There’s no denying that the popularity of women’s wrestling is at an all time high. Thanks to mainstream promotions like WWE and IMPACT Wrestling, indies like SHIMMER, Shine, Stardom and RISE, and the recent success of the hit show GLOW on Netflix, women’s wrestling is at an unparalleled peak for being taken seriously within the pro wrestling world, by promoters and fans alike. And now it’s about to take another step forward with the next season of Women of Wrestling (WOW), a season that’s 17 years in the making.
Formed in 2000 by GLOW founder David McLane and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeannie Buss, WOW ran until 2001, with 24 episodes released into syndication in 102 US TV markets. Sadly, despite high ratings in New York and Los Angeles, the promotion went into dormancy following its first season. In 2012, WOW was revived and has run ever since, with their GLOW-like characters now referred to as Superheroes and combining veterans of the original WOW alongside some of the indie world’s top emerging talents.
Women of Wrestling’s turn of events from being a low key women’s promotion (in comparison to the likes of SHIMMER, Shine or Women Superstars Uncensored (WSU) who got most of the credit in recent years) this past June, when it was announced that WOW would be heading to cable television for a weekly program to air on Mark Cuban‘s AXS TV, the American home of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). This will provide the first all-women’s wrestling TV show on television in decades.
— WOW Superheroes (@wowsuperheroes) June 18, 2018
WOW has assembled an intriguing roster of talent, featuring some true veterans of women’s wrestling, meshing with some of the most exciting names in indie wrestling (although some may not be recognizable on name alone due to name changes in WOW). Last week they upped the ante by announcing the signing of arguably the top woman in the indie scene today, IMPACT Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard. Tapings for the next season of Women of Wrestling – the first for AXS TV – will begin taping in October, set to air in early 2019. You can watch last season (Season 4) for free on the WOW website. Previous seasons can be seen on their YouTube channel.
You don’t want to miss WOW Superheroes first ever taping with @AXSTV October 10 & 11 with @Tess_Blanchard & the rest of the WOW cast so get your tickets now before they sell out! Link to purchase tickets here ➡️ https://t.co/QOOnC0ikHi pic.twitter.com/rwZqBWZjX1
— WOW Superheroes (@wowsuperheroes) September 5, 2018
Here’s a quick look at some of the standouts from the Women of Wrestling roster, heading into WOW’s tapings in October.
WOMEN OF WRESTLING ROSTER PRIMER
The newest signee to WOW is the most recognizable indie women’s star on the planet right now. The current reigning IMPACT Knockouts Champion, WSU World Champion, Phoenix of RISE Champion, The Crash Lucha Women’s Champion, PCW ULTRA Women’s Champion, WrestleCircus Lady of the Ring Champion, and Zelo Pro Women’s Champion is simply dominating the indie scene right now. When she’s not tearing up every women’s division, she’s facing men in highlight intergender match-ups. A recent win at All In has cemented Tessa as an absolute superstar.
Long considered one of the most underrated women’s wrestlers in the US indies, the former World of Stardom and Shine Champion is also the current reigning WOW Champion. She’s only 30 years old and has been wrestling for close to a decade, competing for nearly every major promotion, including SHIMMER, WWE (appearing at last year’s Mae Young Classic and in NXT), IMPACT, and more.
THE BEAST (Twana Ferguson)
One of WOW’s hottest new stars, “The Beast” Twana Ferguson is a physical specimen as dangerous as they come. At a press conference at the Los Angeles Comic Con this year to announce Jumanji, The Rock announced that he had no intention of facing The Beast – not because she’s a woman, but because “she will kick my ass!”. A black belt in Krav, the Israeli military self-defense and combat system, Ferguson is also a competitive bodybuilder with IFBB PRO. A star in the making, watch for The Beast to be an impact player in the upcoming fifth season.
SELINA MAJOR (Bambi)
The head trainer for WOW, the name Selina Major may not sound familiar to many long time wrestling fans. But apart from being a WOW Original, she is also a 30+ year veteran of pro wrestling, most famously as Bambi. As Bambi, she wrestled in the 1980s for Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler‘s Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) and the American Wrestling Association (AWA), where she fought the likes of Madusa Miceli (Alundra Blayze) and Candi Devine. She’s a 5x National Wrestling League (NWL) Women’s Champion and 2x National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Women’s Champion, who also appeared for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in the early 90s, where she continued her feud with Madusa.
THUG (Peggy Lee Leather)
One of WOW’s veteran heels, Thug is another veteran, with a career over 40 years in the business. She debuted in 1978 as Lady X, before heading to the WWF in 1980 as Peggy Lee. She worked for the WWF for several years, mostly in tag team matches, and in 1984 had her biggest year yet as the partner of Wendi Richter. During the 1980s, she also worked for Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling, Championship Wrestling From Florida and Mid South to name a few. By the end of the 1980s, she was working in the AWA, now known as Peggy Lee Leather, where she also faced Madusa. In the 1990s, she returned as Lady X, competing for the Ladies Professional Wrestling Association (LPWA), where she captured the LPWA Championship, as well as becoming a 3x NWL Women’s Champion. Another WOW original, Thug is always one to look out for.
Another of WOW’s veterans, Hawaii’s Malia Hosaka has remained as relevant on today’s indies as she did early in her near 30 year career – perhaps even more so. An LPWA star in the early 90s, she also worked with ECW in the early 1990s and was part of WCW’s rebooted women’s division in 1996 through 1998. For the two decades, she’s been a part of SHIMMER, Shine, Queens of Combat (QOC) and many other top women’s indies, capturing the Shine Tag Team titles in 2014.
CAGED HEAT (DELTA LOTTA PAIN & LOCA)
Original WOW bad-asses, Caged Heat are 2x WOW Tag Team Champions and will once again be looking to run the WOW tag team division with their brutal intensity. Both WOW originals and trained by Selina Major and Peggy Lee Leather, Caged Heat’s Delta Lotta Pain and Loca are here to make an example of the rest of the women.
JUNGLE GRRRL (Erica Porter)
Another WOW Original, Jungle Grrrl became one of WOW’s most dynamic performers, and was the final WOW Champion before it shut down in 2001. During WOW’s downtime, she continued to wrestle in the indies, heading to Rick Bassman‘s Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW), at the same time stars like John Cena, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Samoa Joe were starting out – she even won the UPW Women’s Championship. Another veteran in the locker room and the ring, Jungle Grrrl will be looking for gold once again.
Another actress who joined WOW in the first season, Lana Star is one of WOW’s biggest stars and a former WOW Champion. As real life actress Lana Kinnear, she’s had small parts in such films as Iron Man, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and Toxic Avenger IV: Citizen Toxie, as well as had regular appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in various sketches. During WOW’s downtown following the first season, she worked for Wrestlicious as Malibu McKenzie, before returning to the rebooted WOW in her trademark Lana Starr persona.
Best known for being part of the indie tag team Twisted Sisters with Thunder Rosa, Holidead brings her undead lunacy to WOW. One half of the current Shine Tag Team Champions, there’s no word if Thunder Rosa will ultimately join her partner in WOW, but they’d sure be a fun addition to the WOW tag team division.
BEVERLY HILLS BABE (Amber O’Neal)
The original Bullet Babe and first woman to join Bullet Club, Amber O’Neal has been an indie standout for over 15 years. An early star for Carolina Wrestling Federation (CWF) Mid Atlantic in the early 2000s, she’s gone on to be a regular performer with Shine, SHIMMER, WSU, QOC, and even Ring of Honor‘s Women of Honor division. She’s also a former WOW Tag Team Champion in the All American Girls alongside current WOW Champion, Santana Garrett.
THE TEMPTRESS (Katarina/Katie Lea Burchill)
Currently competing with IMPACT Wrestling as Katarina, WOW’s Temptress is on a resurgence of late. She previously competed in the WWE as Katie Lea Burchill from 2007 to 2010, before joining TNA/IMPACT as Winter and becoming a 2x IMPACT Knockouts Champion. The England native continued to work the indies after departing TNA in 2012, but made her surprise return to IMPACT earlier this year alongside fellow Brits Grado and Joe Hendry. As The Temptress, she’ll be up to more mischief in WOW.
CHANTILLY CHELLA (Ray Lyn/Rachel Bostic)
One of the emerging breakout stars on the women’s circuit is 29-year old Pittsburgh native Ray Lyn, who competes in WOW as Chantilly Chella. Ray Lyn has become a standout with RISE this year, as well as competing for SHIMMER, QOC, Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), WSU and more. Last year she also made her WWE debut, as one of the “local wrestlers” who were squashed by Nia Jax during her early run on RAW.
ABILENE MAVERICK (Barbi Haydn)
An eight year veteran of the ring, 27-year old Barbi Hayden started out in the Texas indies with World of Wrestling/NWA Houston (now Lone Star Championship Wrestling), where she was a 3x NWA Houston Women’s Champion. In 2014, she won the NWA Women’s World Championship and last year was an alternate for the inaugural Mae Young Classic. She’s wrestled for Shine, Anarchy Championship Wrestling (ACW), The Crash Lucha, TNA/IMPACT, NOVA Pro and much more.
One of 2018’s bright new stars, Harlow O’Hara is a student of WWE Hall of Famer Robert Gibson of the Rock N’ Roll Express. A penchant for the macabre, the gothic mystique of O’Hara will work wonderfully with WOW, where O’Hara has recently signed on for the upcoming season. She recently debuted with Blackcraft Wrestling and is a regular with Battle Club Pro (BCP), where she recently beat Jordynne Grace for the BCP ICONS Championship.
JESSIE JONES (Jessie Belle)
She may be Jessie Jones in WOW, but long time followers of the indies will recognize her as 10 year veteran Jessie Belle of Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), who has also worked with Shine, QOC and many other promotions over her career. A 10x OVW Women’s Champion and the current (and 4x) Renegade Wrestling Alliance (RWA) Women’s Champion, Jessie also teams up Selina Major in Southern Pride in WOW.
SPIKE (Hudson Envy)
A 6-year indie veteran, Hudson Envy started out in the West Coast scene, working with California’s Empire Wrestling Federation (EWF), Alternative Wrestling Show (AWS) and Alpha Omega Wrestling (AOW). In 2015, she went to Japan to work for Stardom, and has since become a regular with SHIMMER. This February, she defeated Su Yung for the Girl Fight Championship, and is also a former AWS and AOW Women’s Champion. In WOW, she performs as the rough and tumble, Spike, the “niece” of Thug/Peggy Lee Leather.
KHLOE HURTZ (Katie Forbes)
Still an emerging star in the indie scene, Tampa’s Katie Forbes, a student of Luke Hawx, got her early start in 2015 with WildKat Pro Wrestling out of Louisiana. A year later, she joined WOW as Khloe Hurtz, but continues to expand her indie experience as Katie Forbes, spending time internationally of late with Scotland’s Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW), Australia’s Battle Championship Wrestling (BCW), Canada’s Canadian Wrestling Elite (CWE), as well as in the US with PCW ULTRA and OVW.
An actress by trade, the athletic Keta Meggett was cast as Keta Rush, “The Bully Buster”, for the last season of WOW. Since getting into pro wrestling, she’s also been training in MMA and is set for the upcoming boxing film Underdog.
Hollywood actress Holly King went from B-movies to pro wrestler in 2013 when she joined the cast of WOW as Kitty Meowy. If she looks familiar, it’s most likely from her recurring role with Lucha Underground, where she portrays The Beautiful Brenda, the valet for Famous B.
The partner of the Temptress in The Vengeful Vixens, the MMA trained wrestler known only as “The Dagger”, joined WOW in 2016.
Stephanie La Maravillosa joined WOW and has become the Superhero Stephy Slays, working with Keta Rush in the Bully Busters.