WOW: Women of Wrestling is a new show that airs on Fridays at 9pm on AXS TV. WOW’s been around as a promotion for a long time, and this is technically their 5th season. However, previous seasons have only been available online, so this national cable TV deal is a big step into the mainstream for them. WOW is the brainchild of David McClane, who previously founded GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, the original 1980s wrestling show that the Netflix comedy is based on. Despite the passage of 30+ years and the inclusion of more established wrestling talents, WOW still contains some of the spirit of GLOW, for both good and bad.
Last time on WOW, Abilene Maverick defeated newcomer Fire (Kiera Hogan), the Beast looked amazing in a squash match, and a title match between WOW Champion Santana Garrett and former champion Jungle Grrrl was violently interrupted by Tessa Blanchard. Now let’s move on to the January 25, 2019 episode of WOW: Women of Wrestling:
Here We Are In 1985
First of all, both of these women can move and were exciting to watch in the ring, and this was a fun match between them. But also, what is going on here, and how is it happening in 2019? Siren’s Voodoo Doll gimmick is one thing. It feels dated for sure (and specifically reminiscent of Big Bad Mama from GLOW or Black Magic from Netflix GLOW), but Siren’s a black woman making her way in wrestling, and if she wants to do voodoo stuff as part of her character, it’s certainly not my place to tell her she shouldn’t. She also has a really great spooky look and demeanor that I look forward to seeing more of, so that’s worth a lot.
But then there’s Princess Aussie: a white Australian woman who is accompanied to the ring by dancing aboriginal men in tribal paint and loincloths. According to her video package, aboriginal families helped take care of her as a child while her mom was working, and coming to the ring with them reminds her of her roots. This doesn’t help, to be clear.
On top of all that, ring announcer Shaul Guerrero called the aboriginal guys a “Papua New Guinea tribe,” and someone on commentary mentioned Indonesia, so has WOW even decided where these men are from? If you’re going to have a group of historically oppressed people accompany a white lady to the wrestling ring, at least be specific about who they are. But also? Maybe just don’t do it at all. Princess Aussie seems to have a lot of potential as a performer, but this gimmick needs some tweaking for sure.
No Wait, This Is Definitely 2019
Lately I see a lot of wrestling fans on the left expressing concern about Daniel Bryan’s heel character. As great a job as Bryan’s doing, it worries some progressive people to see a progressive heel getting boos in a company owned by conservatives, which is understandable. So I find myself wondering what those fans would think of Jessie Jones, a conservative heel getting boos in company that’s owned by… Well, I don’t know much about the politics of David McLane and Jeannie Buss, but they’re not buddies with Donald Trump, so that’s something.