Monday, 6 June 2016

Glow: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

Title: GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling
Director: Brett Whitcomb
Released: 2012

Plot: Documentary charting the rise and fall of the first all-women wrestling company which ran from 1986 to 1990.

Review: Recently it was announced that a new comedy based around the 80’s wrestling company G.L.O.W.  is being developed by Liz Flahive (Homeland) and Carly Mensch (Orange Is The New Black) for Netflix. Of course being a wrestling fan this immediately perked by interest, though to my shame and perhaps down to not being the biggest fan of old school grappling had never heard of G.L.O.W. the company the series was based on having wrongly assumed that “Shimmer” was the first all-female wrestling company.  Needless to say this documentary which looks at the original run for the company provides the perfect starting point for those wanting to see where Flahive and Mensch are to be finding their inspiration.

While to some it might come as a surprise especially with so much glitter and huge hair on display but G.L.O.W. was actually a company very ahead of its time seeing how wrestling at the time was still very much a male dominated industry with women wrestlers being viewed the same as midget wrestlers as they were a novelty act rather than the main draw that the company set out to make them.  At the same time it should be noted that none of these girls were particularly good at wrestling with most being either models or actresses who’d auditioned for the company not realising what they were signing up for exactly a fact openly confirmed by the performers while their former trainer Mando Guerrero is on hand to share the experience of attempting to turn them into believable wrestlers. The show itself as we get to see through the copious amounts of footage included being often more about the spectacle than the wrestling, especially with their roster being divided into Good and Bad girls and questionable raps and skits breaking up the in-ring action.

Assembling an impressive collection of interviews largely with the performers than any of those higher ups in the company, a couple of which are highlighted for declining to take part in the documentary. Still the interviews that director Brett Whitcomb has assembled are all interesting enough to really concern yourself over the ones he wasn’t able to get.  Needless say it’s an upbeat experience with all the performers named using their ring names all seem to have nothing but happy memories of their time with the company as they all come with great stories of how they developed their characters or just working in the company.

One thing that Whitcomb really does well here is to capture the energy of the company which fitting for its Vegas setting was all about spectacle and glamour and with the footage and interviews used here really captures it here, whether its Spike and Chainsaw using an actual chainsaw in the ring or a misguided attempt at riling up the crowd by having the heel trio come to the ring dressed as Nazi’s it’s all only adds to the documentary and inturn makes its accessable not only for the established fans and wrestling fans but also for those drawn in by the crazy visual or intrigued like I was to find out where the inspiration for this new Netflix series comes from.

On the downside here Whitcomb chooses to view the company for its original run, rather than look at the revival in the 2000, as he instead chooses to end with the wrestler coming together for a reunion before he reveals what happened to them after the closure of G.L.O.W. with all the girls having left the industry bar Matilda the hun and Lisa Moretti who wrestled as Tina Ferrari and would following the closure of G.L.O.W. go on to wrestle for WWE as Ivory making her arguably one of the more successful members of the original roster.

Which short in its runtime, it’s fitting for the subject matter and keep things flowing at a quick pace, especially when opting to not get bogged down in horror stories and regrets from the former employees. Still it’s a fun watch and one which will no doubt have you heading to Youtube to hunt down archive matches and skits from the show as soon as the credits have rolled.

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