Warning: contains spoilers for GLOW season 2.
The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling came back for a brilliant second season on Netflix, and while the show is fictional, it was inspired by the real life GLOW, a show which aired on Saturday mornings in the US in the late 80s. Many of the characters in GLOW are loosely based on real people. Ruth Wilder’s (Alison Brie) soviet heel (aka baddie) alter-ego Zoya the Destroyer is based on real-life GLOW star Lorilyn Palmer aka Colonel Ninotchka, while chief face (aka goodie) Debbie Eagan’s (Betty Gilpin) character Liberty Belle was inspired by GLOW wrestlers Americana (Cindy Maranne) and The Southern Belles: Scarlet (Janice Flynn) and Tara (Sheila Best).
The 2012 documentary GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling is available to watch on Netflix now, it’s a great insight into the real women if you’re a fan of the series, packed with info about what happened in real life, including several incidents that inspired some of the plot twists in season two of GLOW – here are the six that surprised us most.
1. The Beatdown Biddies become the Toxic Twins Nuke and Ozone
In the real GLOW, sisters Donna and Sharon Willinsky played duo The Housewives, complete with face masks, slippers and housecoats, regularly using household items like frying pans in their routine. But the Williskys had alternate alter-egos too, like the Biddies. They became The Heavy Metal Sisters: Chainsaw and Spike, who had a chainsaw and a blow torch among their props.
2. Ruth shoots a bizarre intro
In episode one of season two Ruth annoys Sam by shooting a cheesy opening sequence in a shopping mall. The real GLOW had some crazy none-more-80s openers one of which did include rapping and an escalator shot like in Ruth’s intro. There was also something called The Glow Games which included escalator races and an eating contest.
3. Cherry becomes Black Magic
Former stunt woman and GLOW head trainer Cherry Bang (Sydelle Noel) had left the show to star in a cop show but when her lack of acting experience means it goes south she returns to GLOW. Unfortunately her character of Junkchain had been taken over by breakdancer Yolanda (Shakira Barrera).
Later in the series Cherry creates a new character for herself called Black Magic who practices Voodoo. This Voodoo character is similar to one of the main heels in the real GLOW, a character called Big Bad Mama played by Lynn Braxton, who dubbed herself the Voodoo Queen and would put her opponents into zombie-like states.
4. The ladies shoot a PSA
In episode three of season two Concerned Women Of America the group decides to shoot a PSA about the perils of teenage pregnancy after complaints that their content wasn’t wholesome enough. The real GLOW ladies shot PSAs too – here’s Hollywood (Jeanne Basone) talking about why you should never drink and drive.
5. Ruth gets injured
In episode six Work The Leg Ruth’s ankle gets broken during a match with Debbie. Unsurprisingly in the real GLOW the ladies got hurt all the time, though there’s one particularly brutal injury which occured which was no doubt inspiration for the scene.
Face favorite Susie Spirit (Laurie Thompson) was in a tag team match when a move went wrong causing Susie’s elbow to dislocate horribly. We’d suggest extreme caution before clicking on the above link – it is grim.
6. GLOW gets cancelled
In season two of the fictional show GLOW gets cancelled but in a last-minute reprieve it looks like the live show will move to the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. The Riviera was the name of the real hotel in Vegas where the 80s shows were filmed, and like in the fictional version, the real GLOW was also cancelled rather unceremoniously in 1990. Though there were rumours that casino magnate and owner of the Riviera Meshulam Riklis’ affairs with the wrestlers was threatening his marriage to Pia Zadora, it seems like the reason it was cancelled was mostly financial (there’s a bit more detail here).
Will the fictional show get cancelled, or can we expect it to return for a season three? There’s no news but we’d hope the show’s great critical reactions and decent loyal fanbase mean a return for the goregous ladies of wrestling.