“Silence of the Slams”
Season 5, Episode 13
Not counting the animated Scooby Doo TV episodes, I think this might be my last entry regarding spooky wrestling-themed TV episodes. It’s also my favorite title of the spooky wrestling episodes. I’m surprised this hasn’t been used as an actual title of a Halloween-themed indy wrestling show.
Grimm is about Portland detective Nick Burkhardt, who descended from a long line of warriors known as Grimms. Not sure if it’s the same Grimms who created all those fairy tales, but I guess each episode is its own cautionary tale featuring magical creatures that Nick and his partner, Hank, have to deal with. In this episode, Nick and Hank, along with friends Monroe and Rosalee, have to solve a mystery lifted right from the movie Face/Off, only with magical lucha masks in place of Nicolas Cage’s face and shape shifting creatures.
Goyo is a luchador who goes by the name of Kawama, and not Caguama, as I originally thought it was spelled. For those wondering, Caguama is slang for a 32 oz. of beer in Spanish, because Mexico doesn’t carry 40’s. It also apparently means loggerhead turtle. But it might as well be gibberish, as Kawama’s mask and costume design has nothing to do with either beer or turtles. As Kawama, Goyo’s main job is to… job to a higher profile luchador.
He complains about this while picking up his mask from Benito, who happens to own a mask shop. Mind you, this is a luchador mask shop that exists somewhere in Portland, which 1. hasn’t had a thriving local wrestling scene since the 80’s, and 2. is one of the whitest cities in America (according to The Atlantic magazine). Maybe Benito gets a lot of outside orders. Benito reasons that little else is better than getting paid to lose. This is definitely the glass half full approach that helps Curt Hawkins get out of bed every morning.
Goyo shoots back that he became a wrestler to be like his heroes, El Liberador (The Liberator) and Tornado Tejano (Kerry Von Erich?), who never lost a match. Goyo reasons that if he had a cool mask like theirs, then he would win. Although I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works. Benito warns him that the those masks are very expensive, and despite them never losing, there are other costs to their victories.
Goyo still persists, but Benito tells him that it’ll cost him half of what he earns, which is some old school carny type stuff. It’s not like Benito trained him. Considering that certain indy wrestlers can now make more than some lower card WWE guys, that’s still a lot of money to fork over for a custom mask.
Goyo arrives at the Lucha PDX hipster equivalent of a bingo hall for his match that night. His opponent, who gets a grand entrance, along with signature catchphrase “you got served,” is El Mayordomo, which translates to The Butler. His costume is even a spandex tux and comically oversized bow tie. He’s basically a more successful Virgil. And he’s incredibly over with the crowd.
This being a Portland crowd, it’s not entirely clear whether he’s really over, or just ironically over, like the Pollos Locos are with the Lucha VaVoom crowd. The man underneath the Mayordomo mask is actually Chavo Guerrero, of the Guerrero dynasty. You might’ve heard of them. The match doesn’t last long and mostly consists of a montage of the same two or three moves, shot from different angles. That, or Mayordomo really did hit Kawama with five high-flying cross body dives.
Backstage, a defeated Goyo tears his mask apart as he protests his loss against Mayordomo, despite being a better wrestler. The condescending promoter, Larry, which is the most uninspired name for a wrestling promoter, reminds Goyo what he’s there for. To make Mayordomo look good. I can only imagine the number of WWE wrestlers that at one time expressed the same concerns when putting over less talented guys, like The Great Khali or Ultimate Warrior.
Larry tells Goyo that without a new mask he can’t step back into the ring because I guess there’s a lot of money to be made in one-sided Mayordomo/Kawama matches. When Goyo asks him for one win against Mayordomo, Larry tells him he’s not headliner material. Even though he’s presumably at the top of the card always losing to Mayordomo. Does Larry mean babyface headliner material? Larry also adds that Goyo doesn’t speak Spanish, which I guess is a big part of connecting with the predominantly white Lucha PDX crowd.
Goyo goes straight to Benito’s and requests a new mask. No matter the price. Benito goes to the back and pulls out an old scroll that serves as contract for the new mask, which requires both of their signatures in blood. Goyo is a little taken aback by it, but he’s a professional wrestler so he’s used to suspending his disbelief. Goyo follows through and signs with the promise that he’ll give Benito half of everything he earns, and will return the mask when he’s retired. As soon as Goyo leaves, Benito shape shifts into a weird lizard creature named Vibora Dorada. Well, his face does, the rest of his body is still a lumpy old man.
Benito goes out into the night and just happens to stumble upon a mugging. Turns out the mugger is also a shape-shifting monster, whose face also changes, but his looks more like a Tiger. Benito attacks the guy, bites him, then proceeds to tear his face off. With precision. Back at his mask making shop, Benito chants some words to get the magic going, and the writers and maybe even Chavo, make sure to get in the words “I manifest on this skin the sacred power of the Warriors,” which, when chanted in Spanish, seems like Benito is manifesting the power of Los Guerreros. It’s a nice touch.
Goyo instantly feels a change in him when he puts on the mask. Not only is he stronger, but he’s also susceptible to rage. Is the mask supposed to represent steroids? Most Grimm fairy tales are obsessed with morality lessons, so rest assure this steroid allegory isn’t going to end well, as steroids have done a lot to mess up wrestlers’ careers and lives. Backstage, Larry walks into the locker room and finds Goyo suiting up in his new persona. He’s impressed by the new mask and reasons that even though Goyo is a loser, the mask is a winner. Which goes to show how what a gimmick change can do for a pro wrestler’s career. See: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
Tigre Feroz enters the ring to his default WCW Mexican cruiserweight music and as soon as the bell rings, shows how much faster and flippier he is than El Mayordomo. But it’s not Tigre’s newfound abilities that give him the edge over Mayordomo. It’s the fact that he goes into business for himself and refuses to follow Mayordomo’s “lead.” So Mayordomo, the pro that he is, goes along with the change in plans and lets Tigre Feroz beat him to avoid breaking kayfabe. It’s not until they get backstage that Mayordomo loses his shit on Goyo for shooting on him.
Larry shows up in and declares Goyo’s new gimmick a success, despite him going against the finish. But he is a promoter and one thing they know how to do well is sniff out potential money. Larry then tells Goyo that tomorrow night he’s the “headliner.” Again, despite the fact that he just headlined against Mayordomo, but as a heel. Mayordomo storms off in disgust.
Goyo goes into Benito’s shop, giddy and excited. He’s overcome with joy, but a stoic Benito is like, okay put the mask away. Goyo gives him his cut, which seems to be a large stack considering he just wrestled at the equivalent of an armory. But I guess Lucha PDX pays well, or all in ones. Benito reminds him once again to never wear the mask outside the ring. But Goyo tells him that he knows what he’s doing. All Benito can do is make worried faces as Goyo takes off. Maybe Benito should’ve let him in on the mask’s powers, or maybe Goyo knows something’s up and doesn’t care about what evil lurks underneath the masks of some luchadores. I mean, he seemed okay with using his own blood for ink when signing the contract.
Out in the streets, not far from Benito’s shop, an unmasked Mayordomo confronts Goyo once again. He’s still rightfully pissed about Goyo shooting on him. He jokes that he might be able to headline one match (again, against Mayordomo), but that he’s going to kill him in the ring. Thus, confirming that Goyo’s been headlining this whole time, at least in match order, but not on the marquee, I guess.
Mayordomo snatches the mask from Goyo’s hands, and taunts him about being powerless without the ugly mask. Goyo punches him and takes the mask back. Mayordomo decides to have their rematch right then and there – hold harmless style – Goyo quickly pulls on the mask, sensing that he probably needs that mask a lot more than he’s willing to let on, or has become superstitious ever since things started going his way after wearing the mask.
They get into it and Feroz dodges and reverses all of Mayordomo’s moves. There’s a lot of slamming up against the walls of the alley. If there would’ve been some martial arts moves, you’d think you were watching one of the backstage segments of Lucha Underground. Goyo slams Mayordomo face first into one of the walls and Mayordomo collapses on the ground. Goyo runs home and immediately takes the mask off.
The Grimm cops ID Mayordomo as James Vasquez, or rather ID’s the body as James Vasquez, but then follow up that he’s Mayordomo. Which is crazy that they were able to piece that info together, unless Vasquez just happend to have his Mayordomo mask in his back pocket, or something. Actually, they found his car down the street with gym bag and costume, so… fine detective work. Nick checks out the mask, but it’s not made of leather, which is what they’re looking for. Because Xixe Topec only used the finest of leathers. Oh yeah, the Grimm detectives learn from Rosalee and Monroe about this ancient face swapping deal based on Aztec/supernatural lore.
For whatever reason, Goyo feels compelled to put the mask back on, even though he hears the echoing warnings of Benito to never wear the mask outside the ring, and then finally, the masks blends into Goyo’s own face and skin and becomes a part of him. I guess that’s what happens after you try it on three times outside the ring. He’s fueled with rage and decides to trash his own house, because not only is he a fierce tiger, but an untamed feral one, at that.
The detectives visit Larry at the Lucha PDX arena, to question him about the death of Mayordomo. Larry reasons that Mayordomo probably had a lot of enemies, but that he avoids knowing anything about his luchadores’ persona lives, because he’s a jerk promoter who only sees these guys as commodities and not as human beings. But he does reveal that Mayordomo got into it with Goyo as he explained the intricacies of pro wrestling without dropping any insider terms. Larry also mentions Goyo’s new mask and nickname which piques the detectives’ interest, as they ask him to provide addresses for Goyo and Benito. They get a call from Rosalee who tells them that she spoke to a santero and that there’s a ceremony to stop the mask from being too powerful.
Goyo (still in his Tigre Feroz) mask runs into Benito’s shop shouting for him to get the mask off. Benito is, of course, like, I told you so. Benito reminds Goyo that the mask can only be removed through the ceremony of desgracias (disgrace). Granted, he doesn’t go into the details of such an ominous sounding ritual, but Goyo doesn’t even think twice and commands him to do it. As Goyo waits for Benito to retrieve his book of spells, the surrounding masks mounted on the wall begin to speak to Goyo, cautioning him against Benito. I imagine these are the same type of voices that Randy Orton hears in his head, but with a lot more “bro” and “sick, dude” thrown about. Benito knows what’s up and tells Goyo to ignore the masks. Instead, Goyo hurls Benito across the room.
The Grimm detectives show up just in time to see Goyo mounted on top of Benito, beating him to death. I don’t get why Benito didn’t shape shift into his Vibora Dorada form to fight back. Maybe Tigre Feroz was just too much for him. Burkhardt and Hank try to intervene, but Goyo tosses them around like Wrestling Buddies. After crashing through a wall and no-selling it, Burkhardt grabs Goyo and smashes him head-first into a glass case. This stuns Goyo enough to keep him from moving, even though he’s supposed to be strong as hell. I guess his threshold for pain didn’t level up with the mask, only his strength. Benito’s dying words to the detectives is to do the ceremonia de desgracia, or “ceremonaidegracias”as he dramatically mumbles through his last breath.
The detectives disrupt Rosalee and Monroe’s nice night in and get them to come to Benito’s shop to perform the ceremonia de disgracia. Amidst a make-shift circle of lit candles, the guys pin Goyo to the ground, while Rosalee mixes up some herbs and spices in a boiling thermos. She claims she has to pour it on Goyo’s face as it’s the only way to get it off. She does as directed, and Goyo convulses and yells until he passes out.
Rosalee starts reading a spell from Benito’s Book of Spells: Spanish Edition. It’s very similar to the spell Benito originally cast when making the mask. The mask dissolves from it’s skin like texture until it becomes a regular wrestling mask again. They peel it off a groggy Goyo who immediately asks about Benito. Then quickly goes into alibi mode and swears that the mask made him kill Benito and Mayordomo. The Tigre Feroz mask then changes from the tiger face to that of the mugger that Benito had killed.
The episode ends with Burkhardt writing in his giant old school diary, summarizing the episode’s moral of the story that when faced with multiple personalities, the human mind has only one escape. To go completely mad. I guess this is the second volume of Grimm’s Fairy Tales he plans on releasing some time down the line.