Come Get Some – The Women of the WWF (1999)

Come Get Some – The Women of the World Wrestling Federation is a 1999 VHS released by the WWF to cash-in on the popularity of their women’s division. It’s produced as cheaply as possible, with interviews conducted in random backstage locations and a significant amount of seen-on-TV footage to pad out the meagre 49 minute run-time. The only nod to professionalism is presenter Michael Cole, who gets to hang out in a small-scale TV studio.

With a video like this designed to celebrate women, what better way to open proceedings than interviews with four men? It appears to be the first four guys they found hanging around, as the answers are candid and undiplomatic, yet still approved for home video release.

Road Dogg lets us know that it’s fine for women to be on the show, as long as they don’t get out of their lane and actually start wrestling: “As far as wrestling goes, I don’t think they have a place. As far as our show goes, they got a good place in our show.”

That’s literally the first thing mentioned on the show. Women, know your place.

Big Boss Man doesn’t even realise it’s a question about wrestling, sticking to what he likes: “Personally, I’m a man’s man, and I like looking at women walking around, you know?” Someone should maybe have clued him in on the context of the interview, as we’re about to spend the next 48 minutes celebrating these women for more than just their ability to walk in a straight line without smashing their face into a wall.

Jerry “The King” Lawler is surprisingly restrained, admitting that “Guys like to see beautiful women, and they are here in the WWF.” Having seen a fair bit of 1999-era Lawler commentary, this comes across as a relatively thoughtful answer. At least it’s a complete sentence. The expectation is that he sees or even thinks about women, and gets stuck in a loop of “Puppies! JR look! Puppies!” until you reboot him.

Finally, Jim Cornette offers his thoughts, “Women don’t need to be involved in contact sports, especially sports that are associated with men.” It sort of feels like all contact sports are mostly associated with men. The only one I can think of that isn’t, is mud wrestling. The magnanimous Cornette does offer a hint that it’s not a completely hardline stance though, adding “If they want to try, that’s okay.”

This is the first 90 seconds of the video, carefully hammering home the idea that women have their place in wrestling, and it’s to walk around looking hot. And that’s it.

Thankfully, the show proper starts now, with Michael “Maggle” Cole in his little box of gloom. Michael is, at least, saying scripted lines that the WWF have approved, and not just dropping his bad opinions like steaming fresh feces. He opens with:

“Women sure are a controversial subject around here. There’s a great debate over the merit of women in our business. Like it or not, they’re here”

Oh, well, never mind.

1: Sable

The first stop on our tour of the ladies is with Sable, as Cole promises us “an inside look”. A bit personal.

They show a video compilation set to insipid stock music. Sable dances near a beach fire. Sable stands in the ring in her underwear. Sable rides a horse. Sable stands in the ring in her underwear. Sable walks on the beach in a bikini. Sable stands in the ring in her underwear.

She offers a couple of quotes about being a sexy woman, and how sexiness is a state of mind. That may be true, but she didn’t get her state of mind inflated by a surgeon, did she?

The WWF marketing machine rolls on, with a brief chat about her appearance in Playboy, but it’s mostly limited to a contextless clip of Sable waving the magazine around on Raw.

There’s a clip of Sable winning the women’s title at Survivor Series ‘98 – but the clip starts at the winning three count, so wrestling isn’t a priority on this tape. It’s not even clear who she beat. Is it like that clip of Randy Orton pinning Chris Benoit?

Some extended highlights follow, Sable vs Original Tori from 1999’s Wrestlemania ‘15.

There’s a bit of brawling while the commentators act like Sable’s a combination of Bret Hart, Terry Funk, and Rey Mysterio. Cruelly, since this is just highlights, the editors leave in Tori falling over during a bridging pin kickout. The match ends with gigantic muscle woman Nicole Bass running in to assist Sable. There’s no explanation or follow up on this storyline, so I guess the video came out just after WM.

After looking a bit further, it would seem that the tape is probably from after WrestleMania in March, but before Sable left the WWF in June 1999. There was a bit of unpleasantness here, with Sean Waltman doing a poo in her bag on her final day at work. Sable went on to sue the WWF for unsafe working conditions and sexual harassment, settling out of court later the same year.

Nicole Bass also sued the WWF for sexual harassment, ultimately losing in court. She sadly passed away from a heart attack in 2017, aged just 52.

2: Jacqueline

There’s a very different tone for Jacqueline’s segment of the video. Significantly less skin on show than Sable, including Jacqueline wearing trousers during her obligatory slow motion beach running bit. There’s still a bit of room for a bikini contest between her and Sable. It really looks like Jacqueline’s nipple pops out of her top, which is the sort of thing that’s usually edited out of these repeats, rather than included for home freeze-framing.

This bit does largely focus on Jacqueline’s shoot fighting credentials, though. She comes across as a genuine badass, a wrestler from the hoss mould of I’ll hit you as hard as I can, and I expect you to do the same back to me.

She’s rightfully proud of being the first woman to make the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 list. After a brief run-through of her career, the only person who merits a shout-out is Eric Bischoff, who she puts down for not liking women’s wrestling. It feels like that line was included to make Eric look bad, even though it’s exactly in keeping with the things the WWF’s own employees were saying right at the start of this very tape.

The sole wrestling clip of Jacqueline is a match between her and Sable for the vacant WWF Women’s Championship on an edition of Raw. It’s not clear when this happened, or how it relates back to Sable winning the same title a few minutes earlier on the tape.

There’s a funny contrast between Sable throwing these high kicks that look like gentle attempts to fix Jacqueline’s hair, and Jackie just booting the hell out of Sable’s stomach with a wonderful ferocity. Marc Mero gets involved at the end to help Jacqueline win. Mero has been all over this tape so far, it’s the closest thing we’ll ever get to a Best of Marc Mero tape.

3: Chyna

The tone shifts again for Chyna, as even though she’s tough like Jacqueline, she’s keen to be seen as one of the men: “I don’t consider myself one of the women, I consider myself one of the boys.”

She explains the difficulties of fitting in with the wrestlers, saying “nobody wanted me here, they could be very cruel”. Her then-boyfriend Triple H agrees: “Nobody wanted her here at first. Nobody wanted to travel with her. Nobody wanted her in the gym. Everyone had something they disliked. Shawn and I didn’t see a woman, we saw an awesome athlete.”

Much like Sable’s mucky gym bag, this workplace bullying and sexism is thrown away and not returned to.

Chyna is not like those other girls, a distinction that even the idiotic Road Dogg can understand: “I’m actually friends with Chyna. Not the other ladies. I just don’t see it.”

“I just don’t see it.” Fair enough, Dogg.

Chyna’s role is to be compared to the men. But despite what many fan signs at the time claimed, she’s not a man! This underlying novelty that she’s a woman but not a shitty one like the managers or other wrestlers soaks through this segment. 

The bulk of this segment is filmed in Gold’s Gym. The camera is slung around like an amateur filming for Jackass, and the interviews are just with whoever is in the gym that day and fancies a bit of showing off.

But it’s not all hard work and achieving above expectations. As the voiceover explains: “Chyna redefines what being in shape means. And many of us find that attractive.”

Some quick clips follow, which I’m sure are hilarious if you’ve already seen them and know what’s happening. Mark Henry reads her a poem? They go on a date, but D’Lo Brown is there and he’s the chauffeur? It’s like something from a dream.

Unfortunately, Chyna’s WWF career would go off the deep end once Triple H had enough of dating her. Seeing her so young and optimistic is really saddening.

Joanie Laurer passed away in 2016 at the age of 46.

4: Debra

Debra’s role within the WWF is immediately established with Cole calling her a blonde bombshell, and some old commentary clips from JR calling her a jezebel and an evil woman. She calls wrestling her B plan, after acting in soap operas – although to be fair, there’s not much difference.

Jeff Jarrett, who she managed at the time, explains that “males 18-35 definitely tune-in to see violence and women”, showing himself to be part of Dave Meltzer’s paid cabal of demo shills.

In the ring, Goldust challenges Jeff to a match. If Goldust loses, he’ll get naked in the ring, but if Jeff loses, it’s Debra who has to shed her clothes. 

During the match, Debra wanders into the ring, accidentally distracting the referee while Goldust kicks Jeff super hard in the balls. The Shattered Dreams is an amazing name for an amazing move. She clocks Goldust with a guitar, and he loses, so yay – we’re going to see Dustin’s bum.

Shawn Michaels (for some reason – it’s not really explained) turns up in a suit and DQs Jarrett for outside interference, prompting an enormous “Take it off!” chant. Shawn drops the appallingly weak rhyme “Stop your grinnin’ and drop your linen”.

Someone has taken the time to buy cardboard, paint GET NAKED on it, and carry it all the way to the arena. It’s paying off for them now though as it features prominently on the television. 

Jeff has already gone backstage for this point, but hasn’t gone for a a shower and is watching the aftermath on a backstage TV.  Like a true performer, Debra strips very slowly, teasing every moment out of the crowd. Just when her boobs are about to come out, Jeff and the Blue Blazer run in together to make it all stop.

5: Terri Runnels

Terri is the first woman of the WWF to get a surname, and even then it’s only because the surname is Runnels, the real last name of Dusty and Dustin Rhodes. This duality of sexy TV star and normal wife and mother is the centre of Terri’s segment. 

She’s a part of a tag-team called PMS, with Jacqueline. They’re the Pretty Mean Sisters, and also a cheeky little joke about periods. But not a joke of a period-haver, something specific or clever about having a period. Instead it’s a fairly blunt joke at the expense of women and mental unsteadiness, made by someone – the prick Vince Russo – who has never had a period.

We see some home video footage of the Runnels family, some of which feels like it was taken from the somewhat awkward Brian Pillman cuckold storyline of a couple of years earlier. We then see Terri on stage in a bikini that shows she’s been shaved to within an inch of her life.

Michael Cole warns us that “Terri has some surprising opinions”. Can you imagine what these surprising opinions are? An early advocate of renewable energy, or a fiery defendant of the ninth amendment?

“I think there’s a fine line that we as adults, as parents, as human beings must draw between what we do and what children do, what children are allowed to do, what children are allowed to see. I think that’s very important”

No, she just thinks there are barriers about what’s appropriate for children. Not that surprising at all, really. In fact, one of the most mundane opinions it’s possible to have. Did Cole expect her to say something like “actually, I think it’s great when children watch hardcore porn”?

Terri cooks in a kitchen while jiggling her breasts, and with a quick cut to Kane choking her, that’s all there is to say about Terri.

6: Tori AND Ivory

Cole lets us know that they’re new, they’re fresh, and they’re making a name for themselves in the WWF”.  This basically means that there’s not enough footage to make a proper segment out of either, so they’re getting chucked in together at the end to pad out the tape a little bit, with interviews clearly conducted in the stands before Raw was filmed.

Tori stalked Sable, but the video package doesn’t reveal any more than that.

Ivory was introduced by D’Lo Brown as an “early Valentine’s gift for Sexual Chocolate”. A very strange sentence that’s only improved slightly by knowing that Sexual Chocolate was the nickname of Mark Henry.

Tori hopes and prays for enough charisma to entertain the fans. She’s inspired by the variety of bodies in the WWF.

Ivory likes the franticness of the WWF, but admits fear and doubt before every performance.

And that’s almost it.

“I’m Michael Cole, thank you for watching and we leave you now with a warm weather look at these WWF beauties”

A one minute compilation follows of the women in a beach photoshoot. Topless with their hands in the way, tiny bikinis with their bums out, horrific stock music, and we’re done!

This was a real stinker of a video, a proper relic that seems older than its 22 years. There was a disconcerting amount of boob jobs on show, such was the 1990s. Despite a nominal attempt at portraying the women as more than just their looks, there was a constant undertone going back to appearance as the most important thing for a woman wrestler. A notion that’s particularly relevant today, as WWE have recently reverted their female hiring policy to focus on teaching bikini models how to wrestle.

If you like this post, then please consider following me on Twitter @methphoenix