'WOW' Makes 'Superheroes' Out of Female Wrestlers, Says Owner Jeanie Buss
Once a sideshow of glam and bruising exploitation, women's wrestling on TV today still offers drop-kicking melees — but also messages of positivity and empowerment.
WOW-Women of Wrestling, a popular addition to AXS TV's "Friday Night Fights" lineup, boasts a colorful roster of warriors, from The Beast and Jungle Grrrl to tonight's tanglers, Holidead and Princess Aussie. Now there's a woman in the front office as well.
Best known as the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jeanie Buss calls WOW a passion project. "It really marries my love of superheroes and characters with my admiration for a generation of female competitor athletes," she says. "It's not mud wrestling. It's not Jell-O wrestling. These women are powerful and fighting their own battles in the ring. They don't need to run to a man to save them."
The success of Netflix's Emmy-nominated comedy GLOW likely boosted interest in WOW, or at least "makes it easier for people to understand what this is," Buss says. But there's a closer connection: GLOW is based on the 1980s phenomenon Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, whose creator David McLane is also behind WOW and still serves as the hyperventilating ring announcer.
While some WOW "superheroes" have a pro wrestling background (like third-generation Tessa Blanchard), most got their start in the sports world (running track, for example). And they come in a range of ages and body sizes. "That's really what I want to stand for," Buss says. "Opportunities for women."
WOW—Women of Wrestling, Fridays, 9/8c, AXS TV