The SmarK Rant for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling – 01.22.88
“Ninotchka’s Reign, Part One”
So last night, I’m chilling and checking my emails, and reader Chris George just casually sends me this whopper…
You want an easy show to review that’s a quick watch and get a million billion hits? On Tubi they have 29 episodes of GLOW.”
And I’m like WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? Sadly, a quick search of Tubi.tv revealed no such thing and I moped back to reply that it wasn’t actually on there, but get this: For some reason they re-titled it “Original Ladies of Wrestling” and if you search for THAT, game on.
I AM ALL OVER THIS. I hope to god that Tubi doesn’t pull it like they did with Lucha Underground because I suspect these rants are going to put my kid through college. Maybe my dog through obedience training as well.
And now, let us take you back to 1988 for the third season premiere of GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING!
OK, so quick word of explanation, as season two ended with original creator David McLane being kicked out of the promotion in kayfabe and revealed as a pervert, as he left to make POWW on another syndicated station near you. So I imagine only season 3 ended up here because the rights for the first two are still tied up with McLane somehow. Going down the rabbit hole a little bit reveals that this repackage of the third season is actually distributed by an outfit called Multicom Entertainment, who appears to repackage and resell public domain TV and movies. In fact this has been repackaged into “Season One” of Original Ladies of Wrestling, consisting of 29 episodes, but it’s not. I don’t think they’re the master tapes, as there’s frequent signs of tracking problems, so it must have been recorded off TV on a high quality VCR. So legally it might be questionable, I dunno, but I’m watching and reviewing the fuck out of this either way.
If you’ve never actually seen the original GLOW and only have experience from the Netflix show, you’ll probably recognize a lot of the gimmicks from the show, which are pretty much all lifted from the original but with different names. Most of the really classic gimmicks and storylines are from the first two seasons, however. To call the third and fourth seasons a pale imitation of the original would be an understatement.
Meanwhile in the locker room, we meet McLane 2.0, who is named “Johnny C” and comes complete with his own laugh track. GLOW champion Ninotchka (who won the title at the end of the second season) is offended at not being informed of the management change, but the referee informs us that much like her, the promotion is “in the red”. She’s a communist, you see. And the company is hemorrhaging money. That’s why it’s funny.
Taped from Las Vegas, NV
Your host is Motormouth Mike Morgan, doing a Howard Cosell imitation for all 49 minutes. This show literally could not make me happier to be alive.
Meanwhile, Babe the Farmer’s Daughter lets us know all about Faberge Shampoo.
GLOW Gossip with Tiffany Mellon! Tiffany of course (and I know this will shock many of you) went on to be a famous doer of pornography. Anyway, Tiffany informs us that her sources say that Sally the Farmer’s Daughter backed into a pitchfork at the county fair and accidentally won the hog-calling contest. I’m skeptical of the accuracy on that one and her other news items.
Tiffany Mellon v. Godiva
Godiva of course became “Brittania” when translated to the Netflix show. So for those new to the GLOW experience, instead of standard entrances, the ladies rap their backstory and trashtalk in pre-taped musical segments that air while they’re making their entrance, or sometimes during the match itself, all done over the same generic 1980s synth beat. Godiva actually rides a horse to the ring, and then Tiffany scores a SICK BURN by confusing her with the horse. Despite playing a character named “Godiva”, she is very clearly wearing clothes, although she is barefoot. She takes Mellon down with a headscissors, of sorts, and they trade splashes for two as I wonder why I’m even bothering to run the stopwatch for this. Mellon gets an Erik Watts-like dropkick to the knees and Godiva has to RUN THE ROPES and it’s literally like seeing someone in their first day of training, and you just can’t even believe what you’re watching. Tiffany does some rolls out of the corner but Godiva chokes her out in the corner while the announcer makes hair puns while the crowd sits on their hands but is REALLY LOUD in the audio mix for some reason. They fight on the floor and if you think Kevin Dunn’s direction is lousy, wait until you get a load of this show. So this looks like multiple takes of the same match spliced together from various points, because the camera angle changes drastically between shots and the audience actually switches from one shot to the next, with a full row of people in one shot and then empty seats in the next one. Not to mention the women are positioned in different places each time! I don’t know if it’s just horrendous direction or they actually had to reshoot the match and edit it together badly, but neither would surprise me. Say what you will about WWE and their “work to the hard camera” nonsense, but at least you get continuity that way. Thankfully it was a lot better by comparison in the rest of the episode. Also this was like a worst match of the year candidate in any sane world and THIS IS WHAT THEY CONSIDERED TO BE THE BEST TAKES! Anyway, Godiva wins with something I think is supposed to be a bodypress and this is just the best thing ever. This is like Christmas in June for me. I don’t think I can ever top this in my professional or personal life.
Meanwhile, in the offices of Drs. FIEL and GROPE (Gynecology, Plastic Surgery and Psychiatry), Hollywood gets an examination. The joke is something about leeches, for those keeping track.
Have we heard about Faberge shampoo lately? Let’s have another commercial for them.
Zelda’s Zingers: She’s got some deep thoughts about the Iran Contra hearings and computer automation. No, really. I don’t even get what the joke is supposed to be. Nerdy girl tries to sound smart?
Tulsa & Babe the Farmer’s Daughter v. MTV (Melanie Trouble Vixen) & Hollywood
Hollywood of course made it to Netflix pretty much untouched, although her look and gimmick were more like MTV. Babe, meanwhile, is the replacement for season 1 original Sally the Farmer’s Daughter, which is the kind of thing that seemed to happen a lot with POWW raiding talent like a female NXT-AEW war. Although then Sally came back in this very episode and suddenly we’re overloaded with Farmer’s Daughters. One of them should change their name to Garrison. Everyone “brawls” right away as I guess you can say it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and Babe gets a dropkick on Hollywood and rolls her up for two and then disappears from the ring as the camera work isn’t really clear on who is doing what at any given moment a lot of the time. And then there’s random inset video songs and promos as it’s a lot of a lot. Tulsa gets her hair stepped on by Hollywood and then we get a full nelson I guess, but Tulsa kind of falls on top for the pin at 4:20. But then that scamp MTV puts a “Pin Me” sign on Tulsa’s back, which I guess is how she gets her heat back.
Godiva’s Bare Facts! Godiva takes calls from fans and gives love advice with a very convincing British accent.
MTV discusses musical stuff at the GLOW disco.
Arm Wrestling Challenge: Mountain Fiji v. Big Bad Mama
So the heel side is called “The Bad Girls” and they’re all managed by Aunt Kitty, and the babyface side are “The Good Girls” and they’re all managed by Jackie Stallone because everything on this show is so on the nose that they literally just tell you who the good girls and bad girls are. Have we talked about Jackie Stallone yet? At this point she was mostly just known as Sylvester Stallone’s mother (and Frank’s mother, can’t forget Frank!) but then as we moved into the 90s she became her own special brand of crazy. From Wikipedia…
“Stallone became famous in her own right during the mid-1990s, by publishing astrology books, making television appearances, and setting up a psychic hotline where she would charge telephone callers for advice from her and other operators. She also invented the term rumpology, which, according to her, is an art similar to that of palm reading except that the procedure is done by examining pictures of people’s rear ends. She also claimed that she could consult dogs to find out about the future. She also became involved in the cosmetics industry, launching facial masks and other products that she claimed cured skin problems.”
Still not as crazy as Sidney Powell. Big Bad Mama does voodoo and might be Papa Shango’s mother, I’m not sure. Fiji is about to get a flash pin, but Mama pushes over the table, which is cliché for wrestling even in 1988, and then Aunt Kitty wants Jackie Stallone in a fight RIGHT NOW and that turns into a giant pull-apart brawl that somehow ends with both Fiji and Stallone winning by DQ. In an arm wrestling match.
Meanwhile, Beastie has her cooking skills insulted by a customer and doesn’t take it well.
Meanwhile, Mountain Fiji has a dream about being Carmen Miranda and we get to experience it. Not sure how that works. Someone’s gotta be tripping balls, maybe it’s me, maybe it’s them, maybe it’s both at this point.
Beastie v. Zelda the Brain
Beastie is doing a Road Warrior ripoff gimmick, and Zelda is of course a nerd, so this has all the archetypes you could want. Zelda goes to the top and gets knocked off with an awkward bump, so she squirts Beastie with a trick flower and then runs to the floor and hides behind a fan in the front row. So they head back in and Beastie gets an overblown slam and then a piledriver that looks ridiculous. At this point we are informed that Beastie is supposed to be Australian, which is spectacular because she didn’t even bother to do so much as a Paul Hogan accent in her promos. Anyway, Beastie gets a big splash for the pin at 4:20 and it’s a complete squash. Luckily Fiji makes the save and I guess that’s the next program.
Easy as KGB with Ninotchka, and at least she’s trying a Russian accent.
GLOW Crown: Ninotchka v. Sally the Farmer’s Daughter
Ninotchka quickly carries Sally around and slams her, but Sally takes her down with a headscissors that shows she’s actually one of the few trained workers on the show. Sally takes her down with a headlock out of the corner and then takes her down with another headscissors and gets a rolling victory roll for two. She’s like Kenny Omega by comparison to everyone else on the roster thus far. Ninotchka gets a pair of suplexes while we suddenly get an inset rap from from the Russian, and a rollup finishes at 2:58 as communism triumphs again. This was actually the closest thing to a real match on the entire show, although putting the inset songs during what’s supposed to be the high point of the match is just…something.
Meanwhile, Hollywood tells us that drugs are bad, no matter what you might hear, so don’t do them. Well I’m convinced. Maybe they should let the people in charge of the show know about that because clearly there was a lot of them being consumed during this day-glo headache-inducing nightmare.
I mean, say what you will about David McLane, but he at least had some experience in the wrestling business beforehand and knew how to format a wrestling show. The stuff after he left LOOKS like a wrestling show, but the camera work is insane and the matches don’t really make any sense.
Of course I’m watching this entire season or I’m going to die trying, though.