One of professional wrestling’s greatest female performers of all time, Awesome Kong, real name Kia Stevens, has departed from WWE, for now, and taken on a new role in the new Netflix series GLOW (Gorgeous Women Of Professional Wrestling). In 1980s LA, a crew of misfits reinvents themselves as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. A comedy by the team behind “Orange Is the New Black”. Premieres Friday, June 23 on Netflix.
Here is our in-depth interview with Kia Stevens, well known as Awesome Kong & Karma, talking about the new Netflix series, why she left WWE, and her play by play look back at punching Bubba The Love Sponge backstage at TNA. Kia Steves also gives some insight on her wrestling in Japan, and how she got to where she is today.
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Below is a review, written by Alan Wojcik, for the new series on Netflix GLOW. Enjoy the read and the new series!
Alan Wojcik Review of Netflix’s GLOW:
For the last few years, there’s been a revolution in women’s professional wrestling (or sports entertainment as WWE calls it) with women only promotions like Women’s Superstars Uncensored, Shimmer & Shine to name a few. But before all that, there was the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling, the campy syndicated TV show that spawned former WWE star Ivory and a critically documentary in 2012. Now thanks to creator Liz Flahive (producer Nurse Jackie/Homeland) & Carly Mensch (Orange is the New Black/Weeds), the ladies live on with the new scripted Netflix series simply titled GLOW. (Premieres June 23rd)
The show is placed in Los Angeles of 1985 (they reference Flight 847 which was hijacked in June 1985) where struggling actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie of TV’s Community) is tired of auditions where she realizes the men get the better roles. Her agent sends her to a casting call for “unconventional women, whatever the hell that means.” Her friend & fellow actress Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin of Nurse Jackie) tells her to give it a shot. We come to find out by episode three, the girls wrestling show is funded by spoiled trust fund owner Bash (Chris Lowell) and directed by Sam Sylvia (comedian Marc Maron) who is only here to raise money for his next schlock film. The 10 episodes will flush out characters like Tamee (wrestling superstar Kia “Awesome Kong” Stevens), the 2nd generation star Carmen (Britney Young), the teen punk rocker Justine (Britt Baron), the freaky Shelia the Shewolf (Gayle Rankin) & B-movie actress Cherry Bang (Sydelle Noel).
Let me say I absolutely loved the show and the only flaws are some music cues don’t match to the time frame (Roxette didn’t hit until 1989) and wrestlers didn’t use power bombs and bronco busters until the 90’s. The opening episode sets up a unique situation between Ruth & Debbie that will travel throughout the 10 shows, that I will not give away in this review. The show takes a major comedic turn during episode three and a party at Bash’s place (“There’s drugs in the f##king robot!!”) when Bash and Sam help the ladies flush out their personas. Episode 4 brings up the idea to rent a hotel for the ladies to bond and keep outside distractions at bay. This location allows the character development to progress. By episode nine we are in full 1980’s nostalgia with a visit to Nancy Reagan’s war on drugs and espisode ten brings the chance to film the pilot episode of GLOW.
If you loved the original GLOW they pay tribute to characters like Ninotchka, Mountain Fiji & the Soul Patrol with Zoya the Destroyer, Machu Pichu and the Welfare Queen. Flahive, Mensch & the writing team take up the challenge of establishing many characters in 10 episodes, none of which are longer then 35 minutes. They succeed in as wrestling people call it “getting the characters over” and then some. The groundwork is here for a season two, hopefully Netflix obliges unlike other shows on the streaming service that met untimely demises.
There is an interesting connection to the original GLOW show which was coordinated by wrestling legend Chavo Guerrero and this show which is coordinated by his son Chavo Jr. If you are going to watch for the wrestling, it doesn’t truly show up until episode five and its at a men’s show the girls attend so they can better understand the character aspect of the sport with much thanks to Kevin Kiley AKA WWE’s Alex Riley where Debbie finally “gets it.” The women finally perform for an audience in episode seven to wow TV commercial investors. We also get some great cameos from indie superstar Joey Ryan, current Ring of Honor stars Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Lucha Underground’s John “Johnny Mundo” Hennigan & Impact Wrestling’s Brodus Clay.
Hear the best wrestling radio program on the planet, Outside Interference Wrestling Radio, Sundays 9am EST on MoneyTalk 103.1FM & 1010AM plus the Money Talk mobile app & website www.moneytalk1010.com . Be sure to follow Alan Wojcik through @MyNameIsWojcik on Twitter and www.facebook.com/KayfabeWrestlingRadio