Saturday Nights in the mid-1980s: Fueled by a speedball of Mello Yello and Reese's Pieces, I needed only to survive the grindingly slow last few skits of Saturday Night Live before TV heaven awaited. Live (on tape) from the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (G.L.O.W.) caromed off turnbuckles and flopped on the canvas for an hour each week, wearing nothing but skimpy unitards. In truth most of the ladies were gorgeous in the same way that Sergeant Slaughter was a sergeant. The wrestling was laughably bad and the plotlines were, in retrospect, ridiculously offensive: Villainesses like Palestina ("the Syrian terrorist") and Spanish Red ("the hot-blooded Latin") did battle with heroines such as Americana and Hollywood. But as a 15-year-old living in an HBO-deprived household, I took what I could get.
I was hardly alone in my zeal. At the height of its popularity, in 1986, G.L.O.W. drew an estimated seven million viewers each week eager to see whether Mountain Fiji could lure Sally the Farmer's Daughter into the vaunted Fijian Strap. However, like a Mello Yello high, the show's allure wore off quickly as our lowbrow loyalties shifted to Morton Downey Jr. and American Gladiators. Still, 15 years after its short-lived success, there are traces of an aker-G.L.O.W.: On her website, Hollywood advertises that for $325 an hour, she's available for private wrestling sessions.