The SmarK Rant for the Best of GLOW
– This is a cheap PPV that was produced for DirecTV and got picked up by Viewer’s Choice here in Canada recently, so I figured what the hell. I used to watch GLOW all the time in it’s heyday, so I figured this would at least be good for the nostalgia value. But all is not right, as you shall soon see
– A word on GLOW for those not entirely familiar with it: It was the brainchild of David McLane, and the idea was for an all-women’s promotion, based out of the Riviera hotel in Las Vegas, with comedy sketches to be used as filler. It debuted in 1985, and broad caricatures rather than characters were used so that angles didn’t really need to be shot Ã¢â‚¬â€œ good and bad girls were readily apparent by their names, and thus people could be paired off with a minimum of thought required by the audience. Girls were auditioned based on looks and fashion sense rather than actual ability (acting or athletic). In fact, Luna Vachon tried out for the second season and was rejected for being an actual wrestler! David actually wanted a more wrestling-oriented product, but the backers wanted T&A, so the result was a variety show of sorts. McLane hung around for the first couple of seasons before getting tired of the increasing pressure from the money guys to produce what he considered “exploitiveÃ¢â‚¬Â material (which is funny considering the things that David’s ex-employees have said about him) and left in 1987 with pretty much all of the marketable talent in GLOW to start POWW, a straight women’s wrestling promotion. It flopped, leaving everyone out in the cold and a completely lame-duck GLOW promotion as a result. Without McLane, who at least had an original vision and some imagination, the show was quickly cancelled and the fad died off as fast as it came around. I’ll get to the details of why it sucked later.
– Your host is Mean Gene, apparently moonlighting outside of the WWE.
– We start with the traditional opening musical number, as Gene talks about the wide range of “ethnicÃ¢â‚¬Â characters (like the Russian Colonel Ninotchka and all-American girl Americana) in a serious tone of voice.
– California Doll v. Spanish Red. This is from the very end of the David McLane era of GLOW, which is kinda odd for a show that’s supposed to be covering the history of the show. Doll gets a dropkick and the dreaded Giant Swing, but we’re clipped to Red getting a headscissors and ramming her into the turnbuckles. Doll comes back with some sort of takedown, but Red does some vaguely-connecting kicks to come back. Red chokes her out and monkey-flips her, but gets hiptossed. They armdrag each other and get nowhere, until Red tries to work the arm. Red chokes her out again under the guide of a facelock, and then goes to a more blatant version. They roll around pulling each other’s hair until Red covers and holds on for the pin at 5:27. It was going okay until they hit the mat. Ã‚Â½*
– Spanish Red & Ashley Cartier v. Matilda the Hun. Matilda is one screwed-up character, as she’s portraying a Germanic Nazi type, but is supposed to be a play on “Attila the HunÃ¢â‚¬Â. Well, the Huns were from HUNGARY, hence the name. Hey, I’m a big fan of the great dictators and warmongers, what can I say? Anyway, Red & Cartier collide and Matilda slams Red on the apron, and then chokes Ashley out. Given 15 years of perspective or so, I gotta say that Ashley is one hot piece of ass. Red & Ashley collide again and start fighting, and Red gets the best of it. Matilda splashes Ashley for the pin at 2:28. Ugh. DUD Tina Ferrari (Ivory minus the artificial funbags) saves her former partner Cartier.
– We get some more “classicÃ¢â‚¬Â comedy sketches, which involve a lot of REALLY old jokes and bad puns.
– AttachÃƒÂ© & Angel v. Suzy Spirit & Sugar. See, we’re already into the era now where McLane was being phased out, as he’s been replaced on announcing by Mike Morgan, whose shtick is that he does an imitation of those corny TV announcers from the 50s. It’s a big brawl right away, and the heels work over the masked Sugar in the corner. Angel, who is an evil biker chick, chokes Sugar with a chain, but Spirit comes in and cleans house. The cheerleader gimmick just wasn’t the same after Suzy shattered her arm in Sid-like fashion on one of the early episodes. Angel & Attache work her over in the corner, and double-team her. Attache gets a backbreaker where it’s blatantly obvious that Spirit is doing all the work, but she goes up and misses a flying elbow. Hot tag Sugar, and hiptosses abound. Attache uses a billy club to inflict damage, but Spirit gets a bodypress for two. Attache & Angel do a variation of the Doomsday Device on Sugar, but Spirit splashes everyone off the top for the pin at 3:56. Would’ve been okay if they’d slowed down the pace a bit and made the spots mean something. *1/2
– More classic Hee-Haw level comedy skits. Sample gag: Airheaded California Doll ponders if umpires ask for pancakes by declaring “Batter upÃ¢â‚¬Â? Ho ho.
– Tina Ferrari v. Palestina, the Terrorist. As if the military fatigues and vague Middle Eastern accent weren’t enough of a giveaway that she indeed was a terrorist. Tina was basically the only half-decent worker in the entire promotion, so McLane smartly got her the hell away from GLOW when he left and attempted to build POWW around her. Tina was GLOW champion at this point, and she never lost the title Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it was vacated at the end of the second season when she left. Tina grabs a hammerlock to start and clotheslines her. Kneedrop and hiptoss, but Palestina blocks an irish whip. That’s a major no-no. Tina tosses her, but Palestina pulls a handful of “sandÃ¢â‚¬Â out of her pocket and blinds Tina with it. Palestina beats on her on the outside and Tina does a really good job of selling to get the crowd on her side. She gets posted and they brawl to the ringside table, and then Palestina grabs a piece of railing and flattens Tina with it. The crowd is really getting into the sympathy angle here. Palestina tries to claim the crown, but Tina comes back into the ring and trips her up. She chokes away and goes from an STF into a Boston Crab into a Liontamer, but none of the moves mean anything because the heel doesn’t know how to sell any of them. That was always the main problem with GLOW Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it was a bunch of girls going through the motions of what they thought wrestling looked like, but it wasn’t actually wrestling. Tina awkwardly tries to dump her, but Palestina won’t play ball, so Tina rolls her up for the pin at 7:08. Seriously, if Palestina was a guy and refused to take bumps like that in the WWE, she’d get MURDERED at the next house show. Tina did the work of 10 people here and got a decent match out of it. **
– Roxy Astor v. Hollywood. Okay, we’re solidly into the post-McLane period now, and here’s the problem with it: When David took all the “A-LevelÃ¢â‚¬Â talent to form POWW, the backers of GLOW simply plugged new girls into the same old gimmicks with different names, hoping that people wouldn’t notice, I guess. So the evil Russian Colonel Ninotchka, who was actually a decent worker, was replaced by equally evil Russian Major Tonya, who wasn’t. Becky the Farmer’s Daughter was replaced by Babe the Farmer’s Daughter. And so on. The other problem was that while McLane’s stupid gimmicks were horribly offensive to everyone, at least they had some distinguishing features to separate them from one another. After he left, there was just no effort put into making the stereotypes truly ballsy. I mean, Roxy Astor’s gimmick is that she’s from New York. WOW. And there was a whole parade of generic punk chicks with Mohawks. I mean, if you’re gonna be stupid, at least be memorably stupid. Hollywood armdrags her to start. Elbow misses, and Astor gets a clothesline and stomps away. Criss-cross and Hollywood bails and pulls Astor out, and they brawl. Hollywood grabs a spraypaint can in a threatening manner and stalls while the announcer makes bad art jokes. Back in, Hollywood misses a charge and Astor slams her, but she no-sells and they screw up a simple irish whip. See, it’s stuff like that that really exposes how untrained these girls were. Hollywood pounds away and completely whiffs on a clothesline, but Roxy sells and then changes her mind and recovers long enough to roll her up for the pin at 3:52. This was like approaching 1.0 Gayda. DUD
– Hollywood & Vine v. Sunny & Cheyanne Cher. Big donnybrook goes nowhere and ends up in a double-DQ at 3:01. DUD
– Mountain Fiji v. Matilda the Hun. This is the ever-popular Gestapo match, featuring legal use of whips, chains and billy-clubs and a winner declared when one of the seconds waves a white flag. They duel with the foam clubs to start, but Matilda gets the best of it. It turns into a six-girl brawl as the 4 seconds get involved. Matilda chokes her with the whip, but Fiji pounds back in the corner. Matilda and Fiji keep slugging it out with weapons shots so pussified that Lance Storm would go “Damn, that’s some weak offenseÃ¢â‚¬Â and fight over a lockup. More choking follows. Matilda uses the chain to swat vaguely in Fiji’s direction, and Fiji comes back with more of the same. My life is flashing before my eyes having to watch the 250-pound Matilda wrestle with a wedgie for the entire match. Matilda does some nearly-obscene pelvic thrusts in the corner, and Hollywood runs in to interfere, but uses the white flag as a weapon and that somehow counts as waving it at 7:49. Well, there’s your 10 bucks right there. -***1/2
– Thunderbolt & Lightning & Mt. Fiji v. Big Bad Mama, Hollywood & MTV. Big Bad Mama is the replacement Big Fat Heel after Matilda bailed on GLOW and became Queen Kong in POWW. Another big schmoz that leads to one chick pinning the other at 1:54 after something that I don’t care enough about to note. DUD
– Medical humor now, and a focus on Godiva, who was supposed to be naked but was very clearly wearing wrestling tights. You’d think someone would have pointed out that huge logical gap.
– Godiva v. Cheyanne Cher. This is the finals in a tournament for the GLOW title after Tina left in 1987. Godiva is supposed to be “fatÃ¢â‚¬Â, in much the same way that Molly Holly is “fatÃ¢â‚¬Â. Godiva pounds away in the corner and gets a backdrop, but Cher splashes her and grabs an armbar. Godiva breaks and dropkicks her, but Cher gets a suplex and goes up for a flying chop. Boston crab is reversed by Godiva. Godiva gets a bulldog, but Cher cradles for two. Cher dropkicks her and gets a sunset flip for two. Ugly stuff. Godiva catapults her out of the ring, and suplexes her back in. She goes for a slam, bumping the ref in the process, and Roxy Astor (who was screwed over by Godiva in the previous round) runs in, pushes them over, and Cher gets the upset pin and the title at 5:30. Godiva was clearly the star of the promotion near the end so this made no sense except that they wanted a babyface to go over, I guess. Ã‚Â½*
– Babe the Farmer’s Daughter v. Melanie T. Vixen. MTV monkey-flips her, but gets dropkicked. Back gets two. MTV bodypress gets two. Babe goes up for a flying stomp, but Hollywood and Tulsa run in for a big schmoz at 2:13. DUD
– Vicky Victory v. The Black Widow. The Widow was actually a halfway witty gimmick, as her thing was poisoning all her ex-husbands, and in this case she offers Vicky a pre-match Shirley Temple, which of course is gladly accepted without question. Vicky is left dizzy, but still manages a spinkick. Another try and she gets tripped up, and they trade near-falls. Widow slams her, but Vicky dropkicks her for two. Vicky cartwheels and finally passes out from the poison, and gets pinned with ease at 3:09. DUD, but that’s one of the few truly original bits of ring psychology I’ve seen.
– A big mess of a battle royale with all the “starsÃ¢â‚¬Â of the dying GLOW promotion finishes off, as Tulsa eliminates Big Bad Mama to win at 6:21.
The Bottom Line:
As I noted, this had potential for nostalgia value with a certain crowd, but almost all the footage chosen was AFTER the GLOW fad died off and the usable talent departed for POWW. By the time most of this crap made it to air, the show had already been canned by 90% of the stations formerly carrying the show, and for good reason. Most of the stuff chosen as “classicÃ¢â‚¬Â matches are just meaningless filler with no connection to anything that former fans of the show would consider nostalgic, which is kind of a shame because you could probably make a pretty fun nostalgia show out of the first two seasons. This show is like advertising a KISS reunion concert and then delivering Black Diamond.
Recommendation to avoid.