Robot Wars Wiki
"ROBOT WARS in association with MTV Networks are proud to announce… AMERICAN ROBOT WARS 2000… a spectacular, chrome plated civil war to crown the US Robot Wars Heavyweight Champion of 2000 on MTV. Calling all American Robot Warriors. If you’ve got a battle ready robot and you’re itching for a fight, you can’t afford to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. THE TITLE: US Robot Wars Heavyweight Champion THE REWARD: Generous appearance fees for all competitors TRAVEL AND ACCOMMADATION: All freight and flight arrangements will be made for you. All travel and hotel costs will be paid for you. It couldn’t be easier. WHEN: 22-23 July 2000 WHERE: Robot Wars, Park Street Studios, LONDON, United Kingdom So if you’d like a free vacation, international fame courtesy of MTV and the chance to walk away with the American title – AND COLD HARD CASH - volunteer for active duty and contact Robot Wars immediately. If you want to become MTV’s Robot Wars Heavyweight Champion,act quickly because time is running out for you."
— MTV press release[1]

American Robot Wars 2000 (also generally referred to as the MTV Pilot[2]) was a one-off pilot episode for a prospective US series of Robot Wars planned to be broadcast by MTV. It consisted of a knockout tournament between four American robots, and was filmed on July 22nd and 23rd 2000, a month before the Series 4 Christmas specials were filmed.[2]

While MTV elected not to air the pilot or commission its own series of Robot Wars, the show would later be picked up by TNN; Viacom executives Albie Hecht and Kevin Kay reportedly watched the pilot themselves and considered the show's premise ideal for the latter channel.[3] TNN would go on to produce two seasons of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors for US audiences, in partnership with Mentorn. Footage of the pilot has never been released for public viewing.

As it was filmed prior to The Fourth Wars, American Robot Wars 2000 was the first competition to use the third incarnation of the Robot Wars Arena.


Eight robots were originally planned to compete, but after one team pulled out, the producers reduced the number of participating robots to four, with teams having to pass through auditions to gain places in the competition. Although it was originally promised that all teams would receive a $5,000 appearance fee for attending, the change in format resulted in only the four competing teams receiving the $5,000.[3]

An official announcement sent to prospective competitors stated an increased upper limit of 95kg (approximately 209.4lbs) for heavyweight robots, over the original 79.4kg limit for the UK Series. This is reflected in the generally higher weight statistics for applicants which would represent the United States in the concurrently-filmed Series 4 War of Independence special.[4]

The seven machines, frenZy, Ghetto-bot, Mjollnir, Rammstein, Spike, The Mangulator and The Mauler, all auditioned, with the robots selected being based upon how they and their drivers would appeal to the MTV audience. The Mauler was notably selected because of Morgan Tilford's giant foam cowboy hat and "manic energy". The three other robots selected were frenZy, Spike and The Mangulator. The three remaining teams would be forced to simply watch the pilot, receiving no appearance fee in the process, to the dismay of Todd Mendenhall.[3]

Competing Robots[]

Statistics not displayed
From: Los Angeles, California
Team Members: Patrick Campbell, George Melero & Emile DeMillo
The mangulator4.0.jpg
The Mangulator
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From: Los Angeles, California
Team Members: Dan Danknick, Adam Clark & Bob Pitzer
The Mauler
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From: San Jose, California
Team Members: Morgan Tilford, Henry Tilford & Alan Vermette
Statistics not displayed
From: California
Team Members: Andrew Lindsey


The Mauler vs Spike[]

At some point during the battle, The Mauler got up to speed and collided with Spike, causing sparks to fly. It managed to rip off the doll head attached to Spike, causing it to fly across the arena.[3] It was unknown whether the battle ended in a knockout or judges' decision, but The Mauler was declared the winner.

Winner: The Mauler

frenZy vs The Mangulator[]

Little is known about this battle, but of the limited information available, it was known that it was one-sided, as frenZy "decimated" The Mangulator.[3]

Winner: frenZy


The Mauler vs frenZy[]

During the battle, a turning point occurred when frenZy's spike broke away from its hammer, as it was attacking The Mauler's top. This made frenZy vulnerable to attacks from the spinner, ultimately resulting in The Mauler becoming victorious.[3]

Winner: The Mauler


According to Gearheads: The Turbulent Rise of Robotic Sports, most teams in attendance remembered the pilot for what happened after filming.

Before the MTV pilot was filmed, Morgan Tilford requested that Mentorn's travel coordinators give him and his brother a direct return flight to California. This return trip was vital for Tilford, as he was due to sit three final exams at Foothill Community College, a week after the pilot's filming. Mentorn agreed, negotiating a bulk travel deal with Continental Airlines, helping to maintain the company's low budget for the pilot and seemingly ensure The Mauler's team would receive a return flight from Glasgow to San Jose, California.

However, upon arriving at Glasgow at 10:00 P.M., the team discovered the airport was closed. After discussing with Mentorn's travel coordinators on the issue, it was revealed that the coordinators had made a mistake in booking flights for most teams. As a consequence, all Mentorn could provide was a flight to Newark, which would not take place until two days later, which would cause Tilford to miss some of his exams.

Ultimately, the travel disaster led to a chain of events which would cause Tilford to become diagnosed with bipolar disorder and be temporarily sectioned in Stanford Hospital's psychiatric ward.[3]


  • Ghetto-bot was the only robot attending the Pilot that was not built by a team that also entered BattleBots.
  • The Mangulator was the only robot attending the Pilot which did not compete in any other televised robot competitions other than Robot Wars.
  • Although the pilot was never aired, it effectively marked the first time The Mauler fought in a Robot Wars battle. The Mauler had previously entered The First World Championship, but was disqualified as its weapon was too powerful to contain safely in the arena.
    • The episode also presented The Mauler with an opportunity to avenge a previous defeat by frenZy on BattleBots, with the Final serving as a grudge match between the two robots.
  • Four of the robots that applied for the pilot would also represent the USA in the Series 4 War of Independence special - frenZy, The Mangulator, Ghetto-bot and Rammstein. However, of these four, only frenZy and The Mangulator were selected to compete in the pilot.
  • Of the four robots that ended up competing, all four hailed from the state of California.


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