Lipstick & Dynamite, Piss & Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling (2004)

mastheadIn a world where feminism wasn’t yet discovered, these women basically were the precedent for such an ideal. And they didn’t even know it. All they wanted to do was compete, perform, and basically beat the crap out of each other, all to gain some fandom and fame, and they weren’t aware that they were basically the predecessors of feminism and female empowerment. Thankfully, the documentary doesn’t bog itself down in girl power junk, and instead focuses on the female wrestling industry, one of the more unknown facets in sports–like the WNBA. I kid them.

Seriously, though, “Lipstick & Dynamite” focuses on some of the earliest female athletes whom competed in professional wrestling including the Fabulous Moolah who also became infamous for her fierce competitiveness, and insatiable appetite for money. We watch as many of them prepare for the upcoming re-union teaming together every girl wrestler in the years past to gather for one final party, and “Lipstick & Dynamite” basically centers around such preparations while exploring the back stories of these women whom challenged their domineering male managers who felt the need to dress them up and push them in to publicity stunts they never wanted to take part in.

Most particularly on topic is Joe Pfefer an early pioneer to Vince McMahon who envisioned women wrestlers as characters and less as women fighting, and the infamous Billy Wolf who was abusive and enjoyed having affairs with his clients. But these women came before the WWE women wrestlers. They even criticize the new generation of female wrestlers whom get naked and never really show off that they can be talented athletes. The wrestlers of the past were good looking and also immensely physically talented, and many had the foresight to market on both while today’s wrestlers only have talent or looks.

Particularly profiled is The Fabulous Moolah, possibly the most famous female wrestler of all time who never really met a person she couldn’t form a rivalry with, and much of the warts and all truthful portrait discusses her rivalries and feuds with many of the wrestlers of her generation, and he love for money which conflicted with her human relationships. “Piss & Vinegar” is filled with fun interviews showing much of these female wrestlers whom loved what they did, and loved their job. In spite of being paid barely nothing, they did it for the sport of it all, and it’s a welcome change of pace. If you’re looking for a different kind of sport documentary that profiles a sport with a brand new twist, you’d want to look to “Piss & Vinegar”. It’s a fun, and fascinating exploration in to the world of female wrestling and pays homage to these early pioneers of feminism.