robot combat game show; 2016)
- Robot Wars: Series 8 (partially found Science Channel reruns of robot combat game show; 2018)
- Robot Wars: The Kick-Off (lost BNN robot combat special; 2001)
- Robotica (found TLC robot combat game show; 2001-2003)
- Robots Revenge (partially found Discovery robot combat documentary series; 2001)
- See Hear (lost appearance of Robot Wars team on BBC magazine show; 1999)
- Why Hypno-Disc can't work in an office (found testing video of Robot Wars competitor; 2000, 2007)
- SB Nation detailing the history of BattleBots. Retrieved 4th Apr '23
- Archived press release regarding the BattleBots NPC Charity Open. Retrieved 4th Apr '23
- Archived Third Law Sports detailing the three 2009 tournaments, and the unsuccessful television negotiations. Retrieved 4th Apr '23
- Archived Builders Database detailing entry and competition dates for the Pro Championship. Retrieved 4th Apr '23
- Archived BattleBots statement on the CBS deal falling through. Retrieved 4th Apr '23
- Archived BattleBots detailing the proposed 2010 Championships that were postponed and later cancelled. Retrieved 4th Apr '23
- Deadline reporting on the return of BattleBots on television in 2015. Retrieved 4th Apr '23
- Archived Builders Database listing the robots competing in the Pro Championship (Deimos Prime withdrew prior to the start of the tournament). Retrieved 4th Apr '23
- CNET noting the 2009 Championships occurred within the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. Retrieved 4th Apr '23