We were so unprepared to like the series “Against the Ropes.” When we read the Netflix description of it, we believed it would be the story of a mother rising through the ranks of the wrestling circuits as an underdog to achieve the ultimate victory, along with the respect of her daughter. Doesn’t sound like a bad premise, but maybe our prejudice stemmed from our frame of mind at that time, which wasn’t ready for something like that. However, as we started watching the series, we understood that despite the journey of the protagonist, “Against the Ropes” is a story of sisterhood. It is about how women come together to protect and support each other through the problems in their lives. As for the humor in the series, it is not “laugh out loud,” but it keeps things going, which is required because you find yourself hating the kid, Rocio, a lot. We get that she is 12 years old, and children cannot be expected to have the same level of understanding and maturity as adults. But while that can make us give her a pass, it cannot make us like her because she keeps hurting our protagonist for no reason and doesn’t seem to know what she wants. Again, she is a child and doesn’t know better, but we were annoyed regardless. We don’t have as many complaints about the rest of the characters, who were actually well-written. Let’s see how their story plays out.
Angela’s Efforts To Get Back On Her Feet
Episode 1 of “Against the Ropes” Season 1 starts with Angela getting out of prison and having her things returned to her by the police officers. She has served a 6-year jail sentence for being found in possession of drugs, but she claims that the backpack they were found in was not hers. Regardless, when she goes back home, she finds that her daughter is not there. Instead, she is with her father, Lalo. Angela is angry with her mother for allowing Lalo to see Rocio, but Victoria tells her that he had helped them out for the last three years when she needed financial help to take care of her granddaughter. Angela goes to meet her daughter and finds her at a wrestling match. She is there to witness Candy, Lalo’s girlfriend, in the ring. Candy wins the match and proclaims that Rocio is her daughter, which feels odd to a watching Angela. When she meets them all, it is clear that none of them are happy to see her. After going home with her daughter, Angela discovers that Rocio had told everyone that her mother had been part of a rock band, and that’s why she was absent for so long. However, it is an open secret that she wasn’t really in a band. Angela’s next step is to find a job so that she can start supporting her daughter. It is clear that Rocio is not happy about Angela’s presence in her life. While her mother tries to be as gentle as possible, she can’t help but place some boundaries in place. She tells Rocio that she doesn’t want her to go to the matches, and if she wants to go, she must tell her first. Rocio agrees though we don’t believe there is any weight to her words.
As for Angela, she gets a job at a bridal store run by Mr. Gabriel, who has been a longtime admirer of her mother. At the store, she meets her best friend, Malena, and a few other girls, who go on to form a tight group for the rest of the series. There is a bit here with Angela trying to find out who the incriminating backpack belonged to—the one that landed her in jail. While she doesn’t get any definitive answers, Lalo is keeping an eye on her, and he believes that she might be getting into trouble again. The thing is, nobody really believes that Angela is innocent; hence, they still look at her with suspicion. Even Lalo thinks that she will cause trouble, though he is worried about that for the sake of Rocio. Angela refuses to explain anything to him, but it becomes increasingly clear to her that she must win the respect of her daughter, who is the one person whose validation she cares about. She gets the idea that wrestling might be the key to that after she has a fight with Candy in the ring when she relentlessly provokes her. People did not like Angela winning, but she knew that she could play a character to reach her goal. Perhaps that is what led her to her first fight, where she appeared as the “Bride in Black.” She needed to mask her identity because she had promised Rocio she would never wrestle again. It was at this fight that Angela knew that her ruse could work when she saw her daughter wowed by her, an emotion she had longed for. It was also this fight that convinced Refugio, her godmother, to start training her again.
Journey Of The Bride In Black
With Angela’s training underway, she is joined by her colleagues Lucia, Betty, and Josefina, who train with her to be wrestlers. They call themselves the Bridesmaids of Horror. “Against the ropes” is not just the story of Angela but also of these women. Lucia is a shy lesbian who has had a crush on Betty for a long time. Betty is straight, but she is a good friend. There is a part that comes later on where Betty gets a little intrusive and reveals Lucia’s sexuality to her family by kissing her without her consent, but the latter puts her foot down and makes it clear that it isn’t okay to do that. But Lucia’s sister, Erica, tells her that she will accept her no matter what, which eases up the tension for her. But as Lucia said, it wasn’t that great a kiss with Betty, and maybe that’s what caused the crush to end, and they all got on with their lives as friends.
As for Josefina, she has an ex-husband who is rather ungrateful and belittles her every chance he gets. Wrestling is her way of making herself stronger, and she succeeds in putting her foot down in her house. Throughout all this, Malena is dating a man named Maurice in an on-and-off relationship. Meanwhile, Rocio is going through some troubles of her own. She likes a boy named Julien, but there is another mean girl in the school, Sofia, who constantly belittles and bullies her, making it hard for her to approach him. There is some pleasant backstabbing, but Rocio’s friend Pato is always by her side. After one particularly cruel prank, Julien apologizes to Rocio on Sofia’s behalf and asks her to teach him wrestling, which she takes as a sign that he likes her too. But Julien just seems like a boy who is playing it safe with everything because he really can’t tell Sofia that he doesn’t like her, which she seems to think he does. Again, we’re not judging the kids by adult standards, and that’s why we understand when Julien finally tells Rocio that it’s Pato that he likes. Rocio goes through a brief crisis because Pato is her best friend, but she eventually realizes what her priorities are. She tells Julien the entire thing and kisses him right before leaving. Sorry, we shouldn’t have called it a kiss, but whatever it was that happened without consent, it gives Rocio the answer that she doesn’t like him that much after all. She meets Pato and tells her everything. Pato tells Rocio that she and Julien could never happen anyway, which convinces us that this girl has better taste than her best friend.
But coming back to Angela, her life is in chaos because Candy seems to believe that she should be the mother of Rocio and resents Angela for being there. While the Bride in Black is giving Angela a place in her daughter’s life due to the adulation she has for her, Angela still has her fair share of troubles. Lalo brings a custody lawsuit for Rocio. Angela hires Lucia as her lawyer, but it doesn’t go well because Angela withholds information from her about Lalo helping out when Rocio has fallen seriously ill. This causes a temporary rift between the friends, which they later patched up. As for her alter ego, she is challenged by one of the wrestlers, Ludark. Angela doesn’t want to accept that challenge as she comes to know that the police suspect the Bride in Black to be involved in some drug dealings. However, she is unable to lay low for too long and goes for the match, which she wins. The police know her real identity but don’t arrest her because they don’t have conclusive proof of her involvement. But this sets her thinking, and Angela finds that Lalo had tampered with her backpack the day of her arrest. She briefly suspects him, but that is cleared up soon enough when she finds that his story checks out. Lalo obviously still has feelings for her, but the tenets of common-sense dictate that he stays with Candy, which is becoming more of a struggle each day.
Meanwhile, Angela discovers that the reason her mother and Refugio fell out is that the latter had an affair with her father. After this revelation, she decides to start training with someone else, namely Golden Chameleon, formerly Candy’s coach, who is on the hunt for the next champion.
Candy is not happy with this development, especially since she found out that Rocio is in constant contact with the bride. While Angela is not able to get on board with Chameleon’s training methods, she ends up losing a match. Candy uses this opportunity to get back with her coach, who tells her that she does not have the ambition anymore. Lalo is not happy with this, as he believes that the coach brings out the worst in Candy. The problem is that Candy is the kind of person who doesn’t think about right or wrong once she sets her eyes on a goal. She always wanted to be a mother, but when she found that she couldn’t get pregnant, she set her sights on Rocio to the point of wanting to have all of her love and adulation. Similarly, when she decided that she wanted to focus more on her career, she did not care about the effect it had on her relationships. She ends up calling Lalo “mediocre” in front of Rocio during a fight, which causes them to break up. On the bright side, while everything is still chaos, it looks like they are going to start making sense for Angela.
‘Against the Ropes’ Ending Explained: Does Angela Gain The Respect Of Rocio?
Angela comes up with a plan with the police, where she would lure the guy selling the drug by acting as a customer. The ruse works, and the guy turns out to be Maurice, Malena’s boyfriend. Angela is furious, especially more so when he tells her that he is not alone, and that Malena helped him. Later that night, at the match, Angela confronts her, and Malena confesses that she knows the backpack belonged to Maurice, but she hadn’t said anything because he had threatened to harm Angela’s family if she said anything. Angela tells her that she does not want to see her ever again.
On the bright side, Angela has proven her innocence. But it is still not enough for Rocio, who claims that she is angry with her for putting them in danger and that all she ever wanted was her mother. There is so much we want to say but must hold ourselves back because we have to chalk it up to the immaturity of a child, just like Angela does. But the mother and daughter seem to reconcile a little bit later on when Angela stands by Rocio when she gets her first period. That is also the night Lalo tells her that he wants to get back together, though Angela doesn’t give him an answer. But this is witnessed by Candy, who just gets angrier. As for Angela, a man named Nahual offers to train her so that she may get into WWE and make a living from wrestling. But Angela cannot get on board with his methods and quits. However, Refugio suspects that something is wrong.
The day of the wrestling match arrives, and it is all kinds of chaotic. Gabriel proposes to Victoria, which she gladly accepts. As for Refugio, she is happy for her best friend, but she confronts Nahual regarding her suspicions, which prove to be right. He is Anabin, Angela’s father. He tells her that he faked his death because Victoria had told him that if he left, she would tell everyone that he was dead, and after his betrayal, he couldn’t refuse her. This conversation is overheard by Angela, and she is heartbroken.
Meanwhile, Candy discovers the real identity of the Bride in Black because of a previous trinket she found in her belongings. Using that, she enters the ring. It is clearly a rigged match, with the referee being in favor of Candy and her wanting to win no matter what she has to do for it. When she wins the first round, Angela tells Refugio about what she has heard. Refugio tells her to focus on her daughter and continue the fight. But it is not a fair game with Candy cheating unabashedly and the referee not stopping her at all. Nevertheless, Angela wins the second round. But when it comes to the third, as tough as it is with the odds stacked against her, it looks like Angela might win after all when last-minute cheating causes Candy’s victory. But while she is being declared the champion, the entire stadium is booing her. However, Candy doesn’t care because she just wants to humiliate Angela. As per tradition, when she removes the mask of the Bride in Black, she expects her to lose every last inch of respect she has. But the opposite happens. Seeing that it is her mother who was the Bride in Black, Rocio takes the drum and starts chanting her name. The entire stadium joins her, and though Candy has won the battle, Angela wins the war by getting the respect of her daughter and the goodwill of the audience.
What To Expect From ‘Against the Ropes’ Season 2?
“Against the Ropes” Season 1 did leave some loose ends to be answered. We don’t know what happens with Angela and Lalo. There is the question of Malena and the very “telenovelish” twist of Angela’s father being alive. Additionally, Rocio is an extremely bratty child, and we are not sure how she will reconcile the personalities of her mother and of the Bride in Black. We also don’t believe that this is the end of Angela’s wrestling journey. But if you come to think of it, do these questions really need to be answered? Whatever the tension between Angela and Lalo, they are better off apart than together. Maybe Malena will never make a comeback in Angela’s life, and Anabin doesn’t have to affect anything at all. But if there is going to be a Season 2, it must show Rocio growing up a bit because she was the most irritating character after Candy.
As for the series itself, it was fast-paced and really well-written. We must compliment the casting, as all the actors enacted their parts with just the right amount of emotion and comedy, befitting the theme of “Against the Ropes” and the journey of the characters. We would definitely recommend this show, as it is a wonderful weekend watch with a refreshingly binge-able quality that we haven’t seen in a while.
“Against the Ropes” is a 2023 Drama Comedy series streaming on Netflix.