Women of Wrestling recap & review: Wrestling Becomes Them

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It’s only been eight short weeks, but Friday (March 8, 2019) marked the season finale of WOW: Women of Wrestling. Fortunately, for WOW fans AXS TV announced that the increasingly popular series has been picked up for a 24 episode second season airing this fall.

According to Andrew Simon, AXS TV Fights CEO, “WOW is the perfect complement to the AXS TV Fights lineup. Whereas New Japan Pro Wrestling tends to focus on male competitors, WOW offers a totally unique platform that allows these strong female wrestlers to shine, putting the spotlight on their skills as both athletes and entertainers. It has become a very popular part of our Friday night lineup, and we are proud to be able to serve as the long-term home for this groundbreaking promotion.”

Personally, I am thrilled that WOW will get a chance to further develop their product. Their first season, while uneven in parts, was both entertaining and unique. It will be interesting to see how the show is able to develop over a longer season. They did a lot in eight episodes, so I have high expectations for 24. Bottom line, an all women’s wrestling show continuing to be available on weekly television is a big deal!

Now, let’s talk about the season finale!

Born Legend

This season Tessa Blanchard has risen to the top of WOW. You’d have to be living under a wrestling rock to not be aware of this dynamic young wrestler, but if you were some how unfamiliar with her work this week would have solidified her as the Top Dog of WOW.

Up until this week Tessa has mostly gotten by on luck and interference. She was able to get a title match opportunity by messing with Santana Garrett’s head – not by proving herself in the ring. And she was only able to win the championship due to interference from The Beast. Despite Tessa claiming that “she did it all on her own,” fans know that it was not the case.

Last week Tessa called out the entire WOW locker room and was interrupted by the Monster of Madness, Jessicka Havok. Instead of running sacred from the behemoth like a traditional heel, Tessa called her out this week. Havok answered the call and it was awesome.

From the moment Havok stepped in the ring you could see Tessa reevaluating her choice. Tessa is a great in ring technician, but one of my favorite things about watching her is just how expressive her face is. Tessa shoved Havok to no avail, then Havok shoved Tessa and almost knocked her clean out of the ring. Tessa, not knowing quite what to do, but also knowing she has to save face, slapped the hell out of Havok! This, of course only angered the monster who then proceeded to toss Tessa around the ring like a rag doll.

How do you defeat a monster? Get them off their feet! After many failed attempts at classic moves like arm drags and backslides, Tessa finally got Havok on the ground with a well placed dropkick, followed by her patented kick to the back on the ropes and it seemed like the champ was finally in control. That is until Tessa missed a flying senton. Ouch.

Havok regained control and set up one of the most effective tree of woe segments I have ever seen. Normally, that move is so obviously planned that it’s unbelievably boring (ahem Del Rio anyone?) but Jessicka set it up and hit a devastating elbow onto Tessa so quickly that it was legitimately exciting. Plus, Tessa sold it it impeccably well.

Before Tessa could regain composure, Havok hit her with a big boot, but missed her second attempt as Tessa finally rolled out of the ring. Havok tried to chase her but Tessa knocked her off the ring apron and found the strength to smash Havok with a brutal suicide dive (smashing her face on the ring barrier too!). Tessa managed to get a dazed Havok back in the ring and hit her with the Blanchard 1-2 special, a picture perfect magnum followed by a buzzsaw DDT. Tessa was for sure going to retain her championship, until The Beast made her presence known.

The Beast pulled the ref out of the ring and faced Tessa with a crazed look in her eyes. Before Tessa could react, Jungle GRRRL entered the ring. Tessa tried to leave but bumped into a newly conscious Havok. Tessa was surrounded – I’m sure this isn’t what she meant when she said “Line them up!”

Naturally, the refs flooded the ring and this match was called a no contest. Tessa will remain the champion, but she has three competitors vying for her belt.

Now that is how you end a season of wrestling!

Tag Team Dream


Siren and Holidead double team Princess Aussie
WOW

So we didn’t get tag championships this season, but we finally got a tag team match! Unfortunately, it featured my least favorite wrestler on the roster (Princess Aussie) but it did feature the new duo of Holidead and Siren.

Their gimmicks, while different in their creepiness, work so well together and if Princess Aussie were a better performer it could have lead to some interesting “mind game” moments. Sadly, Aussie was in most of the match and Azteca (her partner) didn’t get in much offense until the end. Instead, we had to sit through 10 minutes of Aussie badly selling and making weird wrestling choices – if you’re beaten up so badly that you can’t make a tag maybe going to the top rope for a splash doesn’t make any sense. Just saying.

Holidead and Siren pick up the win with some ref based shenanigans and claim their first victory as a tag team. While, this match wasn’t technically great it laid the ground work for Holidead and Siren dominate next season.

Random fun fact about Papua New Guinea – IT’S NOT IN AUSTRALIA. (Will literally never stop complaining about this btw so get used to it.)

Not So Smart

In a backstage segment David McLane was stopped on his way into the building by Abilene on crutches. Obviously, she couldn’t wrestle against her nemesis, Stephy Slays in such a condition. David, not knowing what to do, mumbled out loud to himself “Who am I going to get to replace her?” But never fear Samantha Smart was listening and called in her protegee, The Disciplinarian to take Abilene’s place.

This whole thing seems to be a continuation of a story line from WOW’s past. I don’t mind that they are continuing story lines, that’s one of the things I love about wrestling, but I do wish they would give a little more context to the Stephy versus Abilene conflict. We did get to see a video of Abilene pouring tea all over Stephy at a picnic, but aside from that I don’t really know why they hate each other.

Before the match, we were subjected to a video package all about Samantha Smart. Now, I know that WOW is opening up a training school and I hope they are including some acting classes because OMG I have never heard such stilted, strange, monotone delivery in all my thirty years on this earth. And I went to theatre school! I have been in the trenches. This was BAD, easily the worst video package yet. But at least we are supposed to dislike Smart…

The match itself – Disciplinarian versus Stephy Slays – was nothing to write home about but it was good for two reasons.

One, The Disciplinarian has the BEST mean mug face and I love watching her stomp around the ring with her scowl. She may be a little green when it comes to the in ring work, but her character work is spot on. Plus, her finisher is great.

Two, Stephy Slays, despite getting her butt kicked the whole time, picked up her first ever win in her WOW history. Now, McLane has called her a crowd favorite with little evidence to back that up, but the crowd was excited to see Stephy finally climb that hill. But before she really got to celebrate Samantha Smart and The Disciplinarian attacked her and left her roughed up.

In the following backstage segment, Stephy was greeted by some family(?) giving her flowers and a giant cupcake to celebrate. Stephy has been losing for years, so I like to think that her family has been bringing these flowers and cupcakes to every event just in case and finally their dedication paid off. Stephy’s second celebration was cut short because SURPRISE Abilene was not hurt! The Governors daughter attacked poor Stephy and shoved that giant green cupcake in her face. Nothing says underdog babyface like crying on a dirty locker room floor with cupcake on your face.

Looking forward to Stephy getting her revenge on Abilene next season!

Snakes eat Rats


WOW

A thing I really like about WOW is that while there are multiple story line threads happening throughout the series sometimes they just feature a fun wrestling match and Kobra Moon versus Khloe Hurtz was just that.

Kobra got to show her dominance as a wrestler and Khloe brought a fun lightheartedness to the show. While not strictly a comedy wrestler, Khloe makes some increasingly hilarious choices. Being the “all natural” beauty that she is her overtly sexual pin combinations and interactions with her ring rats add just the right amount of fun without making her matches seem like a sideshow.

Ultimately, Kobra Moon won the match after one of Khloe’s rats spilled water on her distracting her from the match. You know what they say, never trust a rat.


Overall, an uneven but ultimately enjoyable show with a bad ass main event – which is honestly the way I would describe this first season of WOW on AXS TV.

WOW is a welcome addition to the over saturated wrestling market and I, for one, cannot wait until season two premieres this fall.

What did you think of their first season Cagesiders? Sound off below1

Episode Grade: B+

Season Grade: A-




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