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"Manta's about two hundred pounds of pure evil fish... it's got very sharp teeth."
— Jeff Cesnik

Manta was a competitor robot that featured in both seasons of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors. It reached the Semi-Finals of the Season 1 US Championship and The Second World Championship, which was also broadcast in the UK as part of the first series of Robot Wars Extreme, as well as winning the Civil War tournament representing the Confederacy. However, it lost in the second round of both the US Championship and the International Championship in Season 2, as well as the Extreme 1 International Inferno.


Manta in the pits during Extreme Warriors Season 1

Manta was a low rounded box-shaped robot with six-wheels, a very high top speed of 20mph and two weapons- a three-bladed vertical spinning Kees hardened steel disk at the front and a carbide ramming spike at the back. It was described by Jonathan Pearce as "stealthy-looking", and was painted light blue, dark blue and gray to resemble a manta ray. Its sides were sloped to deflect wedges and spinners, and there were two wedges at the front on either side of the spinner to help get under opponents. but had no srimech.

Rear view of Manta in Season 1

Manta was an improved version of the team's previous Robotica and BattleBots entries, Kritical Mass and KM2. Taking around two months to build, Manta had 4130 Aircraft-Steel Frame and Grade 5 Titanium Armour, and was powered by 80 Nickel-Cadmium Cells and five 24 volt Electric Motors[1]. The robot was armed with a spinning disc with three teeth. This version was comparatively lightweight at 185lb.

For Extreme Warriors Season 2, Manta featured a new spinning blade, with an improved motor, capable of spinning at 7,500rpm. The blade was larger and stronger than the Season 1 version, the robot was heavier at 220lb, and had more batteries.

The Team[]

"The story goes like this... Once upon a time, a couple of guys were watching TLC's Junkyard Wars when a short 30-second commercial came on about this thing called TLC's Robot Challenge - "Do you have what it takes?" the TV taunted. Yes, I think we do. An application and a few phone calls later, and we were in business - we were already well on our way to getting hooked on one of the most exciting new sports out there."
— Team Suspect Robotics website on beginning to build robots

Team Manta in Extreme 1

Team Manta in Extreme Warriors Season 2

Manta was entered by Team Suspect Robotics, a team from Virginia, which had previously entered Robotica and BattleBots. In Season 1, they simply used the name Team Manta. Team captain Jeff Cesnik also operates a business named Cesnik Technologies, the primary sponsor of Manta.

"The phone rings again. "This is such and such from RobotWars - when would be a good time to come out and interview you?" Game on! We were on our way to London to compete in the upcoming RobotWars Extreme Warriors series to air on both TNN in the states and the BBC in Europe - but we needed a robot first. Re-using the Titanium armour from KM2, we built Manta in record time. A new frame, added front wedges, a new blade, and a lot more power - this time we think we have a winner."
— Team Suspect Robotics website on entering Robot Wars

The team consisted of Jeff Cesnik, the Team Captain who also drove the robot, and weapons operator Billy Boden. In Extreme Warriors Season 1, the third member of the team was Chris Tyson, who was notable for making a series of comments to the camera during the team's introductions and interviews, sending comedic threats and challenges to Manta's opponents. In Season 2, Arthur Heckman took his place.

Robot History[]

US Season 1[]

Manta's first appearance in Season 1 was in the Civil War competition, representing the Confederacy. In the first round, it was drawn against Union representatives, the loanerbot Tiger Cat.

Jeff Cesnik: "This is Team Manta, this is our robot Manta, we're from Virginia, and we're here to kick some ass!"
Chris Tyson: "Manta's coming your way!"
— In the team's introduction

Manta tears open the side of Tiger Cat

Manta started by charging at the side of Tiger Cat, ramming into the side and lifting Tiger Cat onto its top. Manta reversed, letting Tiger Cat down, and Tiger Cat turned around, only for Manta to charge back at its side, knocking the side panel loose. Tiger Cat span on the spot and drove near a flame jet, then Manta charged at the front of Tiger Cat, ripping the front wedge clean off.

"He tore the face right off the tiger!"
Stefan Frank as the front of Tiger Cat is ripped off

Manta rips the face from Tiger Cat

Tiger Cat reversed onto the flame jet, and Manta hit the loose side panel, leaving it only just hanging on. The fur of Tiger Cat caught fire, and Tiger Cat reversed off the flame jet.

"Manta, one cool customer, with that little wheel on the front, seems to have done most of the damage..."
— Stefan Frank as Tiger Cat flees across the arena

Manta rammed into the back, and Tiger Cat drove across the arena, but Manta chased after it, hitting the side with its spinner and flipping Tiger Cat up onto its top. Tiger Cat stopped moving by Shunt's CPZ, and Shunt cam out to axe it. Refbot came in to put out the flames and count Tiger Cat out, and it was pushed to the floor flipper. Manta rammed its immobile opponent after it was thrown. Shunt finished Tiger Cat off by pushing it into the pit, sending Manta went through to the second round.

Mick Foley: "May I say, with the fire and the agony and the screaming, it looked to me like the battle of the wilderness all over again! How do you fell about that?"
Jeff Cesnik: "It was more like a barbecue!"
Billy Boden: "Great, we loved it!"
— Post-battle interview with Mick Foley

There, it faced another loanerbot representing the Union, Spike.

Rebecca Grant: "Team Manta, what your strategy against the little Spike?"
Jeff Cesnik: "Well we don't know what we're going to do yet, but we have a spike, for the Spike!"
Chris Tyson: "[Takes the microphone from Rebecca and addresses the camera] We don't know what the hell that thing is, but Manta is going to make some parts!"
— Pre-battle interview with Rebecca Grant

Manta slams Spike into the arena side wall

Manta started by driving down the arena as Spike drove towards it, then turned around and charged at the side of Spike, nearly flipping it on its side as it pushed it by the flame pit. Spike span around by the flame pit, and Manta rammed it again. Spike continued to spin, this time on the edge of the actual flames, before turning off the flames, but driving into an angle grinder. It turned away, but Manta slammed into it, ramming it against the angle grinder.

"Oh! Another head on collision by the Manta, who's just taking fearless runs right into the side and front of Spike!"
— Stefan Frank as Manta rams into Spike

Spike is knocked out by Manta's aggressive rams

Spike drove up the arena, driving close to Dead Metal's CPZ, and the House Robot gave it a little push. As Manta closed in, Spike span on the spot, and Manta pushed it, turning it around and pushing it into the arena centre.

"...but Manta is just too fast, too powerful. That wheel doesn't seem to be penetrating spike, but it certainly is pushing him back!"
— Stefan Frank as Manta pushes Spike across the arena

Manta edges Spike towards the pit

Spike reversed down the arena, stopping by the (closed) pit. Manta rammed it into the bottom arena wall. Spike limply tried to move away, but Manta slammed into it in reverse. Spike stopped moving, and Manta gave it a little push, before the House Robots came in. Sir Killalot grabbed Spike with his claw and span it around. Dead Metal opened the pit, and Manta rammed Spike down.

"Spike didn't put up much of a fight, but he's in the pit and we're happy!"
— Jeff Cesnik sums up the fight to Mick Foley

Manta was through the final, in which it would face fellow Confederacy representative 6 Million Dollar Mouse.

Manta flips 6 Million Dollar Mouse

Manta slammed straight into 6 Million Dollar Mouse, knocking off one of the decorations, and getting around the side of its opponent. Manta pushed 6 Million Dollar Mouse into Refbot, and as 6 Million Dollar Mouse tried to turn away, Manta rammed into its back and used its spinning disc, together with its pushing power, to flip the other finalist onto its side. 6 Million Dollar Mouse was unable to self-right, Manta pushed 6 Million Dollar Mouse into the CPZ and it was picked up and paraded around by Sir Killalot before being thrown by the arena flipper. 6 Million Dollar Mouse landed on its wheels, and Manta quickly charged at it.

"...back on its wheels again, which means it's time for a little more damage!"
— Stefan Frank as Manta rams 6 Million Dollar Mouse

Manta slams into the burning 6 Million Dollar Mouse

6 Million Dollar Mouse tried to escape, but Dead Metal caught it, before letting it got. 6 Million Dollar Mouse drove into an empty CPZ, and Manta charged at it, pushing it against the arena wall. 6 Million Dollar Mouse escaped down the arena, driving near the pit. Manta followed, but before it could start pushing 6 Million Dollar Mouse down, 6 Million Dollar Mouse escaped, driving into the arena side wall. However, 6 Million Dollar Mouse was limping, and Dead Metal grabbed it. The House Robot let it go, and 6 Million Dollar Mouse slowly reversed away, only for Manta to ram into it.

Manta pits 6 Million Dollar Mouse

"Manta still at it! Manta, trying to do anything he can do to immobilize the Mouse!"
— Stefan Frank as Manta chases 6 Million Dollar Mouse

6 Million Dollar Mouse drove down the arena, but Manta chased after it, and rammed it into the pit, meaning Manta were the Civil War champions.

Mick Foley: "Just too much Manta for the 6 Million Dollar Mouse!"
Jeff Cesnik: "Yeah, it was like shooting Pool out there!"
— Post-battle interview

Manta's next competition was the US Championship. In the first round, it was drawn in Heat 3 against Close Enough, Mad Cow, Rippa Raptor, Rosie The Riveter and Tiger Cat.

"Watch out for that stinger!"
— Rebecca Grant on Manta before its battle

Manta pushes back on Close Enough

Manta started by driving down the arena, holding back, until it charged at Rippa Raptor and Close Enough, pushing the two apart and pushing Rippa Raptor down the arena into Dead Metal's CPZ.

"There's Manta, driving into the side of Rippa Raptor, who's got no possibility of getting out of that Corner Patrol Zone, and least not yet anyway."
— Stefan Frank as Manta pushes Rippa Raptor to the CPZ

Manta carries around Mad Cow

However, as it did so, Close Enough was close behind, and pushed Manta against the arena wall. Manta pushed back in reverse and escaped up the arena, driving between Rosie the Riveter and Close Enough, pushing the two apart. Manta then went after Mad Cow, getting underneath it, but its disc became stuck under Mad Cow's wedge.

"It's going to be sliced beef steak!"
— Stefan Frank as Mad Cow is stuck on Manta's disc

Manta slowly pulled Mad Cow back, but then stopped, and Refbot had to come in to separate the two competitors. One of Mad Cow's tires had been punctured whist on top of Manta, and it was left immobile. Tiger Cat drove at Manta, but could not push it back and Manta drove away, driving at Rippa Raptor and using its disc on the side. Manta held back whilst Mad Cow was counted out, and Rosie the Riveter, which had broke down after an attack from Tiger Cat, was put on the floor flipper, followed by Mad Cow being thrown. Tiger Cat drove onto the flame jet, and time ran out. The battle went to the judges to decide who went through, and they chose Manta, much to the surprise of the audience, the team and Mick Foley.

Mick Foley: "I'm going to be honest with you, this seems like an upset, seems maybe you guys were not the crowd favourites, seems like a Don King decision!"
Jeff Cesnik: "Probably so, yeah. We were shocked!"
Mick Foley: "I want to you to get back to the pits, get in action, and go on out here, and kick some serious... bot!"
— Post-battle interview

In the semi-final, Manta was drawn against Panzer Mk 2.

Rebecca Grant: "How are you guys feeling about this?"
Jeff Cesnik: "We're feeling pretty good!"
Rebecca Grant: "So, how about the damage to this, did you fix it up?"
Jeff Cesnik: "Yeah, we lost a battery pack in our round, and we swapped that out, and we broke a weld, but we fixed that, so everything else is just a couple of scratches."
— Pre-battle interview

Manta is pushed back by Panzer Mk 2

Panzer Mk 2 charged straight at Manta, but Manta managed to dodge, with Panzer Mk 2 merely clipping the corner as it drove past, creating sparks. Both robots turned around and drove head-on at each other, and Manta managed to get under the front of Panzer Mk 2 using its wedges and disc, but as it reversed for another charge, Panzer drove on to its front wedges. Manta took advantage, turning around and pulling Panzer Mk 2 towards the arena wall. Panzer Mk 2 got off the top of Manta, and the two robots turned around for another charge. The two charged at each other, with Manta getting under Panzer Mk 2 using its front wedges.

"Manta, right underneath Panzer again, Manta's got the true advantage, being so low to the ground. You get Panzer from the side and he could be real vulnerable, just like that!"
— Stefan Frank

Manta gets underneath and pushes Panzer Mk 2

Panzer Mk 2 fired its flipper to get down, but Manta got under again, and pushed Panzer Mk 2 back, but due to the angle it was at, Panzer Mk 2 slid off. Panzer Mk 2 reversed up the arena, and as Manta drove after it, Panzer Mk 2 charged at the front of Manta. It hit the spinning disc, which lifted it up a little and created sparks, and Panzer Mk 2 tried to push Manta back, but Manta turned, causing Panzer Mk 2 to miss. Manta quickly got under the side of Panzer Mk 2 getting it on its top and pushing it down the arena, but Panzer Mk 2 slid off.

"You get Panzer from the side and he could be real vulnerable, just like that! Well, it's a good thing that Panzer's got the speed to back out of trouble when it can."
— Stefan Frank as Manta pushes Panzer Mk 2 down the arena

Panzer Mk 2 drives over Manta

Manta chased after Panzer Mk 2, but Panzer Mk 2 dodged, and Manta drove at the side of Panzer Mk 2, but Panzer Mk 2 reversed. Manta drove to the side of the arena, and Panzer Mk 2 sped after it, slamming it against an angle grinder. Manta drove up the arena after Panzer Mk 2, but Panzer Mk 2 dodged it, and Manta suddenly stopped by Sgt. Bash's CPZ. As the House Robot came in, Panzer Mk 2 rammed into Sergeant Bash's claw, and Manta started moving again, and the two robots charged at each other. The two robots drove down the arena, but Manta was slowing down. Panzer Mk 2 rammed it against the bottom arena wall, and Manta struggled to get away. Panzer Mk 2 slammed into it repeatedly, until Manta managed to weekly reversed away from the wall. Eventually, Matilda left her CPZ to investigate Manta, but it managed to move out of the way, showing it was still mobile. Panzer Mk 2 charged at it again, but drove up the side, nearly flipping itself over, but it crashed into Refbot, which stabilized it.

"But he's a bit of a ramp, so they'd better watch it!"
— Stefan Frank as Panzer nearly overturns

Manta weekly moved forwards as time ran out, and Panzer Mk 2 charged at it again, but drove up the side again. Whilst Refbot cautioned Matilda for coming out of her CPZ, Panzer Mk 2 got one last slam just before cease was called, pushing it against the rear of Refbot. Manta had not officially been counted out, so the battle went to the judges, who went for Panzer Mk 2, sending Manta out of the competition.

"I'd like to talk about the human cost for a second. Did you see the faces on the Manta team? These guys have been best friends for 10 years, can we get a camera shot of these guys? They are just psychologically devastated, I'm not sure they're ever going to be the same!"
— Mick Foley to the Panzer Mk 2 team after the battle

The Second World Championship[]

By reaching the semi-final of the US championship, Manta qualified The Second World Championship, representing the United States. This competition was also broadcast during Robot Wars Extreme: Series 1 and Manta's opening battle was later broadcast during German Robot Wars. In the first round, Manta was drawn against two time reigning UK champion Chaos 2, along with Italian entrant Mastiff and German representative Ansgar.

Rebecca Grant: "How do you guys think you're going to do?"
Jeff Cesnik: "Well, I don't know, we're up against Chaos 2 in this melee, he's a really strong, powerful flipper, two-time UK champ, so I don't know. We sit pretty low to the ground, so as long as he can't get under us I think we'll be ok."
Rebecca Grant: "Best of luck to you!Jeff Cesnik"
Chris Tyson: "(To camera, speaking of Chaos 2) Manta's coming at ya, old chap!"
— Pre-battle interview

Manta pushes Mastiff into the pit

Manta charged straight at Ansgar, whilst Chaos 2 went after Mastiff. Manta rammed Ansgar into the CPZ, slamming it into the corner, and getting underneath it, but whilst Ansgar was stuck on Manta's top, Sgt. Bash came into the CPZ and pinched Manta with his front claw. Meanwhile, Mastiff had broke down after a few flips from Chaos 2, but Chaos 2 had accidentally drove into the pit whilst trying to pit the Italian robot. Manta escaped the CPZ, and drove down the arena to finish Mastiff off, pushing it into the pit.

"US concludes what the UK tried to do!"
— Stefan Frank after Manta pitted Mastiff

Manta shoves Ansgar into the angle grinder

Manta drove back up the arena, where Ansgar had got out of the CPZ. Manta pushed the German entry across the arena and into an angle grinder. Ansgar could not move away, so Manta pushed it away from the angle grinder, down the arena and onto the flame pit. Ansgar was counted out by Refbot, sending Manta through to the semi-finals.

Mick Foley: "Team Manta, obviously one of the favourites, so how do you think your chances are in the next round?"
Jeff Cesnik: "Well if our luck keeps going this way, we might actually have a chance at this!"
Mick Foley: "I like your chances, 'cause you've got guts, pride and a lot of intestinal fortitude!"
— Post-battle interview

There, it fought fellow US robot Drillzilla.

"We are guaranteed a USA-UK final"
— Jonathan Pearce, announcing the semi-final line-up in the UK version

Manta starts a push on Drillzilla

Both robots push each other

At the start, Manta drove down the arena as Drillzilla drove towards it. Drillzilla chased after it, and Manta drove up the arena, driving close to Sir Killalot's CPZ. Whilst Manta was spinning on the spot, Drillzilla got behind Manta and tried to push it into the CPZ, but Manta was able to reverse, pushing Drillzilla back. Manta was able to push Drillzilla right down the arena, slamming it into the bottom arena wall. As Manta tried to get away, Drillzilla drove at the side of Manta, but failed to push Manta so backed off for another charge. Manta turned to face Drillzilla as the walking robot charged at it, and Drillzilla drove onto one of Manta's front wedges, driving over it. Manta tried to get under the front of Drillzilla, but this allowed Drillzilla to ram Manta into the arena wall. Sgt. Bash came in behind Drillzilla, and Manta managed to push Drillzilla back, with the help of Sgt. Bash reversing.

"It's going to be a good tug of war here!"
— Stefan Frank as Manta pushes Drillzilla back

Manta is pitted by Drillzilla

However, Manta reversed and turned away, allowing Manta to get at the side of Manta. Manta quickly turned and used its rear spike to slam Drillzilla into the arena wall. Drillzilla got free, and rammed Manta into the pit release button. Manta's movement had slowed to a crawl, and Drillzilla rammed into it, driving up the side. Manta limped away from the pit button, and Drillzilla got behind it and pushed it into Sgt. Bash.

"Bash is going to help Drillzilla put Manta down in the hole, it looks like!"
— Stefan Frank as Drillzilla pushes Manta into Sgt. Bash

Manta was not moving properly, rocking back and forth, and and Drillzilla pushed it forward, leaving Manta teetering on the edge. A final push from Drillzilla forced Manta into the pit and out of the competition.

Craig Charles: "You fought long and hard, tried to make it tough for them, good fight."
Billy Boden: "Yeah, well we had some problems earlier on with our drives, and they sprung up again, right about the time we got hung up, I think we lost another side, so we couldn't do anything after that."
Craig Charles: "Never mind, unlucky to get drawn up against an American robot as well, but at least that means we're going to have an English-American final!"
Manta team (together): "That's right."
Craig Charles: "Never mind guys, you've been great contestants, it's been great having ya..."
— Post-battle interview from the UK version

Extreme Series 1[]

In addition to the UK broadcast of The Second World Championship (which is covered in the US Season 1 section), Manta had previously represented the USA in the International Inferno against the Welsh Panic Attack, the Dutch MaxiMill and the German Flensburger Power.

"A six-wheel drive fighting machine, stealth looking, very fast at 20 mile per hour, a carbide ramming point in the rear and spinning case hardened steel blade hammer in front provide the weaponry"
— Jonathan Pearce describes Manta

Manta flips MaxiMill over

Manta started by driving down the arena, before charging back up, bumping into MaxiMill, before turning around and charging into the rear of MaxiMill, flipping it up. After driving under MaxiMill, Manta quickly reversed, pushing the Dutch robot backwards onto the flame pit. MaxiMill span around on the pit, and before it could get away, Manta slammed into it, knocking it against the wall.

"Manta, very aggressive. Looks like a little stealth bomber, doesn't it out there? And a driving force, in underneath MaxiMill. Obviously, Manta believes they are the weakest of these four machines out there."
— Jonathan Pearce as Manta rams MaxiMill onto the flame pit

Manta drove away, whilst Panic Attack pushed Flensburger Power down the arena, close to the flame pit. Manta charged at Flensburger Power, pushing it onto the flame pit, before driving away down the arena, then up to the arena centre. MaxiMill drove after it, and Manta turned around and rammed into MaxiMill, stopping its disc on impact. Manta turned around and got at the side of MaxiMill, pushing it up the arena, pushing it into one of the top CPZ's.

"Certainly for me, it's Manta the most aggressive of all these at this moment in time."
— Jonathan Pearce as Manta rams MaxiMill into the CPZ

Panic Attack lifts Manta

Panic Attack drove after Manta, and managed to get its forks under the front of Manta, lifting the US robot up so its wheels where off the ground. Panic Attack pushed Manta down the arena, then got its forks under the front wedges.

"And Manta - a Manta ray of hope for the USA - I think not! You are now impaled on those forks, and there is no way out for Manta!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Panic Attack gets under the wedges of Manta

Panic Attack keeps Manta on its forks while Matilda presses the pit release button

Panic Attack lowered the forks, and Manta reversed off. After reversing, Manta slammed into the side of Panic Attack. Panic Attack turned, and Manta rammed into its other side. Manta drove to the side of Panic Attack, but Panic Attack drove away up the arena. Manta caught up with it, charging into it in reverse. Panic Attack drove into the arena centre, with Manta quickly following. Meanwhile, MaxiMill was counted out and thrown by the floor flipper. Panic Attack got behind Manta and lifted it up, getting its forks under the wheels.

Panic Attack lowers Manta into the pit

"...and when Panic Attack gets in underneath, the United States of America team; Jeff Cesnik, Chris Tyson and Billy Boden have no answer here!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Panic Attack holds Manta up

Panic Attack held Manta over the pit, which was opened at that point by Matilda. However, Manta was stuck on Panic Attack's forks, so Panic Attack tried to push it against the side of the pit to knock it off. This didn't work, so Panic Attack lowered its forks to drop Manta into the pit, thus winning the International Inferno.

US Season 2[]

Manta was drawn against two newcomers in Round 1, Mad Cow Bot and Trilobyte.

Carol Grow: "What have you done to modify your robot this year?"
Arthur Heckman: "Well, number one, we put a lot more batteries in, and we had a 12-inch blade and we stepped up to a 16-inch blade, so we should be able to break people a lot better this time."
Carol Grow: "And the speed?"
Arthur Heckman: "We got a bigger motor on it, it spins 204 miles an hour and the tip!"
— Pre-battle interview with Carol Grow

Manta reverses into Trilobyte

Manta immediately rammed into the larger Trilobyte, getting under the front and trying to ram it into the CPZ, but Trilobyte slid off the side of Manta. Manta got at the side and pushed Trilobyte into the side wall, then reversed for another charge. Manta slammed into the side, but could not push Trilobyte. Trilobyte drove across the arena, and Manta drove at the side, but its spinning blade was not moving.

"He's got a 200 mile an hour blade on the front of that, let's see if he can put it to use. It doesn't seem to be doing about 1 one mile an hour right now."
— Stefan Frank as Manta rams the side of Trilobyte

Manta rammed Trilobyte, getting underneath, and pushed it towards the arena centre, but Trilobyte managed to turn itself off Manta's top. Manta drove onto the flame pit, and after spinning on the flames, quickly got off. Meanwhile, Trilobyte had stopped moving.

"Manta's got a lot of speed and agility here, and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of movement out of Trilobyte."
— Stefan Frank as Trilobyte lies immobile

Manta bends Trilobyte's wedge

Manta reversed into Trilobyte, pushing it onto the disc of doom. Mad Cow Bot attacked the rear of Trilobyte, ripping off the entanglement cloth, which became stuck in its drum. Manta got its spinner up to speed, whilst Refbot began counting Trilobyte out. Manta hit Trilobyte with the spinner, lifting up the whole robot and bending the tip of the wedge upwards. Manta reversed to get the spinner up to full speed, and when Refbot's counter reached 10, Manta drove back at Trilobyte, but Sir Killalot picked Trilobyte up, spinning it around and turning it over, before dragging it to the floor flipper, where it was thrown, sending Manta and Mad Cow Bot through to Round 2.

Mick Foley: "I'll tell you what really got my goat, is you guys were out there giving 100%, guts, stamina, fortitude, the crowd is cheering for Sir Killalot, who kind of comes out there and steels your glory! Maybe a little bit of payback later on?"
Jeff Cesnik: "Uh, maybe! You never know."
Mick Foley: "Maybe? Sounds like a challenge to me!"
— Post-battle interview

In Round 2, it faced another newcomer, Rocky-Bot-Boa.

Carol Grow: "Manta, what do you think you're going to do against this robot?"
Jeff Cesnik: "Well, we've got a big steel blade on our robot and Rocky over there doesn't have anything at all, so I think we have an unfair advantage!"
Carol Grow: "You think you've got it hands down?"
Jeff Cesnik: "Yep"
— Pre-battle interview

Manta rams Rocky-Bot-Boa

Rocky-Bot-Boa started the quicker, charging at Manta, but Manta turned, so Rocky-Bot-Boa hit the side, driving up the sloping side and driving over it. Manta quickly reversed into Rocky-Bot-Boa, then turned around to try and attack the side with its spinner, but it wasn't spinning fast enough and merely stopped on impact. The two competitors tried to get in the best position, with Rocky-Bot-Boa turning to avoid the spinner, Manta turning to get at the side of Rocky-Bot-Boa, and Rocky-Bot-Boa quickly turning to get at the top corner of Manta. Manta pushed Rocky-Bot-Boa, but Rocky-Bot-Boa reversed. Rocky-Bot-Boa drove at the front of Manta, but drove up one of the front wedges, and Manta tried to push its opponent into the CPZ, but Rocky-Bot-Boa slid off the side, and Manta crashed into the side wall.

"But it looks to me like that blade's not working all of a sudden, which would have been his big weapon, other than their agility and speed. Manta better do some excellent driving in this round if they want to get through."
— Stefan Frank notices Manta's spinner is not working

Manta quickly reversed, getting in front of Rocky-Bot-Boa and pushing it into the CPZ, but Rocky-Bot-Boa quickly escaped before Shunt could attack. Rocky-Bot-Boa drove into the arena centre, and Manta charged at it, but couldn't push its opponent back. Rocky-Bot-Boa tried to push Manta, but drove up one of the front wedges again, then quickly reversed off. Rocky-Bot-Boa drove at the front again, then reversed as Manta tried pushing it. Manta was in close pursuit, but was stopped when it hit the arena spinner. Manta drove at the side of Rocky-Bot-Boa, but Rocky-Bot-Boa drove around Manta.

"Manta's coming up with another strategy now, and that is probably to push Rocky-Bot-Boa around, because that's all they got left."
— Stefan Frank as Manta tries to ram Rocky-Bot-Boa

Rocky-Bot-Boa pins Manta in the CPZ

Rocky-Bot-Boa charged at the front of Manta, driving over one of the front wedges, then tried to push the side, but merely drove up the sloping side, allowing Manta to push it around until it slid off. Manta drove down the arena and opened the pit.

"...Manta hits the pit trigger, which is a great strategy, use the arena when you've got no weapons left."
— Stefan Frank

Manta is axed by Shunt

Rocky-Bot-Boa quickly followed, ramming into the pit button and reversing into Manta, ramming it with its chainsaw, but Rocky-Bot-Boa drove up the sloping sides again, and Manta tried to push Rocky-Bot-Boa, but couldn't get it far, so reversed, allowing Rocky-Bot-Boa to slide off. The two robots drove up the arena, with Rocky-Bot-Boa driving close to a flame jet. Manta charged at it, driving over the flame jet, and Rocky-Bot-Boa got at the side of Manta. Manta reversed, but Rocky-Bot-Boa got at the front and managed to push Manta across the arena, straight into Shunt, who axed Manta and lifted it up with his scoop. Rocky-Bot-Boa reversed, and Manta got away from the CPZ, then charged at Rocky-Bot-Boa. However, Rocky-Bot-Boa was able to push Manta back into the CPZ, pinning it in the corner. Sir Killalot came into the CPZ, and blocked Manta from escaping as Rocky-Bot-Boa reversed out. Sir Killalot rammed Manta against the arena wall, but as Sir Killalot reversed, Manta was able to quickly escape the CPZ.

"Well he's got agility and speed on his side, pity about that weapon."
— Stefan Frank after Manta escaped the CPZ

The two robots are attacked by Sir Killalot as time runs out

Manta got at the side of Rocky-Bot-Boa, getting underneath with its front wedge, but couldn't push it much before Rocky-Bot-Boa turned away. Manta kept close behind, and managed to catch up and push Rocky-Bot-Boa towards the arena disc, but Rocky-Bot-Boa turned away again. Manta rammed into Rocky-Bot-Boa, but couldn't push it, so reversed for another charge, before Rocky-Bot-Boa drove at the front of Manta, pushing it back towards Sir Killalot's CPZ. Manta managed to start spinning, and used its rear spike to help push Rocky-Bot-Boa. Rocky-Bot-Boa got away and turned around for another attack, but as it drove at Manta and tried to push, Sir Killalot came out of his CPZ, blocking Manta with its claw, preventing Rocky-Bot-Boa from pushing it. Manta turned around, but seemed to have slowed down as it stopped short of attacking Rocky-Bot-Boa, and Sir Killalot drove between the two competitors.

"...the question is "Will their battery power last?" 'cause all that pushing around's definitely draining them. And just as I said that, Manta's looking plenty tuckered out!"
— Stefan Frank as Manta slows down

Manta appeared to stop, moving a little bit, then Rocky-Bot-Boa limply drove into it. Sir Killalot drove on top of Manta as Rocky-Bot-Boa kept trying to push Manta. Time ran out and the battle was sent to a Judges' decision, and a close split decision went against Manta.

Mick Foley: "Jeff, we've seen the Manta do a lot of damage with that spinning wheel, but you're up against a team, Rocky-Bot-Boa, whose real offence is that the machine is virtually indestructible! Did that change the way you went about this contest?"
Jeff Cesnik: "Oh absolutely, that thing was a brick! You can't push it around, you can't hurt it, it's impossible!"
Mick Foley: "So did you turn the blade off, in a sense, and start bringing the house bots to the forefront?"
Jeff Cesnik: "We tried to, actually the blade conked out immediately during the match and we just got into a pushing match after that."
— Post-battle interview

Manta also competed in the International Championship, where it faced Joker in Round 1.

Carol Grow: "OK, so Manta, you guys are gearing up for this, feeling pretty confident, pretty strong?"
Jeff Cesnik: "Yeah, I think we have a really good shot against the Joker. He's a spinner, he's a tough spinner, the thing's bulletproof, but I think we can still get through it."
Carol Grow: "But what if you go all the way, how do you think you're going to do against the UK?"
Jeff Cesnik: "Well, the UK's got a lot of tough bots, it could go either way."
Carol Grow: "What's your strongest point over here on the Manta?"
Jeff Cesnik: "Well, this blade here, yeah, it can take anything out!"
— Pre-battle interview

Manta launches Joker into the air

The two robots cautiously approached each other as they got their weapons up to speed, each trying to get in position to use their weapon whilst avoiding the other's spinner. Manta hit Joker with its spinner, lifting the whole robot in the air. As it landed, Manta pushed against its wheel, forcing it towards the flame pit, but pushed at the wrong angle, pushing Manta beside the flame pit, so turned around. Manta drove across the arena, driving close to Sir Killalot, who kept it still with his claw. Joker followed it across the arena, slamming into Manta in reverse. Manta managed to get away from the House Robot, and tried hitting under Joker's disc before it could get up to speed, but Joker turned to dodge. Manta clipped under the disc, but Joker started getting its disc up to speed, so Manta reversed away.

"I think Manta has definitely done some damage on that first hit to Joker. One thing about these teams, they're both going to go head-up 'til no one's left and Manta's betting it's gonna be the other guy"
— Stefan Frank

The two spinning weapons collide

Joker drove after Manta, landing a glancing blow, but did no damage. Manta hit the underside of Joker's disc, flipping Joker up on one wheel for a moment. Joker span, turning straight into Manta's spinner. Joker drove away, driving by the flame pit, before driving back at Manta, who hit it with its spinner, lifting it up. Manta drove at the rear wedge of Joker, who turned to dodge, but then drove at the spinner, which cut into the wedge. Manta pushed Joker onto the flame pit, but Joker reversed off straight away. Manta drove after Joker, and though Joker was ready with its disc spinning, the disc did no damage to Manta. Manta hit the disc with its spinner, but this did not stop it spinning, so Manta tried pushing Joker. Joker's disc was too high to hit Manta, but Manta could only push Joker around in circles, so Manta reversed for another attack.

"He's got some mean-looking hooks off of that thing, Joker, spinning around. He hasn't got any piece of Manta yet, Manta's just too low to the ground, and good driving skill on Manta's part, to stay really out of the way of the major weaponry on Joker."
— Stefan Frank as Manta pushes Joker

Manta looks on after pushing the immobile Joker to Sir Killalot

As Joker drove up the arena after Manta, Manta charged into the rear wedge, buckling the armour. Manta drove towards an empty CPZ, and Joker drove after it. Manta hit Joker with its spinner, and this knocked the safety link loose, immobilizing Joker. Manta pushed it across to Sir Killalot, who pushed it away from the CPZ. As Refbot counted Joker out, Manta hit it with the spinner, flipping it up, then pushed it against an angle grinder. Sir Killalot came in after Joker was counted out, picking the beaten competitor up, spinning it around and throwing it, before picking it up and dropping it out of the arena.

Mick Foley: "Jeff, great performance out there, tell me what happened."
Jeff Cesnik.: "Thank you, well we played around with him for a little while, and they actually put up a good fight, before Killalot threw them over the side!"
Mick Foley: "Did you feel good seeing all their hard work crushed on the concrete floor?"
Jeff Cesnik.: "Oh yeah, it makes it anyone feel good!"
Mick Foley: "That's what I like about you, you're vicious! And that's what I like about Robot Wars, the great competition!"
— Post-battle interview

In the second round, Manta fought against General Chompsalot 2 for the right to fight the UK representative in the final.

Manta hits General Chompsalot 2's wheel

General Chompsalot 2 charged straight at Manta, but Manta dodged it, quickly turning and hitting one of General Chompsalot's wheels with its spinning blade. Manta reversed, then charged at one of General Chompsalot 2's wheels. Manta hit the side and ripped off one of the decorative eyes, but the eye became stuck on the spinning blade, which stopped it from spinning.

"...and Chompsalot, again, is taking some sacrificial punishment, but certainly nothing substantial!"
— Stefan Frank as General Chompsalot 2 loses one of its eyes

General Chompsalot 2 holds Manta's spinner still

Manta rammed into its opponent and General Chompsalot 2 rode up Manta's front. General Chompsalot 2 got its jaw against the front of Manta and tried pushing, but couldn't get its jaw around it or push Manta back. General Chompsalot 2 turned around for another attack and hit the front of Manta, which knocked the eye off of the spinning blade. Manta charged at General Chompsalot 2, trying to use its spinning blade, but General Chompsalot 2 caught the blade in its jaw, holding it still. Gripping onto the spinner caused General Chompsalot 2 to be lifted up on one wheel, and Manta tried pulling General Chompsalot 2 around.

"The power of Manta's disc is enough to lift Chompsalot up off the ground, and his wheels are spinning!"
— Stefan Frank

General Chompsalot 2 pushes Manta into Dead Metal

However, General Chompsalot 2 soon got its wheel back on the ground and rammed Manta into the bottom arena wall. General Chompsalot 2 let Manta go, but Manta was too slow to get away and General Chompsalot 2 rammed it, its tongue falling out as it did so. Manta had stopped moving, and General Chompsalot 2 pushed it into the pit release button.

"I think Chompsalot really took him into the rails hard and knocked something loose, 'cause they've got no driving skill whatsoever, except to backed into that pit trigger!"
— Stefan Frank as Manta is pushed into the pit button

General Chompsalot 2 tries to pit Manta

Dead Metal came out of his CPZ to cut into Manta, before General Chompsalot 2 grabbed Manta in its jaw and pulled it towards the pit. General Chompsalot 2 couldn't get Manta down the pit, despite two attempts to push it down, as on the first attempt, General Chompsalot 2 pushed at the wrong angle, pushing Manta to the side of the pit. Time ran out, and the judges decided that General Chompsalot 2 had won, eliminating Manta.

Mick Foley: "I thought Manta had what it took, I didn't think the General's going to sink those fleshy jaws on him."
Tim Berghoefer: "Well, that makes two of us! But we figured if we could just keep hitting at that weapon and stop it and get in there enough to grab 'em, maybe we had a shot, and it worked out."
— Post-battle interview with the General Chompsalot 2 team


US Series
Season 1
Civil War
Representing the Confederacy, Champion
Eliminator vs. Tiger Cat Won
Semi-Final vs. Spike Won
Final vs. 6 Million Dollar Mouse Won
US Championship
Heat vs. Close Enough, Mad Cow, Rippa Raptor,
Rosie The Riveter, Tiger Cat
Semi-Final vs. Panzer Mk 2 Lost
The Second World Championship
Representing USA, Semi-Finals
NOTE: This competition was also broadcast during Extreme Series 1, and Manta's opening battle was broadcast during German Robot Wars
Heat vs. Ansgar (GER), Chaos 2 (UK), Mastiff (ITA) Won
Semi-Final vs. Drillzilla (USA) Lost
Season 2
US Championship
Heats, Round 2
Heat B, Round 1 vs. Mad Cow Bot, Trilobyte Qualified
Heat B, Round 2 vs. Rocky-Bot-Boa Lost
International Championship
Representing USA, Round 2
Round 1 vs. Joker Won
Round 2 vs. General Chompsalot 2 Lost
UK Series
Extreme Series 1
International Inferno
Representing the USA
International Inferno vs. Flensburger Power (GER), MaxiMill (NED), Panic Attack (UK) Lost
The Second World Championship
Representing the USA, Semi-Finals
NOTE: See US Season 1 Results


  • UK Wins: 0
  • UK Losses: 1
  • US Wins: 7
  • US Losses: 4

NOTE: The Second World Championship performance record is only included within US Wins/Losses

Series Record[]

US Series[]

US Series Manta Series Record
Season 1 Semi-Finals
Season 2 Heat, Round 2
Nickelodeon Did not enter

UK Series[]

Main Series Manta Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
The Fifth Wars Did not enter
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Did not enter
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Entered
Series 2 Did not enter

Outside Robot Wars[]

The team had previously entered the first season of Robotica with Kritical Mass, which also featured six-wheel drive and a front-mounted spinning blade, known as "The Blade O' Death". It reached the final, but lost to the eventual winner Run Amok in the after it became beached on some bricks, for a joint fourth place finish.

The team then returned to the third season with Ultra-Violence, which used Manta's three-toothed blade from Season 2 of Extreme Warriors, as well as six larger, exposed wheels, before reverting to Manta's smaller Colson wheels later into the season. Like its predecessor, Ultra-Violence also reached the final, but lost to Juggerbot 3.0. The shell of Manta itself also made a cameo appearance in the fourth episode of the season, along with Kritical Mass.

To test Manta before the World Championship, the team entered it into BattleBots Season 3.0 under the name Kritical Mass II. It did well, winning two battles before losing to Gold Digger.

Manta's final robot combat appearance would be at the North Carolina Robot Street Fight 2 in 2002, where it performed strongly.



  • Along with Krab-Bot, Tornado, 101, Storm 2, Behemoth, and Razer, Manta is one of only seven robots to finish in the top four of a World Championship and the top eight of a domestic championship, and is the only US robot to do so.
  • Manta was one of only six American robots to win a battle in the UK series, alongside Tentoumushi, frenZy, Drillzilla, Spartacus and Flippa.
  • Manta was the only robot in The Second World Championship to win its first-round heat by knockout instead of by a judges' decision.
  • As Manta's first battle within The Second World Championship was aired as part of German Robot Wars, and this battle was a Manta victory, Manta can be considered an undefeated robot in the canon of the German series.
  • Manta was the only robot in the Extreme 1 International Inferno that did not have side skirts.
  • Only one of Manta's losses was to a robot that did not win a competition at some point.
  • Both of Manta's losses by knockout involved it being pitted.
    • Both robots that pitted Manta competed in a World Championship and an Annihilator at some point (Drillzilla won its Annihilator and Panic Attack did not while neither of those two robots won their respective World Championships they took part in).
  • Manta made a cameo appearance in the third season of Robotica during Ultra Violence's behind the scenes segment.
  • In its official photo for Extreme Warriors Season 1/Extreme 1, Manta appeared to be dark gray rather than light gray. This is most likely due to unusually low lighting in the shoot.
  • Manta had glowing yellow lights in its eyes eyes, but these were never used in battle and are only seen on its Extreme Warriors 1/Extreme 1 official photo and a few other shoots.


External links[]

See Also[]