What do WWE superstar Triple H and real-life women wrestlers think of 'GLOW'?
The Netflix original series "GLOW" has catapulted women's wrestling into the pop culture spotlight.
The dramatic re-creation of the 1980's all-women's wrestling promotion, Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, is a timely reminder of the WWE's ongoing women's evolution.
Just three weeks after the show's release, the WWE began taping of the inaugural Mae Young Classic: an all-women's single-elimination tournament featuring 32 competitors from WWE's NXT and independent circuits around the world.
espnW asked Mae Young Classic women competitors Tessa Blanchard, Toni Storm, as well as Paul "Triple H" Levesque -- a longtime WWE superstar turned executive who is overseeing the tournament -- their thoughts on "GLOW."
espnW: Have you had a chance to watch the show?
Paul "Triple H" Levesque: I mean, I saw it then. Now I have not had a chance to actually see the [Netflix] show, but I've heard nothing but rave reviews. Popularity in our industry ebbs and flows, but it seems people have come to accept what we are -- not only what they see, but the behind-the-scenes of how it comes together.
Levesque: It's a fascinating world and a fascinating combo of entertainment and sport, and teamwork that comes across not as teamwork. All of it. It's what everybody who is in it falls in love with. And when you show it to the outside world in a way that a show like "GLOW" does, it's really intriguing. That fascination makes you appreciate what you see and the performance art of it; it can connect you as a fan even greater because now you can appreciate what went into making it as opposed to saying, "Was that real?" When you realize what it is and what went into it, it's hard not to say, "That was amazing."
espnW: What do you think fans who saw the real "GLOW" would think of women's wrestling today?
Levesque: "GLOW" was almost like the Adam West version of Batman. It was this over-the-top, campy, goofy thing. But it was fun and bright and loud and all of those things. [The Adam West version] was the Batman I watched as a kid. If someone would've shown me "Batman Begins" and what that would become, it's not even the same thing. But it's so amazing; they're both amazing in their own right. But what [women's wrestling] has become is a completely different animal. It's evolved into something so much more.
espnW: What was your first impression of the show?
Tessa Blanchard: Some of these girls had never been in the ring before. Wrestling was very new to them. And when you get in there, it's a scary thing. For me, I wanted to be perfect. I wanted to already know it, because of my family, of course. But it showed the absolute beginner level. And I loved how that was portrayed pretty perfectly.
Toni Storm: I think it's great because women's wrestling hasn't necessarily been in the mainstream at all. So now that we have a show on Netflix making women's wrestling something popular, that's incredible. That's what we need.
espnnW: What would you want fans of the show who don't watch wrestling to know about women's wrestling today?
Blanchard: Women's wrestling has come a long way. We're in the middle of a revolution right now. Women's wrestling has evolved from when women weren't taken so seriously as athletes and really weren't looked at as equals. To see where we are today and how far it's come, I'm just so excited to be part of the next chapter.
Storm: I'd like them to know we take it so seriously. We want it to be something extra special.
espnW: When you look at the evolution now and the emphasis on the skill level of the wrestlers, how far has it come?
Storm: I love that fact that now we have this big strong group of women who are like, "Yeah we want to showcase how talented, how athletic and how skilled we all are." It's great. We've evolved and we've come so far. I'm proud of all the women in wrestling.
The first round of the Mae Young Classic will air on Aug. 28. Keep an eye out for more tournament coverage from espnW in the coming weeks.