Written by: Carroll Jenkins on February 15th, 2017
Ladies Professional Wrestling Association (‘LPWA’) was the first serious all women’s wrestling promotion, existing from 1989 to 1992. In 1985 the WWF begat the first Wrestlemania and Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan assumed Jessie ‘The Body’ Ventura’s color commentary spot on Prime Time with host Gorilla Monsoon. Wrestling was imposing itself upon mainstream America and the women’s wrestling division came along for the ride. In 1989 the WWF phased out the women (as they had the midgets), and that same year the LPWA was founded.
The LPWA was a professional outfit in all respects. They gathered many of the best women’s wrestlers from the U.S.A., Mexico, and Japan, including several former women’s champions in predominately male regional associations such as the AWA and NWA. New wrestlers were trained by renowned wrestling coach Brad Rheingans. The roster contained the likes of Judy Martin, Leilani Kai, Madusa Miceli, Magnificent Mimi, Misty Blue Simmes, Reggie Bennett, Susan Sexton, and Bambi. Rockin’ Robin and Wendi Richter also appeared occasionally. Expert commentary was provided by a veteran male staff including Jim Cornette, Joe Pedicino, Ken Resnik, Nick Bockwinkel, and Sgt. Slaughter. Boni Blackstone gave the talent interviews the feminine touch.
Period wrestling paradigms were not lost here: there are faces and heels, unscrupulous managers, foreign objects, oblivious referees, high flying, wear down and submission holds. Even more consistently than the WWF (at the time) the televised matches were fast paced, well photographed, exciting and sometimes even thrilling. The three basic wrestling styles: technical, brawler, and behemoth were augmented with Japanese which incorporated martial arts and kickboxing. The traditional woman wrestler T&A factor was exaggerated by the sometimes revealing ring attire. Matches were filmed with multi cameras primarily (?) so they could change angles whenever a wrestler was forced to perform the inevitable ‘redressing the boobie’ maneuver.
The LPWA produced two weekly television shows, the one-hour Super Ladies of Wrestling and the 30 minute Ladies Championship Wrestling for a two year period. The final production was their only PPV event ‘Super Ladies Showdown’ which suggests an intended but ultimately failed merger with Japanese women wrestling promotions.
Availability – Back in the day a collector’s series of 23 VHS tapes of matches hosted by Ken Resnik were sold by mail order. They were rather haphazardly collected based upon a single theme such as “Rampage”, “Revenge”, “Hot Bodies”. These volumes are again available re-mastered from the 1″ master tapes in digital format. The quality is very good for taped 80’s / 90’s product, there is a relatively unobtrusive watermark present. Each volume on the web site has a sample ‘intro’ download which includes the entire first match. So you can check out 23 matches for free. The entire individual volumes are available for streaming / download but that would represent a sizable chunk of change. A better value is the LPWA COMPLETE package available here which contains 35 hours of content. There is no duplication of content except for the bonus 24th title History Of The LPWA which contains matches already present in the other volumes. All content is presented full-screen 626×478 and 29.970 fps.
Let’s be honest, GLOW and POWW were the “Hee Haw” of women’s professional wrestling. The LPWA wins by default as the referee rules ‘no contest’. As an entrenched misogynistic male [translates as ‘dirty old man’], my favorite tag team is ‘The Nasty Girls’, especially the little spitfire Linda Dallas. My wife recommends this set as well, it’s great entertainment.