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Official Article

GLOW: Wild and Wacky Wresting

The World Wresting Federation was the premiere wrestling promotion of the 80's, with icons like Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant and Randy "Macho Man" Savage taking over our TV screens weekly. But there was another wrestling show from the era that managed to be wilder and crazier than anything Vince McMahon would dare add to his programming (at least until the late 90's Attitude era). So what was this dangerous, outlaw wrestling show? 


Yep, G.L.O.W. aka Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. If you thought this TV phenomenon that ran from 1986-1990 was just women wrestlers in glitter and spandex, you're not seeing the full picture. Often pushing the boundaries of good taste and always outrageous, G.L.O.W. featured some of the craziest wrestling personas imaginable, in matches that were sure to raise an eyebrow.


With a G.L.O.W. TV series starring Alison Brie and Marc Maron coming to Netflix in June 2017, I thought it would be worth a look back at the show that inspired the creators to tell the tale of women's wrestling set in the 1980's. So here are my picks for some of the wackiest and wildest GLOW wrestlers and matches. Strap in, it's about to get crazy...literally.

Dementia


Long before Mick Foley became the mentally deranged wrestler, Mankind in the WWE, another wrestler was using the psycho killer gimmick, meet Dementia. Looking like a patient from a Victorian mental hospital, Dementia would be brought to the ring in a cage while sporting a Jason Voorhees hockey mask and hatchet. It wasn't just an intimidation technique either, she was literally out of her mind. Stalking her opponents in the ring with a wide eyed stare and zombie like movements, Dementia was ready to inflict pain without remorse. 


This is where it gets insane (pun intended). In one match the pasty grappler ditched all wrestling technique and just sunk her teeth into the leg of a wrestler named Little Egypt. It's wasn't just a nibble either, blood was dripping from her mouth and her opponent's calf, then she went for her hatchet. Security was called in to stop the match at that point, but seriously, you weren't going to get that on Saturday Night's Main Event.

Godiva


Without a doubt the English diva, Godiva was the most entertaining GLOW girl during the series' run. Arriving to the ring on a white horse, with snobby British insults that riled up her opponents as she strutted around the ring, Godiva was also really mean. Her signature move called the "Buckingham Bounce" involved flinging her opponent into the corner, getting a running jump on top of them, then choking and gouging their eyes with her elbow. She was an amazing acrobat for a woman over 6 feet tall.


Her wildest match involved another tall, blond wrestler named Daisy showing up to the ring in Godiva's costume to battle Vicki Victory while the "British Bombshell" was supposedly on vacation. Arriving at the arena, Godiva confronted the impostor and a match was set with the winner becoming the owner of Godiva's horse. Initially Daisy got the upper-hand by using all of Godiva's classic moves against her, even taunting her in a fake British accent. It was like fighting a mirror. Ultimately Godiva proved that you can't beat the real thing, but it was a hard fought and hilarious bout.

The Housewives


Wrestling fans have come to expect the use of foreign objects such as steel chairs, garbage can lids and even Stop signs. But you know what doesn't belong in the wrestling ring? Household cleaning supplies. Just try telling that to the tag team of Phyllis and Arlene aka The Housewives. GLOW was really less about grappling prowess and more about cartoonishly violent comedy, which these ladies really delivered. Imagine your grouchy East Coast Aunt on a bad day after watching too much Three Stooges, that's what they brought to the show.


Clumsily entering the ring with cold cream on their faces, shower caps and bathrobes, all the while complaining about the "tramps" in GLOW, their schtick was hilarious and they didn't so much wrestle as nag their opponents into submission. Ultimately Phyllis and Arlene's tactics would devolve into smashing their opponents with frying pans, grabbing their noses with tongs or taking a plunger to their faces. They never actually won any matches, but The Housewives seemed content to have humiliated the prettier girls, even when getting their comeuppance.

Heavy Metal Sisters


You know what else was outrageous in the 80's? Heavy Metal music! Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest and more were targeted by parental censorship groups for their "Satanic" personas, so what better theme for an out of control wrestling tag team. The Heavy Metal Sisters stormed the ring each week looking like female members of Motley Crue with heavy face paint, leather studded jewelry and manic laughter. Known as Chainsaw and Spike, they lived up to their names by literally bringing those items with them to each match.


Taking a cue from Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the rockin' pair would regularly shred everything from stuffed animals, to watermelons and even their opponent's clothing with a live chainsaw. If that weren't enough, other attacks included biting, torture with railroad spikes and even hanging the other wrestlers! In one match the sadistic sisters actually made Tara, The Southern Belle jump through a ring of fire, a literal flaming hoop! Oh and fun fact, The Heavy Metal Sisters were the same duo who appeared as The Housewives mentioned above, just in different outfits.

GLOW Games Pizza Eating Contest


Mt. Fiji and Matilda The Hun were the Yin and Yang of GLOW in the early days. Mt. Fiji was a big hearted, smiling giant who fought for good old fashioned American justice and freedom, while Matilda aka Queen Kong was the epitome of nasty and mean. The two had Lumberjack matches, Strap matches and even Gestapo matches (this was probably the most insane of their encounters), but nothing compared to their head to head competition at the GLOW Games.


The GLOW Games pitted a team of Good Girls against Bad Girls in non-wrestling related events like Escalator Races, Swimming Pool Relays and in this case a Pizza Eating Contest. Fiji and Matilda continuously shoved pizza in their faces as their teammates cheered and jeered behind them to make the competition more exciting. Of course the whole thing ended in a food fight, with Matilda The Hun crossing the aisle to rub a slice all over Mt. Fiji's face in a show of poor sportsmanship. Yeah, pretty wacky.

Zelda, The Brain


Going from the biggest to the smallest, now we have the most unlikely grappler in GLOW, Zelda, The Brain. A runt with glasses, a librarian's bun on her head and a squeaky voice. What she lacked in strength, she made up for in spunk. Taking comedic pratfalls like a pro, Zelda was purely intended to get laughs with her clumsy ringwork, which often found her tangled in the ropes. She consistently cracked me up.


Zelda always got herself into trouble with opponents by showing up with some intellectual taunt, like challenging the Russian Major Tanya to a Chess match or showing off an invention designed to humiliate them with science. Generally these were "Squash Matches" where the tiny Zelda got manhandled by larger opponents like the aptly named  Beastie, who looked like a refugee from the Mad Max films. Surprisingly enough, she did manage to get the pin a few times, proving that brains can triumph over brawn.


This is only the tip of the GLOW iceberg, as the roster changed each season adding crazier characters and new match stipulations, but hopefully this has opened your eyes to the unpredictable and entertaining nature of this retro wrestling program and its charismatic cast of female performers. GLOW is easily found on YouTube, if you want to see these gals in action and check out their comedy skits (yeah, half the show was comedy segments).

Who knows what interesting twists and turns the dramatized version of this concept will result in. But Netflix has a great track record with bringing the 80's back in style, so ring the bell and let's get it on!



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OldSchool80s Posted on May 22, 2017 at 01:38 PM

I loved GLOW back in the day. How cool is it that Godiva read and commented!!!
The campy acting, wrestling and gorgeous girls made it must-watch TV for me. Watched the documentary on it and enjoyed that, but it left me wanting even more details and memories. Looking forward to the new show on Netflix, though it can never be what the original was back then.

Hoju Koolander Posted on May 15, 2017 at 01:21 AM

@Godivaglow Awesome, thanks so much for reading, Godiva! Little Egypt commented on a previous article, where I talked about the show. You have some very talented friends.

Vaporman87 Posted on May 12, 2017 at 06:12 AM

Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it Godiva. Hope all is well with you and your fellow castmates.

Godivaglow Posted on May 11, 2017 at 05:07 PM

Great article! I am Godiva from GLOW. I've shared this with some of my castmates. Love it!

Hoju Koolander Posted on May 09, 2017 at 02:37 PM

Yeah, I saw that in the GLOW documentary. Here's wishing her the best and Mt. Fiji too.

Caps 2.0 Posted on May 08, 2017 at 04:15 PM

I'm friends with Dee Booher, who played Matilda The Hun, on Facebook, and I'm planning on doing an interview with her once I read her autobiography to make sure I don't ask questions that have been answered. Dee's had a tough lot of health issues these past few years, and she currently has a GoFundMe page to cover these health-related expenses. Here's the link to that, so feel free to donate if you can: https://www.gofundme.com/matildathehun

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