’80s TV lark gets new life

By Mark Voger, author,
“Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed in Pop Culture”

I hated just about everything about ’80s culture. The music was technology-obsessed and wussified. The movies were Stallone-esque and Schwarzeneggerian. (Everything we hate about contemporary films? The ’80s blazed the trail.) The hair was sprayed and poofy. The clothes were all shoulder pads and parachute pants and checkerboard sneakers.

My theory is that everyone who created the culture was high on cocaine, and everyone who consumed the culture was high on cocaine. So it was all one big cocaine-fueled echo chamber of cheese.

Of course, there was the odd cool thing about the ’80s. It was bound to happen.

Where am I going with this?

“G.L.O.W.” — the “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” — is one ’80s thing that still brings a smile to my face, even though it was super cheezy.

Picture a low-rent WWF with chicks in tights instead of steroid-casualty dudes in … tights.

It was pretty cool, and a great way to kill an hour on a Saturday afternoon.

The show did not take itself seriously (as if the WWF did). “G.L.O.W.” had a cringe-worthy “rap” song for its opener, and used corny skits as its bumpers, which came off a little bit “Hee Haw”-ish. The show borrowed heavily from the WWF playbook by having “good” and “bad” wrestlers in broad, scripted characterizations and colorful costumes. Unlike the WWF, the G.L.O.W. matches were sparsely attended, as if the crew ran out and begged random folks on the street to please come in to cheer or boo the wrestlers.

I’m reminiscing because I just learned that Netflix is doing a series titled “GLOW” about the show, which begins streaming June 23 (see trailer below). I can scarcely believe it. The dramedy will be fictionalized, but they’re using the basic reality — that “G.L.O.W.” hired stuntwomen, actresses and models who weren’t squeamish about getting bruised to play its wrestlers. I don’t have high hopes for the series; I just think it’s so weirdly cool that the original “G.L.O.W.” is getting an extra moment in the spotlight.

Without straining my memory banks, I instantly recalled my favorite wrestler: Spanish Red, played by Ericka Marr. She was badass! Watching some old clips brought it all back.

Spanish Red had a great attitude, at once sexy and threatening. She was the best dancer by far in the opening credits. She was funny. And she had these fierce facial features: almond eyes, big white teeth and lips painted fire-engine red, all in a fiery expression. Like any great wrestling villain, she gave good s*** to the audience.

Spanish Red did amazing stunts. She was flexible, daring and wore a red leotard that tapered into a thong which always put her assets on display. And she wasn’t shy about displaying her assets, either. The camera loved her posterior. (Spanish Red’s above opponent is Americana.)

I have two things to say about the above images: 1. They prove my point that Spanish Red was not shy about her assets, and 2. They give new meaning to the term “in your face.”

Here’s Ericka Marr in one of the bumper skits, “Spanish Kitchen.” The gals weren’t exactly gifted comedians, but the material wasn’t Noel Coward, either.

OK, I’m geeking over Spanish Red. I hope she and her fellow original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling get some residual benefit from the Netflix series. Like, at the least, they get to dress up and go to some big party in L.A. But the way the world is today — grab, grab, grab — I’ll bet the gals don’t even get that.

VIDEO: Below is the cheezy rap song from the “G.L.O.W.” opener.

VIDEO: Below is an hour of “G.L.O.W.” matches, including the Spanish Red/Americana faceoff from which the above images were gleaned.

VIDEO: Below is the not-very-promising trailer for Netflix’s new series, “GLOW.”