GLOW for Gold #1: Old Beginnings

Written by Hailey Piana

The Netflix original series GLOW finally released its first season to great critical acclaim. Based on the real life Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling promotion, the fictional series takes place in 1985 Los Angeles as professional wrestling is becoming a mainstream sensation and male figures like Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan are at the height of popularity.

The story centers around Ruth Wilder, a struggling actress striving for her big break. We meet her as she reaches what appears to be rock bottom, having been rejected for yet another role. Ruth’s character comes under attack quite often during the first season as she learns the value and the physical and mental stresses of owning up to one’s mistakes.

Ruth is introduced to Sam Sylvia, a washed up Hollywood director. Sam is hired to produce a new wrestling promotion aimed piggybacking off the success of mainstream professional wrestling promotions like the WWF. His promotion, GLOW, separates itself with an entirely female cast. This production is Sam’s last chance to create something iconic that would thrust him into the limelight he’s always dreamed of. The women, made up of aspiring actresses and burnouts in California, would soon become icons as they faced the stigmas of racial stereotypes and gender roles of society.

While a work of fiction, GLOW is grounded in reality. The series attempts to give a glimpse into the promotion that would become an iconic fixture in wrestling history. Most characters have real life counterparts, like Sam Sylvia as a parody of David McLane, G.L.O.W.’s original creator. McLane’s original production consisted of 12 women, cast from over 500 women who responded to casting ads published throughout Hollywood. The show would last five seasons and would exhibit almost 100 different characters.

In wresting today, we give credit to the likes of A.J. Lee, Beth Phoenix and The Four Horsewomen for revitalizing a woman’s place in sports entertainment. However, if it hadn’t been for GLOW, these amazing athletes might have never been given the spotlight they rightfully deserve. It is these Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling that sparked the first “Women’s Revolution”, paving the way for the female icons and role models we know today. While the Netflix production was intended to be fictional and not a documentary, the source material is still evident, giving the show realistic charm and viewers something to latch on to. Regardless of one’s gender, we can all find something to identify with in this wonderful work of art.

Hey all, Hailey here with some important information: For the next 10 weeks, the Unprotected Headshots Blog will go episode by episode; giving you an inside look at GLOW’s plot, historical background, notable cameos some fun Easter eggs, and my take on this new hit series. Get ready, because it’s time to GLOW for Gold!



“GLOW.” Netflix Official Site. N.p., 23 June 2017. Web. 21 July 2017.

Menta, Anna. “Everything You Need To Know About The Real History Of ‘GLOW’.” Elite Daily. N.p., 22 June 2017. Web. 21 July 2017.

Nicolaou, Elena, GLOW Netflix Real Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling History, Best of Netflix • Entertainment • Pop Culture • TV Shows, Written By Elena Nicolaou, and Courtesy Of Netflix. “The History Of “GLOW,” Your Next Big Obsession.” GLOW Netflix Real Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling History. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017.