Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, 1986
Viewers of the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling knew pretty much what to expect from the show after watching the first eight episodes: cornball humor, wacky characters, and barely passable wresting action.
And while the show’s cast typically wore skimpy leotards and was hardly politically correct (Palestina the terrorist comes to mind), it was always cartoony and fun enough to qualify as kids’ entertainment.
Then out of the blue on episode nine, David McLane casually introduced the show’s matches…
…and mentioned something called a Gestapo Match as the main event.
See, as the two largest wrestlers on the show, Mt. Fiji and Matilda the Hun were constantly battling, but this particular week, their rivalry needed a little extra something, and that something was Nazis.
As such, Matilda the Hun, who had always been an evil German character, took her persona to its logical conclusion by appearing in front of a Nazi flag and vowing to take over the world.
Coming out as a Nazi seems like a pretty big move, even for a heel, but it was just another chapter in the feud between Mountain Fiji, portrayed by Emily Dole, and Matilda the Hun, portrayed by Dee Booher.
Booher? I hardly know her! But I do know she’s a Nazi, so yes, I will boo her. This also means that, like Fanta and Volkswagen, phone sex was invented by a Nazi.
Now, media geared towards kids almost always censors Nazi imagery when they reference World War II, even when Nazis are explicitly getting their asses kicked. After all, you don’t want kids doodling that stuff at home or at school.
Hey Arnold! gave Hitler a frowny-face arm band.
Captain Planet wouldn’t even show Hitler’s real facial hair.
But GLOW? They decked the heels out in iron crosses, SS insignias, and big ol’ swastikas. It made for some unusual Saturday afternoon viewing.
Leading Matilda to the ring were Hollywood & Vine, GLOW’s resident bad girls. And you can’t get much worse than being Nazis!
Imagine the shock of the viewers at home at the sudden transformation of Hollywood & Vine: one week, they were relatively harmless juvenile delinquents, and literally the next week, they were Nazis. How did this happen in an era without Youtube, podcasts, or message boards?
And imagine being in this audience, expecting to see a campy, lighthearted show and ending up at a Nuremberg rally.
While the heels goose-stepped and sang, “Deutschlandlied”…
…the babyface contingent of Mt. Fiji, Little Fiji, and Americana gave a counter-demonstration, singing “America the Beautiful” and waving the American and Israeli flags.
These extra wrestlers at ringside would be integral to the match, as it would only end when one competitor’s second (or third) waved the white flag at ringside to signify surrender.
In case anyone didn’t notice the historical and political implications of the match stipulation, McLane explained that Matilda was an expert in “Gestapo tactics” and believed in the purity of the “Aryan race”, while Mountain Fiji accepted the match so she could show Matilda just where she could stuff her “Nazi philosophy”.
I’m sure Fabergé had second thoughts about sponsoring this show.
The match was bonkers. For most of it, Matilda and Fiji beat the scheisse out of each other with billy clubs.
Make that the Official Gestapo® Billy Clubs™ – talk about intrusive product placement!
The two competitors took turns choking each other out with whips…
…and bashing each other in the head with chains.
On paper, a women’s wrestling match featuring chains and whips sounds like a naughty bit of fan service, but despite the announcer’s unfortunate choice of words, there was nothing sexy about this bout (probably because of the racism).
Meanwhile, Matilda’s Nazi underlings brawled throughout the match with Mt. Fiji’s international coalition, subjecting Mt. Fiji’s Chinese sister to tactics worthy of the Nazi police force, sticking things under her fingernails…
…and trying to pull out her teeth with pliers.
Less effective was when Vine put a gas mask on Little Fiji and then blew into it. Hey, I never said Nazis were smart.
To that point, the match ended when Hollywood picked up the white flag and started beating Mt. Fiji in the head with it, thus technically “waving” the flag and forfeiting the match.
It was just like in World War II, when the Nazis tried to send a letter bomb to the White House but it was a dud and the letter said, “We surrender”.
Mt. Fiji and her entourage seized on this fluke win to claim victory over Nazism, smashing its symbols and declaring, “Never again”. Nazi ideology had been defeated once and for all, never to return again.
And it never did.
At least not in GLOW. In fact, just minutes after appearing in full Nazi garb, waving the Nazi flag, and giving the Nazi salute, the two bad girls were at the hairdresser cracking dumb-blonde jokes about California Doll.
Vine mellowed out about the whole Aryan supremacy thing enough to do Spanish Red’s makeup…
…and Hollywood was in her usual goofy skit trying to woo David McLane. The GLOW founder rejected her, not for being a Nazi, but for her small bust. That’s like turning down Leni Riefenstahl because she wasn’t thicc.
Fiji and Americana, having just survived a brutal war against the avowed Nazi Matilda, joked that she was such “nasty girl” that her favorite meal was “broken leg of lamb”. That’s how mean she was!
The next week, Hollywood & Vine were back in action to take on the likes of Sally the Farmer’s Daughter, with not a single mention of their membership in the Nazi party.
Mt. Fiji and a swastika-free Matilda the Hun continued their feud, because a match patterned after a literal world war was not important enough to settle anything. The blow-off would be a loser-leaves-town match seventeen episodes later. It seems GLOW had some pacing issues.
Imagine if one week, we found out the WWF’s most evil character – let’s say, the Undertaker – dressed up as a Nazi, and then no one ever spoke of it again.