Robot Combat League Brings Rockem Sockem Robots to Life on Syfy

So, you remember Real Steel, that one movie that came out a couple years ago? People build huge robots that beat each other up, lots of emotions, all that? Looks like it didn’t take very long for Real Steel to become, well, real.

Tonight at 10:00 Eastern, you can tune in to SyFy to catch the premiere of the Robot Combat League, hosted by former professional wrestler Chris Jericho. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like – robots fighting. It’s being presented as a reality show, with 12 teams of two people being paired up with one robot, with the goal of becoming champions and winning $100,000. When the robots meet in the ring, one team member will be controlling the finer points of the robotics, while the other member will be fitted with a metallic contraption that will allow them to control the robot’s upper movements. Again, it’s pretty much like the movie – the user punches, the robot will punch in the same way.

Lost in the fact that it is a television show is that this is actually a pretty amazingly advanced display of robotics. Even more impressive is that the creation of all 12 robots to be used in the show were overseen by one man, Mark Setrakian. These robots are no joke as fighters – their punches will be packing thousands of pounds of pressure – Setrakian describes what the in-ring experience would be as “standing in the middle of a car crash.” On top of that, they’ll be sturdy enough to take a few punches and not drop to the ground in a heap.

The contestants won’t exactly fade into the background, either. The field includes the daughter of George Lucas, who happens to be an MMA fighter, and a guy who happens to have some robotics chops himself – the NASA engineer responsible for building the Curiosity rover. In general, the teams will have one person with a fighting background and one person with a robotics background. That means the episode where the teammates have to swap roles and then really dramatic music plays and everyone kinda stares at each other with gaping mouths is inevitable.

As exciting as this is, we should stop to remember the Robot Combat League’s television forerunner – the Comedy Central classic BattleBots. We only had it for two years, but a magnificent two years it was. The metallic carnage was not to be missed.


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  1. I saw this on Hulu yesterday. I loved it. It took a little bit longer to get to the fight than I would have liked, but the reality segments were not so excruciating. There was a lot to set up with 24 contestants, 12 robots, and a sport that has never before been done. The fight was super exciting, and watching the techs try to repair the bots in between rounds was a lot of fun. I’m sure in future episodes, silly gags like teammates switching positions will fall to the wayside, and it will be all about upgrading the robots and making them fight to the death. At least I hope. I’ll definitely be tuning in tonight to watch again.

  2. This show is pure entertainment. Could definitely become one of my favorite shows. Can’t wait to see what happens in the next episode! WOO ROBOTS

  3. I think the next episodes will be more fighting and less introduction so I cant wait to see that! Fighting robots…who wouldn’t love to see that!!! Im interested to see if this will be the beginning of a new future in the sports world…interesting to think about. If so they have made a good start!

  4. Waste of time ,1 hour to watch 5-10 minutes of boxing, which was extremely boring. Way too much talking and hype…..WASTE

  5. This show is garbage. How much did you all get paid to say nice things about it? Teams of idiots fighting scripted fights.

    No one should waste any of their lives watching this show

  6. Marginally better ( emphasis on ” marginally ” ) than most of Syfy’s slew of reality shows. Would watch only when I’m really ** bored **. What’s next ? Kung – fu androids vs. zombies ?

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