Original GLOW Wrestlers to Appear September 16 at Oscar’s Palm Springs

Tracee Meltzer describes herself as “a hairstylist from Auburn, Washington” with an outgoing personality. But in the professional wrestling world, Meltzer is known as Roxy Astor, a redheaded New York socialite with an unlimited credit card and lots of cash.

She was one of many personalities in the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, an all-female wrestling promotion that aired from 1986 to 1990 on several networks across the United States. The promotion was launched by entrepreneur David McLane and produced, directed and written by Matt Cimber. Netflix released an original series in 2017 loosely based on GLOW that ran for three seasons before being canceled.

On September 16, GLOW stars Meltzer, Gremlina (Sandy Manley), Sunny the California Girl (Patricia Summerland), Dallas (Debi Pelletier) and Royal Hawaiian (April Homm) will appear at Oscar’s Palm Springs for a night of stories, reflection, and general madness.

World Wrestling Entertainment rose to popularity and dominated the world of sports entertainment in the 80s with artists such as Hulk Hogan, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant and many more. And while WWE had a few women on its roster, like WWE Women’s Champion Wendi Richter, GLOW took a different approach by airing a TV show and had 26 episodes per season.

Originally from Indianapolis, David McLane founded the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling in 1986 and the Women of Wrestling in 2000.

GLOW featured professional wrestling matches taped in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel, but it also included sitcom segments with audience laugh tracks. Some of them included Mountain Fiji (Emily Dole) dreaming about dancing and telling jokes with Tiffany Mellon (Sandra Lee Schwab), Tiffany’s GLOW Gossip and more.

Dave Meltzer, the publisher and editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, said GLOW did well at times, but found it difficult to achieve financial success in TV syndication.

“GLOW was more of a ‘Hee-Haw’ type show and wasn’t what I would call a serious wrestling show. They featured women trying to wrestle, but that wasn’t what we got now and nothing like it,” he said.

“If you were hurt, you were out”

The women of GLOW trained in professional wrestling with wrestlers Mando Guerrero and later Cynthia Peretti, but most of the women had no contracts and received no residuals from the show. Meltzer said his paychecks were $350 and the women needed to work on injuries sustained in the ring.

“If you were hurt, you were out,” Meltzer said. “We had Jailbait (Trish Casella) who was only 18 at the time. She blew her knee and disappeared. There was no big insurance, it was ‘don’t hurt yourself ‘” Meltzer said.

Looking back on numerous matches, segments, and characters, Meltzer describes GLOW as “politically incorrect.” A memorable wrestler was The Widow (Nancy Daly), a character written as a woman who killed her husband. A church minister disliked The Princess of Darkness (portrayed by Janet Bowden and Ursula Hayden) and wanted her removed from the series.

“I can’t believe the stuff we ran away with. We had Colonel Ninotchka (Lori Palmer), a Russian who stepped on the American flag. I fought a girl named Dementia and she ran into the ring with an axe. We also rap before we go out and play our matches.

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling Inspired Netflix Wrestling Comedy "GLOW," which lasted three seasons.  The series is loosely based on the experiences of real women.  In this scene, Ruth (Alison Brie) goes after her friend Debbie (Betty Gilpin)

Meltzer rapped from memory: “When you meet Roxy, you better beware because I’m really strong and good-natured. This jet set girl never backs down because all she wants is the GLOW crown.

“It was a little different back then,” Meltzer said. “We’re like ‘A League of Their Own’ with a group of wrestling girls, just like this baseball team. You will never have it again. Once GLOW disappeared, as if the “Golden Girls” were gone, that was it. »

Women now occupy a prominent place in the fight

During the 90s, WWE again tried to showcase women’s wrestling with WWE Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze (Debrah Miceli) appearing on TV occasionally, but there was always a lack of women on the list. Miceli often fought Japanese wrestler Bull Nakano (Keiko Aoki) and faced Leilani Kai (Patty Seymour) in 1994 at Wrestlemania 10.

WWE continued to push for women in wrestling in the late 90s and early 2000s with matches featuring Luna Vachon (Gertrude Vachon), Sable (Rena Lesnar), Chyna (Joan Laurer), Debra ( Debra Marshall) and more. The women in the organization are now as important as the men. In 2017, WWE signed former MMA star and UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

“Bringing Ronda Rousey in almost forced them (the women) to push because it cost them so much money to get her that you had to push her and other women like Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Bianca Bel. Air,” Dave Meltzer said. “It’s the loudest and most vocal he’s ever been in the United States and anywhere outside of Japan.”

Liv Morgan and Ronda Rousey face off at WWE SummerSlam 2022 on Saturday, July 30, 2022 at Nissasn Stadium;  Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Mandatory Credit: Alan Poizner-The Tennessean

WWE CEO Vince McMahon has retired from the company after 40 years amid reports he paid more than $12 million to four women over a 16-year period over silent allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity. McMahon had resigned as chairman and CEO on June 17 after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company was investigating a secret $3 million settlement to be paid to an employee with whom he allegedly had an affair.

“I’ve heard about it all and it’s been going on for years, but why are (WWE’s) ratings down? It’s my biggest thing. Do they need a little more?” Meltzer said. “Watching WWE, I always feel like it’s all work. I don’t trust anything. I feel like people get so involved and believe in it, but I don’t believe anything.”

Meltzer said she was pushing for this show in Palm Springs, adding “Is Oscar going to be prepared for this?”

“These girls are funny and crazy,” Meltzer said. “We’re all excited and it’s something we were supposed to do two months ago but it didn’t work out. We’re there on a Friday and we have (drag performer) Pollo Del Mar who has kicked off an interview. I have a feeling she’s got something up her sleeve. You never know what you’ll get when you get us together. We’re crazy, but in a good way.

Previous reporting by USA TODAY reporter Toyloy Brown III was used for this report.

Brian Blueskye covers arts and entertainment for the Desert Sun. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @bblueskye.

Previous The Osbournes Announce Return to Reality TV with "Home to Roost"
Next Netflix's Death Note Series Might Be America's Best Live-Action Anime Yet