There’s no lack of choices when it comes to televised wrestling, or places for wrestlers who haven’t made it or choose not to work for WWE to earn a living.
While that’s changing for women’s wrestlers and their fans, there still aren’t quite as many options. An announcement today from New Japan’s United States broadcast partner brings more exposure to one of those. And it brings together some very big names from the worlds of sports and entertainment together to push their women’s wrestling venture.
Here’s the press release about AXS TV’s agreement to start broadcasting Women of Wrestling (WOW) events, which includes quotes from AXS founder, NBA owner and billionaire investor Mark Cuban and WOW and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeannie Buss:
JEANIE BUSS AND MGM TELEVISON TAG AXS TV TO BROADCAST WOW-WOMEN OF WRESTLING EVENTS
The Dominant All-Women’s Professional Wrestling League, From The Founder of the Original GLOW, Sets 2019 Event Distribution
Los Angeles, CA - June 18, 2018 – Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, Mark Burnett, President of MGM Television and Digital Group and David McLane, the impresario behind the ’80s hit TV series GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling), have tapped AXS TV to bring the emerging hit series “WOW-Women Of Wrestling” (WOW) to a wider U.S. TV audience.
AXS TV, which is a partnership between Mark Cuban, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest and talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA), will provide the television production and cable, satellite and telco distribution for WOW events. The WOW Superhero events are action-packed all-female pro wrestling bouts presented with the theatrical flair of a major concert. The matches pit skilled, compelling wrestlers against each other, as their unique personalities generate intense feelings from WOW’s large and dedicated fan base.
“I knew of Jeanie’s passion for elevating women’s wrestling for several years, so when Mark Burnett told me what MGM Studios has planned for WOW, I decided to get involved,” AXS TV Chairman and CEO Mark Cuban said. “AXS TV’s long-term success inside the squared circle and broadcasting New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) makes airing WOW a natural fit.”
Indeed, with the box office success of Wonder Woman, the hit streaming series GLOW (inspired by McLane’s original franchise) and the marketplace embracing the empowerment of women, all indicators point to WOW becoming the success that Buss envisions.
“Fortunately, I grew up knowing that the key to building a winner starts with teamwork,” WOW owner Jeanie Buss said. “I’m so thankful that Mark Burnett and his MGM Studios, and now Mark Cuban’s AXS TV, are all part of our WOW team. AXS TV will provide a valuable platform to boost audience awareness of our WOW Superheroes, help grow our digital ecosystem and provide the best in women’s wrestling to the millions of fans who want to see powerful, confident women do battle in the ring.”
AXS TV will start recording WOW events in Los Angeles later this year, for broadcast beginning in early 2019. Information on the date, venue and ticket sales will be announced soon.
WOW has been around for a while, with its most recent incarnation being distributed online starting in 2015. The partnership with MGM Studios was announced last spring and brought its president, successful television producer (and Lucha Underground co-creator) Mark Burnett, to the table.
What makes WOW different from WWE’s women’s division or Impact’s Knockouts is the GLOW influence David McLane has kept in the product. “WOW Superheroes” sticks with the model fans of the original 80s series, or the Netflix dramedy based on it, will recognize - over-the-top characters in soap-inspired conflict. The difference between the 20th and 21st century versions of McLane’s shows are that the characters are often played by women with independent wrestling backgrounds, and often under the names they use elsewhere - such as when NXT’s Candice LeRae was with the promotion.
All of that makes it a particularly interesting pairing for AXS’ other wrestling show, New Japan Pro Wrestling, which is more straight competition-based. But with power players like Burnett and Cuban involved, it will get a chance to find its footing.