1/18 WOW on AXS review: Tessa Blanchard appears, Santana Garrett vs. Jungle Grrrl for the WOW Championship, The Beast vs. Stephy Slays, Abilene Maverick vs. Fire, Khloe Hurtz vs. Eye Candy


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WOW (Women Of Wrestling)
Taped in October 10-11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California at Belasco Theater
Aired January 18, 2019 on on AXS-TV

David McLane stood in the ring and introduced Santana Garrett as the WOW Champion. Garrett pointed out her father Kenny G (not the musician), who was sitting in the crowd. Kenny had a breathing tube and got emotional as he cheered on his daughter. Tessa Blanchard made her entrance and McLane said she obviously wasn’t supposed to be there.

Blanchard found Garrett’s father in the crowd, then spoke about how her grandfather ran the business, her stepfather Magnum TA is one of the most respected people in the industry, and her father Tully Blanchard is in the hall of fame. Tessa said Garrett’s father couldn’t lace up her father’s boots. McLane said it doesn’t matter who is in her family, she can’t interrupt the proceedings.

Blanchard said she’s in WOW for the WOW Championship. McLane said you have to earn your way up the ladder to get a championship match in WOW. McLane asked Blanchard to leave. Blanchard told Garrett that she and the title belt are hers. Blanchard stood by Garrett’s father. Garrett said she doesn’t see any of Blanchard’s fathers in attendance. “If you want a shot at my championship, get to the back of the line, girlfriend,” Garrett said. Blanchard said she will get her match…

Powell’s POV: For starters, WOW looks really slick from a visual standpoint. The venue looks good and the graphics and video packages are top notch. The angle featured solid performances from Blanchard and Garrett, but some of the dialogue left something to be desired. In particular, Garrett is a babyface champion, so you’d think she’d be up for facing anyone as a fighting champion, not telling Blanchard to get to the back of the line. McLane is still really over the top, which I’m sure I’ll be writing more about as we move on.

The broadcast team is Stephen Dickey, McLane, and EZ Rider… A brief video hyped Garrett vs. Jungle Grrrl… Footage aired of The Beast arriving in WOW and issuing an open challenge. Abilene Maverick tricked Stephy Slays into thinking it was her match time. Slays accepted the challenge because she didn’t want to let the fans down. The Beast destroyed Slays in a previous encounter, but Slays will face The Beast in a rematch…

1. The Beast vs. Stephy Slays. The Beast performed a nice fallaway slam. She placed her foot on Slays and posed while covering Slays for a two count. Slays fought back and went for a victory roll, but The Beast caught her and slammed her down. The Beast laid on Slays and posed while going for the pin, which resulted in another two count. “The Beast is always in beast mode,” said a gravelly voiced McLane. There were some chants for The Beast, which were acknowledged by the broadcast team. The Beast powerbombed and pinned Slays to win the match. Afterward, The Beast took the mic and said “I’m the biggest, I’m the baddest, I’m The Beast”…

The Beast defeated Stephy Slays.

Powell’s POV: Basic storytelling with The Beast playing the monster, while Slays was the spunky babyface who was simply overmatched. The Beast is the wrestler that McLane was most enthusiastic about when I interviewed him on the Pro Wrestling Boom podcast.

A Fire vignette aired. She said her mom grew up in Georgia and her dad in Mississippi, so she has Southern blood. She said she had a strict upbringing and was a gifted student and her parents expected nothing else. She said she got completely off track and her parents couldn’t understand why she was failing. She got emotional as she spoke about being bullied in school because she was different and she always turned to wrestling. She said she felt like a freak and wrestling was her escape. She said wrestling made her feel like anything was possible. She said fire represents her spirit and passion. “And now I am fire,” she said…

Powell’s POV: A good piece of production that showed her adopting her persona in a superhero type manner. Fire is better known as Kiera Hogan in Impact Wrestling. Impact lost their way with her and the other Knockouts creatively with the Undead Realm nonsense, but I like Hogan a lot and she’s a good talent to have on the WOW roster.

2. “The Governor’s Daughter” Abilene Maverick vs. Fire. McLane said Fire burned pictures of herself in the video because her parents didn’t want her to join the pro wrestling circuit and thus she is burning her past. Maverick was in control early. Fire came back and hit a neckbreaker for two. Maverick caught Fire with a knee and then performed a hanging DDT for the win…

Abilene Maverick beat Fire.

Powell’s POV: A solid match. Maverick wrestles independently as Barbi Hayden. I’m not big on the “Governor’s Daughter” nickname in this age of realism in pro wrestling. There are more realistic ways of presenting a character as being a spoiled debutant. Some fans won’t mind the over the top fanciful type peronas, but it will be a significant turnoff to others. More on that later. I was surprised to see superhero Fire lose her first match after the big buildup in her vignette.

A preview for next week showed Princess Aussie walking with a group of male tribesmen. A separate shot aired of Eye Candy, who is in action next…

Powell’s POV: Tribesmen?!? WTF?

A shot aired of a doctor tending to Slays while Maverick mocked her for being naive. A woman paraded into the picture and shoved her way between the women before looking into the camera and saying, “It’s Khloe time”…

3. Khloe Hurtz vs. Eye Candy. Hurtz came to the ring with shirtless men who apparently known as The Rats. McLane noted that Rob Van Dam was in the crowd watching. Eye Candy got off to a fast start and then played to the fans on the ropes. Hurtz performed a Backstabber. Candy came back with a missile dropkick for a two count. In the end, Candy performed a top rope moonsault and scored the pin…

Eye Candy defeated Khloe Hurtz.

Powell’s POV: A crowd pleasing finish with Candy performing the big monsault. RVD was legitimately in attendance even though he was not shown. Speaking of which, it would be nice to see the broadcast team if only for a few seconds just to help viewers put faces with the voices.

Footage aired of Jungle Grrrl as McLane hyped the title match…

Siren “The Voodoo Doll” was shown sitting at a table with a ouija board and tarot cards. She used the cards while saying she is coming to WOW, the top spot belongs to her, and she has been transformed after going to hell and back. She said she is offering the WOW women as a sacrifice…

Powell’s POV: Great, Mama Shango is coming to WOW.

Santana Garrett was profiled. She said she has five brothers and two sisters and therefore she didn’t get a lot of one-on-one time with her parents, but pro wrestling was something she and her father bonded over. She went to his matches and now he gets to watch her wrestle. She spoke about feeling like she made it when she worked for WOW. She said it’s rare for a pro wrestling company to be owned by a woman and that’s what they have in WOW via Jeanie Buss, who also owns the LA Lakers…

Powell’s POV: A good, no nonsense profile of Garrett. She wasn’t playing an over the top character, she was just being herself, which we need to see more of from the wrestlers in this promotion. By the way, it’s bizarre that Garrett is very talented, lives in Florida, and wasn’t scooped up by Impact when they were running in Orlando regularly, and she hasn’t been signed to a developmental deal with WWE.

A Jungle Grrrl video package aired and showed her performing a Superfly splash. She became WOW Champion with her family’s support, then lost the WOW Championship in a three-way despite not being beaten by Garrett. Jungle Grrrl was shown crying at ringside after dropping the title. A brief promo aired with Grrrl questioning how Garrett can wear the title when she never pinned her. Jungle Grrrl was shown with her son, who rubbed paint on her face and told her that she’s ready. Jungle Grrrl put on more face paint and let out a primal scream…

An ad aired for next week’s show and hyped Garrett vs. Blanchard while also showing what I assume is footage from an encounter that we’ll see on this show…

Ring announcer Shaul Guerrero introduced the participants for the main event, then streamers fell from the roof prior to the bell ringing to start the match…

4. Santana Garrett vs. Jungle Grrrl for the WOW Championship. Garrett’s father and Grrrl’s son were shown watching from separate areas in the crowd. Grrrl performed a Jungle Driver (falcon arrow) for a two count. She followed up by going up top for a Superfly splash, which Garrett avoided. Tessa Blanchard showed up and grabbed the breathing tube of Garrett’s father (which was shown in the ad for next week’s show). Garrett left the ring and went after Blanchard and ended up throwing her into the ring. Jungle Girl was named the winner when the referee counted out Garrett.

Jungle Grrrl defeated Santana Garrett via count-out.

After the match, Blanchard performed a hammerlock DDT on Garrett. Jungle Grrrl performed a falcon arrow on Blanchard. The Beast entered the ring and got in the face of Jungle Grrrl. Several referees got between The Beast and Jungle Grrrl and kept them apart as the show concluded…

Powell’s POV: The main event was brief, but I like the idea of saving the rematch between Garrett and Jungle Grrrl by going with the count-out finish. I also liked the overall show closing scene with Blanchard and The Beast’s involvement. I don’t know if AXS or WOW are to blame, but they really should be more careful with what they show in ads, as the ad for next week’s show aired a couple of times and spoiled some things before the main event aired.

There are some good things to like about WOW. The production qualities are better than most non-WWE companies, and there is some real talent on this roster. There’s certainly more in-ring talent than there was back in the GLOW days when the women were learning on the fly. Ultimately, it comes down to whether you can stomach of the silly names and characters. I think the company would be better off taking a more realistic approach like they are presenting with Garrett and Blanchard. It’s not that the silly names and gimmicks won’t appeal to anyone, but I suspect they will turn off passionate pro wrestling fans. This isn’t the GLOW days when the show aired in syndication and was more likely to catch a more casual viewer or even non traditional pro wrestling fans. With WOW airing on AXS right after New Japan Pro Wrestling, I assume that the vast majority of the holdover audience consists of fans of a more serious pro wrestling style.

Unfortunately, everything I’m suggesting seems to go against what McLane has done over the years. I just don’t know if he has it in him to do something that strays from the usual formula he obviously believes in. I also don’t know if he can admit to himself that he’s doing more harm than good for the product as an on-air performer. I’m not saying he can’t appear on camera in some form because it is a fun throwback for fans who remember GLOW, but I thought he was a distraction in the opening segment and was all over the place on commentary. I suggest using him as a neutral authority figure who makes infrequent appearances to announce matches or stipulations. Of course, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Jeanie Buss having enough stroke within WOW to actually suggest this to McLane, so I’m not holding my breath. Dickey was solid on commentary, and EZ Rider was just sort of along for the ride. She’s a standup comedian and thus I was hoping for a little more wit from her, but hopefully that will develop as the show moves forward.

Overall, the first episode is worth a look, as you may have a softer take than I do on some of the negatives, or you just may feel that there’s enough good going on with Blanchard and Garrett to override some of the campiness. For more on WOW, I highly recommend the great conversation I had with Stephen Dickey below.

Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and WOW head writer and lead voice Stephen Dickey discussing his career and the launch of the weekly WOW television series that airs Fridays at 8CT/9ET on AXS TV.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. Same old sh*t, different decade as far as I’m concerned. David McLame (not a typo) is the worst wrestling promoter ever! I’m old enough to have watched G.L.O.W. during its original run in the 80s and was turned off after only 1 1/2 episodes because of its sitcom format complete with canned laughter during the backstage segments. I even watched W.O.W. in its original run in 2000 but only every now & then because it had so many cheesy characters along with McLame’s atrocious color commentary & interviewing style.
    He wisely ditched the sitcom format with Superbowl shuffle entrances (as he likewise did with the barely remembered P.O.W.W.) but it was nearly as unwatchable. Even getting Lee Marshall & Bobby Heenan involved with the company couldn’t save it.
    As for this current W.O.W., there’s……not AS much cheesy characters (no wrestling cheerleaders, Xena look-alikes, WNBA players, Baywatch lifeguards, Farmer’s Daughters, etc..) but McLame’s eye-rolling creative direction still shows though enough to make it non-required viewing.
    I’m beside myself with astonishment that G.L.O.W. was revived on Netflix (thankfully w/o McLame) and W.O.W. got a spot on AXS following New Japan Wrestling but it’s my prediction that, like the upcoming XFL revival, this current W.O.W. won’t last on TV too long either because McLame doesn’t learn from past mistakes. If at first you don’t succeed, fail fail again.

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