WOW’s Abilene Maverick On GLOW Comparisons, Rivalry w/ Santana Garrett, & The Women’s Revolution (Exclusive)

abilene maverick wow

Photo Credit: WOW / AXS TV

WOW wrestler Abilene ‘The Governor’s Daughter’ Maverick was Kevin Kellam’s guest on WrestleZone Radio.

Maverick (known to some as Barbi Hayden) opened up about her beginnings in wrestling, WOW, and gave her thoughts on the women’s revolution. Highlights appear below.

(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone) 


Oh my God, I am over the moon about this because I have actually been heading this revolution with WOW. I have been wrestling with them for the past six years and before Jeanie [Buss] jumped on board with us, we were streaming everything online at and everything was streamed there, so to finally have all this hard work and all of the tears and all the bumps and bruises, to finally come full fruition is literally a dream come true. Next year actually marks ten years that I’ve been in the wrestling business. I started training back in 2009, so this is literally a decade in the making type thing for me personally.

On GLOW Comparisons:

I 1000% came into this knowing that this was a re-invention of GLOW and it the best way because they took a lot of the ideology from GLOW and the vibes from it and they packaged it to fit today’s market. I do feel like we were ahead of our time….one thing that will make WOW successful is that we’re keeping that GLOW vibe while we’re making it more organic and more authentic to who the person actually is. We had no idea when we re-booted this whole thing and we started doing the whole WOW reboot six years ago, we had no idea that Netflix was going to be starting the GLOW series.

On The GLOW Netflix Series:

The first time I actually watched it – I was sitting on an airplane traveling somewhere for another booking. I was next to somebody who had it on. I didn’t watch it at first – to be honest, I don’t really have much time to watch TV. I wish that I did. I saw this man watching and you could tell he might have watched the original GLOW because of his age range and everything and he lit up. He had the biggest smile on his face watching this. He had no idea that I was with WOW. He had no idea that I was a wrestler. We didn’t speak prior to this, but I was watching his reactions to it….I’m a people watcher, watching other people inspires me. Watching him made me want to watch it even more because I already wanted to. I went ahead and I tuned in and I felt how he felt. You have this nice little nostalgia feeling. It’s kind of cool to see, even though these are actresses playing wrestlers. At the end of the day, we were all just normal people before we became wrestlers. To me, it’s not that big of a deal. I think it’s OK that they didn’t have a full cast of actual wrestlers. To be honest, GLOW didn’t either. They had a casting call for actresses. They didn’t do it for wrestlers because that wasn’t a thing. I think it’s really cool to shed light on what they did and how they survived somehow by not even having wrestlers in the ring. These were actors and still pioneers for the women’s revolution, which is ironic, in a way.

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On Santana Garrett:

She’s always been one of my favorite rivalries, one of my favorite opponents because we’re such stark opposites. She’s like this bright, bubbly, sweet, bouncy wrestler and it’s always fun for me to watch because I’m like, ‘Man, that is so opposite.’ I’m so ground & pound and opposite in style and mannerisms than she is, so that’s always been a fun thing. She is a very good champion. She definitely carries the product very well.

On The Women’s Revolution:

From when I began, it’s night and day. When I began training, I was the only female, who was training. It wasn’t until I was pretty well into training that I was – and let me clarify this – I trained to the point of graduating. I had to do an hour long gauntlet in order to graduate and start doing indie shows. It was brutal and again, I was the only female. It was an hour long gauntlet against men. It was very tough, but I would still go back for polishing. I would still go back for training and things like that. It wasn’t until years later…that Jordynne Grace came along. Then it was just me and her there. We were the only two females and she can attest to this. We would have to work for nothing. We would have to just show up to shows with our wrestling attire and hope that somebody would put us in the show.

I would drive hours on end with other wrestlers and be like, ‘Hey, can I just jump in the car and see, if there’s a spot?’ I would wrestle for a handshake and a hot dog. You had to really beg for a spot, so it’s really cool because about six years ago whenever I started with WOW, I literally left that taping in Vegas and I cried because it was probably the first time I had ever been treated like a human being in the wrestling business. I’m not just saying that to say it. I’m not saying that because my bosses are listening. It’s true. It’s really true. In fact, Amber O’Neal was actually traveling with me at that time and she can attest to that, as well. I said, ‘I felt like I was being treated like a queen.’ That was the start of it….it was so exciting because that was my first taste of what I thought was a change of eras, in wrestling. I thought, ‘If I go to this company and it’s all women, and I’m treated like I actually deserve to be here. I’m treated like a human being in the locker room. Things can only go up from here.’

Readers may listen to Kellam’s interview with Maverick in its entirety in the player below:

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