Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: Jungle Girrrl
Your Host: James Walsh
One of the original WOW Superheroes is still at it in the current version of the product. She went undefeated from the first version of WOW through all of their revivals over the years until she suffered a pinfall loss to Tessa Blanchard somewhat recently. Of course, I am speaking of our guest this week. The high flying Jungle Girrrl!
Joining us for the first time ever, Jungle Girrrl discusses the progress made by the WOW brand over the years and also explains its rather lengthy hiatus. She also discusses the incredible matches she has had of late with Tessa Blanchard. This is, for sure, a fun listen with a very talented young lady.
WOW presents its 2 hour Season Finale on Saturday night, November 23rd on AXSTV. Tune in!
To listen to this interview on YouTube, in MP3 format, or to read a complete overview, visit WrestlingEpicenter.com. Highlights of the conversation are below.
On WOW Superheroes and how it is different now than in 2000:
“I think it is amazing. I think the evolution of WOW from what we started 20 years ago to where we are now – And it is not even the pinnacle – But, I think it really is what David McLane’s vision was 20 years ago. What he wanted to see. The difference is now, everybody that is on board is in mutual agreement on the vision that David had 20 years ago. The talent pool also now is a lot different that is spectacular. It was difficult to find, back then, let alone a handful of women that were doing then what we’re doing now. Now, we have a roster of 30 women! And, I would have to agree that I am having the best wrestling of my 20 year career. My hat is off to the women that I get to compete with as well as to all of wrestling and women’s wrestling. I think what we have right now is a beautiful thing and it is just going to keep getting better.”
On how she got started with WOW nearly 20 years ago:
“We had tryouts. David (McLane) was looking for incredibly athletic women who not only had athleticism but had the ability to be trained easily. We didn’t have a whole lot of time to be trained before the initial matches we had done. With any athletic event, you want someone who is great but you want someone who is coachable. The majority of us ahd athletic backgrounds but not backgrounds in wrestling. So, it was our first experience as far as getting in the ring wrestling but not with wrestling in general. A lot of us had a passion for it. We were wrestling fans. But, there is a big difference between being a fan of it versus understanding the mechanics and movements and putting together matches that are dynamic and awesome to watch.”
On “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka being an influence:
“They did not take the first go around of girls with any real characters in mind for them. They looked at us in our training, based on our backgrounds. My mother is from Columbia, South America. So, half my family is Columbian. Plus, I naturally gravitated towards the more high flying moves and Jimmy Snuka, growing up, was one of my favorites. So, they kind of took both things and from that, Jungle Girrrl was created! I’m certainly proud. I think that I’ve done her a great justice.”
On how popular the original version of WOW was with even the WCW and WWE talent:
“(laughs) That’s awesome. Part of what we were really trying to do was figure how do you marry the true wrestling fan but also make it to where the younger audience can be watching. That is where I think WCW and WWE and most of the major companies have failed. It is great to keep your audience but are you getting new people watching? By new people, I mean, people under the age of 40. I think it was hysterical that they (the locker rooms) were singing along. I think I was aware that they were watching when I saw some of the women’s wrestling start to change and I really am proud that we were a catalyst to that. By the way, if you look at what the women are doing now, often what they are doing is better than what the men are putting out there. So, I am very aware and I like to hear those stories.”
On why the WOW Unleashed PPV in 2001 was the beginning of the end for the promotion:
“Unfortunately, that was the difference between the vision that David McLane had and the investors that we had on the time. They were kind of butting heads on the creative and the financial… That is one thing I have to say about David McLane. He has been unwavering in his vision for WOW over the years. He’s taken a lot of no’s. There were a lot of TV deals that were out there but with a different vision that we could have had and he turned them down. As a result, we are where we are today and as a result, the product is so much greater than it was back then. Sometimes you have to take two steps forward and take one step back. I think, in that case, the step back was a lot longer than any of us had anticipated. But, that allowed David the opportunity to get the backers that share his vision that we have now – Jeanie Buss included. They want to create something extraordinary.”
On WOW being more camp back then than now:
“I don’t take that the wrong way. I think we were a lot more campy back then because we had to be. Because, back then, people weren’t really taking women’s wrestling seriously. So, we had to be. But, now, the athleticism of the women has made people take it seriously. I think bringing in people like Tessa Blanchard has cemented her place in the business and everyone takes her seriously. There are others – She certainly isn’t standing alone in doing that. But, we’re still keeping it light. What I like is, I have a 10 year old son and he does not miss a single episode if I’m in it or not. It is completely appropriate for him. It is completely appropriate for someone who is older as well. It appeals to the die hard wrestling fan and it appeals to someone who is looking for something a little lighter as well. I sit there watching it with my son and seeing him really enjoying the show is really satisfying for me and it should be a tremendous satisfaction for the entire WOW organization.”
On suffering her first defeat after nearly 20 years:
“Oh man, of course that was a bitter pill! (laughs) The initial pin was when the Beast came out and kind of took me down and Tessa took advantage. Of course it is bitter sweet. But, I’m a fighter. I’m a competitor. I’ll get in there and I’ll fight with anyone. I think that shows with the match with Tessa 2 episodes ago. That was a hell of a match! It was aggressive, it was a battle, it was epic! And, I think I held my own. Tessa held her own. You haven’t seen the last of that particular feud. I think there is a tremendous amount of respect (between us) as athletes and competitors. I like to be challenged. I don’t want it to be easy. Anyone that wants that is not a true competitor. So, I welcome that. She got the victory… Clean. I’m looking forward to the next round!”
On if Impact’s parent company buying AXSTV will impact WOW down the road:
“You know, I don’t know, truth be told. I think that we are two very different products. I think the viewer is smart enough to understand that. There are those that say that one character is a face on one show but a heel on another. But, I think the consumer is smart enough to tell the difference. I can’t sit and watch Impact with my son. There are things on their show that are just not age appropriate. I think we both have good shows. I think ours (WOW) far surpasses Impact in production quality. But, that is not a decision for me to make. That is a decision for David and for AXS to make as far as what is best for WOW, Impact, and what is best for AXS. I don’t think one hurts the other. Time will tell. I think it becomes about ego at that time. It becomes if someone doesn’t want to share. If Impact says, “Well, we don’t want to be on the same network as WOW.” Well, shame on them. Time will tell.”
On the harder edge of Jungle Girrrl now:
“There comes a time when you are done playing by the rules and you start to make your own rules. That goes for life as well. I’m done playing by the rules. Yes, I do have a little bit more of an edge. I’m enjoying it tremendously!”
On AEW’s Jungle Boy:
“You know, I think he’s extraordinary! I really like him. We started using Jungle Boy for my son when we put him on WOW. We were using Jungle Boy when I’m not even sure he was at an age that he could wrestle, Jungle Boy. But, I think he’s great. I love that he’s using it. (laughs) I think it just brings new light to Jungle Girrrl, Jungle Boy, and the whole Jungle genre!”
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