Sunday, January 20, 2019

Tales From The Gimmick Tables: The Demolition Cup

Welcome to the inaugural "Tales From The Gimmick Tables". A running series of articles where I look at random wrestling merchandise through the years that either hold sentimental value or could be some of the lamest stuff I've seen in all my time of being a fan. Today though, is a most excellent piece of memorabilia!

When it comes to collecting things, there are some items you search way too long for and some items, you spend way too much on. This is one of those items that fall into both categories.

Photo Credit: Myles Arden
Back in 1991, WWF released their third set of collector cups featuring the best tag teams in the company at the time. In a huge upset, it seems Power and Glory were shoved out for the Bushwackers, but who am I to judge? These cups were pretty spectacular and ONLY available in the merchandise catalog or at the live events. In essence, if you owned something from these legendary catalogs, you pretty much belonged to an exclusive group. There was no store this fun merch was available in. It was only meant for the most ardent fan to show off and brag over. The kids on the playground would be downright envious of your Ted Dibiase coin bank or your Dusty Rhodes ringer shirt. But these cups? These'll impress everyone who stops by to visit. Of course, I wasn't destined to be one of the kids who did own these in 1991 because my mom didn't wanna buy them but I wouldn't give up on owning one. One day I'd own one.


As beautiful as they look, I can't imagine they were super popular. In fact, I hadn't even seen these or the previous releases on eBay or in wrestling memorabilia groups. It seemed they had all gone forgotten. Except me. For years, even decades, I had never forgotten these and had driven myself crazy searching for the Demolition cup itself since they were my all time fave tag team and yes that still stands. No offense to The Beverly Brothers of course. The problem became, if I found one of the cups in this set, it would be way too expensive, someone wasn't willing to split up the set itself or it would be faded beyond recognition. After a while, I was convinced I would never find it. As a lifelong cup collector, it drove me insane that I'd have to abandon my journey.

Until last month that is! My buddy had gotten the entire set and was willing to let Demolition go, knowing how long I had searched for it. After all these years, it would finally be mine.

Holy crap! Check that out! I was under the impression it was in great shape, but didn't expect this! It's almost like whoever owned it, just ordered it, left it in the cupboard and forgot about it. No cracks, no stains, absolutely perfect. Even if Crush is included in the picture. I would've preferred Ax but let's not go down that road.

What impresses me most about this cup is that this is one of the very few, if not only, pieces of merchandise that featured Demolition wearing their short lived wrestling masks as featured on the road to Survivor Series 1990 where they joined forces with Mr. Perfect to battle against Legion Of Doom, Ultimate Warrior and Texas Tornado. The masks were unique but clever as they could play tricks in the ring and swap out a tired man for a fresher competitor whenever they saw the odds against their favor. The ref would never be the wiser. If you ever notice, the majority of Demo's merchandising usually depicts them in their makeup and focuses on their unusual face paint patterns so to see something with their faces obscured by their bizarre wrestling masks that they only wore for a very brief amount of time, is pretty unique and remains a reminder of this brief gimmick for the team. The masks were eliminated shortly after they debuted and went forgotten and they went back to using their awesome and intimidating facepaint.


Wow it's big! Keep in mind, Smash figure is 5 inches tall, so this is almost twice the size! I always pictured them to be the size of smaller promo cups you'd see given out at job fairs or summer concerts. But this is the big time. This is the WWF. They never did things on a small scale. Unless you count when they filmed Monday Night Raw in high school gyms in 1995.


Totally a sweet throwback! Check out that sweet block logo! I feel like this is the kind of cup I'd use to drink Ecto Cooler out of while floating around my sister Erika's pool. This just feels like you have to drink either water or something super flavorful out of it or it'll be revoked.



So after 27 years, I finally own it and can put on my shelf with my favorite wrestling glasses: A WWF New York pint glass and the foreign exclusive Demolition juice glass! Do I truly plan on using it like I've used the others? Well, yeah. I like to get some use out of my collectibles and this is no different. Of course, it won't get used every week, but you can certainly expect me to fill it with something tasty while I sit back and eat wings while watching the Royal Rumble next week!


After all, I do have some Ecto Cooler in the freezer I only use for special occasions...


-Chad





Hasbro-Uary: Ric Flair

I've been holding off on this one for a good reason, but since we're a week away from the Royal Rumble, why don't we dive in and discuss one of the greatest Hasbro figure disappointments: Ric Flair.
Photo credit: WCW Worldwide

When Ric joined the WWF in 1991, he made a sudden impact by challenging world champion Hulk Hogan and pretty much every other babyface in the company. He became the most hated guy and it was only a matter of time he'd receive the Hasbro treatment. The Hasbro line was at it's peak so fans had their hopes up for a hot figure. Sadly, we didn't receive a Flair figure until after he was back in WCW and on top of that, what we got was one of the biggest let downs.


Again, what Flair looked like and how we all remember him:

Photo credit: WCW Worldwide
And what we got:



Not a great representation of the legend but you work with what you've got. Flair was given the "Rick Rude" body, which was an even bigger misfire in 1990. While it was the right body size for Ric considering how small Ric is in real life, the action feature doesn't work for him unless you're having a Royal Rumble and need someone to get a punch in the head.


In this case, I suppose it makes sense. One of Flair's moves was to put someone in a headlock and give his opponent a bonk on the head. His face bothers me, mainly because it doesn't look like Flair unless he's doing an intense promo. Which is great if you making a video or diorama or recreating something like his Rumble 92 promo, but otherwise he just look constipated and his play value is extremely limited.. As a kid, I would've LOVED to have recreate his Wrestlemania 8 against Randy Savage, but his face and feature just made it so hard to get behind. Even if he was widely available in the infamous 3 for $10 phase of KB in the mid 90s. I just couldn't get behind this as a kid. And that sucks.

Fun side note, it has been noted by fans that this head sculpt does match his appearance in the 1993 Royal Rumble Sega Genesis video game:



Before writing this, I really tried to come up with some positives about this figure. The only thing I can think of is that the pose is great. Flair would often brag about how he's the ultimate man and how great his body looks (even though he was far from Mr. Olympia) so I suppose that's a big check in the pro column.



For those who want a more accurate Nature Boy figure in the Hasbro scale, you're in luck. Mattel gave us the Flair we always deserved in their "Retro" line:

That's more like it.



-Chad

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Hasbro-Uary: The Steiner Brothers!

Here they come! The Steiner Brothers! The world class athletes from Michigan arrived in the WWF, to much fanfare, in late 1992, off a very hot period in WCW. Fans salivated at the idea of a potential WCW vs. WWF tag team battles. Yup, a lot of fantasy warfare going on there in our minds!


There also was fantasy warefare in the toybox! Rick and Scott got the Hasbro treatment in 1994, a little after their departure (which was pretty common at that point) which being released later in the line provided the Steiners to take on a lot more opponents when it came to playtime. Ever wanna see them battle the Rockers? Or The Mega Powers? Demolition? The Mega Bucks? The sky was the limit! For some reason though, I could only find Scott in stores and could never score a Rick. Which was always a theme. If I had a Rick Galoob, I had a Scott Hasbro. If I had a Toy Biz Scott, I had a Classic Superstars Rick. For some reason, I've never had two from the same line or company. It just seemed to happen in a weird way. Until last year that is, when my friend and fellow Has-bro Steve hooked me up with these guys and I'm so happy to finally own these!


Scott received a repaint of Mr. Perfect's body, which suits him since he was the more "fit" of the two. Rick wasn't fat by any means, he was still in great shape but Scott had the better body and a bit more athletic for a guy his size. His head sculpt is pretty good but his outfit is where the real money is. Now, he was also a snappy dresser and since it was the mid 90s, his outfits were a bit more stylish and simple than his brothers. It's almost like if Saved By The Bell had a baby with your sisters Caboodles train case. It's just so 90s that it's downright amazing. This is the Scott I prefer to remember before he became jacked up on steroids and yelling about his cock and slapping a bunch of women half his age on the ass.



Rick, who always had the crazier gear got a little more of a cool design. Using an Owen Hart torso and a Demolition Crush's legs, this amazing paint job wasn't exactly his most memorable outfit but it definitely worked for him. Rick's face is a pretty good sculpt too. Almost giving him the ability to bark like a dog, which he was known to do and no one would question. The neon colors and crazy designs definitely make this figure a great one to display and helps him stand out. Just like in real life.







These figures made for great play and if you were a fan of both companies, I'm sure you had to have them. I know that these definitely made more play value than the Galoob releases, so it was nice to finally see this great tag team done right in action figure form.


-Chad

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Visiting Marvel!

Back in January 1999, my mom and I hopped on the AmTrak to take a VERY special trip to NYC to take a tour of MARVEL COMICS OFFICES! Well, it took a while to get there, but let's go back a little...

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Hasbro-Uary: Kamala

"Everyone knows Kamala. Kamala's a classic"-Triple H, Triumph and Tragedy of WCCW. 2007.



Truer words were never spoken. The Ugandan Giant was born onto the wrestling world in the 80s, taking on all comers in every company he had every been apart of. WWF, WCW, WCCW and everywhere in between. Kamala was used as a big attraction for the hero to take on. So if you were in Philly and you had a ticket to an afternoon at The Spectrum, it was mainly to see Hulk Hogan defeat his larger than life opponent. And man, was he effective as a heel. You would believe he'd chew Hogan's head off and swallow it. But, the red and yellow prevailed and after a while Kamala was gone. Until 1992 when he returned to the WWF. Same beast, but a little toned down for the era and was managed by Harvey Whipplemen and Kim Chee and his first and most memorable foe? THE UNDERTAKER. They'd battle for months until The Dead Man disposed of him in a casket match at Survivor Series 1992, which I loved. It wasn't a five star classic, but it was a lot of fun for a strange kid like me.


Of course his action figure, was also fun. The sculpt on his face and upper torso are absolutely terrific and really show you just how scary he can be. For a figure with such intricate face paint, a lot of effort was put into making it as accurate as possible. Capturing his famous yell was a great touch as I'd hate to see this figure with some dull expressionless look.


Unfortunately, Hasbro decided to give him the dreaded "jumping" feature which makes so little sense to me since Kamala didn't really do a lot of aerial maneuvers in his later career, if any at all. Of course, the only way I can justify this figure's action feature is the fact that it made preforming his finisher (Kamala would literally just belly flop on his opponents back) but otherwise I'm lost. It was good to see they created his tribal skirt into his legs, seeing as they could've just reused another barelegged mold so despite the limited playbility on this figure, it still remains faithful to the character and still provides some fun play.

Well...somewhat faithful...


(Custom figure to show what the original would look like)
Kamala's original figure was meant to have a MOON on his belly, since Kamala always had a moon. But instead, we were given a somewhat inaccurate figure with a STAR. Why? That's the question fans have been trying to figure out for YEARS and it's never been answered by anyone who truly would know. Many have speculated anywhere between religious or tribal reasoning, a snafu in production, or just didn't meet the standards of WWF or Hasbro. Will we ever truly get the concrete answer? Maybe, but 25 years later, no one still has any idea. It's been rumored that anywhere between 12 to 30 official moon belly figures do exist, on card and loose. Customs are pretty easy to get of this figure since it's nearly impossible to hunt down the real deal.
Hasbro's line had a lot of weird anomalies and the famous Moon Belly figure seems to be one of the favorites. For fans who want the figure, they're looking at thousands of dollars. While that's a very high price to pay, you gotta admire their dedication to the craft to hunt this down. Maybe some are looking to complete the entire series, some are looking to preserve it for archival purposes? Whatever the reasons, I salute them.


Kamala will go down as one of the greatest and most memorable gimmicks in pro wrestling history and this figure, moon or star, will be remembered fondly by all those who loved to live in fear of him.



Although, I'm sure Undertaker would disagree...



-Chad



Tuesday, January 8, 2019

ENTER: NAILZ

In the history of wrestling, no character has fascinated me more than Nailz.


I can't explain it very well but he always has. Maybe it's because he debuted at one of the periods when wrestling was really leaving a huge impression on me and something I soaked up like a sponge and in 1992, there was nothing that held my attention like an episode of Wrestling Challenge and Superstars.

Portrayed by Kevin Wacholz (Kevin Kelly in the AWA), Nailz was supposedly a former prisoner under the guard of The Big BossMan during his days as an officer in Cob County Georgia. He was also supposedly an innocent man imprisoned for crimes he didn't commit. I guess he should've just joined the A-Team and gone underground to prove his innocence but instead Nailz would debut in May of 1992 by racing out of the crowd and proceed to beat the living hell out of the former prison guard putting him out (in storyline) for a few weeks. Following that, we'd see Nailz beat other opponents with Bossman's trademark nightstick, and after Bossman returned, Nailz found ways to jump his nemesis before, during or after his matches. The Bossman himself, who I was a massive fan of, hadn't really been used strongly in a long time, so to see him beaten and helpless like this, was very scary and unusual. Normally, he unleashes the fury on his opponents so Nailz turning the tables, was really interesting to see.


Nailz felt like a mixture of a 1970s exploitation film and Horace Pinker from the Wes Craven supernatural slasher movie, Shocker (which may have been the biggest inspiration on his appearance). His promos were very memorable due to his modulated voice dubbing, which left him sounding like a demented, garbled Jigsaw when he spoke. I think if anyone reminisces about Nailz, his promos and voice are the first thing that come up. That and his famous line "BOSSMAN, I WASN INNOCENT MAN!".




At Summerslam 1992, Nailz plowed through the icon and master of meatsauce, Virgil in absolute no time. Shortly after that 5 star match that helped draw the house, he'd wind down his feud with Bossman after a pretty brutal Night Stick On A Pole match at Survivor Series. But of course before that match Nailz was teased to be entering a feud with The Undertaker, which began with an epic staredown on an episode of WWF Superstars. This faceoff garnered a pretty huge reaction from those in attendance leading many fans to chant "Let Them Fight" after Sgt. Slaughter came out to send Nailz to the backstage area. No doubt a guy as intimidating and without fear like Nailz would've been a great opponent for the Deadman. While Nailz wasn't a wrestler known for his finesse and charisma, he was one scary sumbitch and backed down from no one. Could this have been a huge money maker for the company? Maybe short term, who knows. But aside from a few house show matches, nothing came of this, except a cover of the WWF Magazine:

That image definitely leaves an impression and would've gotten people hyped for their big match at a PPV. Just imagine how great the build would've been between the promos, they hype videos and all the run ins both men would've done. I can even imagine a Nailz promo sitting in an electric chair talking about he's been close to death before and he's not scared of the Taker. Hey, who knows, maybe we could've avoided that Giant Gonzales mess had this happened but it was not meant to be, which we'll get to in a moment.


A few months after this face off, Nailz received a Hasbro action figure (in the legendary YELLOW CARD SERIES!), cementing his legacy forever:

Truth be told, as much as he frightened me, I always wanted a Nailz figure he just looked cool. It just looked awesome and would've made a lot of fun play. I mean, Taker, Bossman and even my Savage had to have some massive beast to plow through, right? His bright colors, his nasty demeanor and "JailHouse Jab" feature made him a very appealing figure. And best of all? New sculpt. Awwww yeah!


Of course, by the time I finally got my hands on one, his numbers and letters were faded, but I didn't care. I can finally add one of my most wanted Hasbros to my shelf. The sculpt really pops and his height definitely helps him stand out. Being one of the forgotten characters of that time, and never getting another action figure in any other line, this figure has actually become somewhat in demand and gone up in price in the past few years. So if you can score one at a reasonable price, do so. It's totally worth it. I just wish he had come with his own nightstick, but hey, it took me long enough to get him!

Other than the fact that he had been long gone, this awesome figure was a reminder of when Bossman was in danger of not being the Boss or The Undertaker becoming dead again. I'd say, it ended well for a guy who didn't stick around too long, right?

Well...


A little after Survivor Series 1992, Nailz physically attacked the boss and was booted. Yikes.

Following a very long shouting match over his Summerslam 1992 paycheck, he strangled Vince McMahon and when people came to intervene, Nailz decided to scream how Vince grabbed his wiener and other ridiculous false accusations to save face. That afternoon, as expected, he was shown the door with all his future plans cut and rumored to be blackballed from wrestling for good. Of course, he wasn't done with Vince. During the steroid trial, Nailz was brought on as a witness. When asked if Vince McMahon had ever pressured him into taking steroids, Kevin said yes and proceeded to yell something tp the degree I HATE HIS F'ING GUTS! in the courtroom. Which, in a weird way, kind of helped Vince's case in a weird way. The jury saw Kevin's anger towards Vince and decided the only person who testified against Vince, clearly had a vendetta, and was deadset on ruining him so the trial which could've landed McMahon in jail and the company in jeopardy, ended in Vince's favor and he was acquitted of all charges, avoiding jail time. So to a degree, Nailz saved the company. But, as expected we would never seen him again...


That is until he showed up on WCW for one night as...get this...THE PRISONER!


Yup. Slamboree 1993, he was brought in to fight Sting. Brandishing his most famous weapon, the nightstick, he...well...didn't last long. One night to be exact and not even for a long match. Which, works out best I suppose. I don't think WCW would've gotten a lot of mileage out of him anyway outside a short Sting feud. And even then, eh. Of course, shortly after his departure, Bossman made his WCW debut, so who knows, maybe we could've seen those rumored "Electric Chair" matches that dirt sheets had suggested were meant for a feud with Warrior in 1992 (which have been debunked).


After his brief appearance in WCW, Wacholz would hit the indie circuit until finally retiring in the year 2000. Since then, Mr. Wacholz has been living a quiet life away from the wrestling world. Convention promoters have tried for ages to get him to appear at their shows, all being flat out denied. It's clear he'd like to live a private life away from the spotlight. That said, you can find his website here, where you can get autographs and even a shirt from the man himself!


Considering I hated villains as a kid, this guy always stuck with me for his sheer brutality and scary promo. His unusual on screen and behind the scenes story sticks with you. I can't say that for every character I've seen in all my years of watching wrestling, so he must've done something right...


-Chad

Monday, January 7, 2019

Hasbro-Uary: Papa Shango

1992 was a bizarre year for the WWF. It was a big transition year, departing from the previous "Hulkamania" era and focusing on smaller, more younger talent. In that time, the company offered some wild and memorable storylines and characters. But perhaps none more wild than PAPA SHANGO!

Portrayed by Charles Wright, Papa Shango debuted in 1992 a little before Wrestlemania 8 but was thrust into the main event when he was given a big push and feud with The Ultimate Warrior. Essentially, he was a crazy witch doctor that would put spells on everyone he passed. In a very legendary segment, he made The Ultimate Warrior vomit due to a "hex". He wouldn't stick around much longer than a year but would return years later as the ultimate fighting machine "Kama" and the famous pimp "The Godfather". Wright would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.

Of course, being such a cartoony character, Papa Shango was simply a perfect fit for a Hasbro figure. Much like his character in real life, this figure stood out. Given a new sculpt with a familiar spring loaded punch feature and removable bone necklace(which I'm obviously missing), Papa was one of the taller figures created for the line. His newly sculpted legs and torso made for a great menacing villain that would even come to eye to eye with The Undertaker or The Ultimate Warrior. On top of that, due to his size, his body would've been repainted and reused as Diesel's body had the fabled "Orange Line" been released. Of course, this would lead to many customizers using the Shango to create the most accurate Big Daddy Cool they could.




One thing that stands out to me is Shango's tattoos. Charles is a heavily tattooed man and Hasbro was rather selective with who they'd give ink to but I'm glad they chose to give him his arm and chest tats.As you can see, my figure is a bit on the faded side, but you can still see the effort Hasbro went to get his designs as accurate as they could.


And then there's the face. Wow. Check out that face paint! One of the most accurate paint jobs in the Hasbro collection! My only issue is his hat isn't removable, an issue I also had with the Undertaker. That said, the hat works and makes him look more menacing. In fact, I don't think I'd trust Hasbro to make a figure with a removable hat. Frightening to think...

-Chad

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Hasbro-Uary: Sid Justice

Ahhh...Big Sid Justice. The man who wanted to rule the world. The man who won multiple world titles. The man who could've taken over Hulk Hogan's spot and been the next big superhero. Unfortunately, he was also the man who crapped his pants multiple times in the ring and became a joke at times.

But before all that, he was one of the most impressive wrestlers ever. Just look at him! Dude is almost 7 foot and looks like the real life Brock Sampson and most likely just as dangerous. If you were to create a perfect looking wrestler, this is what he'd look like. As a good guy, he was popular like you wouldn't believe. As a villain, people LOVED to hate him. Plus, the name "Sid"? That just sounds powerful. Sure, he had a lot of trouble with promos and interviews, but man, he got over with the audience huge. Now, Sid's had a lot of action figures throughout his career in both WCW and WWF. He even received some figure treatments by Mattel, which were pretty fantastic. But his Hasbro figure is something we simply must talk about...

Ok, pretty impressive. The face is a little corny but he could be a corny guy at times. I would actually argue that as silly as he looks, it's still a pretty good sculpt but Hasbro didn't make their bones off making 100% accurate face sculpts of course, so let's not be picky. The hair is pretty good, considering Sid had an almost William Katt level perm at times. But the real draw of this figure is his action feature: THE POWER BOMB. His devious finisher where he'd pick his victims up and proceed to drop them on their backs, ensuring nothing but flawless victory. This figure? Oh yeah. He's totally winning matches.

While it was pretty impossible to completely recreate the power bomb itself, the body slam feature did enable you to somewhat achieve it. Of course, it wouldn't be as photographically pleasing as what you see above. When you're Sid's size, you could pretty much throw anyone around like a rag doll, even if that person was the Hulkster so this action feature was a perfect addition. Of course, as most fans know, Sid's first WWF run didn't last nearly as long as the company had hoped, so this figure got released well after his departure (and I believe by the time he reappeared in WCW to team with Vader) which was common at that time. Still, to have a figure of one of the most unique performers ever in his prime was pretty fantastic, even if he had moved on.




Not bad for a guy who made softball his priority over wrestling at times...

-Chad

Friday, January 4, 2019

Hasbro-Uary: Mr. Perfect

What better way to describe this figure? Good? Great? Nah...this figure is absolutely PERFECT!

Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig was one of the all time greats in pro wrestling. His ability to cut an obnoxious promo and put on an amazing match was matched by no one else. Curt could beat you so quick, it would make your head spin. On top of that, he'd brag about it too, making him come off as that a-hole jock you hated in high school. You couldn't beat him. No matter how hard you tried.

His figure was just as perfect as he was and his action feature was one of the few figures that actually gave you the opportunity to preform his "Perfect Plex", a move in which he hooked his opponent's head, grabbed their leg and dropped them on their back for their 3 count.


Ok, so the action feature itself was not "perfect" per se, although it's still closer than we could've gotten at that time. Hasbro didn't always give a lot of thought to capturing the signature moves of every superstar released so it was rare when we got these accurate moves. But when they did it right, they did it soooo right! Besides, we could've received a jumper style or a clothesline (which, still would've been amazing imo). In it's defense, it looks so cool.


Two Mr. Perfect figures were released within a few series of each other. . The first release in his yellow gear seems to be more sought after by fans. I prefer the second blue figure because it uses his gear from his legendary match against Bret Hart at Summerslam 1991 (right down to the yellow pattern on the back of his tights).


Not much difference in the figures, except colors. Although the first Mr. Perfect is missing his "Mr. P" monogram on his boots. Which, I never noticed until just a few weeks ago. I do find that a bit weird because he had "Mr. P" on his boots throughout his WWF career, but it's not really a huge deal for me to sit here and marinate in anger.

Besides, this just proves that even his mistakes were...well...perfect!


-Chad

Thursday, January 3, 2019

LJN-Uary: Jesse The Body Ventura

LISTEN UP, MCMAHON! THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST FIGURES OF ALL TIME! AND AIN'T NOTHIN' YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!

Jesse The Body Ventura is one of the most colorful and unique performers in pro wrestling history. From wrestler to commentator to interview segment host and everything in between, Jesse has seen it all and done it all! Of course, the king of conspiracies would receive a few action figures and his LJN may be the one everyone remembers the most.

By the time this figure was released, Jesse had retired from in-ring preforming due to injuries and had become a commentator on tv shows and PPV's so it was a little out of date. But at that time, it took a lot longer to get figures released in their current gear than even now. For those who had been huge Jesse fans this is the way they'd want to remember him.

Check out those tights! Almost as colorful as he is! Of course, even in his announcer days, he'd still maintain his wild and crazy fashion. Jesse never had any trouble standing out anywhere in life and this figure shows it.

Of course, you gotta get those guns right! Check out that pose, McMahon! Not even Hogan can come close with these bad boys! This is the pose that could make women swoon and men quiver in fear, Monsoon! Take that to the bank and cash it. The Body is here to stay!

If you wanna go from a boy to a man, you gotta add this to your collection, Mean Gene! The ultimate man and the sexual tyrannosaurus will put all the other toys to shame!


-Chad

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Jakks-Uary: Shawn Michaels BCA Series 1

Back in 1996, there was no bigger star in the WWF than Shawn Michaels. He was everything I wanted to be. Athletic, good looking, funny, and  dressed awesome. Of course his outfits prolly made him look like a zebra printed psychopath, but that just added more flair to his already awesome character. And thankfully for us fans, that also lead to lots of great action figures! From his first AWA Remco figure in the mid to late 80s to current day Mattel figures, we've seen a lot of incarnations of the Heartbreak Kid (some of which you'll see throughout this month) but let's talk about his very first Jakks figure!

Jakks Bone Crunching Superstars debuted in Fall 1996 with 6 major figures: Diesel, Razor, The Undertaker, Golddust, Bret Hart and of course the star and champion at the time, Shawn Michaels. These figures were pretty unique. They were 6 inches and of a Hasbro or Bend'Em figure but they did have articulation at the head, shoulders, waist and legs, so you had more play value. Yes, you could finally preform The Undertaker's tombstone, Diesel's powerbomb, Razor's Razor Edge, Bret's sharpshooter and Shawn's superkick! A someone who hated, absolutely HATED The Bend'Em line and who also desperately missed the Hasbros, these were a massive upgrade and I was all about them from the first line. Since it was the first line, they had a lot of kinks to work out. Mainly the way the figures stood and the arm and leg joints. The appendages had a tenancy to be rather fragile and fall out super easily, and since my HBK got a lot of play, after a while he started standing weird. I can tell you even after opening him, his ability to stand was questionably at that time. Loose legs and arms were a nuisance but it was a rather steep price to pay for such a fun new figure line. Of course, those issues were solved later on in the line and were perfected.



My favorite part of this figure is without a doubt his face. It's a pretty good likeness of the man himself but it's still rather goofy looking. Shawn was known to make some ridiculous faces on screen but this looks more like he's just trying to hold in laughter at some joke he thought of and won't tell anyone. And the hair. Holy cow, I've seen She-Ra figures with less hair than this figure. But at least they had the intelligence to include his crazy, pirate earrings that he was known for wearing.

His tights and boots were also pretty good. Reflecting his tights from his fantastic 1995 ladder match with Razor Ramon, the teal zebra and hearts are a memorable design. Mattel even revisited this design a few years ago and is almost a spitting image of this figure (albeit, better quality):






In terms of just a fun figure to play with, it's a pretty good one. As far as Shawn Michaels, it's good but there's better figures out there even to display. Still, since Shawn is my all time favorite in ring performer and I do have such positive memories getting him for my birthday in 1996, this figure still holds a lot of sentimental attachment.


-Chad