GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling
A fond look back at a short-lived time when neon-clad women ruled wrestling.
DIRECTED BY BRETT WHITCOMB (USA, Nightvision)
Friday, April 27, 11:30 p.m.
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)
Saturday, April 28, 1:30 p.m.
The ROM Theatre (100 Bloor Street West)
Saturday, May 5, 6:30 p.m.
The Regent (551 Mount Pleasant Road)
A largely forgotten piece of ’80s kitsch, The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling was an all-female wrestling revue that aired in syndication from 1986 to 1990. Many of these ladies appear on camera to help tell the tale of their unanimously too-brief brush with stardom. The clips from the show are fascinating artifacts from an ancient era, one of garish colors and simple storylines about good girls and bad girls. The wrestlers have names like Mountain Fiji, a large, sweet Samoan, and Ninotchka, the evil Russian blonde who antagonizes American audiences for being lazy. And let’s not forget Big Bad Mama: she may have been a chief maternal presence, but she could still kick some ass if it was needed. They all had cheesy rap introductions that were lifted from and nearly as bad as the Super Bowl Shuffle. In short, it was kind of fantastic.
Nearly all of the women look back at the period as the best time of their lives. They reveal how they were cast for their acting ability and then trained by Mando Guerrero, who fondly remembers teaching a bunch of young girls how to beat one another up. Two prominent figures, creator David McClane and director Matt Cimber, declined to be interviewed for the film, the latter being especially unfortunate as everyone declares him to be a creative catalyst for the program. The only thing missing is a reunion. And then…well, let’s just say it’s an ending reminiscent of A League of Their Own.