David McLane, owner and founder of WOW-Women of Wrestling talked to The RCWR Show’s Lee Sanders and Wrestling Soup’s Anthony Missionary Thomas about the 2019-20 new season of WOW, evolution of Womens Wrestling, the future of Women of Wrestling going on tour and more. Click the video below for the interview or go below it to read a few highlights.

Driving factors and inspirations to bring WOW back second time around and the evolution on women’s wrestling through the decades:

David McLane: The right business partner. Jeanie Buss and I—Jeanie of course was not involved in GLOW. I always had a vision and a dream on how to do womens professional wrestling through a maze of weaving hurdles, thresholds, loss of bad business partners, you name it. It’s been a long journey. I said I would never do it again unless I had the right partner who shared the same exact long-term vision. Jeanie and I met through one of my ESPN ventures that I started after I had sold GLOW actually. We’ve been friends for over thirty years. She participated by coming to one of the WOW live events at the great Western Forum which she was the President of at the time and her family owned it and the (Los Angeles) Lakers were there and I had an office there and that’s were it started it. The second she saw it she got it instantly and she was the one that actually coined the name they’re the WOW SUPERHEROES. Jeanie grew up a huge fan of comic books as a kid. She literally at the age, I think it was nine her mom dropped her off at the San Diego comic con and you imagine by herself. And let her into the big comic con which at the time wasn’t that big. It was actually hosted in a downtown hotel. I think The Hotel Cortez or something. She went in there like with a kid with wide open eyes and saw all the comic books and fell in love with Supergirl and Wonder Woman and the stories they told. When she came and watched WOW she instantly got it the second she saw Terri Gold or Jungle Grrrl jump off the third rope. That these are empowered women superheroes come to life. She quickly realized damn if I had this when I was nine years old, I’d been all over it.

David McLane centered in tuxedo with then WOW Womens Champions Jungle Grrrl (Right, Santanna Garrett Farthest Right)

She shared the vision and we knew it was going to be a tough haul to put women’s wrestling back on the map because television is flooded with wrestling, flooded. Subsequently, there wasn’t any appetite for it and we were still at the time facing backlash and / or negative thoughts that it could be less than athletic. You got to remember that WWE has even swung its pendulum three years ago. I mean maybe two and a half years ago their pendulum swung. So subsequently we were way ahead of our time in the positioning of WOW and the vision we had for it compared to what was in the marketplace with pillow matches and JELLO matches, and women being eye candy and accessories to the men wrestling. Even our (WOW) World Champion Tessa Blanchard, when she started, even she seen the shift in just the short period of time for two years. So everyone thinks there was an evolution and a revolution. There wasn’t for us and it has been a combination of WWE switching their pendulum to even. You got to give a big credit to Ronda Rousey going into MMA and all the publicity she got that put a new light on it. So yes there was pushback and today there isn’t. If I go anywhere today and say to a television executive we’re promoting women’s wrestling, there’s no more smirk, there’s no more oh boy, you’re kidding me…

So it taken thirty something years to get there. Changes flow…

Distancing WOW from apartment wrestling with any difficulty: 

David McLane: Not hard in my mind because I never gave it a thought. I may have given it a thought in the eighties when we started wrestling, because pro wrestling, illustrated inside wrestling, all the wrestling magazines that were being sold at the local grocery stores back then I think usually had an ad for it in their magazines. So maybe then, but not in thirty years? No.

Biggest adversities or trials faced in yesteryear versus today:

David McLane: Well the first being acceptance and as we mentioned Ronda Rousey—we mentioned WWE finally getting away from pillow matches and then trying to improve their product. So acceptance, overall acceptance has been the biggest hurdle. The second is exposure and and that comes in two forms. When GLOW was on in the eighties, you got to remember there was only—well let’s just include FOX because it was just starting. That was after I sold GLOW actually. But there was only four stations when you went home to watch TV and maybe one UHF channel. So that’s how come that brand and that name became so known so quickly because it was on in over eighty percent of the country. You come home on a weekend and there’s not much to watch. Today, there’s one thousand channels to watch on Dish, Direct TV, FIOS and all these different cable stations. So that’s a big change in the marketplace. Also hurdle exposure. There’s more competition today to grab an eyeball. So, someone that’s a casual viewer may not watch and that’s another thing. We’ve got notes from people that say they’re not that big of a wrestling fan, but they’ve watched WOW and love it.

So I think we’re tapping into a wider audience. AXS TV gave us a renewal that was unheard of. They had never before renewed any broadcast in over its seventeen year history over six or eight episodes, and they gave us over twenty four episodes. Their goal when we started they said we just hope you can sustain the audience that we have from NEW JAPAN WRESTLING. That was their goal and we doubled the viewership, doubled it. One of the highest rated debuting shows ever. And they kept wondering well maybe it’s just happening because it’s new but we sustained that for the entire run of the first season.

On the future of WOW touring nationwide and any plans for fans accessing more WOW content digitally as in an app              

David McLane: Yes. I’ll answer the second question quickly. WOW app is in process and we’re building it out with a major company that’s engaged in one of the big four leagues in sports league and it’s going to make a lot more content accessible to more people worldwide. And I’ll come back to that in a moment. On touring, that’s the goal. One of the goals of Jeanie buss as she and I both come out of the arena business and we’d love to see it. Growing up in wrestling, it would be way too premature to go out into the marketplace today with WOW. It really would. AXS TV…They’re the right partner for us because they took their time in growing NEW JAPAN WRESTLING and they had it on the air I guess for a year and a half, two years. Then finally NEW JAPAN WRESTLING came here and had an event in Long Beach, California that sold out. I think if they had jumped the gun on that they would not have been as successful. So I think you’ve got to lay the groundwork and foundation. My hat goes off to a AEW who’s had such great success having live events with great attendance so far but for us, we’re small. We’re still, David on the block, not Goliath, no pun intended. We’ve got to do it strategically and slowly to grow the brand and bring it out correctly.

So yes we’re in conversations. In fact, we had two offers from the biggest company in the country that does tours to take WOW out. They had advances already given to us to do a tour and we returned the money. Jeanie and I said listen, we don’t want to go out and have you sustain some losses, especially if you don’t have the right vision with us. And our vision is—this is an expensive tour and you’ve got to have a long long-term thinking that hey, you got to return to the market if you want to be successful. So we’re not going to do anything just to go out and do it. We’re going to do it methodically. Just like AXS TV did when they launched NEW JAPAN WRESTLING.  

 SPECIAL THANKS TO WRESTLING SOUP’S MISSIONARY THOMAS. CATCH WRESTLING SOUP THURSDAYS AT 9:30PM ET. GET MORE INFO ON THEM BY CLICKING HERE. MUCH MORE IS CONTAINED IN THE INTERVIEW INCLUDING THE PRODUCTION OF WOW AND USING THE BEST TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE IT LOOK VERY PROFESSIONAL, FOOTBALL TALK AS DAVID SOUNDS OFF ON ANDREW LUCK RETIRING FROM THE COLTS AS DAVID WAS BORN AND RAISED IN INDIANAPOLIS, MORE WRESTLING NEWS TALK AND MORE! LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW NOW. CATCH THE RCWR SHOW MONDAYS AT 11PM ET AFTER WWE RAW AND SUNDAYS AFTER EVERY WWE PPV AT THIS LINK: YOUTUBE.COM/THERCWRSHOW