Is Steel Horse a Real Wrestler? The ‘GLOW’ Character Has WWE Cred
Netflix's GLOW shows viewers how the line between theater and wrestling blur together in a fictionalized version of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (G.L.O.W.) of the 1980s. The show even features a few of their male counterparts in the ring, so you might be curious as to whether or not Steel Horse in GLOW is a real wrestler. The character is played by real life wrestler Kevin "Alex Riley" Kiley, Jr. in his first acting role, according to Wrestling Online, but it doesn't seem like Steel Horse was inspired by any specific wrestler. SPOILERS ahead for GLOW.
While the series features several pro wrestlers — such as Kia Stevens, John Hennigan and Chavo Guerrero — it hasn't been publicly stated whether or not Steel Horse is based on a real life wrestler. According to the same Wrestling Online article, Kiley said the casting breakdown of Steel Horse described the fictional wrestler as "the ultimate baby faced hero" with a "with a clean-shaven, clean-cut look." And when it comes to the name, there is a real life wrestler named Steelhorse Vachon, who reported his opponent to the police during his match in 2013, according to Online World of Wrestling. But the only thing Steelhorse and Steel Horse have in common are their names, because the GLOW character wrestles all the way through and wins his match — no phone calls needed.
In GLOW Episode 7, Carmen (Britney Young) brings Debbie (Betty Gilpin) to a men's wrestling match to show her how to fully appreciate the sport. Debbie truly gets into it when there's a a match between hero Steel Horse and villain (or "heel") Mr. Monopoly (real life wrestler Joey Ryan). Carmen, who comes from a legendary wrestling family, fills her in on their backstory and Debbie finds herself riveted by the match. Afterward, Carmen takes Debbie backstage to meet Steel Horse and Debbie hits it off with him and decides to spend the night with him.
Though Steel Horse may be purely a fictional character, Kiley has had many years of experience playing a different role. During his wrestling days, Kiley went by Alex Riley, a "university jock" persona for which he wore a letterman's jacket and became known as the "Varsity Villain," according to Bleacher Report. According to IMDb, he regularly appeared as Alex Riley in WWE Superstars, WWE Smackdown, WWE Raw, and WWE NXT and he worked as a commentator as well.
So even though it's unclear if Steel Horse was inspired by a real wrestler, it looks like Kiley brought a lot of his past experience in the ring to GLOW.