Inspiration for Netflix's GLOW came from a real series that aired in the 1980s called Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, but while the show is grounded in real events, much of the story is fictional. GLOW takes an unlikely group of women and turns them into TV wrestlers, but the characters involved aren't based on real people and the storylines were primarily created for the series, not taken from reality. But despite that, so many of the details feel very real, from the frosted bangs down to the wrestling itself. But are there real wrestlers on Netflix's GLOW to make sure those details are perfect?
You may be surprised to find out that there are quite a few wrestlers involved on and off camera to give the series that sense of vérité. The fight coordinator, Chavo Guerrero Jr., is a wrestler who comes from a family of wrestlers and he's even got some family history when it comes to the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Much like he's helping out on the Netflix series, his uncle Mondo Guerrero was the original trainer for the 1980s show. Guerrero Jr. and his family are so enmeshed with GLOW that the show even included a nod to him in its fictional gym, which they called Chavo's in his honor. But he's not the only wrestler involved in the series. Not by a long shot.
Kia Stevens has a regular role on GLOW as Tamee, whose stage name "Welfare Queen" plays on the offensive stereotypes often included in the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. In real life, Stevens went by Awesome Kong in TNA and Kharma in the WWE. Despite being very popular, she retired from wrestling and took up acting, which, according to her, has been her dream all along. "This is what I wanted when I got into wrestling," Stevens told Bleacher Report. "This is what I got into wrestling to do."
The show also included several real wrestlers in Episode 5 when Debbie takes in her first match. She meets a wrestler who goes by the name Steel Horse and his nemesis Mr. Monopoly, who are played by actual professionals Kevin Kiley Jr. (or Alex Riley in the ring) and Joey Ryan, respectively. The show often uses real professional wrestlers when casting in-show professional wrestlers, like Episode 1 trainer Salty "The Sack" Jackson, who is played by Johnny Mundo.
And that's not even the extent of it. Wrestling fans watching closely will also catch Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Tyrus, and Brooke Hogan. Then there's all the popular wrestlers from the time the show was set, like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, who appear on TV in the background in footage from their old matches. It definitely looks like the people behind GLOW did their research when trying to add some authenticity to the series.