Women Of Wrestling President David McLane joined WZ’s Kevin Kellam to discuss the series and how it’s a part of the changing the role of women in pro wrestling.
McLane also shares his take on his original ’80s breakout series GLOW has become cultural sensation in dramedy series on Netflix, which opened doors for his current WOW series. McLane also shares his wrestling roots in Chicago with the legendary Dick the Bruiser and much more.
WOW Women Of Wrestling premieres on AXS TV this Friday January 18th at 9pm EST / 8pm CST as the only all-female wrestling TV show.
Following the success of GLOW, did he ever think he would return to the same level with another venture like WOW?
“Yes is the answer. I always like to think of a question as a yes or no answer. Yes, I knew when I sold GLOW that I was going to do women’s wrestling again. I knew it, and I knew I was going to do it correctly. It’s taken me numerous steps, numerous mountains to climb, and it’s the first time I’ve ever said it, but this is the pinnacle of the dream. This has the independent wrestling stars—there weren’t even any out there in the ‘80s, there weren’t any out there when WOW was in syndication—we’ve got Santana Garrett, Jessicka Havok, Kiera Hogan who wrestles as ‘Fire’ for us, Abilene Maverick, who everyone in Texas knows as Barbi Hayden. We’ve got homegrown WOW athletes that are trained by Selina Majors—Bambi in Georgia—this is the culmination of the entire dream.
Opening the doors for people that want to be trained, want to be professional women’s wrestlers, get them trained properly and then put on a showcase on television. I had zero doubt I was going to do it again, and zero doubt I would eventually get it to where it was something I was proud of.”
Did GLOW help WOW get put on TV, or what moved the needle to get the program on national television?
“It’s really a combination of all of those ‘blenders’—I drink a couple of beers on the weekends—but I don’t drink those mixed drinks, so I don’t know how they’re made [laughs] At the end, I always see them pour a little extra into the blender, and GLOW was that. GLOW was the extra mixture into the blender.
I think the Netflix series provided everyone—people that don’t even watch wrestling—a glimpse into what it takes to get into the squared circle. It showed the general population the sisterhood of the wrestlers of the ‘80s that jumped into that ring and did it. That love of the sport, and that sisterhood still exists today, and I think that captured Mark Burnett’s interest—who is another partner with us from MGM Studios—I think that resonated with him and others. [To say] ‘Holy smokes, this is something bigger than wrestling Friday nights down at the local armory.’
GLOW was that little special concoction at the end when I’m at the bar and I see them put it into the blender. It brought women’s wrestling to the forefront quickly.”
McLane talked about the promotion’s goal to eventually air live, but said fans should tune in now because there’s something to offer everyone, from diehard wrestling fans to casual viewers looking for family-friendly entertainment:
“We hope to become live, that’s our goal with AXS TV in a few years. We’re going to go slowly with them, because just like New Japan Pro-Wrestling, we’re going to follow the same method and roll things out slowly, and we’ll make adjustments and little tweaks as we get feedback from fans.
All of that said, why look at it? Why watch it? You’re going to see athletes from wrestling presented like no other program. The feuds, the battles, the conflicts, the fights for dominance, the fight for the WOW World Championship, it’s not copied, it’s not similar to any other wrestling program. We really wanted to put out something that was an alternative wrestling product, and secondly, one that the fans wanted to see.
Jeanie Buss permitted us to go on a state-by-state—we probably went to 12, maybe 1-2 more—we went to states and met with the wrestling fans, we went into their homes, sat on a couch and watched some WOW tapes, other wrestling and we asked them what they like about pro wrestling, what do you want to see, what’s missing, etc. There was one word that came out of all of those cities—it was fun—they wanted the fun back in professional wrestling. They wanted something fun, and they wanted something that mom, dad and the kids could watch.
When I went to the Chicago Amphitheater it was packed with families, packed with kids. They wanted to take the kids back, they wanted to watch the programs with their families, and they wanted to see the women’s wrestlers presented in a respectable manner. Not with a one minute match at a pay-per-view, or something of that nature. They wanted to see it done correctly, they didn’t want to see ladies exploited by guys looking at them in a leering manner, or [as Jeanie Buss says] being ‘saved by a man all of the time.’ They wanted to see them given the respect, and that was an easy package to sell. Let’s put women on in a one-hour presentation that’s theirs. I’m proud of it, any Dad is going to be proud of it, any Mom is, their kids are going to love it. Die hard wrestling fans, I guarantee it’s going to knock your socks off.”