SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This is a blog of my real time thoughts on the first episode of WOW on AXS TV:
The show began with Santana Garrett introduced as WOW Champion. Her dad, who has overcome a big heath battle, is sitting front row with a breathing tube. I didn’t like how over-the-top the announcer, David Mclane, narrated the segment at times. Let the action speak for itself. That was annoying! I know the point with WOW is that there’s some cheese and it’s supposed to be fun, but WOW should let the fans interpret what they can see obviously with their own eyes without his help.
Tessa Blanchard interrupted and ran down Santana and her dad. She mentions her dad and step-dad. She says Santana’s dad should be carrying her dad’s Gucci bags. Santana points out that they aren’t there for her tonight. Blanchard challenged Santana for her title, but is told she has to climb the ladder. These two were established as the two top acts in the first segment, which is good, but it was too much cheese for me. It was almost like a comedic presentation of pro wrestling you would expect from a movie that didn’t actually know what pro wrestling is. The main event is announced as Santana Garrett will defend against Jungle Grrrl.
They do a good job masking just how small the venue they’re in actually is, but the overhead camera really exposes how small the crowd and the ring are. The crowd noise is obviously piped in, which is annoying. The ring looks extremely small, but it stands out with the purple mat.
The Beast wins the first match over Steph Slays in convincing fashion. She’s got a good look and presence. The camera cuts help some of the lighter spots not get exposed.
Abilene Maverick beat Fire in the second match with a hangman’s DDT. This was fine for what it was, but went by like a blur.
Eye Candy beat Khloe Hurtz in a short match. Hurtz’s entrance was great, as she carried to the ring by men called ring rats. Get it? Eye Candy has a bubbly personality that people might gravitate to, but the in-ring action just isn’t very good. She puts away Hurtz in short order.
They’re showing a lot of vignettes between in-ring segments to highlight characters, but they’re so short that it’s hard for any of them to hit home.
A longer segment on Santana Garrett is shown. She talks about how she got into wrestling and eventually ended up in WOW. Garrett has such a great personality and she’s someone that WOW can built around. She’s shown here being very serious, but she has a funny side as well that hasn’t been shown so far that will draw fans in.
Next, a video package was shown on Jungle Grrrl. They showed footage of Garrett beating her for the WOW World Championship in a multi-woman match. The show Jungle Grrrl and her son together outdoors. He wipes some mud on her face, which is presented as her war paint. It’s presented as a memory. She then looks at a picture of her son on the phone before transforming into Jungle Grrrl.
One thing people will struggle with is that the show has thrown a lot of characters and old footage at them. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t even know that WOW existed before tonight. They’re fitting a lot into one hour.
One thing I do like is when they introduce the women into the ring, they show pre-tape footage of them to get their personalities over. For example, Eye Candy was shown having fun in a pool and Jungle Grrrl was shown in the Jungle when she came out.. Santana Garrett was out next and her video is just a bright video of her smiling and posing with light shooting out around her on a blue background. We’ve got about five minutes of TV time left. The WOW World Championship is extremely small. They dropped streamers on the ring before the match began.
Garrett and Jungle Grrrl begin the main event with some chain wrestling. Jungle Grrls son is in the crowd. Santana’s sick dad is also shown at ringside. Jungle Grrrl misses a splash off the top and Tessa comes down to ringside and threatens to take out Santana’s dad’s breathing tube. Santana gets countered out and the fans boo. Tessa lays out Garrett, but then Jungle Grrrl nails her with The Jungle Driver. The Beast enters the ring and goes face-to-face with Jungle Grrrl and they get pulled apart by refs.
The main event angle was really over-the-top, but it was hard not to enjoy it.
Overall thoughts: WOW packed a ton into an hour of TV time. They introduced a ton of characters. This seems like a modernized extension of G.L.O.W. on Netflix in terms of what I would expect if G.L.O.W. was a wrestling show and not a TV show. I didn’t think I was going to enjoy WOW at first, but the campiness grew on me as the show went on.
The wrestling isn’t great, but the show did a good job of establishing the main event players in Santana Garrett, Tessa Blanchard, Jungle Grrrl, and The Beast during the show and in the show-closing angle. The rest of the show was a whirlwind, as they packed too much into one show. I wish they had dialed things back and introduced the characters more slowly.
The announcers were fine and struck a good balance of being enthusiastic, but not going too far towards being over the top when calling the action. I’ll be watching again, as this is a fun character-driven hour of TV that went by like a breeze.
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