Oh! How can they take all that punishment?
During the '30s, '40s, and '50s, while husbands and lovers jumped off Wall Street office buildings, went off to Europe to fight Gerry and his tortellini eating Axis buddies, and played ring around the board room with their secretaries, the simple hausfrau found a great many career options open to her that, before, were as verboten as a suburban boudoir. Hundreds filled factories and industrial complexes with riveting, Rive Gauche, and the previously unheard of "three day personal holiday." Still more found intellectual sanctuary in the law and medical schools of our great nation, uncovering once and for all the reasons for the numerous inequalities and inebriated meat mittened gynecologists within society. And then there were those who found freedom and freshness in the realm of sports, and the numerous athletic supporters that championed the alternative gender competitor. Nowhere was manhandling and tights wearing more readily recognized than in the pile driving and head locking litany of female wrestling. Now, thanks to Something Weird Video, we can revisit those carefree days of full nelsons and flying drop kicks as the lumpy ladies leap from the top turnbuckle in Wrestling Women, USA.
As an added treat, we get to meet Peaches Page and her ample talents (as well as her beaten-in-by-a-baseball-bat kisser) as she becomes one of Scalli's Pin-Down Girls, otherwise known as health club hookers in training. Apparently, Scalli and his diminutive partner Joe are married to the mob, and Mr. Big is constantly harassing the He-man and his half pint hooligan for kickbacks, or payoffs, or kickoffs, something or other. But once our slick Scallion lays his eyes on Miss Page's fruit baskets, he senses a heaping helping of fuzzy cobbler that no hungry man can handle. Not even with two hands.
For anyone who finds the current crop of overdeveloped and super siliconed female wrestlers incongruous to the very nature of the sport and the legend of such greats as June Beyers or Clara Mortensen, Wrestling Women USA will be a refreshing reprieve from the scantily clad centerfold as centurion mentality. There is not a chiseled Chyna or an inflated femme fatale like Sable to be found among theses brawling broad battle-axes. This glorious gala of grappling glamazons is non-stop square circle action, with none of the soap opera arias that make the scripted scrapple of sports "entertainment" seem like General Hospital on growth hormones. Along with some incredibly cornball play by play, and a difficult to follow format (seems the women just beat and toss each other around a lot until someone falls down and cries "anklet"), this is wrestling the way it was meant to be seen and experienced. Any notion of scripting or rigging falls by the wayside as these wenches wail on each other for several skull-busting minutes. No chairs in the ring or electrified cage matches here. Just hearty women looking to whip the underwire out of each other. Occasionally this can play like your grandmother grunting and grinding on your maiden aunt, but more times than not it's a nifty, nostalgic night at the fights. It's also a telling testament to the lows that current body sculpted gymbos resort to by letting the mass market turn female wrestling into pseudo soft-core lesbian action. No one can question their current fatal femmes' extreme dedication and athleticism. But very few gladiator gals show the heart or headlock that those old time bone-crushing babes possessed. Leave it to SWV to preserve this wonderful whoopassing for future digital digestion.
The safeguarding of Pin-Down Girls is another story all together. Supposedly, it's about women's wrestling and the rackets surrounding it. In actuality, it's about Peaches Page and her halfback as heartthrob physique. It's one thing to promote a film as being an inside look at the tumultuous and tantalizing world of female mat fighting, exposing the potential criminal element within. But the only thing revealed in Pin-Down Girls is the spastic anti-athleticism of the thick-thighed models passing as competitors populating Scalli's gymnasium as jiggle show. And let's not forget the Peachy Page, whose R. Crumb carriage becomes the main cinematic focus as she tumbles, tousles, and teases the audience with her "wrestling" skill. Any chance to see the smash-mouthed Miss' chest in motion is exploited. While she jogs. While she exercises. While she diagrams sentences. There's even an ersatz erotic rubdown, as the legend of the pug dog-faced woman has her hefty hind quarters caressed by an asexual uptight bird lady in an ill-fitting terry cloth halter top. It's easy to see why this film (under the substitute title Racket Girls) became a Mystery Science Theater 3000 favorite. Between Scalli's scoundrel as used car salesman sleaze to little Joe's hormonally charged organ grinder leaps, Pin-Down Girls is one of the few wrestling films to take itself less seriously than an episode of G.L.O.W. Any movie that asks the Champion of Mexico, Rita Martinez, to affect an accent that combines Speedy Gonzalez with Zsa Zsa Gabor is worth its weight class in workout togs.
No one creates a better theme package than Something Weird Video, and this disc is just superb. The DVD presentation is divided up into sections, each focusing on a different aspect or style of Greco-Roman rambunciousness. Six filmed matches make up the main feature portion to the disc. Clocking in at over 90 minutes, these presentations were culled from countless hours of material broadcast across the nation as part of television's infancy. To increase the niche fetish factor, we are also given several archival shorts revolving around examples of less "professional" bouts. They mostly consist of scantily clad females fisticuffing in places like parks and living rooms. Johnny Legend, occasional SWV contributor and longtime scholar (and manager) of wrestlers, along with friends/experts/wrestlers Vandal Drummond and "Dangerous" Dan Farren add a commentary track over Pin-Down Girls, which does an excellent job of tracing the history of women's wrestling while providing insight into Peaches "authenticity" in the ring. It is easily one of the better commentaries committed to SWV DVD. There is even some Roller Derby (YEAH!) thrown in for extra-added babe brawling. Finally, there is an interesting gallery of lady wrestlers that provides its own bemusing moments. As brawny behemoths are glitzed and gilded for the camera, one cringes at the attempts to turn their menacing manliness into frilly femininity. It's like looking through a scrapbook of Dr. Rene Richards glamour shots. SWV deserves multiple kudos for committing these lost gems of gal grappling to the DVD medium. If you're looking for a historic document on the sport, or a hysterical night at the catfights, Wrestling Women USA is the disc for you.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Something Weird Video
• Six All Star Matches
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