Beyond the Mat Recap

In Brimson, Missouri, Rio is announcing a fight between rookie Shawn Harley and The Hangman. They go through their moves and Shawn realizes that the Hangman is drunk. The Hangman puts a noose around Shawn's neck and punches the ref when he tries to intervene. Hangman pulls Shawn up, and Shawn gasps for breath.

Later in the locker room, Shawn confronts Hangman, but wrestler Gunnar Lawless tells the rookie to back off. Shawn accuses Gunnar of sticking together with the other old-timers, and tells Gunnar to keep a leash on Hangman. After everyone else leaves, Hangman is grabbing his bag and takes a drink. The lights go off and someone drops a noose around his neck and hoists him into the air.

At the bunker, Dean is doing research and Sam notices that he has a bag packed. When he asks about it, Dean reminds him that John used to take them to Top Notch Wrestling shows. He came across an obituary for John's favorite, Larry "The Hangman" Lee. The funeral is less than a day's drive, and Dean wants to pay their respects. Sam says that it's bad out there, but Dean points out that they have nothing on Amara, Lucifer, or Castiel. He's burnt out and needs to take a break. Sam realizes how tired his brother is and agrees.

In Hell, Lucifer is overseeing the demons' search for another Hand of God. Simmons assures him that she wants him to be happy, and Lucifer goes to Crowley who is scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush. He asks what Crowley has to add, and Crowley insists that it's nothing. Lucifer tells him to use his tongue to clean the floor, and the demons watch as Crowley does it.

Sam and Dean arrive at the funeral home and Dean points out all of the pro wrestlers gathered there. They're all beat up and broken, and Dean spots Gunnar at Hangman's coffin. Dean goes over and says hi, and Gunnar shakes his hand. Dean finally releases it and talks about how he broke into a house to watch Gunnar in a match.

Sam notices Rio and says that she used to manage Superbomb Sanchez. Rio says that it was a long time ago, and Sam tells her that she looks great. He admits that Rio was his first crush, and hastily denies that he had her poster. Rio says that she calls matches and books shows, and explains that she spends a lot of time on the road with the wrestlers. She's seen too many wrestlers die, and can't believe that Hangman would kill himself. The family didn't advertise that Hangman hung himself, and Rio excuses herself. Sam goes over to Dean at the coffin, and they agree to go to the memorial shows the wrestlers are having for Hangman.

That night, Sam and Dean enter the less-than-packed hall and Rio calls the fight. Sam admits that he met Rio at the funeral and she's nice, and Dean reminds his brother that he used to have her poster over his bed. As they wait, Sam says that the guy at the wake told him the wrestlers are only making $25 a night. Dean points out the wrestlers travel from town to town and barely cover their expenses, and Sam points out that he's describing their jobs. A father and son sit down behind the Winchesters, and the drunken father insists that he's doing a good job parenting.

One of the wrestlers, Hellrazor, comes out. Backstage, a man confronts Gunnar and says that he has something for him. Shawn watches from the shadows as the man gives Gunnar a piece of paper. Gunnar then goes out and everyone cheers. Dean gives tells Sam to stand up, and Gunnar gives his gloves to the kid behind the brothers. A disappointed Dean insists that it's fine.

Gunnar and Hellrazor fight and Hellrazor tosses Gunnar out of the ring. As he gets up, he winks at Sam and Dean. Hellrazor hits him with a chair and throws him back into the ring, then gets him in a hold. The audience cheers Gunnar on, and he breaks free and tosses Hellrazor around the ring. He finally takes his opponent down, and the father goes to the restroom. There's a line so he goes outside to urinate. As he does, he hears something moving in the bushes and turns to see who it is. After a moment, something runs him through the chest.

After the match, the brothers hear the police pull up and go out to investigate. Sam checks with the police and confirms that the body was marked. He figures that the cuts are deliberate and the killer made a deliberate symbol, and suggests that it's a case. Sam heads back to the motel to check the symbol, while Dean goes into the hall. When he realizes that he's alone, Dean gets up in the ring and practices his moves. Rio comes in and Dean quickly stops and flashes his fake FBI badge. The woman remembers him from the wake, and says that she sold the father some tickets. Rio says that back in Shreveport at their first stop, a maintenance guy found a body stashed in the dumpster behind the VFW where they wrestled. Rio asks where the wrestlers are, and Rio tells him to check the nearby bar.

Simmons opens Crowley's cage door and says that she's get him out. He refuses to go, but Simmons says that Crowley still has friends who want Lucifer gone. She says that Crowley isn't a dog, and Lucifer should be afraid of him. After a moment, Crowley gets his courage back.

Dean goes to the bar and joins Gunnar at the bar. He assures Gunnar that he was great and so was the show, and they share a toast to the dead man. Dean says that he's heard it isn't the first death connected to the show, and Gunnar shows him a scar from when someone came at him with a broken bottle. Dean shows his own scar, and Gunnar says that no matter what happened, he always got back up because he learned to keep on grinding no matter what happens. As Dean stares at the man in awe, Sam calls and Dean steps aside to take it. Sam says that someone has died at every stop, and each one had the symbol... even Hangman. The symbol is ancient Sumerian, and is said to pluck the spark of life. The brothers figure that one of the wrestlers is responsible and that demons might be involved.

Shawn yells at the waitress for another drink, and Gunnar tells him to take it easy. The rookie says that Gunnar got him kicked off the card, and figures Gunnar is jealous of him. He punches Gunnar and asks if he needs hi go-juice to get up. Rio pulls Shawn away, and Shawn says that he saw Gunnar with his dealer. Gunnar denies it, and Rio tells Shawn to sleep it off. She tells Gunnar that she'll talk to him the next day and pushes Shawn out. Dean helps Gunnar up and asks why he didn't fight back, and Gunnar says that he didn't have anything to prove. While Gunnar talks to another wrestler, Dean secretly pours some holy water in Gunnar's drink. Gunnar drinks it down and nothing happens, and Dean realizes that he's going to have to buy a lot more shots to check the rest of the wrestlers.

As Simmons lead Crowley out, two demons cut them off. Crowley shoves Simmons at them and uses the distraction to kill them both. When Simmons wonders how he pulled it off, Crowley simply says that he's Crowley.

Sam goes to the bar later and finds Dean passed out on bench. He wakes his brother up and Dean explains that the wrestlers wanted him to drink with them. No one reacted, and Dean is sure he got them all except Shawn. They drive to the motel where Harley is holed up and knock on his door. He doesn't answer, and Dean picks the lock. Inside the brothers discover that someone has torn the place up.

Crowley gets a fresh set of clothing and tells Simmons that they're going to find the ace up his sleeve.

The brothers search the room and Sam accesses the motel security cams. A white van pulls up and then Gunnar puts a knocked-out Harley into it.

Shawn wakes up tied to a chair in a dark room. Gunnar comes over and Shawn apologizes for taking a cheap shot at him. He begs Gunnar not to hurt him, and Gunnar says that it isn't his call. The man from earlier walks up and greets Shawn by name, and his eyes glow red as he tells Shawn that he's his new best friend.

Sam traces the van by traffic cams, and they realize that it was heading for the hall.

The demon, Duke, asks Shawn what he wants in return for his soul... and his service. He says that occasionally he'll ask Shawn to kill somebody for him. When Shawn wonders why the demon chose him, Duke says that he needs someone driven and hungry. He boasts that Gunnar is a satisfied customer, and asks Shawn if they have a deal. Shawn tells him no, and admits that he's never been much for God. Since there's a demon, he figures there must be Hell and Heaven, and he isn't giving up his shot at Heaven for a belt he can win on his own. Duke kicks him over and takes out a knife, and prepares to sever his Achilles tendon. Gunnar tells Duke to stop but then shuts up when the demon glares at him. Duke cuts Shawn' tendon and tells Gunnar to finish him. When Gunnar objects, Duke tells him to do it.

Crowley goes to a storage unit where he keeps the artifacts he's gathered over the centuries. He takes out the Rod of Aaron, and explains that it's a Hand of God. As they talk, Lucifer comes in and announces himself.

Sam and Dean drive to the hall and find Gunnar standing over Shawn's corpse. Duke knocks them back and walks in.

Lucifer is amused that Crowley thought he could double-cross him. He explains that Simmons helped him because she hates him, and says that Crowley is nothing but Dean's number-one fan.

Duke admits that he's disappointed that the Winchesters aren't that good. The demon tells Gunnar to kill them, and Gunnar throws Dean through a wall. Duke holds Sam in place, while Gunnar beats Dean.

Lucifer figures that Crowley was hiding something, and goes to the crate holding the Rod. He tells Crowley that he's going to take the Rod and then Crowley. Lucifer opens the crate and discovers that it's empty. He turns to see that Crowley is holding the Rod. Crowley hits Lucifer with it, and then absorbs the energy from the Rod. He fires a blast at Lucifer, and Simmons leaps in the way... and is obliterated.

Gunnar ties up Dean and says that he doesn't have a choice. Dean says that he knows all about Hell and demons and deals, and figures that Gunnar sold his soul. The wrestler explains that ten years ago, he wanted another shot at the belt. He got the title... for a week. Dean tells Gunnar that it's never too late to do the right thing, When Gunnar asks if he really believes it, Dean says that he has to.

Crowley tries to unleash another blast,but nothing happens. Lucifer smiles and punches Crowley, knocking him across the room. When Lucifer goes after him, he discovers that Crowley has teleported away.

Duke tells Sam that Crowley no longer controls Hell, and it's every demon for himself. He's delegating his victims to collect souls for him. Dean staggers out and duke easily blasts him away, and prepares to kill Sam. Gunnar stabs Duke and kills him, and Sam nervously goes to his brother. Hellhounds howl in the distance, and Dean offers Gunnar his gun. Gunnar refuses it and says that he's never been a good man. What comes next, he has coming. As the hellhounds try to break in, Gunnar tells Sam and Dean to get out. Once they leave, he turns to face the door as the hellhounds break in and come at him.

Later, Sam and Dean arrive back at the bunker and Dean tells his brother that he's not okay. He figures that Gunnar didn't deserve to go out like he did, and Sam points out that they've been in the same place of making a bad decisions. Dean echoes Gunnar's words about continuing on no matter how bad it hurts, and tells Sam that they are going to win and God help anyone who gets in their way. After a moment, Sam agrees.

Written by Gadfly on Feb 25, 2016