“Bein' rich an' famous is diggety-dang DYNAMITE!”
Grubba is a major character in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door who, in his younger years, was a champion wrestler and martial artist. Though initially impartial to fame and riches, after becoming rich and famous, he fell in love with the good life. After retiring as a fighter, he became the promoter of the Glitz Pit in Glitzville. When he introduced himself to Mario, he claims to be past his prime, unable to fight in the ring anymore. Bandy Andy claims that Grubba is over sixty years old during the events of the game. While initially presented as an uninvolved third party to Mario's fight against the X-Nauts for the Crystal Stars, when Mario discovers his unethical use of the Gold Star, he was actually a antagonist, wishing to keep his secrets safe. Behind his benevolent, boisterous façade, he is dangerously self-centered, viewing situations in terms of benefits and dangers to himself and his lifestyle rather than the moral implications of his actions.
According to Grubba, in youth, he was poor, but he did not care for "fancy, big-city ways." His worldview changed when he became a martial arts fighter. Though some of his moves were made illegal as he progressed, he became recognized as a champion fighter and earned enough money to survive off of for the rest of his life.
At some point in his life, Grubba attained the Gold Star, a Crystal Star with the ability to increase one's power by enabling its possessor to use Power Lift. The details behind Grubba's ownership of the Star are not explained.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Despite his fighting prowess, age eventually takes a toll on Grubba and, unable to fight in the ring anymore, he is forced to retire from fighting. However, Grubba opens his own fighting ring, the Glitz Pit, and becomes its promoter. The Champ's Belt, the reward for the champion of the Glitz Pit, features an imitation of Grubba's Gold Star. At some point following, desiring to regain his fit, youthful body, he develops a power-draining machine that uses the Gold Star as a power source. Utilizing the Gold Star, the machine can suck the power out of one person and bestow it onto another individual. Through the use of the machine, Grubba can power himself up with much more dramatic results than those achievable through Power Lift alone. He refers to himself as Macho Grubba when powered up. Additionally, the machine makes him appear younger even when not transformed. The relation between these events and the Dubious Paper, a research paper about the powers of the Crystal Stars hidden in the minor-league Glitz Pit locker room at the time of Mario's adventure, are not made clear.
To support his poor family, Prince Mush enters the Glitz Pit as a fighter and becomes its first champion. Although he becomes a huge fan favorite, in the words of Grubba, "Good fighters ain't nothin' to mess with." When Mush discovers Grubba's secret, the promoter sucks the power out of him. Whether or not Mush is the first victim of the machine is unknown, but he is the earliest known victim. To the public, including Mush's family, Grubba gives no explanation of Mush's disappearance. Afterward, Grubba hires a manager, Jolene, who secretly takes the job to discover what really happened to Prince Mush, her little brother. Despite Mush discovering his secret, Grubba continues to use the machine. On one occasion, the snooping Jolene witnesses his transformation into Macho Grubba. Seeing what she is against, she loses nearly all hope that she will avenge her brother.
With Prince Mush gone, his rival Rawk Hawk is free to step in as the next champion of the Glitz Pit. Rawk Hawk did not pry into Grubba's business. However, a minor-league fighter, Bandy Andy, has begun investigating the secrets of the Glitz Pit.
Mario and his partners, on a quest to save Princess Peach from the X-Nauts, are seeking out the Crystal Stars. After obtaining two of them, the Magical Map next detects Grubba's Crystal Star and points them to Glitzville. Seeing the supposed Gold Star on the Champ's Belt, Mario, with the intention of winning the star fairly, meets with Grubba to become a Glitz Pit fighter. Grubba appears excited about the prospect and signed on Mario, giving him the ring name, "The Great Gonzales."
Mario advances through the minor-league and into the major-league. Meanwhile, Jolene begins to regain hope, believing that he might be able to defeat Grubba. Pleased with Mario's performance, Grubba invites him into his office to give him a thirty coin bonus and welcome him to the major-league. When Jolene, escorting Mario and his party, enters, Grubba is looking at something and quickly hides it in his drawer, berating Jolene for not knocking. Jolene then takes Mario and his party to the major-league locker room, where they meet Rawk Hawk and determine that the star on the Champ's Belt is a fake. Allegedly hearing their discussion, Jolene, under the pseudonym "X," sends Mario an e-mail promising to lead him to the real Crystal Star.
Jolene first sends Mario a Super Hammer, then leads him to the Dubious Paper hidden in the minor-league locker room. Suspicious of Mario's intentions, Grubba sends him a threatening, anonymous e-mail. Disregarding Grubba's e-mail, Mario continues to pry, and Grubba grows increasingly suspicious. Around this time, Bandy Andy goes into the arena when no one seems to be around and witnesses Grubba's transformation. Grubba shortly drains his energy and hides him along with KP Pete.
When Ms. Mowz breaks into the storeroom where KP Pete and Bandy Andy are hidden, a security guard hears a noise which Ms. Mowz would later claim could not have been her. Rather than investigate further into the noise, Jolene threatens to fire the guard should he speak of the intrusion again. She reports that, to Grubba, the room was secure, but Grubba remains suspicious. He asks her where she went when she disappeared for long periods of time and whether or not she has ever heard of a Crystal Star, but she gives him satisfactory answers. However, Grubba quickly sends an e-mail to Mario, warning him not to pry into matters concerning the Crystal Star lest he meet the same fate as the other missing fighters. Shortly after, Mario discovers KP Pete and Bandy Andy in the storeroom.
After becoming the champion, Mario gains access to the champion's room and uses its location to spy on Grubba, regarding to Jolene's anonymous advice. Grubba is, at that moment, talking to himself regarding his secret machine, the missing fighters, and whether or not he should make Mario "disappear". Hiding the machine's blueprints in his desk, Grubba leaves his office for a minute and returns to find Mario and his partner inspecting the secret blueprints for the machine.
Hastily, Grubba flees to his machine in the arena, closely followed by Mario and his party. In response, Grubba quickly activates his machine and transforms into Macho Grubba, confident that he will be able to defeat his champion. Grubba battles, but ultimately gets defeated by Mario and transforms back into his normal form. Lying face-down on the floor of his machine, Grubba compliments Mario on the fight. Jolene rushes to the ring, thanking Mario for his efforts and explaining her actions and motivations to him. Jolene demands that he tell her what happened to Prince Mush. Defeated, Grubba admits his crime.
The Gold Star uses its power to restore Jolene's brother before it is removed from the machine. Grubba's machine deactivates and Jolene gives Mario the Gold Star in order that the events will not be repeated. Grubba's final fate is unknown; he is last seen lying on the Glitz Pit floor. Jolene takes over Grubba's position as the promoter of the Glitz Pit. Both Bandy Andy and KP Pete recover. KP Pete claims that four fighters has disappeared before him that year alone. However, the total number of fighters drained by Grubba is unknown.
Duties as owner of the Glitz Pit
As owner of the Glitz Pit, Grubba has a few duties to fulfill. Because he needs help taking care of such a large and popular business, Grubba hires a manager, Jolene. Grubba also hires ten guards to protect and keep watch over the Glitz Pit, each stationed at a door behind the publicly accessible areas of the Glitz Pit. Grubba spends much of his time in his office, taking care of the Glitz Pit's business — as well as his own in secrecy. When an upcoming fighter is ready to enter the ring, Grubba acts as the promoter for the Glitz Pit, convincing willing fighters to sign up. In addition to promoting fighters to join the Glitz Pit, he also has to tell them what to do when they would fight in order to impress the crowd. Each locker room — including the Champ's Room — has an intercom that Grubba communicates to his fighters through before a fight. On this intercom, he gives them various orders as to what to do in a fight. For example, Grubba instructs the fighter Sir Swoop to "do a triple flip and meow" during one of his matches. Should the fighters ignore or disobey these orders, they are forced to fight the same opponents again, even if the fighters has won the battle; if the fighters lose a match, or if they fail to obey Grubba's orders, they are forced to fight the opponents below them. Grubba also appears in the ring at every fight as the referee, announcing who is battling in the current match to the audience. At times, Grubba conducts pre-fight interviews with fighters in the Glitz Pit, especially when new competitors are fighting for the first time. Additionally, Grubba is responsible for officially starting every match, as well as declaring the winners of each brawl. Overall, Grubba's role on stage was to get the crowd excited, as well as to narrate the various matches before and after each fight.
After Grubba is defeated, Jolene takes over all of Grubba's managerial duties.
Below is a list of the various orders Grubba gives Mario during his time at the Glitz Pit. Most of the time the order will be chosen at random (and is prone to save & load manipulation). For Mario's first battle, however, the order will always be to appeal to the crowd at least once. At one point he also instructs Sir Swoop to "do a triple flip and meow." And for Mario's final battle (with Rawk Hawk), the order is to use a special move, but it is unnecessary.
When he was younger, Grubba claimed to have had many powerful moves, some of which were made illegal after he used them. However, by the time he encounters Mario, Grubba has lost his ability to fight without the aid of his machine. To fight his enemies, Grubba is forced to use the machine to transform into Macho Grubba. In that form, he has many attacks.
Though he is a Clubba, Grubba does not have all of the normal physical features of one; rather, he bears a slight resemblance to Tubba Blubba from the original Paper Mario. Unlike most Clubbas, whose skin is green, Grubba has a pale blue shade of skin. His shell is orchid in color, with a yellow rim and is hair is a fiery orange color; these features too are unlike the normal Clubba, which bears whitish-colored hair and different colored shells. Grubba's lips are very large and orange in color. Perhaps most notable is the fact that Grubba does not carry a mace around with him. He is also the only Clubba ever seen to wear clothes.
As revealed as the plot progresses, Grubba is self-obsessed to the point of violence. Though he creates a good-natured facade to mask this, his actions ultimately are rooted in self-advancement. When Mario first meets Grubba, the promoter shows his public image: friendly and passionate about his life's work. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door hints that Grubba's obsession with his image develops as a result of his fame. Originally, he has not cared about glitz and glamor, but later in life he uses duplicitous methods to relive his old days. Despite this emotional transformation, Grubba retains an air of good sportsmanship throughout his life. Grubba encourages his fighters and did not mask his excitement for rising stars such as Mario. Even as he lay defeated, he commends Mario for a good fight. The burden of keeping his power-draining machine a secret weighs on Grubba, making him suspicious of those around him. He exhibits no remorse in draining the power from those who knew his secret in an effort to keep it hidden. Talking to himself on one occasion, Grubba considers sucking the power from Mario and Jolene, who, to his knowledge, has not discovered his secret, but are getting closer to doing so.
Grubba attempts to exude an air of compassion and enthusiasm towards his fighters and staff. As evidenced in his relationship with Mario, Grubba is capable of developing friendships with those who did not know his secrets, but ultimately his intentions come into question. As Goombella realizes as soon as she met Grubba, he is a "super-greasy smooth talker" and not necessarily trustworthy, even while he maintains his facade. The text in the dialogue box hints at his possessing a heavy southern accent.
Grubba also has a tendency to gossip or possibly make trash talking comments that he attributes to other fighters even if they never actually said such a thing. The reasoning for this could be to provoke one team of fighters into giving a little more into the fight.
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