Sunday, July 7, 2019
Some of both the most wanted and most creative figures of the entire line show up here, with a few that we'll pay particular attention to. Series 8 has The Iron Sheik, Jeff Hardy, Braun Strowman, and Zack Ryder. Series 9 brings us "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Goldust, Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Finally in Series 10 we've got Junkyard Dog, Matt Hardy, Elias, and Diesel. All series are on blue border Hasbro-esque cards that complete the retro feel. Thankfully the distractions that plagued the design in some of the middle series are gone, those being display stands and ads for a digital game that really has no business here. The game ad has been relegated to the back of the cards which bear no resemblance to the Hasbro cards whatsoever. Similarly, the cardboard stock used here is a lot thinner than what Hasbro used. This has been causing it to be quite the chore to find nice examples for carded collectors. This will certainly factor in as the years go by when mint examples are few and far between. Per retailers, the damaged cards have been coming straight from factory cases, furthering frustration.
Series 9 showcases two legends, those being Goldust and Randy Savage. This is the second inclusion of "The Macho Man" in the Retro line, the first being in his nWo attire. This one is a homage to an unreleased prototype of the first Hasbro Savage figure that was shown in advertisements wearing green trunks. It's nice to see a more classic looking Savage in the line. Joe and Orton are solid modern figures for the line. Some have issue with Joe being produced in his shirt, but we must remember that many original Hasbro figures were in shirts and entrance attire as well. The star here is "The Bizarre One," Goldust, in what could prove to be his final figure for some time. Appropriately, he is produced in his early look complete with black-painted ears and removable wig. Should the Hasbro line have carried on another year, Goldust would have at least been in the planning stages.
Ten series of Retro. This is the first review of the line that, as of press time, has no future announced releases to discuss at the end. While many collectors finally got what they wanted out of the line in Diesel, there's room for more. Of that fabled unreleased final Hasbro series, Mattel could produce Mabel, Jeff Jarrett, and "All-American" Lex Luger. I wouldn't mind seeing Dusty Rhodes (like that's a surprise...), "surfer" Sting, and Nikolai Volkoff added if at possible. Since females and managers weren't part of the Hasbro line I won't say that I'm expecting any, though it's hard to fathom that the new line would end without at least one woman in the era of the women's revolution. How about Elizabeth, Sherri, Ronda, and Becky? At least two Retro-styled women's bodies should be produced to give us an idea of what could have been...and what now still could be.
Kill the distribution issues, Mattel, and bring us ten more series...
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Hacksaw is back in action figure collections worldwide, now for the third time thanks to Mattel. I will make the statement that Duggan is one of the more under-produced wrestling legends as far as action figures go, especially for someone with such high name recognition. Off the top of my head, the Duggan figure count totals to eight, with LJN, Hasbro, Star Toys (Mexico), Jakks, and Mattel as the manufacturers. Today we're looking at the eighth figure in the count, but one that actually covers three eras of Duggan.
The Gamestop exclusive RetroFest line brings us the latest Duggan, joining the likes of Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Shawn Michaels, The Honky Tonk Man, and Ric Flair already in the series. The packaging is designed to resemble a vintage arcade cabinet, most notably that of the WWF WrestleFest game. It's a fun and unique change, though it does partially hide some of the figure itself. Removing the figure can be a bit of a challenge, too.
The true highlight for me are the accessories that lend themselves to two other versions of Hacksaw. Included are the ubiquitous 2x4 and flag, but the real gems are the removable t-shirt and crown. The crown is from his 1989 run as "King Duggan" and the t-shirt is a meticulous reproduction of the one offered in the merchandise catalog and at events circa 1988. With the shirt on the first Mattel Duggan release and the crown on the second, you can have a complete Duggan "fashion show." Move over Ken, Hacksaw's here. The flag and 2x4 seem to be the same as the original Mattel release of Duggan nearly a decade ago.
Saturday, June 8, 2019
The year was 1986 and the film Crocodile Dundee was banking coin and bringing laughs at the box office. It told the story of an Australian bushman finding himself in America lost in the culture of New York City. What better story for a new WWF character? The company found a man named Peter Stilsbury to portray the character and thus began the adventure of Outback Jack. As said above, it isn't a bad idea on paper. As chronicled by the vignettes shown on WWF television to introduce the character, the Australian bushmen are tough. I'm sure that many fans were eagerly awaiting Jack battling and defeating the biggest and baddest that the WWF had to offer such as King Kong Bundy and Kamala.
Needless to say, Outback Jack was a failed experiment. To the surprise of many fans today, Jack lasted about a year and a half, seeing his last WWF matches in mid-1988. In a bit of trivia he even teamed with a young Steve Blackman in one of those matches, the same "Lethal Weapon" who would make a bit of a name with the company a decade later.
What is also surprising to some fans is the amount of merchandise that was released for the character. Outback Jack had several cards in the much remembered 1987 Topps WWF card set, even getting a "face" card that only the top superstars received. He also had a rarely seen set of promotional photos that showed Jack in and around Australia in some of the same situations shown in the introduction vignettes. There was an Outback Jack t-shirt sold through the merchandise catalog and at events, but most famous is his figure in the beloved Wrestling Superstars line by LJN. To date this remains the only figure of Jack, and it even has a removable slouch hat.
Sunday, May 26, 2019
*Where better to kick it off than with The Nature Boy? In one of the later issues, Ric Flair appears on the cover holding the belt that he defended night after night, that being the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The covers went through a multitude of changes as the years and months went by, but here on Vol. 4 No 8., Naitch appears to have been photographed after one of his many title defenses. For as big of a star as Flair was, he had fewer cover appearances on this publication than other stars of Jim Crockett Promotions. This issue recently sold at auction for $126.
*Dino Bravo will most likely be remembered for his tragic end, but
his career spanned decades with runs in various different promotions. Before his bleached blonde days in the WWF, Bravo was both a heel and babyface around the globe. Hearing the cheers of the fans in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, Bravo captured several major titles in the promotion and feuded with the likes of Blackjack Mulligan and The Andersons around the Carolinas and beyond. His cover issue recently sold at auction for $30.
The Mid-Atlantic titles continue to hold their own. While deals are to be had on some issues, others simply won't waiver. Only truly documented here on this blog as well as on The Mid-Atlantic Gateway, the magazine continues to be a treasure to behold in the wrestling memorabilia world.
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Mattel WWE Retro Series 5 should have been available everywhere. You have one of the most popular acts of the last few years debuting in a hot line and an all-time great making his "re-debut" in the style. Aside from some appearances at online retailers and, shockingly, in the bargain basement, this series really didn't show up much of anywhere. The sad part is that without these four the Retro set and collection has a glaring omission. Nevertheless, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Big E., Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods have arrived.
For me, Randy Savage is the sleeper here. You can't have a bad figure of The Macho Man. It just does not happen with what a larger-than-life character that he was. That being said, I wasn't too excited when this figure was first revealed. The nWo black and white colors just don't do it for me in this style. I would have preferred the Savage that we should've gotten in 1992, but didn't. A simple repaint of the "Macho King" figure with vibrant pants, similar to the figure included in the Hasbro Royal Rumble mini-ring. After having the figure in my hands, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. It really screams "Savage" (or "Oooooh yeah," perhaps?) in the WCW/nWo era and goes well with other figures in the line such as Sting, Goldberg, and Ric Flair. It should be noted that a packaging variation has been discovered with Savage. In some releases his left arm is raised inside of the bubble.
Thanks for still checking out the blog even on our reduced schedule. There's plenty more to come...
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Another four superstars round out the latest wave to hit stores, including two Hall of Famers. Our lineup tonight is Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, and Sheamus. The best news to come out of this series is that the obstructions on the cardback are largely gone. The homage to the Hasbro "Real Wrestling Action" symbol is back and the fairly pointless stands are gone. Also largely reduced are the graphics advertising a game enabled by scanning the card with your cell phone. There's still a small note of it in the corner, but the barcode is now included on a piece of cardboard packaged behind the figure.
I'd have to rank Shawn Michaels as my least favorite simply because I'm not necessarily seeing HBK in the face. There's a fine line in how these WWE Retro heads should be done. While they shouldn't look like a regular Mattel figure head plopped onto a Hasbro-style body, there does have to be an almost cartoonish resemblance. Sheamus and Angle capture the latter perfectly. Jericho is good, but it may be just a bit too close to the regular Mattel version. In a nice change, all four have action maneuvers that fit their characters and don't interfere with the figure likenesses.
In my opinion the WWE Retro line is really picking up again. There
are some very wanted names coming for this format including Diesel and Goldust as well as surprises like The Iron Sheik and Junkyard Dog. The line has seemingly escaped from its days of a lot of dull colored characters translating into dull figures in a style that should not be dull. As long as the distribution stays fairly decent, I think that we could be seeing the "rebirth" of the Hasbro style go for a long while.
Friday, March 22, 2019
I always tried to keep the same mission: to enlighten and entertain using wrestling memorabilia. Though I did occasionally stray discussing other topics within wrestling, I constantly attempted to tie it into at least some collectibles. I also did my best to keep the content positive. It's easy to write negatively and sadly there are a lot of negatives in the wrestling business to write about. Did I stray? Sure. But you all enjoyed my infamous New York City encounter with A.J. Lee. I'm told that even Jay Lethal mentioned it in a shoot interview. Even with a little bad came some good.
Dusty, Bruno, The King, and Piper are just a few names who I feel were written about more than others around here. I never thought that I would be writing memorial entries for The Dream and Hot Rod back in 2009, but time marches on. Autographs have also always been a staple, considering I myself am a huge collector of them. I know that doesn't ring true for every collector, but I appreciate you staying on if it's not your thing. While I don't think that every single piece of memorabilia needs signed, more often than not I will purchase an item if I think that it has autographing potential.
With all of that being said, we're nowhere near being over. When I have a great topic it's still just as fun as it always was to maintain this blog and continue the journey. I have several ideas lined up for the near future and still maintain all of the branches of the blog on social media through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While the tales of wrestling memorabilia are now told in various ways outside of the blog that you're reading, it's a sincere hope of mine that you all still have a big spot in your heart for the original. You may not have a Thursday evening destination any longer, but remember to visit now and then.
In another decade we'll be reflecting on twenty years right here. Mark my words.