wrestling / Columns

That Was Then, Is This Too? 09.29.09: Wrestlicious, Baby!

September 29, 2009 | Posted by Jasper Gerretsen

Welcome to yet another installment of That Was Then, Is This Too?, the column that looks for parallel lines in all the right places. As usual, we have comments:

Thanks to the internet and DVD era, a team like the Young Bucks can work all over the world, wrestling at the peak of their ability without ever having to compromise. Even without ever setting foot in a WWE or TNA ring, I’m still sure that the Young Bucks will eventually establish themselves as one of the best teams of the decade.

Too bad they won’t make any good money unless they go to the big boys. IWC appreciation don’t pay the bills, boys.

Posted By: Big Fat Fag (Guest) on September 22, 2009 at 03:46 PM

As others have said, “good money” is relative, but at least they’ll be able to make a living. A very good point from the Bruno Sammartino shoot is that, compared to the past few decades, these days very few people are able to make a living wrestling full time. However, I honestly believe that thanks to the internet, this trend is slowly reversing.

Matt Jackson jobbed out to Big Show on Smackdown last year!

Posted By: Guest#3893 (Guest) on September 22, 2009 at 07:26 PM

I vaguely remember watching that, but like I said in my article, the Hardys actually toured with the company for extensive periods of time as jobbers in stead of just making single appearances.

“Murder” city machine guns? LOL

Posted By: haha (Guest) on September 22, 2009 at 11:06 PM

Murder City Machine Guns was the original name for the tag team, although they later started using Motor City Machine Guns too because it’s a more ‘positive’ name.

I was saying this about a year ago…The Young Bucks are the new Hardy Boyz, yet they would probably fit better in TNA. If Xplosion had a Spike TV timeslot, it could be used as a show for enhancement talent or be a more X-Division focused show where we would see the Young Bucks on a regular basis. Gaining notoriety from this, they would parlay this into a feud with the Guns that would eventually make its way to Impact. The Young Bucks are an awesome up and coming tag team.

Posted By: bighustle (Guest) on September 24, 2009 at 11:07 AM

I agree completely that the Young Bucks would be a better fit for TNA, but like I said, the amount of independent talent coming into the company over the past two years or so is really depressing.

Looks like it’s time for banner 2.0!

Two weeks ago I wrote about the TNA Knockouts division, and I guess that I might have been a tad too negative about the state of things there. However, the article did get me thinking about the state of women’s wrestling in America. This in itself is a depressing exercise. The three major American wrestling promotions (WWE, TNA and ROH), all feature their women on an extremely limited basis. Of the three, TNA comes closest to having a ‘serious’ women’s division, but it suffers from the same problems that TNA seems to suffer from as a whole: the division is filled with talent but the booking is dubious at best.

Enter Jay Vargas. At 19 years old, the South Carolina native became the youngest Powerball winner in history when he collected a $17 million payout. Where lesser men would have blown the money on big mansions and fast cars, young mister Vargas had a vision. A vision he himself described as: “MAD TV + the WWE + Baywatch + Dave Chappelle”. All this adds up to Wrestlicious.

The wrestling world was introduced to the Wrestlicious concept on March 25th of this year through the miracle of Youtube. A two and a half minute video titled simply “Wrestlicious Demo” was all we had to go on to figure out what Wrestlicious would be all about. The video started out surprisingly promising, with quick cut clips of various wrestlers hitting moves that actually didn’t look half bad (outside of the ridiculous plush pink ropes). Then, 20 seconds in, the whole thing takes a turn for the silly:

Jimmy Hart joins us in all his eighties glory, brandishing his signature megaphone and flanked by two blonde referees in low-cut shirts and skirts short enough to be confused with belts. We are then introduced to various Wrestlicious wrestlers dancing and ‘rapping’ in all their stereotypical glory. With characters such as White Magic, Draculetta, Malibu McKenzie and Bootcamp Billy, the whole thing almost seemed like some sort of elaborate parody of women’s wrestling. And here’s the fun part: The actual protect is surprisingly serious.

Because as cheesy as the characters and skits might be, the talent behind it all is actually pretty impressive. The women appearing in the various Youtube videos are mostly models, but the women actually stepping into the ring are mostly names that fans of independent wrestlers will be familiar with, with wrestlers such as Daizee Haze (Marley Sebastian), Amber O’Neal (Charlotte, The Southern Belle), Christie Ricci (Gloria) and Ashley Lane (Amber Lively). More familiar names on the company roster are, among others, Daffney (as Draculetta), Lacey von Erich and Lena Yada. Lexie Fyfe, who appeared on RAW as Hillary Clinton during the 2008 elections, is apparently responsible for the training.

Still, all the comedy skits, all the horribly cheesy characters and the presence of Jimmy Hart make it incredibly hard to take this promotion seriously. With the first episodes set to air on various Fox affiliates later this year, I guess all we can do at this point is wait and see, although I doubt the regular review crew will be lining up around the block to review this one. It all reeks of camp and eighties, it all reeks of… GLOW.

That Was Then…

GLOW, short for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, was the brain child of one David McLane, whose career as a wrestling promotor started with a Dick the Bruiser fanclub that sold pictures of various wrestlers through mail order. He was eventually noticed by Dick the Bruiser himself, who brought him into his wrestling promotion to learn the ins and outs of wrestling promotion. He also worked as a ring announcer and commentator.

Eventually McLane would team up with Jackie Stallone, whose women only Barbarella gym ended up providing a major part of the ‘talent’ involved in the final product, and thus, GLOW was born. The original show was taped out of the Rivera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, running on syndication for four seasons and featuring such talent as Palestina, Spanish Red and Mt. Fiji, and yes, each of those gimmicks was as horribly offensive as the name implies.

The GLOW syndicated show, which ran from 1986 to 1990, was more of a variety show than a pure wrestling show, with much of the show’s time being devoted to comedy skits, which were funny in the same way I’m a contributing member of society. For the show’s first season, most of the girls received all of six weeks of training before being thrown into the ring, resulting in piledrivers and top rope moves that were scary for all the wrong reasons. Over the years GLOW featured many women, but the only significant alumnus the promotion ever produced was Tina Ferrari, who would eventually resurface in the WWF as Ivory, most famous for her run as women’s champion in Stevie Richards’ Right to Censor stable.

Now, I could try to put into words the sheer craziness of GLOW, but with English as my third language I simply don’t think I could do it justice. In stead I yield to fellow 411 writer Ryan Byers, who took the time to sit through the three disc box set that was produced by Big Vision Entertainment.

Match Numero Dos: Big Bad Mama & Melody T. Vixen vs. Zelda & Mountain Fiji in a losers do the winners’ laundry match

I DEMAND that TNA steal stipulation immediately. If they do, I promise I won’t say anything negative about them for a whole month. Zelda’s entrance rap is unintentionally hilarious, as she plays up her dance as though she has no rhythm but always manages to stay on beat when she’s speaking. How does that work, exactly? In an even more unintentionally hilarious pre-match moment, Mama cuts a promo about how her neighbors’ washing machine broke down, meaning that she brought their dirty clothes to the ring as well. It’s not the line that is hilarious but rather the reaction of ring announcer Johnny C., whose body language perfectly displays his vehement opposition to this flagrant violation of the rules, as the stips were supposed to be “losers do the winners’ laundry,” not “losers do the laundry of the winners AND their neighbors.”

Anyway, the match starts with women throwing sacks of clothes at each other. Zelda gets caught in a Melody full nelson, after which a top rope clothesline from the Vixen hits. Zelda was a total deer in the headlights waiting for Melody to hit that move. The nerd is beaten with a bottle of liquid detergent, and that’s one of those sentences that I never thought I would type. Mama is tagged in for the double team on Zelda, but Fiji makes the save and brawls with the voodoo queen. Powdered detergent is eventually thrown in to the big Samoan’s eyes, and apparently “losers do the laundry of the winners AND their neighbors” matches are no disqualification. Shortly thereafter, MTV secures a place in my heart as the greatest professional wrestler of all time by placing a wash basin over Fiji’s head and playing it like a bongo drum for approximately thirty minutes. Mountain eventually gets out of the situation by hitting a primitive version of the iconoclasm. (I’m sure it was this match that inspired CIMA to invent the move.) Eventually Fiji ties Vixen up in a laundry basket, while Mama sticks Zelda in to a bag. Once the women are freed by their respective partners, we’ve got a four-way brawl before the Big Bad One gets sacked and slammed by Fiji. Seconds thereafter, Zelda gets the pin on MTV with a second rope sunset flip.

Match Thoughts: FIVE MILLION STARS. This may not have been hilarious for the reasons the people who designed it intended, but it was hilarious nonetheless. Between this and Rat on a Pole, February 2008 has been a hell of a year for yours truly when it comes to reviewing epically bizarre wrestling matches.

…Is This Too?

Allow me to answer that question in the form of a video:

That video is basically a compilation of various GLOW raps, and each of those characters played a role in the product, and it really drives home the sentiment that Wrestlicious is just GLOW fast-forwarded by twenty years. Sure, the Wrestlicious characters actually appear to be slightly more politically correct this time around, with nothing ever reaching the same level of general offensiveness as the Palestina character, but other than that the whole concept appears to be carbon-copied almost to perfection.

But behind all the sketches and characters, the bright pink ring ropes and the presence of Jimmy Hart, there is one thing that Wrestlicious actually does different from GLOW: They use actual wrestlers. Talented women with years of training and experience that actually know how to work without killing themselves or each other. This alone makes Wrestlicious worth watching out for.

That might be a surprising statement to make, but I’m honestly interested in seeing what the final Wrestlicious product will look like, and not just to see how bad it will be. With the talent signed on (note that I am not using the word talent in a sarcastic manner here), I think we could actually be looking at some serious women’s wrestling. Of course this all depends on how much time is given to these matches, and how much time is wasted on the comedy sketches. However, if the comedy is kept short and to the point, and, more importantly, doesn’t spill over into the ring, I think we might be looking at a genuinely interesting product.

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Jasper Gerretsen

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