GLOW’s Cameos and Connections to the Real-life World of Wrestling

GLOW

Netflix’s GLOW is the best new show of 2017. Created by Liz Flahive (Nurse Jackie) and Carly Mensch, and produced by Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New Black), the show revolves around a fictional version of the “The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” a women’s professional wrestling circuit made popular in the 80’s.

Alison Brie plays Ruth, a starving actress looking for her first big break who accidentally stumbles on the world of wrestling thanks to Marc Maron’s semi-sleazy, yet begrudging nice guy, Sam Sylvia, who’s also directing the show for TV. GLOW simultaneously tackles female empowerment and exploitation head on, as each individual wrestler deals with her own insecurities while transforming into campy, emboldened alter egos. It’s a triumph for TV for many of the same reasons Orange is the New Black was, and goddamn is it addicting.

Flahive and Mensch certainly did their homework. The two got the idea for the show after watching the Netflix documentary GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. From there, the two became students of wrestling, sprinkling easter eggs and cameos throughout their series to pay homage to the sport’s glory days. Here are just a few of the cameos and tidbits that will make wrestling fans squee (do wrestling fans “squee?” Probably not, huh?).

Chavo Sr.’s Gym. The gym the ladies train in is called Chavo Sr.’s Gym, a reference to Chavo Guerrero, Sr., the late father of Chavo Guerrero, Jr., who worked as the stunt coordinator and trainer on the Netflix show. The Guerreros are royalty in pro wrestling and have deep ties to the real-life show: Mando Guerrero (the brother of Chavo Sr.) was the real GLOW trainer in the 80’s. Naming the fictional gym after Chavo Sr. and hiring a Guerrero to train the actresses on the series is the ultimate homage. Props where props are due.

Kia Stevens as Tammé Dawson (aka Welfare Queen). Out of all the actresses, Stevens is the only pro wrestler with real-life experience. Throughout her wrestling career, she was known as Awesome Kong, though she also wrestled for the WWE under the name Kharma. Awesome Kong helped establish and reform women’s wrestling in a series of matches with opponent Gail Kim. Having Stevens on the show adds a layer of authenticity—and hopefully she gave the actresses a couple pointers, too.

John Hennigan, aka WWE’s Johnny Nitro and John Morrison, also appears. He plays the GLOW girls’ trainer in the pilot episode, a wrestler named Salty “The Sack” Johnson. Hennigan was also known as Johnny Mundo in Lucha Underground.

Britney Young’s character Carmen has brothers portrayed by real pro wrestlers. Wrestling as a tag team called The Lumberjacksons, Mighty Tom Jackson is played by Tyrus (billed as such in GLOW, too). He’s also known as “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay in WWE. Carmen’s other brother, Big Kurt Jackson, is played by Carlos Colon, Jr. (and billed as Carlos Edwin in the credits). Colon, Jr. achieved fame in WWE as Carlito Caribbean Cool. Take one look at these two and it’s no surprise that they come from this world.

Brooke Hogan cameos, too. When Sam and Ruth go to check out a venue for GLOW’s first TV taping, Hogan plays the venue owner showing them around. Hogan is a recording artist (LOL) and a reality star, and also joined her father when he ran TNA (LOL) Impact Wrestling for a hot second. And yes, there are a ton of Hulk Hogan references throughout, including one scene where Ruth is watching him on TV. You just can’t have a wrestling show without The Hulk.

In addition to all these cameos and wrestlers-turned-actors, tons of GLOW’s wrestler personas are modeled after or inspired in some way by real-life GLOW characters. Screenrant has more on that if you want a deeper dive.

What other Easter Eggs did you pick up on?

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