|Index||5 reviews in total|
In 1986, the wrestling industry would be changed in ways it could never
foresee by the creation and rise of the TV show GLOW. The show stood
for "The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling" and bled eighties vibes,
invoking elements of camp, colorful costumes, over-the-top,
self-referential comedy sketches, and several beautiful women fighting
for glory. 'Glory of what?,' you may ask. I don't know, but there was
lingerie and skimpy outfits involved.
For six years, GLOW hosted over five-hundred matches, welcomed millions of viewers in addition to what seemed to be escalating viewership with each match, and was a breakthrough for women's wrestling. The taboos GLOW went on to break were unforeseeable, in a time when women's wrestling wasn't so much as controversial but simply inconceivable.
The female wrestlers themselves were taken not from wrestling tryouts but your average casting call referral from their agents. All the women involved were aspiring actresses who were informed of the role for a new TV show through their agents and got the part that way. The wrestlers were divided into two groups, the "good" girls and the "bad" girls, with the "good" girls being coached by Jackie Stallone, the mother of Sylvester Stallone of all people. The girls' main trainer was Mando Guerrero, an energetic and animated man who was able to put one of the girls in a headlock the first day and make her cry, shattering all preconceived notions that GLOW was a fake program.
The show was made possible thanks to funding and producing by Hollywood legend Matt Cimber and Riviera Hotel and Casino owner Meshulam Riklis, who allowed GLOW to be filmed in the hotel. Without the support and labor of Cimber and Riklis, GLOW would've likely never materialized and a pitch for the show/idea would've been laughed out of the boardroom. Director Brett Whitcomb is fortunate enough to get to speak with many of the wrestlers, many of whom have gone on to live successful lives in fields that aren't wrestling. Some are real estate agents, some are still actors, and those chosen to remain in wrestling have gone on to achieve commendable success. Many of the wrestlers, despite a laborious work ethic and unpredictable wrestling matches, still remained in shape and in good physical condition.
However, as can be inferred, some are still scarred from wrestling in some way. Consider "Mountain Fiji," one of the icons of the GLOW. "Fiji" was given her name because she was built like a mountain, with her feet almost never leaving the floor during a match and her incredible build working in her favor when faced against a puny blonde girl. Yet, "Fiji"'s build has done nothing but work against her in the future; she has almost lost the ability to walk and remains bedridden in a nursing home, most of the time.
Another wrestler with similar issues is "Matilda the Hun," again, another wrestler known for her hefty build and incredible strength. "Matilda" hasn't found herself in as bad shape as "Fiji," but she still struggles with the ability to adequately walk. When she began performing in GLOW, she was already thirty-five, which is when she should be contemplating retirement. She continued to wrestler for another fifteen years after. Here she is in her fifties, with subpar knees and the help of a wheelchair. Yet, she still reminds us that just because she's in a wheelchair doesn't mean she's weak.
Despite incorruptible memories (the taboos the show broke, wrestler "Susie Spirit"'s arm breaking during a match, which spawns grotesque reactions), GLOW was abruptly cancelled in 1992. In 1990, Riklis had withdrew his support and ceased allowing the girls and trainers access to the Riveria Hotel and production was moved to a lesser warehouse nearby the hotel. Still, it seemed at the height of its popularity, GLOW was canned and the wrestlers were left without closure - no reunion, no farewell, no phone call, nothing.
GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, even in a brief seventy-three minutes, nicely articulates what the organization was about, why it was unique, and goes the extra mile to humanize its wrestling subjects. Whitcomb has a nice, subtle way of shattering your judgments upon entering the film, completely making you forgo your thoughts on female wrestling and just having you see the subjects, the matches, and the characters behind the costumes in order to emerge a more knowledgeable person on the subject. In essence, that's what documentaries are supposed to do, and by definition, this one succeeds.
Directed by: Brett Whitcomb.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Directed by Brett Whitcomb, this documentary tells the story about G.L.O.W (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), a 1980's professional wrestling television promotion for women. GLOW was created by Matt Cimber and David B. McLane as a way to capitalize on the aftermath of Jackie Stallone's physical fitness gym for women only, Barbarella's. The syndicated GLOW TV show was produced for four seasons (19861990) from the Riviera Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. David and Jackie both promoted G.L.O.W for the entire running of the program, while Matt Cimber ran the show, behind the camera. The roster were made out of the Good Girls (AKA Babyfaces) and the Bad Girls (AKA Heels) who work story lines against each other in a campy matter. While, Mando Guerrero did a good job, training the girls. I have to say, as a wrestling fan, the wrestling is pretty horrible, but somewhat better than today standards of female wrestling. The biggest drawn was sex appeal, and the campy comedic approach to wrestling humor, it had in it's over the top, and somewhat controversial skits. While, the wrestlers in the documentary says it was mostly a kid friendly show, I have to differ it did had some family friendly themes, but some were very adult themes running throughout its seasons as well. Wrestlers would talk about sex or make sexual puns. Language was bit a harsh, as the F- word was somewhat aired at times and racial slurs were used. Don't get me on the whole Nazism gimmick. That was pretty awful. Then there were over the top skits about current affairs such as Iran-Contra crisis. The documentary chronicles how GLOW started, its success, its controversial movies, and how it end. It also highlight the careers of some of its talents by talking about their characters, their injuries, their storyline feuds, and how much they help influence future women wrestlers. Unlike Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation (WWE) in that time, GLOW had actual seasons where some wrestlers were dropped, changed, or added before the new season began. Each season consisted of 26 episodes that were each rerun once to complete the year, with a total of 104 episodes produced. Plus unlike WWE, each of the GLOW performers had her own rap song personalized lyrics using the same backing track. It was shown on videotape prior to that wrestler's match. Similar to other wrestling promotions' use of wrestler-specific entrance themes, this gimmick may have been influenced by the Chicago Bears' "Super Bowl Shuffle". It's cheesy, but catchy. There were some very interesting colorful wrestlers with outrageous over the top characters that they cover in this film, but they only mention their character name rather than real life names. Still, there were a lot of other wrestlers missing from this, but they mostly got most of the popular ones to appear in this documentary. I would had love to see Zelda the Brain (Marie Moore) on the documentary, but sadly she didn't appear here. Each interview was pretty interesting ranging from Russian spy, colonel Ninotchka (Lori Palmer) to the Heavy Metal Sisters (Arlene and Phyllis) who talks about their character success to real life success by Tina Ferrari (Lisa Moretti) who later made it big in WWE as Ivory. One of them, I didn't like, and waste a lot of scenes was narcissistic kinda slutty Hollywood (Jeanne Basone) who says her biggest claim to fame, was posing for Playboy. I don't know if she playing for the cameras, or that really her, but gees. Wow- what she has low standards. They waste a lot of film, about her that had little to do with GLOW. Then there is Susie Spirit (Lauri Thompson) whom biggest claim to fame is breaking her arm on television, which I think the documentary focus way too much on. Another big star was Matilda the Hun (Dee Boocher) who play a boisterous large East German biker woman who loves eating meat is the all-time bad girl in the show. You can tell that Dee Boocher love her job, playing it off on the camera. She had a really good funny story about how she came into the business. I think this film is just worth watching because of her in it. While, Matilda makes this documentary funny, the interview with Mountain Fuji (Emily Dole) gave this documentary, its heart with her heart-breaking story about her real life struggle with her health. She is the mother figure of the group that most of the cast, love. Without spoiling too much of the documentary, I felt something for her. The part where she meets all the cast at the reunion after 20 years was just amazing to watch and they all sing their rap. I have to say, bring your tissues for that scene. While, the brief documentary doesn't cover everything about GLOW, (run time is only 76 minutes) it did OK highlighting the experience from the vantage point of the girls involved. I'm glad, they didn't focus too much on their modern lives or the business side; instead focusing on sharing stories about the glory days was far more interesting. This movie was great as a first-hand nostalgia piece to anybody who doesn't know about GLOW. I thought this is a well-done film that gives audiences a fun glimpse into what it took to produce the show and how hard the talent worked to make it a success. In April 2012, GLOW did indeed returned to Las Vegas for a show that reunited former GLOW girls and also featured new GLOW girls. This documentary indeed did its job
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the 1980s, Saturday morning TV programming was riddled with
insanity. There was ALF TALES. LAZER TAG ACADEMY. And also something
called IT'S PUNKY BREWSTER, which was not PUNKY BREWSTER, but an
animated version of PUNKY BREWSTER starring the voice of Punky
Brewster. That show ran for two seasons.
GLOW: GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING was the long-running, live-action television program that featured chainsaw attacks, Borscht Belt comedy, and a wrestler named Vixxxen. It was kind of like WWF, but with a cast of women and camcorder production values. In other words, GLOW was way more entertaining and hilarious than anything else on Saturday morning TV, including RUDE DOG AND THE DWEEBS. Glitter! Spandex! Jackie Stallone! Completely over-the-top and possibly conceptualized by an alzheimer's patient, the show was everything a ten-year-old could ask for on Saturday morning. It's also everything a mid-thirties-year-old could ask for on any day of the week. Trust me.
Now, over twenty years after the cancellation of GLOW, the filmmakers behind ROCK-AFIRE EXPLOSION have given us GLOW: THE STORY OF THE GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING. It's exactly what you'd hope to hear about while watching a documentary on GLOW. The faux-glamor. The dirt. The bone-popping-out-of-someone's-arm. But then, about halfway through, it's understood that the wrestler once known as Mount Fiji is a real, actual person. Her name is Emily Dole. Because of her time with GLOW, Dole is bedridden.
The lives of the GLOW ladies aren't mired down in crack addiction, suicide, or other kinds of horribleness. Sadness is present, as it is with anyone who has blood pumping through their veins. But this is sadness as a means of personal growth. And seeing that unfold before our eyes -- that feels good. As much as I laughed at the ridiculous vintage GLOW footage that was thrown at my face every few minutes, I was surprised by how the real-life story behind GLOW made me feel. That dichotomy between the ironic and the sincere doesn't always work in 'talking heads' documentaries -- forced intentions are obvious from a mile away. Not here, though. This is a genuinely entertaining documentary that plays no tricks and keeps things sincere. And since this isn't a doc about Investment Bankers, but about THE GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING!!!!, I fully guarantee your enjoyment.
- Joseph A. Ziemba
If you love GLOW Netflix and our documentary please be sure to follow
the Original Ladies of GLOW @GLOWwrestling xo
See the new generation of GLOW on NF and see how it compares to Classic GLOW. We would Love your input on Twitter! Do you want to see the original Ladies of GLOW on The New Netflix GLOW in at least cameos message NetlflixGLOW and tell then you want the classic ladies to be a part of the show too!
I quite enjoyed the new Netflix series "GLOW," so I was curious to watch this documentary about the real Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting. This documentary is apparently what inspired the excellent Netflix series. Back in the 80s, I was a regular WWF watcher, especially when they partnered with MTV for their Rock and Wresting events, but I wasn't a regular viewer of GLOW, although it was on my radar. Despite being unfamiliar with the wrestlers or any of their real-life backstories, I found this film highly entertaining and heartwarming. The women worked really hard, were very proud of what they'd done, and formed some lifelong bonds. From the women they interviewed, it sounds like most of them did not continuing wrestling, although I did learn that WWF wrestler Ivory came out of GLOW. Overall, this documentary is nothing deep, but it does tell a touching story of a lot of women carving a space out for themselves in the world (a story with lots of rasslin', outrageous costumes, goofy rapping, and fond reminiscing).
|Plot summary||Plot synopsis||Ratings|
|Awards||External reviews||Official site|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|