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Kingpin was a heavyweight robot from Team Burntpopcorn which competed exclusively in Discovery Season 4 of the BattleBots reboot.

It was a two-wheel drive robot armed with a 78lb horizontal bar spinner capable of reaching speeds of 200mph in around fifteen seconds. As the name suggests, Kingpin sported a ten-pin bowling theme, with its long cuboid chassis designed to resemble a bowling lane, and the bar spinner painted to look like two bowling pins. This theme was reinforced by a bowling ball motif on the front of the bot, as well as the team's attire. According to Kevin Hjelden, the bar spinner was originally planned to be two meters long, but this was calculated to result in a spin-up time exceeding twenty seconds, so it was made shorter in practice. The team intended to add bowling ball graphics to the wheels and a bowling pin self-righting mechanism too, though these design ideas were scrapped due to Kingpin only being finished in the early hours the day prior to driving down for filming.

"We talked about making bowling ball facades for the wheels. We basically finished the robot at 1am the day before we drove down, so a lot of stuff got cut from the list. There was going to be a bowling pin self-righting mechanism..."
— Kevin Hjelden elaborates on the cut plans for Kingpin.

CAD of Kingpin.

Kingpin was curious in design, with two small wheels at the rear driven by motors mounted above, connected by relatively small chains. Due to how small and low the wheels were on the body, Kingpin was not invertible and had no way of righting itself if flipped over. However, it was never flipped over in its two BattleBots fights, chalking up a surprise rumble win over Deep Six and Daisy Cutter before losing to Bots FC's Shatter! in a bonus battle aired on Science. Kingpin would not get a third or fourth fight, ending its 2019 season with a 1-1 record.

Its name is a clear reference to bowling, but has several other meanings. Mechanically, a kingpin is the name given to the central pivot in the steering mechanism of a vehicle. It can also double up to mean someone or something that is essential to the success of an operation, or the chief member of a group.

Kingpin intended to return ahead of Discovery Season 5, but withdrew their application due to the COVID-19 pandemic denying the team the resources required to compete as intended, as well as filming ultimately being delayed.

"It is with regrets that we announce that Kingpin will not be attending the 2020 season of BattleBots. We had a new design that we were excited to debut, but due to the gutter ball of a year that 2020 has been, have not had the resources available to be able to compete."
— Team Burntpopcorn announce their withdrawal from Discovery Season 5.

The team also applied for Discovery Season 6 in February 2021, but were not selected for the competition.[1]

Team Burntpopcorn previously built an insectweight robot for Smackdown in Sactown V resembling the overall shape and design of Kingpin in February 2009, called Pretty Fry for a White Guy[2] referencing The Offsprings' 1998 single Pretty Fly (For A White Guy). It did not compete due to electronic issues concerning its weapon, but the team would later compete with a similarly-designed lightweight robot in RoboGames, called V for Victory. The main visual differences between it and future heavyweight Kingpin were the chassis being split to form a letter V shape, as well as stars and stripes across the body.

Robot History[]

Discovery Season 4[]

Kingpin vs. Daisy Cutter vs. Deep Six

The double KO impact, courtesy of Deep Six.

Kingpin's first fight was an untelevised rumble against Daisy Cutter and Deep Six. As Daisy Cutter was the first robot out of the blocks, Kingpin and Deep Six held back as they spun up to speed. Kingpin turned to evade Daisy Cutter as it slammed itself in the casing for the screws. Deep Six then charged from its square and Daisy Cutter attempted to escape, but hit the bar of Kingpin, and deflected into the path of Deep Six anyway. As a result of this hit, Deep Six fell over, unable to right itself, and Daisy Cutter drove into the corner of the BattleBox before also becoming immobile. Kingpin slowly inched towards Daisy Cutter with its bar spinner at full speed, causing sparks to fly with their first meaningful attack of the battle. A count started on both robots, with Kingpin declared the winner by double KO.

Kingpin vs. Shatter!

Shatter!'s final hit on Kingpin.

Kingpin's next battle was a 1v1 against fellow newcomer Shatter!, who were equipped with their anti-horizontal configuration. As Kingpin spun up to speed, opposing forces from the weapon compelled the robot to turn sharply, making contact with the screws and deflecting Kingpin into the center of the BattleBox. Now facing Shatter! again, it became apparent that Kingpin was unable to move, as it had lost one of the setscrews for its drive. Shatter! was able to get to the rear of Kingpin, slide underneath their high ground clearance and strike the top panel with their hammer. Shatter! tried to push Kingpin into the corner but made contact with the still active weapon. However, this did more damage to Kingpin than Shatter! as it lost one of its wheels and started smoking from their batteries. Kingpin was counted out, handing Shatter! a comfortable win by KO.


Discovery Season 4
Fight Nights
Fight Night Rumble (Untelevised) vs. Daisy Cutter, Deep Six Won (KO)
Fight Night vs. Shatter! Lost (KO)


  • Wins: 1
  • Losses: 1
Competition Wins Losses
Discovery Season 4 Daisy Cutter & Deep Six (Untelevised Undercard Rumble) Shatter! (Undercard Match)

Faruq Tauheed Introductions[]

"This bot won't spare you any mercy. It'll bowl you over and strrrike fear into your soul. You better stay in your lane, turkey. It's KINGPIN!"

"*Royal trumpet noise* Here ye, here ye, this bot is here to kill thee. Try not to be so whiny, when he royally kicks your hiney. Let the jousting begin! It's KINGPIN!"


  • Kingpin was one of just a few robots not to get four fights in Discovery Season 4.
  • Its loss to Shatter! was the quickest immobilization in modern BattleBots until Triple Crown's BattleBots: Champions loss to MadCatter.
    • However, it is not the shortest fight as Shatter! continued to engage with its opponent once dead.
  • Several of Kingpin's parts were made in the same shop which owned 1995 Robot Wars UK Open heavyweight competitor Thor.
  • Kingpin was sponsored by Team Skorpios' Bot Bash Party in 2019.