GLOW Re-Imagines the Golden Age of Wrestling

GameStop, Inc.


As the then World Wrestling Federation (WWF) ruled the airwaves through syndication, an all woman’s promotion created by David McLane laid the foundation of what is now known as, “Sports Entertainment” during the 1980s.

Now Netflix, via the creative minds of Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch along with executive producers Tara Herrmann and Jenji Kohan have reimagined what it was like for 12 Hollywood misfits during the heyday of big hair, shoulder pads, awesome tunes, neon, spandex and hair spray, turn the wrestling world on its head and capture lightning in a bottle with GLOW.

The series follows Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) an out-of-work actress who’s long shot to stardom comes when she has to face-off with former soap opera actress Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin) for a spot on the series as they deal with Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), a washed-up, belligerent, B-movie director who helps the girls learn the ropes in taking bumps and performing in the squared circle.

GLOW

GLOW captures the 1980s with an amazing soundtrack, jazzercising, legwarmers and a dark humor that depicts the life of struggling actors who are willing to do anything…shy of pornography to make it.

In a turn where art imitates life, the man who trained the actresses for this series is professional wrestler Chavo Gurrero Jr. the nephew of the original GLOW trainer Mondo Guerrero. Also making an appearance as an on-camera in-ring trainer is former WWE  Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion, ECW World Champion and current Lucha Underground World Champion, Johnny Mundo (given name John Hennigan) as Salty “The Sack” Johnson.

Portraying one of the GLOW girls is former TNA: Impact and Ring of Honor (ROH) wrestler, Awesome Kong (using her given name of Kia Stevens) as Tamee. Stevens early scenes are doubly entertaining as she relives her early days of training by botching a forward roll in the pilot episode claiming to know nothing about wrestling. An added bonus are cameos by indie wrestling stars, Frankie Kazarian, Joey Ryan, Tyrus, Carlito, Alex Riley and the current ROH World Champion, “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels, giving GLOW an authenticity that is lacking in previous shows and movies regarding the subject matter. One fitting tribute is that the training facility called, “Chavo’s Boxing Gym,” is named in honor of the late Chavo Gurrero Sr., who received an in memoriam during the end credits of an episode.

GLOW

Brie’s portrayal of Ruth is hysterically tragic as she hits rock bottom only to build herself up to stardom by any means necessary, no matter who stands in her way. The way she plays off Gilpin throughout the season is truly believable in how their characters would interact. My personal favorite of the series is Gayle Rankin as Sheila, a goth-type weirdo, who has some demented behaviors that are not only humorous but heart-wrenching. Marc Maron (who looks like comic book legend Stan Lee) essentially plays himself as Sam Sylvia, a drug addicted, alcoholic who uses phrases like, “c*nt punches” and “tit grabbing” as he explained what was expected from the girls auditioning for GLOW.

GLOW is a series full of relatable characters that want nothing more than to strive to be the best version of themselves. The writers of the series capture real human emotion, laughter, betrayal, isolation and forgiveness. What you see in this dramatized version of what the real Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling went through is not over-the-top professional wrestling shtick, but tangible interaction among people who are colleagues, friends and rivals all rolled up into one.

What makes GLOW work is that the creators clearly did their research as original GLOW girls like Matilda the Hun, Roxy Astor, Palestina, Daisy, Ninotchka, Tiffany Melon, Beastie the Road Warrior, Tina Ferrari, Gremlina, Ashley Cartier, Godiva, The Housewives, Susie Spirit, Mountain Fiji, Jailbait, Olympia, Dementia and Hollywood have all inspired this incredibly well done, dramedy.

GLOW launches on Netflix on June 23, 2017.

GLOW
  • Overall Score
4

The Verdict

GLOW captures the essence of the 1980s, but slips in wrestling moves from the 1990s and a few colloquialisms of the 21st Century. This will attract wrestling fans, second wave feminists and anyone who likes good storytelling.

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