Monday, July 30, 2012

Pro Wrestling Illustrated - Review of "GLOW: The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling"

BEFORE THE BELL

COMPILED BY FRANK KREWDA

G.L.O.W.: THE STORY OF THE GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING

In 1986. the world was introduced to G.L.O.W the Gorgeous Ladies of Professional Wrestling. With characters like Babe the Farmer's Daughter. Matilda the Hun. and cheerleader Suzie Spirit. G.L.O.W was delightful and campy. The cast of characters consisted mostly of attractive young women, almost all aspiring actresses with zero wrestling experience.

Though it wasn't the kind of wrestling PWI covered on a regular basis. G.L.O.W captured lightning in a bottle. The show which combined womens wrestling with vaudevillian comedy skits and musical numbers, was syndicated nationwide and the G.L.O.W girls appeared on The Phil Donahue Show, Sally Jessy Raphael and Family Feud.

But just as suddenly as G.L.O.W exploded into the mainstream, it vanished from the airwaves in 1990 when financial backers inexplicably withdrew their support for the promotion. The girls all went their separate ways without ever having an opportunity to say goodbye to the fans or even to each other.

A terrific new documentary. G.L.O.W: "The Story Of The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling",  helped bring the G.L.O.W girls back together and tells the story of one of the most unique and trendsetting wrestling promotions of its time.

Produced by Jason Connell, the documentary tracks down former GLOW girls like Tina Ferrari and (best known as Ivory of WWE fame) Little Egypt, Matilda and allows them to tell the behind-the-scenes story of a global, albeit short-lived, phenomenon. "GLOW went beyond what the World Wrestling Federation had ever done because of our wild make-up, and our skimpy costumes, and the fact that we weren't afraid to call it entertainment." Matilda said. G.L.O.W was indeed ahead of the curve in embracing wrestling as sports-entertainment, but kayfabe wasn't entirely dead. In the documentary, the girls discuss the company's policies of keeping the "good girls" separated from the 'bad girls" and how GLOW the company enforced a strict curfew to prevent any late-night shenanigans.

Admittedly G.L.O.W wasn't your traditional wrestling promotion. Characters were cast based largely on looks and given cursory wrestling training. But through the shared experience of wrestling for a promotion with national exposure the GLOW girls developed a sense of sisterhood.

When they sit and talk about their wrestling days, it becomes clear that their experiences are universal wrestling experiences—the thrill of competition, the camaraderie of the locker room. the politics, the injuries, and the memories.

In that way "GLOW: The Story Of The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling" is one of the most honest and touching looks at a wrestling promotion ever produced. The emotional highlight of the film was a reunion organized by Little Egypt who went on to a successful career in real estate.

The guest of honor at the reunion was Mount Fiji, the charismatic 300-pounder who filled the role of GLOW 's gentle giant. Due to hearth problems, Fiji has been confined to a nursing home for several years. Her reunion with her former colleagues and their reminiscences of her G.L.0.W days will bring tears to your eyes.

Unfortunately, GLOW's creator David McLane refused to participate in the documentary. His insights would have added even more depth, but even without McLane. the documentary is a winner and a worthy celebration of the legacy of G.L.O.W.

 More info can be found at www.glowthemovie.com. We give it five suplexes out of five. —Dan Murphy
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