I am not ashamed to admit that I was a weekly viewer of GLOW back in the 1980s. That is why I was excited to get a press release announcing The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling doc was coming to television. It may not have been the most accurate, but it was a great trip down memory lane.
GLOW came to my television and disappeared as quickly. Back then I had no idea what happened. All I knew is that my favorites like Hollywood and Vine, Little Egypt, Americana, Ninotchka, and the Farmer’s Daughter were gone. I was crushed! Finally after 25 years I can find out why!
The documentary aired on LOGO, an odd combination if you ask me but who am I to judge? The documentary featured interviews with a ton of the old GLOW stars, telling their stories, and reminiscing about the days of their wacky wrestling league. If you were looking to find out if some of your old crushes were just as hot now as they were then, you were look. If you were looking for a true story about the rise and fall of the GLOW business you were in for a big work.
The authenticity of the documentary lost me in the opening moments. The open of the movie tells viewers that GLOW was at the height of its popularity when the company went out of business. I can remember the time period and that wasn’t exactly the case. I am from Philadelphia and I remember the girls coming to the Civic Center for a show and drawing a few hundred people if that. This was not a company going away at the height of its popularity.
The biggest missing piece for me in this story was David McClane. The goofy looking promoter was a fixture of GLOW television as the Vince McMahon of the brand. How can you tell a story of GLOW without David McClane? On the bright side it meant more camera time for the girls.
As far as the girls, most of them look better than ever. It really is surprising when you look back that only Ivory was able to make a jump to the big leagues. There were plenty of other beautiful women that held on to their looks, some even prettier. Yes some of them were not what I’d call smooth in the ring, but I can’t imagine a hard transition at that time period.
It is funny when you look back on it because very few of these girls were trained pro wrestlers before they signed on with GLOW. They fit a part and were hired, then trained to be pro wrestlers. It is ironic because “real” women pro wrestlers would mock them for years. Yet the WWE implemented the same formula years later to recruit and train their Divas. If you think about it, GLOW was way ahead of its time.
I found most of the women to be pretty honest, or at least what I could tell in the documentary. One segment though sent my B.S. radar into overdrive. Matilda the Hun (who I liked a lot in GLOW) talked about GLOW as being the first place to really showcase women in pro wrestling. Was she asleep during WrestleMania 1? I don’t think there is any way that GLOW would have evolved if it wasn’t for the WWF spotlighting women during that time period. Now at the same time I am certainly not going to tell her that. I’ll leave it one of you.
The most heart breaking part of the movie was seeing Mt. Fiji. Fiiji was the Andre the Giant of GLOW and the top babyface of the company. Fiji is now in a nursing home and can’t walk. You could see the pain in her eyes of going from television star to unknown and the mental impact it had on her. Say what you will about the quality of wrestling but she worked hard and has nothing monetarily to show for it. It was rough yet a reality.
Overall the documentary was a blast for someone like me that watched GLOW back in the 1980s and got to relive some of those old memories. It was amazing to look back and see how edgy the company was at that time, crossing the lines of political correctness on a regular basis. As goofy as the show was at times, there is no way half of that stuff could get on television today.
One thing that wasn’t touched upon was the seasonal aspect of GLOW. GLOW was taped like a television show, in seasons. The debate about pro wrestling seasons is something that has popped up in recent years. GLOW did it and it worked for the short term. Whether that seasonal aspect impacted the longevity of the company or not is something you could also debate. It was innovative, yet never touched upon during the movie.
The final part of the movie shows all of the GLOW girls getting together for a reunion. Again, most of the girls look fantastic 20+ years later, some not much different than what they looked like in 1986. You would expect a wrestling company full of women to have all kinds of issues, yet it seemed as if they all genuinely cared for each other and enjoyed their time again. The entire group showed Mt. Fiji a lot of respect, which again was nice to see considering her physical condition.
I’d highly recommend checking it out if you were a fan or watched even one episode. I still think there is a story here somewhere and the omission of McClane tells me it’s a juicy one. Regardless, it was great to see my high school crushes all back together again if not for just 90 minutes.