So here’s something interesting that I didn’t think I would ever write. It involves two properties that couldn’t be more wildly divergent, coming together for something… Although I’m not sure what that thing is. GLOW has bought into Shocker Toys.
GLOW, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, for those that don’t know, was an all women’s wrestling federation in the 80s which peaked during the heyday of wrestling. GLOW, which was syndicated, often came on after AWA or WWF in many of the regional areas. The hook of the show was mostly that sexy (at least by 80’s standards) half naked women were rolling around doing wrestling. It’s not rocket science why men watched it and it appealed to little girls in the same way something like Jem and the Holograms did.
Some of the girls actually became pretty good wrestlers and although I think the show was mostly popular because of the sex factor, the show rarely if ever exploited it. In fact David McClane, the mastermind behind the project, was known for cramming lots of really hokey aspects into the show. He never played up the sex appeal of the ladies and instead offered up gimmicks of the lowest common denominator. GLOW was ran more like a TV show than a real wrestling federation, with more visible storylines and characters than your average promotion.
Despite all that, GLOW was a hit… At least briefly, as it was able to ride the coattails of a huge wrestling boom in the 80s. It died out, as these things often do and since then, it’s been revived in various failed incarnations through the years. The most successful GLOW revival was in WOW, Women of Wrestling, also by McClane. WOW attempted once again to capitalize on the wrestling boom of the late 90s.
Unfortunately WOW missed the boat by a few years as wrestling was actually on a downturn at the turn of the century. Shame too, as WOW had a pretty big budget production, hot babes and a handful of decent wrestlers. McClane apparently doesn’t own the name to GLOW and somehow it’s now ended up in the hands of Eric Nyenhuis, who is a radio personality who’s worked with the UFC and various other companies. Nyenhuis is now bringing GLOW back, hoping to launch a new “season” of the show.
Eric Nyenhuis has also bought part of Shocker Toys. Yes THAT Shocker Toys. This is the reason I was hesitant to bring this story up. GLOW has went into business with Shocker. If you’ve followed the long, gruesome story of Shocker Toys, you know the company has had it’s ups and downs and there’s been a lot more of the latter than the former.
Shocker went under a “restructuring” about 6 months ago and just recently came back online promising well, more promises. Anyone who’s followed Shocker knows that they’ve been promising releases of figures for years now and everything from customs to pirates and perhaps even aliens have prevented the toys from seeing release. Shocker’s CEO Geoff Beckett has a tarnished relationship with fans and supporters, who often would pay for product, never receive it and then see the CEO out partying in SDCC with strippers and hired celebrities in his booth. Leading fans to believe that Shocker Toys was simply taking their money and then spending it on anything but the creation of toys.
The whole thing left a nasty taste in my mouth and although I always liked the product that Shocker put out, I haven’t liked the fact that they rarely put out product and were constantly playing a shell game with people’s money. I’d love to give Shocker the benefit of the doubt, but given the circumstances, that seems like a mistake.
With just a little bit of digging, there seems to be a lot of negative stuff around Eric Nyenhuis as well. I won’t go into that, as I hadn’t ever even heard of the guy before this, but there’s at least some speculation that he’s a shady character as well. I hope that he’s not and that the new GLOW can take off. However, I’m always hesitant to back a project that is completely trying to relive a past glory that wasn’t their own. Right now GLOW is putting out a lot of “teasers” for the show that just uses clips from the old show.
However as usual, if anyone from Shocker or GLOW reads this and want to get in contact with me to clarify some of their positions, I’d love to talk to them. I think it’s a stunning partnership, although I’m curious to see where it will go.
Shocker and GLOW haven’t explained too much of their relationship, beyond that GLOW bought part of the company and were part of the restructuring. They haven’t fully announced a GLOW toy line, but they have hnted at it and posted up the sample card art that’s been used on this site (with permission) as a teaser.
This opens up a two part discussion…
1. I’m not sure GLOW can work now, because wrestling isn’t that popular these days. As I mentioned above, if GLOW was ever going to work, it probably would have worked as WOW, which was everything that GLOW was, but better.
In fact just a few years ago, wrestling legend Jimmy Hart spearheaded a project called Wrestlicious which was a direct ripoff of GLOW. Wrestlicious was bankrolled by a bona fide millionaire in Jonathan Vargas, who won a Powerball jackpot and invested in the company. It went nowhere, fast. That was with millions of dollars and the experiance of Jimmy Hart at the helm. If that couldn’t work, why should GLOW?
However there is one positive to the new GLOW and that’s the state of women’s wrestling. There is more interest now in women’s wrestling than ever before and there are a lot more good women’s wrestlers out there. If the new GLOW can avoid some of the pratfalls of the previous incarnations (goofy over the top gimmicks, bad wrestling, failure to deliver on promises) it could achieve some success.
2. Shocker Toys and GLOW are hinting about a GLOW toy line. On paper, I like this idea because I approve of any wrestling figures that can get onto the market. I also think that this is a unique take on the format and Jakks’ deluxe women’s figures are heralded by many collectors as some of the best around. Mattel’s women figures are often shortpacked and I think focusing a line on the women is a neat concept… At least on paper.
However my concerns would be that Mattel can barely keep it’s WWE Legends on the shelves, Jakks has had issues with keep TNA on the shelves as well, and canceled their Legends line. Could a women’s legends line work? I’m not sure there’s a market for it, considering how little popularity GLOW had even in their heyday. I’ve never once heard someone opine about their want for classic GLOW wrestlers. Women figures tend to be bad sellers (or so we’re led to believe) and nobody in GLOW is a “big name”.
And then of course, there’s the Shocker Toys aspect. Shocker is great at announcing stuff, but they haven’t delivered on a huge portion of their promises. Fans are still waiting on SDCC exclusives from 2010, can we really expect that they’ll be able to get out a line of women figures anytime this century?
I have no idea what to make of all this. I sincerely hope that everything is on the up and up and GLOW reforms and it’s the catalyst to get Shocker Toys to a place where it can become an incredible independent toy producer. I think that would be great, both for the world of toys and for the world of wrestling. It’s a fascinating story none the less as Shocker Toys being in conjunction with GLOW is probably the oddest and last thing I would have ever imagined happening. Will this be spark that causes two phoenixes to rise from the ashes, or will it be another strange turn in a myriad of broken promises and false hopes?
GLOW is scheduled to have it’s first TV tapings in Las Vegas on April 16,2012 at the FSW Television Studio. They are advertising many classic GLOW wrestler appearances and noted women’s wrestler Sara Del Ray will be there as well.
Shocker Toys has updated their website offering preorders for a second run of the Tick and the Maxx, as well as preorders for their various other products. Caveat emptor on that one, though.
GLOW concept art for NEW GLOW action figures. All characters logos names are the EXCLUSIVE property right of GLOW Entertainment Group and can not be used in whole or part without written permission.