By Jim Phillips, Columnist
Welcome back once again, friends. This week, our travels take us on a tour of the southern states, via Las Vegas, Nevada. I was able to catch up with G.L.O.W. Alumni, Sunny the California Girl and she told me a pair of tales from her days with the illustrious company, that forged the way for women in professional wrestling. So let’s buckle up, and head out on the tour bus, with the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling..
It was the fall of 1987, and the G.L.O.W. girls were headed out on their inaugural tour. What started out as nearly four hundred try outs had been whittled down to the thirty six ladies that made up the working roster. The majority of which were headed to Atlanta for the kick off of. The regular schedule was to work five days on and two days off. After having a successful premiere night in Georgia, they were headed next door to Alabama.
It didn’t take long before the confines of the tour bus and hotel was too much to handle. Most of the ladies were able to go out and party at night as long as they made it back on time. The writer/director of the show, Matt Climber, also traveled with them and levied fines to anyone that was late. The average fine for these curfew was around two hundred dollars. It was a steep price to pay, out of the meager salary they were receiving. That was intended by design to make them not break rules laid out.
Sunny had to get out and kick up her heels and managed to talk her friend Cheyenne Cher into joining her. The two took off for a few drinks and a night on the town. Not long after settling into the atmosphere at the bar, they were approached by a couple of guys that recognized them as wrestlers. After a couple cold ones the guys asked if it really hurt to be body slammed and if they thought they could do that to someone their size. The two laughed it off at first but after showing some persistence they took the two men off to the side to give them a little demonstration of wrestling.
Sunny told one of the men to follow her lead and not to struggle back. She then picked the curious George up over her head, and plopped him on the ground with ease. The other man jeered at his buddy and before he realized it he was getting a lesson or two as well. After lots of laughs and just as many cold ones, the girls realized the time and how late they were. It was time to grab a cab and head back to the hotel for the night. Who else was waiting on them but a red hot Matt. He let them have it, but knew they both had to work the next night, so didn’t go too hard on them. What would a road trip be without some cold ones at the local tap’n’keg?
The next few nights went like clockwork for the crew. Everyone brought their A-game to the shows and solidified themselves in the southern wrestling market. Things were about to change for Sunny, however at the next night’s show in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Sunny was set to wrestle Beastie the Roadwarrior that evening. They had worked together several times before without incident. They worked the crowd and made em howl. In the heyday of the Eighties it was commonplace to take hard hitting bumps, deliver moves to each other that would be considered taboo or too dangerous in the landscape of today’s wrestling product. Sunny set up and Beastie followed through with a run of the mill pile-driver. That is, of course, if there is anything run of the mill about being spun upside down and dropped on the top of your head. Beastie hit the move and something just didn’t land right. Sunny was wheeled out on a stretcher and had to be taken to the local hospital. Not being a stranger to concussions after having suffered three previously, with no less than two more to follow in her wrestling. After a close examination it was determined that California Girl had suffered torn tendons, and a sprained neck. The doctor at the hospital made the comment that he hoped she was getting paid well for this type of physical abuse. She told him her pay out, and his only reply was, “Oh my.”. The aches and pains of the wrestling business are all too real, in and out of the ring.
I’d like to thank Miss “Sunny” Summerland for working us into her busy schedule. She has several projects with the G.L.O.W. brand still going strong. Many people have become familiar with the Netflix series based on the birth of the company, with it’s highly acclaimed first season. I’d urge all of you to check it out and get all caught up as I’ve been informed that season two will begin very soon.
Sunny is also part of the yearly Afterglow cruise that lets the fans get to know their favorite G.L.O.W. girls in a more relaxed and personal setting. Also many of you may have seen videos popping up recently on the wrestling threads in social media. Be on the lookout for a television series featuring many of the original Gorgeous Ladies.
Another G.L.O.W. Alumni named Tina Ferrari will be honored in April of this year. Better known as Ivory during her run with the WWF, she will be put into the esteemed WWE Hall of Fame for her work during the Attitude Era. She cemented the groundwork for the bevy of women wrestlers that we see flourishing in the WWE today.
Well, that brings us to our rest stop for the week. Time to hit the vending machine and stretch our legs a bit. I’ll be seeing you next week at this time. Until then, keep the wheels turning and the freedom burning Bruthas and Sistas. Peace.