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The Battle Begins: Qualifying Round Part 1 was the name given to Episode 1 of BattleBots World Championship I. It was the first episode to air on ABC and the first BattleBots episode to be aired on television since Season 5.0, following its cancelation by Comedy Central in 2002.

It was the first of two episodes which focused around the pre-tournament qualifiers and determined the final 16 robots. The episode saw a total of four fights, the winners of which qualified for the Top 16, with the losing robots thrown in the pool of potential wildcards. This episode first aired on June 21, 2015 and served as the season premiere.


Icewave Razorback Plan X Wrecks
IceWave BB2015
Razorback ABCBB2015
Plan X BB15
Wrecks BB2015
Team: Team Icewave Team: Team Contraption Lab Team: Robot Action League Team: Team Wrecks
Captain: Marc DeVidts Captain: Zack Bieber Captain: Lisa Winter Captain: Dan Chatterton
Bite Force Warhead Warrior Clan Nightmare
Bite Force BB2015
Warhead ABCBB2015
Warrior Clan BB15
Nightmare BB2015
Team: Aptyx Designs Team: Team Warhead Team: Team Whyachi Team: Team Nightmare
Captain: Paul Ventimiglia Captain: Ian Lewis Captain: Terry Ewert Captain: Jim Smentowski


Icewave vs. Razorback

The opening fight of the 2015 competition saw Marc DeVidts and Icewave take on Zack Bieber and Razorback.

Razorback Icewave

Icewave strikes Razorback's right side

Marc DeVidts' robot immediately drove at the front of Razorback, striking its plow several times in the opening seconds. Icewave then retreated to spin up its powerful bar spinner before slamming into Razorback's side.
"Icewave's trying to get some distance... trying to get to speed. OH my goodness! Huge sparks with every hit from Icewave."
— Kenny Florian as Icewave gains the early advantage

IMG 7313

Icewave tears the front wedge off of Razorback.

As the internal combustion engine became louder, Icewave again attacked its opponent's side, this time leaving a noticeable gash in its armor. This was followed up by a strike which tore Razorback's plow away, revealing its lifting forks beneath. The wounded Razorback reversed away from danger but Icewave gave chase, tearing the plow clean off and sending it towards the drivers' booths, prompting Marc DeVidts to flinch in response to the flying debris.
"There are robot parts everywhere right now in the BattleBox!"
— Kenny Florian

Icewave vs Razorback KO

Icewave tears into Razorback.

Icewave continued to turn the screw, tearing a chunk out of Razorback's right-front wheel before swiping against its front, breaking off the right fork of Zack Bieber's robot. Its compromised wheel was now completely dislodged from the robot, sitting loose inside the wheel well before falling out. Another strike ate into the front of Razorback, who lay helpless near the screws.

Icewave Razorback aftermatch WCI

Team Diablo watch on as their robot smoulders.

As Icewave drove underneath, smoke began to pour and a count-out mercifully began on Razorback. Icewave took the win in destructive fashion, and advanced in the tournament.

Plan X vs. Wrecks

The second qualifying fight saw Lisa Winter's entry Plan X fight the uniquely-designed Wrecks, captained by Dan Chatterton.

Planxvswrecks bb2015

Plan X pushes Wrecks around the BattleBox.

Plan X gingerly exited its starting square as Wrecks shuffled towards it. However, Plan X's superior maneuverability allowed it to get behind Wrecks. However, Dan Chatterton's robot changed direction and its vertical spinner chewed at Plan X's outer armor and dislodged the rod from its back end. Lisa Winter's robot retaliated by pushing from the back again, tipping Wrecks in such a way that its disk hit the BattleBox floor.
"He's lacking mobility here and Plan X [is] really trying to take advantage here."
— Kenny Florian as Plan X attempts to control its opponent

With Wrecks unable to turn around, Plan X continued to shove the gyro walker until one of its teeth became caught in the floor. Wrecks was flipped over, but used its vertical spinner to drag itself toward the screws. Though it initially landed upright, Wrecks threw itself over again, struggling to escape the sides of the arena as Plan X approached with its spinning hammers.

Wrecks vs Plan X attack

Plan X charges at Wrecks.

Lisa Winter's robot charged forward, attacking the legs of Wrecks with its primary weapon but not causing significant damage. Wrecks eventually righted itself, but was again facing the wall rather than its opponent. It twisted around as Plan X's team discovered their robot was stuck in the closing seconds.
"I'm stuck on something - get me off. Get me off... I'm stuck on the tail. Minibots, hit me, minibots."
— Lisa Winter instructs the minibots to assist as Wrecks closes in

Wrecks vs Plan X last 5 seconds

Wrecks' late assault on Plan X.

With just five seconds to go, Wrecks tore into the side of its immobile opponent, sending parts flying as the the battle went the distance. However, this superficial damage was not enough to sway the judges, who gave Plan X a unanimous victory.

This win gave Plan X the win as it advanced to the Round of 16 at Plan X's expense.

Bite Force vs. Warhead

Newcomer Bite Force, piloted by BattleBots IQ alumni Paul Ventimiglia took on the returning Team Razer and Warhead in the penultimate fight of the episode.

BiteForcevsWarhead BB2015

Bite Force almost flips Warhead.

The fight began with Bite Force charging across the box, quickly getting to the side of Warhead and pushing it around the arena. After a few glancing blows from Warhead's dome spinner, Bite Force shoved the British machine into the rails, pinning it for several seconds before forcing it up onto the screws. Warhead escaped, working to get its disk up to speed, but Bite Force met it head on with a ram attack that popped Warhead up into the air. It continued to shove the older robot around, throwing it into the screw mount in a big collision. This seemed to permanently slow the spinning dome of Warhead, who was unable to get its weapon working afterwards.
"This is art against practicality and right now, practicality is winning."
— Kenny Florian's assessment of the opening minute of the fight

Warhead vs Bite Force Pulverizer WCI

Bite Force drives Warhead under the pulverizer.

Bite Force paraded its crippled opponent around the arena, using its superior drive train to bully the veteran robot across the box. In a clear demonstration of just how well it was dominating the fight, Bite Force pushed Warhead under the pulverizer, delivering several shots with the hazard before forcing it all the way across the box to another pulverizer to continue pounding away at the British robot.

Warhead vs Bite Force lift WCI

Bite Force lifts Warhead.

Seeing that his opponent's weapon had been well and truly disabled, and was not simply turned off to avoid injury, Paul Ventimiglia turned his robot around, now leading with the lifting forks to try to tip Warhead over. Despite one of its treads seemingly locking up, Bite Force was able to hook its arms underneath Warhead's dome, dragging the former quarter-finalist around by its chin and trying to overturn it.

Though Warhead remained upright and was able to make it to the bell, it could not muster any resistance, and the judges unanimously voted for Bite Force, giving Team Aptyx Designs their first win of the tournament.

Warrior Clan vs. Nightmare

The episode's final fight saw two Giant Nut-winning teams from the Comedy Central seasons square off as Team Whyachi and Warrior Clan fought Jim Smentowski's iconic Nightmare.

Warrior Clan vs Nightmare replay

One of Warrior Clan's minibots is torn apart by Nightmare.

As the fight began, Warrior Clan's minibots drove to the sides of the BattleBox as Warrior, the main robot, met Nightmare in the center. The disk of Nightmare landed several early shots to Warrior's top and the flipper activated but missed. Nightmare then turned and swept up one of Warrior Clan's minibots, punting it across the arena before attacking the top of Warrior again. It then reversed onto the other minibot, launching it into the screws and eviscerating the smaller bot.
"Are you kidding me?! One of the minibots has been sacrificed!"
— Chris Rose reacts as Nightmare destroys one of Warrior Clan's minibots

Warrior Clan vs Nightmare 2

Warrior flips Nightmare over.

Shortly after, the lone robot Warrior drove to the center of the arena, tanking several glancing shots from Nightmare before using its front wedge to upend Jim Smentowski's machine, much to the excitement of Clint Ewert. Though Nightmare did not have a conventional self-righting mechanism, it attempted to use a combination of one drive wheel and its primary weapon to flip itself back over.

Nightmare KO vs Warrior Clan

Nightmare sits immobile on the screws.

In doing so, Nightmare clambered over its opponent, eventually ending up underneath the pulverizer, where the Ewert family pinned it in place. Nightmare escaped, but as the fight ticked past the halfway point, drove itself on top of the screws, beaching itself atop the hazard with none of its drive wheels touching the floor. Nightmare desperately spun its blade, but was stuck as Team Whyachi began to celebrate.

Nightmare was ultimately counted out, meaning Warrior Clan advanced in the competition.

Other Airings[]

On the UK version of Netflix, this episode was called Series Premiere: Qualifiers.[1]


  1. Official title listing on Netflix UK, August 2021-August 2022