25 Matches That Defined 2016 #14 – Carbide vs. Apollo – Robot Wars Grand Final 2016

Carbide vs. Apollo
Robot Wars Grand Final 2016
28th of August 2016
Robot Wars Arena – Glasgow, Scotland

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The Match: Picture the scene. It is the Robot Wars Grand Final, for all the marbles. Both competitors are one step away from immortality. The match up? The one everyone wanted. As host Dara O’Briain said, this was “The spinner that destroyed the arena vs The flipper that humiliated the house robots.” In one corner was the fan favourite Apollo, who had dominated his heat with two ***** matches in one night (both against Storm 2). In his heat, he flipped three of the sacred house robots, showing no fear as he clashed with the mythical droids with a ferocity we have never witnessed before.

In the other corner, Carbide, the monster heel. Armed with a bar spinner which delivered more energy at the tip than a sniper bullet, the Robot Wars statisticians estimated that Carbide was ten times more powerful than anything we have seen before. After tearing through their opposition in the group stages, Carbide had dominated Apollo in their previous two meetings, disrespecting them in their second outing. However, Carbide’s weakness was exposed when his weapon malfunctioned in the final group stage match, losing to TR2. Could Carbide reconsolidate it’s power or would Apollo finally defeat the monster for good and claim the gold?

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Apollo kicks things off by charging straight underneath Carbide, tipping it on its side and deflecting it into Sir Killalot. After escaping Killalot’s claw, Apollo threw Carbide into the plexiglass. Carbide rallied, getting a few blows in on Apollo, ripping off some of his armour before a sickening clash sent both bots spinning. Carbide tore off more of Apollo panels only for Apollo to flip Carbide over five times.

Carbide’s weapon clutch failed, stopping Carbide’s blade dead when it hit the floor. However, on a sixth flip, Apollo’s own weapon stopped as their flipper jammed open. Desperate times called for desperate measures as Apollo intentionally provoked the house robot Shunt, who smashed the flipper back into position with it’s axe. Apollo continued to launch Carbide into the air. Carbide’s weapon is now completely disabled as Apollo takes Carbide to Suplex City, almost throwing them out of the arena.

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Carbide was getting desperate, initiating the pit release, only to nearly get launched by the floor flipper in the process. Both machines were fighting on fumes by this point, with Apollo getting under and flipping itself onto its back trying to flip Carbide again. Apollo managed to right itself and flipped Carbide close to the pit release. Carbide escaped, only for Sir Killalot to close in and attack both of them.

Apollo flipped Carbide once more, but its flipper remained open yet again. Apollo retreated as both wounded bots drove into each other, unable to damage the other due to the beating they had each taken. Apollo struggled to lift Carbide and instead trapped Carbide under it’s flipper, driving it into Shunt, who axed Carbide’s underside as cease was called. With no clear winner, the decision went to the judges, as both robots suffered equal amounts of damage and having each lost use of their weapons. In the end, it was a unanimous decision as Apollo was deemed the winner and crowned Robot Wars Grand Champion 2016.

Why Does It Define 2016?: The return of the Robot Wars promotion has been one of the biggest stories in combat sports this year. There was a lot of hype and expectation, as the promotion still occupies a special place in many of my generation’s hearts. Despite that, the series delivered in spades and the Grand Final was the perfect climax, (receiving critical acclaim, with two further series planned.)

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This match is just one example of how wrestling has been outwrestled by non-wrestling. Whether it’s Carbide getting a Brock Lesnar push or Trump and Hilary cutting promos on each other for eleven months during the US Election campaign, the rest of the world has left WWE in the dust.

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The likes of UFC and Boxing have inherited the same promotional tactics that have been staples of professional wrestling since it’s formation and, whether it’s Conor McGregor throwing water bottles or Dereck Chisora lifting up a table at a recent press conference and launching it at Dillian Whyte’s head, they’ve used it to considerable gain. While Conor McGregor breaks MSG gate records and brings in all time high buyrates on a PPV format WWE were convinced was dead, the WWE sees interest dwindle in their monthly Network specials due to sheer amount.

My Thoughts: In this site’s nominations for the annual Stompie awards, I personally voted for Robot Wars as my promotion of the year, with Carbide and Apollo receiving Best Heel and Best Face nods and their Grand Final match-up being nominated for Best Match respectively. Many people may criticise the choice of a non-wrestling product, but I legitimately believe that Robot Wars has been consistently the best wrestling product in 2016.

Look at the booking of both of these individuals throughout this series, in particular Carbide. In its opening heat match, Carbide wiped out two robots with one shot. From then on, Carbide went on a tear destroying everything in it’s path. The real turning point came during the match with Nuts. Nuts was a plucky underdog well out of his depth, who never knew when to quit.

Carbide pledged to do the honourable thing and only do what was necessary to pick up the points. Nuts was cautious and terrified, playing defensively, until Carbide hit him with two shots in the first few seconds, breaking off Nuts’ ring and flails completely and disabling one of it’s minibots. A third shot removed Nuts’ outer rim completely, sending literal nuts and bolts flying everywhere.

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With no weapons, Nuts tried to flee, but it was no use. More hits from Carbide sent Nuts into the CPZ, where even the lethal Sir Killalot seemed to show remorse. Carbide, however, did not. He forcibly sent him into the pit release, bucking one of Nuts’ wheels before ripping off another and throwing it out of the arena. As Nuts was mercifully counted out, Carbide continued the destruction, switching his focus to the minibots. After the battle, it was confirmed that Carbide had flung a shard of Nuts’ armour towards hosts Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon’s pod, it what could have been a deadly accident.

Now, a line had been crossed and Carbide had to be stopped. Many fans put their hopes in the great white hope, Apollo. They first met in a triple threat alongside Shockwave. The bout was short but sweet as Carbide immediately rushed Shockwave and clocked him. Shockwave got under Carbide and sent it into the side wall, tearing off the panels.

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The match was stopped due to safety concerns, but before the bell rang, Carbide got one final shot in on Shockwave, tearing its side panel apart and causing its rear wheel to become dislodged, before being flipped by Apollo. The original plan was to restart the match once repairs were complete, but Shockwave withdrew due to the damage inflicted by Carbide.

In the one-on-one group stage battle, Apollo went straight for Carbide in an effort to stop the spinning bar, turning it over through the recoil of its opponent’s blade. Carbide’s second hit knocked the removable link out of Apollo, immobilising it. Despite Apollo’s crew pleading with Carbide not to cause any more damage, Carbide had to get a parting shot in, attacking Apollo one last time and damaging Apollo’s vulnerable back end.

Now revelling in their bully status, Carbide took on TR2, a family team helmed by fifteen-year-old Alex Brown. Carbide began strong, tearing bits of TR2’s armour off and leaving a gash in it’s flipper. Then, in a sudden shock twist, Carbide’s blade stopped spinning as TR2 pressed the pit release button.

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With Carbide weaponless, TR2 flipped Carbide, forcing it to retreat. Carbide’s weakness had been exposed, and TR2 smelt blood. TR2 flipped him into the flame pit, the floor flipper and even one of the house robots. Carbide tries brute force, shunting TR2, only to end in the clutches of Shunt. The judges unanimously awarded TR2 the win, as it was revealed that one of Carbide’s clutch plates had disintegrated, causing its weapon to fail.

After two meetings and a motive for revenge, it was inevitable that the final of the tournament would come down to the cult hero Apollo and the monster Carbide. It was also very fitting that Carbide’s downfall was caused by the very thing that brought them to the dance, the spinner. With 20 kilojoules of force behind every hit, it can be devastating for anyone on the receiving end. But as well as that, every hit causes itself damage.

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The cumulative wear-and tear was such that one business-end drop on the arena floor was enough to completely destroy their own weapon and without the spinner, Carbide had no plan B. Carbide was backed into a corner and Apollo knew Carbide’s weakness and Apollo was able to capitalise and get the win. It is the quintessential pro wrestling storyline: A monster heel goes on a rampage, destroying the fan favourite. Another person comes along and exposes the monster’s Achilles heel. The fan favourite returns (battered and bruised) to take on the heel. He exploits the weakness and the monster falls on it’s sword, finally vanquished.

This was the best booked storyline of all year. If you are at all concerned about Lesnar’s loss to Goldberg destroying his aura, look at this. Monsters can still be interesting after taking a loss. Carbide was the Death Star, TR-2 were Han and Chewie clearing off TIE Fighters in the Millennium Falcon and Apollo was Luke with the photon torpedoes.

In the space of an hour, Robot Wars made three stars where WWE has struggled to make one star in the last 5 years. This absolutely is one of the best fights you will see all year and was the conclusion of a fantastic storyline where the right robot won. This was more engaging than anything WWE has done all year and regardless of whether you believe Robot Wars belongs on a wrestling website, you should go out of your way to watch the Grand Final and this match in particular.

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