We start off this episode with Eric Darkstorm showing off his tattoos and why they matter to him so much. You see the love that he has a love for his dog that passed away, God, guns, the Second Amendment and Haley J.
As American as you can be with those tattoos, that’s for sure.
Haley J is getting her makeup done as she’s talking to Eric before her WOW debut with her Mom Maria. We get a glimpse of the WOW locker room, as the women are getting their gear on. Maria gets prepped to do some interviews for WOW for fans to get to know her. Maria is very honest about who she was growing up and how teen pregnancy and wanting to provide for her kids, led her to sell drugs and land in jail. You can see that the distance from her daughter, because of her jail time still bothers Haley J. It’s a tough subject. But Maria has come a long way. She doesn’t make excuses for herself or run away from her past. I really respect that.
Haley J is also candid about her past. How she was living in bad situations when her Mom was locked up. Usually, the people didn’t like her or they had too much going on to pay attention to her. This built up resentment. Haley J disagrees that she is a carbon copy of her Mom. Maria points out that her daughter is strong-minded and stubborn just like her. We usually never see the patterns in our personalities with our parents. Go figure.
Eric is seen speaking to his friends at the barbershop and honestly bashing what Haley is doing at WOW and how she’s out of her element. I think that deep down, Eric wishes that he had the same opportunities and support system with his Mom. We get a glimpse of Eric’s early years in wrestling. He started at 16, went down the rough road with drug use and became a father early on. He feels that his home life and career developments didn’t happen all at the same time. In his opinion, women are being handed opportunities in the wrestling business now. You can see the anger and resentment oozing off of Eric. The question becomes, will he be able to handle Haley J’s rise in the wrestling world? He also feels that he does most things better than Haley J and that she needs to make more time for him.
We check back in with Mahabali Shera who is nursing a dislocated shoulder. He sustained this injury during his match with James Storm. He’s trying to get better before his rematch with Storm in three weeks. He doesn’t want to tell his family. Which is hard when he’s on FaceTime with his Mom and his shoulder is in a sling. This shoulder injury does create a setback for Shera as Al Snow has been building him up for a year. This doesn’t put an end to the buildup, it just makes Al go into his memory bank and think of great ways to still build him up.
Haley J returns home and is already met with a sour-faced Eric, who doesn’t want her to talk about her time in WOW. You can certainly say that Haley’s confidence was built up during her WOW experience.
We cut to a business meeting between the creative team working on some ideas for the eventual match between Maria and Haley J. Maria is happy to have a hardcore match with her daughter, but Al is making it clear, that all of these plans are great, but if Haley isn’t around as much because she is taking bookings elsewhere, then this won’t be a possibility. Al wants to book this feud long-term, he wants things to make sense and have nuanced character development. Not just to show a gruesome death match.
Death matches and Maria go hand in hand and she gets a kick out of it. In her early years in the business, she wanted to prove during the early 00s that she was tough and not a woman who could just deliver T&A like what was the norm in WWE at the time.
Another meeting takes place with Al, Jessica, Doug Basham and Matt Jones. Matt wants to discuss an idea that he has. Immediately everyone else in the room starts to laugh. Matt hasn’t won them over as someone who has great ideas. Matt wants Al to feud with the OVW heel announcer Shannon Grigsby, which would soon lead to a wrestling match. Al doesn’t look too enthusiastic about it. At the heart of it, it seems like Matt wants to see Al wrestle again. At 59 years old, Al seems perfectly fine not wrestling. However, the wrestling business has a way of pulling you back in.
Next, we see Matt and a few of the OVW wrestlers at the Lexington Acura car dealership to prepare for a show. They happen to be the biggest sponsor for OVW. The owner seems chill, yet eccentric. A perfect fit as a sponsor for a wrestling company. The wrestlers and Matt seem to be getting along and actually enjoying being around one another. Matt is starting to see that he should’ve come into OVW a bit more respectful of what the wrestlers do and the hard work that they put in to make an entertaining show. After a successful show at the dealership, you see Matt trying to make himself more approachable and even staying late to talk to the wrestlers and compliment their work.
Eric and Haley J are arguing in front of Hooters about their relationship. Honestly, we saw this brewing. Eric makes it clear, that he just wants to be with Haley, not Hollywood Haley J. Not the character, but the real women. Haley J is pretty closed off to what Eric is saying and you can see the distance building with them both. Haley admits that she has trust issues and doesn’t know what to do about it. She knows that it severs the relationship, but doesn’t know how to fix it. Eric knows that there is a kind, sensitive girl inside of Haley, but she doesn’t want to share the side with him.
Haley definitely has resentment toward her Mom, because she feels that her Mom is seen as the loving mother hen of the locker room in OVW, but she doesn’t give that kind of tender, loving care to her. Which you can see is bubbling over for Haley J and bleeding into the on-camera feud that she has with her Mom. Real emotions are coming out and Al Snow feels that Haley is losing control. Al can see the scars that both Maria and Haley J carry with their past experiences with one another.
We get to see Maria’s mom as they look over pictures and talk about memories. Maria also came from a single-parent home when her Mom left her father when she was small. Maria stayed with her Dad, while her sister went with her Mom. She grew up rough and tough. Surrounded by boys. Watching wrestling from a young age. Her anger is still there and leaks over into her rough style in wrestling.
Haley has issues with her biological Dad, she only references him as a sperm donor. Maria talks about how rough it was to take care of her children with zero help from her ex-husband once they divorced. During the time that Haley J’s Mom was locked up, and she and her brother went from house to house, she was emotionally, verbally and physically abused.
Haley wasn’t allowed to speak to her Mom on the phone during her stint in prison. That loss of contact and parental guidance certainly did a number on her.
After her Mom was released, Haley still didn’t get her mom back. Maria immediately started pursuing wrestling and Haley J still didn’t get the attention that she needed.
There is a bit of a disconnect on Maria’s part as to why Haley would become an angry teen and want to leave her house at 16. Maria is not taking responsibility for why Haley would feel unloved in that environment.
Over those years, Haley grew a tough exterior and didn’t trust very many people. We sadly hear about the traumatic experience of Haley being raped when she was 15.
So all of this can easily show you, why the character of Hollyhood Haley J is a safe place. A security blanket for the 23-year-old.
The build-up for this first blood match commences, as we see Haley J and Maria looking for weapons for their match hours before happening. As the thumb tack comes out, you can tell that Haley is nervous about this match.
Even throwing up a few minutes before she has to go through the curtain. This match isn’t for the faint of heart and these women are showing why.
Maria comes into the match reluctant to fight her daughter, even when Haley J pushes her. It takes a hard slap in the face to bring down the walls for Maria to push her daughter down on the mat.
Haley J delivers all of the blows and Maria holds her hands behind her back.
Haley uses a trash bin, chair, a cord and a studded bat that’s covered in thumbtacks. Maria takes it and still won’t hit her daughter.
Haley pours out thumbtacks from a popcorn container to the ring mat and something snaps in Maria to finally fight back and hit Haley with the top of the trash bin.
Blood is pouring from so many parts of Maria’s body.
Many fans in attendance can barely look at the match. Al Snow makes it clear that he just wants the match to end as he looks on in the back.
Haley J marvels at her handy work and smears the blood on Maria’s head onto her hand.
Maria gets payback and suplexes Haley onto the thumbtacks twice. Haley gets the last laugh though, when she spears Maria into a table that is in the corner of the ring.
We get a three count that deems Haley J as the winner. In a weird way, the excessive use of violence in this match was probably cathartic for this mother and daughter.
Both women hug at the end, to the cheers of the crowd.
This was a tale of redemption for Hollyhood Haley J in OVW from a trouble heel to a remorseful daughter.
Also, a form of redemption for Maria. A young mother who messed up in the past.
This experience probably helped Haley J discover that her Mom did her best and made mistakes and that they still have time to make things right.
What did you think of the episode?
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