8 Great is our new, extremely original listicle series where we take a break from snark and negativity to focus on the positive and list eight of our favorite examples of something great from pro wrestling. Matches, performers, shows – whatever is helping us enjoy wrestling in a particular week, that’s what this feature is all about.
So far in the series we’ve covered great pro wrestling of the past and present as well as some of the most important performers in the industry, so for this week, I wanted to talk about something near and dear to my heart: the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling TV show.
Before it was prestige television heading into its third critically-acclaimed season on Netflix, G.L.O.W. (1986-1989) was a groundbreaking women’s pro wrestling show plus Hee-Haw-style Vaudevillian comedy, and it was the best. My favorite GLOW Girl was, and is still is, GODIVA, the “British Bombshell.” If you can’t guess from her name, her gimmick is that she’s naked and likes chocolate. It’s THE BEST.
Since not enough people know about how great Godiva was — a lot of people I meet outside of this wrestling vertical don’t even realize the Netflix version of the show is based on anything — I want to share with you the “bare facts” about why I love Godiva.
1. She Was A Beast In The Ring
In a world where a lot of the wrestlers weren’t great at actually wrestling and a lot of the matches are just people taking turns on offense, Godiva was a hoss. She had a size advantage over most of the girls, and used it to just generally obliterate most of them. Here she is straight up standing on Ninotchka’s throat and face, because she wanted to. If that’s not enough, here she is hurling Cheyenne Cher out of the ring like Cesaro and bringing her back in with a Bobby Lashley-ass stalling suplex.
THAT not enough? Hey, remember when Toshiaki Kawada dropped Mitsuharu Misawa on his head and everyone lost their minds about it for decades? Here’s Godiva, on G.L.O.W. dropping a Ganso Bomb on Lightning, over a decade before Kawada.
The opening rap advertised them as, “all champions in the ring,” but this one meant it.
2. Speaking Of Rapping, Godiva Can Rap
Honestly, if Kanye’s latest effort had bars on it as hot as, “you think love is overrated/I’m not yet truly emancipated/in the States I seem to incite rages,” you’d proclaim him a genius. I’m not saying Godiva’s a better rapper than Kanye West, but I’m not not saying it.
Plus, she’s especially good when you compare her to everyone else. Jackie Stallone is probably the all time worst, but David McLane’s extended dance break is pretty close. Wait, no, yep, it’s the Southern Belles. Did you know Lacey Evans had two moms? Just go listen to Godiva again.
3. She Gave Good Advice
Every GLOW Girl has to have a “thing” — Tiffany Mellon shared gossip, Zelda the Brain shared “zingers,” Mt. Fiji had dream sequences where she was dressed like Carmen Miranda … it was pretty broad — and Godiva’s was being a telephone therapist. Godiva invented Frasier Crane, if you didn’t know.
The calls are all set ups to really cheesy puns, like, “I work at a supermarket, and I like this guy in frozen foods. Do you think I have a chance with him?” “Of course, if he didn’t like you, darling, he would’ve given you the … cold shoulder by now!” Sometimes she gets straight up sexually aggressive with the callers, like when she tells a lady to deal with her boyfriend’s obsession with the Los Angeles Dodgers by inviting over nine guys and seeing how he likes it, or when she tells a pervert the only way he could get a woman is if she was unconscious. Godiva was a savage.
4. Wrestling Her Is Fun
(Tiffany deserved that dropkick.)
5. She’s Better Than Both Kevin Sullivan And Brian Pillman (At Family Feud)
In February of 1996, the feud between WCW booker and Dungeon of Doom impresario Kevin Sullivan and Four Horsemen member Brian Pillman became one of the most important in wrestling history. During an “I respect you” strap match at SuperBrawl VI, Pillman grabbed a live microphone and yelled, “I RESPECT YOU, BOOKER MAN,” at Sullivan, presumably for booking himself to win a match where his opponent had to suck up to him. Pillman was fired the next day, but the curtain was drawn back … for the first real time, a major wrestling promotion had “broken kayfabe” on camera to reveal how the nuts and bolts of the promotion work, changing the game forever. The wrestling world would launch into an “attitude era” of worked shoots, screwjobs, insider terminology, and an Internet full of fans obsessed with learning how everything operates.
A few years earlier, Godiva from the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling defeated both Kevin Sullivan AND Brian Pillman in head-to-head rounds of Family Feud. Not only that, but she physically intimidates Sullivan, and out-promos Pillman.
The GLOW team rarely did as well as WCW’s, but Godiva was a damn MVP. Because of course she was.
6. She Made Phil Donahue Nervous
Not that former talk show host Phil Donahue was the kind of guy that exuded sexual confidence, but he turns into … well, me when he’s talking to Godiva. Like, I could never go on Sally Jessy Raphael and get her all hot and bothered. Godiva mentions that she has, “many, many,” men in her life, though, so …
7. She Has A Possibly Magical Presidential Connection
I’m not saying having the ability to summon Donald Trump via wishing is a trait you’d necessarily look for in a favorite wrestler, but I felt like I should mention it. In addition to other understated powers the character possesses like the ability to charm others, being able to ride a magical horse, and becoming more powerful via nudity … yeah, she can do this other thing.
Donald Trump’s “appearance” on G.L.O.W. is such a legendary event that we’ve already written about it at length, as it technically connects the GLOW Universe to the WWE Universe — so here’s a quick excerpt from the finale:
Meanwhile, Daisy (after warding off the unwanted advances of lecherous G.L.O.W. promoter Johnny C) is trying to get beauty advice from the most beautiful of all G.L.O.W. girls, Godiva (gimmick: NAKED LADY). Godiva’s advice: be yourself, because trying to be like other G.L.O.W. girls is weird and requires lobotomization. Her words, not mine.
Full of confidence, Daisy is about to walk down to her date, which is happening immediately because Imaginary Donald Trump don’t play. Suddenly, the other Bad Girls burst in with, “ain’t I a stinker,” looks on their faces, announcing that they will walk Daisy down to her date. That seems weird, but they cover it nicely:
Hollywood: “We wouldn’t miss this for all the money in the world!”
Stinky: “Especially Donald Trump’s!”
If you haven’t seen this bit or read about it, please go do that when you’re done here. It’s somehow even more confusing than the time Trump met the Boogeyman.
8. She Lives On As A Netflix Character, Sort Of
While none of the characters on Netflix’s GLOW are direct analogues to their predecessors and the writers came up with unique stories and angles for everyone, Kate Nash’s character of Rhonda — aka Britannica, the Smartest Woman in the World, who at one point is in love with a mannequin … it’s great, watch the show — is an amalgamation of two characters: Zelda the Brain, and, of course, Godiva.
While Zelda handles Britannica’s smarts, Godiva gives her her … well, her British-ness, and at least one point in the show Britannica rides to the ring on a horse. You’re not gonna do that without someone named “Godiva” coming before you. For a fun point of reference, here’s Godiva wrestling Zelda, and absolutely trashing her on the microphone.
“Zelda, darling, you’re a pathetic wretch, I’m sorry, if you’d like to concede now, I’ll allow you. You see, the only way to get through life, and it will carry me my whole life, is looks, beauty, physical strength, darling.”
And she wasn’t lying. As you can see from Godiva’s Facebook fan group, she’s still doing great. She wears a lot more clothes these days, though, and she probably takes fewer calls on a landline.
So there you have it. Those are eight great reasons to love Godiva from G.L.O.W. as much as I do. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make a nerd feel bad about not being as beautiful as me.