“Bringing the FUN back into wrestling” is WOW promoter David McLane’s mantra and it seems to be working.
W.O.W. made its AXS.TV debut on Jan 18 after being exclusively online since 2015, and return to television since the original syndicated run of WOW in 2001. Sporting a dynamic roster, mixed with WOW originals like Jungle Grrl and Lana Starr, to mainstays like WOW Champion Santana Garrett, Khloe Hurtz, to independent standouts joining the WOW Superheroes world like Fire (Kiera Hogan) and Eye Candy (Willow Nightingale), WOW looks to carve out a space for womens wrestling and entertainment in a climate that seems to be primed for more varieties of wrestling not WWE.
The show opens with WOW Champion and 2nd generation wrestler Santana Garrett in the ring, talking about how proud she is to represent WOW and hold that championship, and is interrupted by arguably the best womens wrestler in the United States at present in Tessa Blanchard. Tessa wants a title match and is told my McLane she has to earn her way to that. This was a nice little intro to the champion and eventual challenger and a great dynamic, the cheerfulness and positive attitude of Santana Garrett versus the raw ambition and aggressive nature of Tessa Blanchard.
Stephy Slays vs. The Beast
Speaking of aggressive, the first match of the evening featured a fan favorite, Stephy Slays, up against what may be a once in a lifetime talent in “The Beast”.
The Beast, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t wrestle, she destroys. Throwing Stephy from one side of the ring to the other, it was a dominant display by a dominant athlete. This is the kind of talent that women’s wrestling sorely needs. Physically and technically dominant. The kind of performer that walks down the ramp and everyone has a good idea of what is going to happen to her opponent. The Beast picks up the W easily, but the story here is that Stephy seems determined to face off against The Beast again.
Abilene Maverick vs. Fire
Abilene Maverick, the Governors’ daughter, is a southern twist on the “rich girl” archetype. Claiming backstage power and the “I get what I want” attitude. Fire (aka Kiera Hogan) is as advertised, energy and passion wrapped up in a fiery tornado. A solid back and forth match, Maverick has a very ground based offense, it has a very old school “heel” feel to it. Fire got in some solid offense but Maverick would slide in with the win, much to everyone’s surprise. Feeling that might be the start of a good back and forth between these performers.
Khloe Hurtz vs. Eye Candy – MATCH OF THE NIGHT
Easily the best match of the evening, entertaining, well paced and just fun to watch.
Khloe Hurtz, The “All Natural”, accompanied to the ring by her “ring rats”, shirtless and very in shape men who carry her to the ring and take her robe is a great and fun take on the old “womanizing” wrestler trope. Eye Candy (aka Willow Nightingale) is a bundle of energy and the crowd responds in kind. This was a dynamic match with a lot of offense and power moves. Eye Candy is a STAR and that shows throughout this match. Not to take anything away from the performance of Khloe Hurtz, a capable performer in her own right. Eye Candy hit a near perfect rolling senton, a Death Valley Driver, and one of the most technically perfect moonsaults I’ve ever seen a wrestler, man or woman, throw in a ring.
The main events was to be WOW Original Junge Grrrl, who has not lost a step by the way, vs Santana Garrett for the WOW Championship. Junge Grrrl was the former champion, but lost the title in a triple threat in which Garrett pinned the Bevery Hills Babe (Amber O’Neal) to win, and Jungle Grrrl is undefeated in the history of WOW. The match was interrupted by Tessa Blanchard, who is going to be a major player in WOW, going after “TNT” Kenny G, the father of Santana Garrett. She would then jump in the ring and hit Santana with a hammerlock DDT, and another confrontation would occur between Jungle Grrrl and The Beast, who earlier in the evening declared she was going after the WOW Championship. Jungle Grrrl vs The Beast is a match I didn’t know I wanted until now.
WOW is a slickly produced show, and the current incarnation shares some DNA, in its presentation, with Lucha Underground (I believe they share a producer or two), the crowd is very into the show and the performers. Commentary with Stephen Dickey, WOW Original EZ Rider, and David McLane is fun and engaging but a 3 person booth can feel a little too crowded on a 1 hour show. Stephen Dickey does a good job in keeping the proceedings moving. As debut episodes go, WOW knocked it out of the park, and taking a look at social media, it appears fans and even some other wrestlers tuned in and liked what they saw. Following a strong lead in with New Japan Pro Wrestling, WOW is in a prime spot to bring fans something new, something different, and something fun, because wrestling should be fun.
WOW airs at 9pm EST on AXS.TV – AXS.TV is available on Philo, Sling TV, Direct TV Now and other streaming platforms.