Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling
|Style||Women's professional wrestling|
|Headquarters||Las Vegas, Nevada (1986–1992)|
|Owner(s)||Meshulam Riklis (1986–2001)
Ursula Hayden (2001–present)
Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, also known as GLOW or G.L.O.W., was a women's professional wrestling promotion begun in 1986 (the pilot was filmed in December 1985) and continued in various forms after it left television. Colorful characters, strong women, and over-the-top comedy sketches were integral to the series' success. Most of the performers were actresses, models, dancers or stunt women hoping to enter show business.
GLOW was created by David B. McLane, based on his seeing the reactions of fans to women's wrestling when he was an announcer and promoter with the World Wrestling Association, run by Dick the Bruiser. The Bruiser didn't think it would work in his hometown, Indianapolis. Women's wrestling was regarded as a novelty act, and McLane was advised to drop the idea.
McLane went to Hollywood, posting casting notices in The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Over 500 women showed up to audition at Gold's Gym. From that group, a dozen women began six weeks of training in a gym at 108th and Broadway in Watts, Los Angeles. Mando Guerrero initially trained the women before McLane brought in wrestling veteran Cynthia Peretti, known in wrestling as Princess Jasmine, to do the training. Peretti also wrestled as the character known as Pepper.
McLane formed a partnership with the television distribution company known as the Independent Network Incorporated (INI), headed by former Lorimar-Telepictures executive Irv Holender. Holender's previous credits had included producing Gumby, which was revived about the same time. It was through Holender that McLane met Meshulam Riklis, chairman of Rapid-American Corporation, a conglomerate of companies, which included ownership of the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Riklis arranged for GLOW to be hosted from the Riviera Hotel. Holender’s firm was in charge of distribution and McLane headed the venture. Matt Cimber, who had recently directed the movie Butterfly, starring Riklis' then wife Pia Zadora, was brought in to provide creative services and direct the shows.
A number of the original dozen GLOWs moved to Las Vegas and were supplemented by local women, many who had been actresses and showroom dancers. Lauri Thompson, now a Las Vegas attorney, played Susie Spirit. She was lead dancer in the Folies Bergère at the Tropicana. Thompson recruited others, creating a recruiting chain of other friends and dancers. One of those, Lorilyn Palmer, who played Colonel Ninotchka, took over training the new women. Jeanne Basone a phlebotomist at the time was The First GLOW Girl Hired played the Character Hollywood says David McLane. Basone also appeared in Playboy part of a pictorial titled Lethal Women. She went on to do stunt work and started her own wrestling Production Company HollywouldProductions.
The show was introduced at the 1986 NATPE Convention. Following the successful initial sale to 30 major television markets in the US and 6 other countries, McLane brought in Jackie Stallone, mother of Sylvester Stallone, to play kayfabe GLOW owner and the manager of the Good Girls. Kitty Burke as Aunt Kitty, was the manager for the Bad Girls. Stallone had been promoting a physical fitness gym for women only.
The syndicated GLOW TV show was produced for four seasons (1986–1990). Season 1 and 2 were shot at the Riviera on Saturday afternoons with a casino crowd. McLane and the majority of the original cast left the company in a dispute over the domination of low brow, blue, Hee Haw style comedy Cimber had infused into the show. McLane's new promotion became Powerful Women of Wrestling. Seasons 3 and 4 were filmed at a former warehouse building approximately three miles east of the Riviera hotel which would later be a Harley-Davidson outlet. Cimber cast new actresses to play the wrestlers.
They wrestled approximately eight matches per live event. The show itself differed from Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in that the venture held live events only for the purpose of taping television programming, versus running live shows in various city locations each week. They had actual television seasons consisting of 26 episodes that were each rerun once to complete the year, with a total of 104 episodes produced and aired. As Cimber focused on producing, Andrew Hecker directed later episodes. A fifth season was being shot when the show went off the air in financial turmoil. Hecker directed an initial revival attempt in 1991, which became the pay per view special, GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling: Canvas Carnage, which included clips from every performer in the company's history including McLane's return as host. McLane later created Women of Wrestling, also directed by Hecker, in 2000.
McLane performed as the ring announcer and host for Seasons 1 and 2. McLane’s announcing voice was replaced in Season 2 to add more comedy feel to the episodes, using Miles Headlock (a computer generated knock-off of Max Headroom), and "Motormouth" Mike Morgan (who sounded a lot like Howard Cosell). Steve Blance was the senior referee in Season 2 before becoming GLOW's "commissioner" in Seasons 3 and 4. He was the regular recipient of a GLOW Girl beatdown in Season 2. Johnny Cafarella (as "Johnny C.") hosted Seasons 3 and 4, was the figurehead owner (buying David McLane's "interest" in a storyline) and also served as company manager after the departure of McLane in 1987.
Each of the GLOW performers had their 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". The music for the rap was written by Hank Doing, who did the music for the first two seasons supervised by Morris I. Diamond. Music for Seasons 3 and 4 was created by Brian Bogle and Ed Ryba under the name "Music out the Yang". Hecker gave each performer personalized Digital video effects including 3D effects and personalized logos, with Ann DeVilbiss as graphic designer.
Revival Ursula Hayden
The GLOW company has been owned and operated since 2001 by Ursula Hayden, who portrayed Babe the Farmer's Daughter, Princess of Darkness, and Donna Matrix. Her first venture with GLOW was a sold out 2003 live event at the El Rey Theater in Hollywood California. Followed by a DirecTV pay-per-view produced by Ursula Hayden and Johnny Cafarella Glow's ring announcer season 3 and 4. In April 2012, GLOW returned to Las Vegas for a show that reunited former GLOW participants Hollywood (Jeanne Basone), Babe the Farmer's Daughter, Gremlina, Lightning, Thunder Bolt, Melody Trouble Vixen, Ashley Cartier, Godiva, Daisy, and Corporal Kelly. The show also featured new GLOW wrestlers, including Sara Deathray and VH1. Then later in 2012 she appeared in the documentary GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. It premiered on April 27, 2012 at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and won the Best Documentary award at the San Diego Comic-Con film festival. In 2017 after a few years of working with writers Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, GLOW – a scripted comedy-drama series based on the actual wrestling promotion – was picked up by Netflix. Hayden now serves as a series consultant on the show.
A documentary film, GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, was released in 2012. The film was directed by Brett Whitcomb and written by Bradford Thomason. It features the music of ESG. The film premiered to positive reviews at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, and has since been featured in New York Magazine, LA Weekly, RogerEbert.com, VICE, /Film, The Village Voice, and Mental Floss magazine. It won the Best Documentary award at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con Film Festival, and Audience Choice Best Documentary at Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama.
GLOW is a TV series that premiered on Netflix in 2017. A scripted comedy-drama, it tells the fictional story of a 1980s professional wrestling promotion that is based on the actual Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. It was created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, and stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron.
|Americana||Cindy Maranne (Ferda)||1, 2|
|Amy The Farmer's Daughter||Trudy Adams||2|
|Ashley Cartier||Nadine Kadmiri||1, 2|
|Attache||Laura Fisher||1, 2|
|Babe the Farmer's Daughter||Ursula Hayden||3, 4|
|Beastie||Kelle Favara||3, 4|
|Big Bad Mama||Lynn Braxton||3, 4|
|The Brat||Brittany Astor||5|
|Broadway Rose 1||Eva Chirumbolo|
|Broadway Rose 2||Andrea Janell||3|
|The California Doll 2||Jayne Hamlin||1, 2|
|The California Doll 1||Lynda Aldon||Pilot|
|Cheyenne Cher||Dee Chocktoot||3, 4|
|Colonel Ninotchka||Lori (Lynn) Palmer||1–4|
|Corporal Kelly||Olympia Hartauer||1|
|Corporal Kelly 2||Lillian Weaver Crabtree||3|
|Daisy||Helena LaCount||3, 4|
|Debbie Debutante||Ann LaBree||1, 2, interim 3|
|Dementia 2||Nancy Daley||3|
|Dementia, Sugar||Michelle Duze||2|
|Ebony||Jan White||1, 2|
|Evangelina||Christy M. Smith||3|
|Gremlina||Sandy Manley||3, 5|
|The Heavy Metal Sisters
The Housewives, Arlene and Phyllis
|Sharon "Spike" Wilinsky and Donna "Chainsaw" Wilinsky||1, 2|
|Jailbait||Trish Casella/Trish King Casella||3 (Unaired), 5|
|Jungle Woman||Annette Marroquin||1|
|Justice||Narice Crockett||3, 4|
|L'il Mama||Jerrie Micheline Swoopes||5|
|Little Egypt||Angelina Altishin||1, 2, 5|
|Little Fiji||Theresa Woo||1–3|
|Magnolia The Southern Bell||Unknown||4|
|Major Tanya||Noelle Rose||3, 4|
|Matilda the Hun||Dee Booher||1, 2|
|Melody "Trouble" Vixen (MTV)||Eileen O'Hara||3–5|
|Mexi-Cali Red (Spanish Red's Cousin) Also Liberty in PPV Match||Unknown||4–5|
|Mika the Headhunter||1|
|Mina the Headhunter||1|
|Mana the Headhunter||Myra Singleton||1, 2|
|Mountain Fiji||Emily Dole||1–4|
|Palestina||Janeen Jewett||1, 2|
|Princess of Darkness||Janet Bowers||1, 2|
|Roxy Astor||Tracee Meltzer||3–5|
|The Royal Hawaiian||April Homm||1|
|Sally The Farmer's Daughter||Beckie Mullen||1, 3|
|Scarlet the Southern Belle||Janice Flynn||1|
|Shannon Obrien||Tresha Bowers||Unaired Episodes|
|The Soul Patrol, Envy and Adore||Carmen "Envy" Campbell, Teressa "Adore" Sherrod||1, 2|
|Spanish Red||Ericka Marr/Martinez||1, 2|
|Star||Suzanne Duplessis||3, 4|
|Stinky||Michelle Javas||3, 4|
|Sunny||Patricia Summerland||3 |
|Susie Spirit||Laurie Thompson||1, 2|
|Tammy Jones||Debbie D'Amato||1|
|Tara the Southern Belle||Shiela Best||1, 2|
|Thunderbolt||Dana Felton Howard||3|
|Tiffany Mellon||Sandra Margot Escott||3–5|
|Tina Ferrari||Lisa Moretti||1, 2|
|Tulsa||Jody Haselbarth||2 (interim), 3, 4|
|Vallerie Vendetta||Sarah Del Ray||5|
|VH1||Taeler Hendrix||2012 Battle Royal|
|Vicky Victory||Peach Janae||3, 4|
|The Widow||Nancy Daley||4|
|Zelda The Brain||Marie Moore||3, 5|
|List of Missing Ladies||Mexi-Cali Red, Magnolia The Southern Belle, The origina Broadway Rose (Eva Chirumbolo), Draculetta, Spanish Red, Mika and Meena (The Headhunters) Vicky Victory, Vine, Tammy Jones (Debbie D'Amato), Attache (Laura Fisher), Sneaky|
- GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling
- GLOW (TV series)
- List of women's wrestling promotions
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