Monday, December 2, 2019

Well, I'll Be The Son Of A Tongan King

In the "new world" of wrestling, most chatter is still on WWE and its up and coming rival AEW. There's also my favorite of the bunch, NWA (usually called NWA Powerrr due to the title of their show) as well as holdovers from past decades like Impact, Ring of Honor, and Major League Wrestling. But one company that has a chance to be a major player in the future, and in many ways already is, has been around since 1972. That company? New Japan Pro Wrestling.

NJPW has made major strides in the United States market in the past several years with its program on AXS television as well as the enduring popularity of "strong style." How far this can go is set to be tested with New Japan opening offices here in America. It has also been announced that a line of New Japan action figures will debut in the U.S. next year. While we have seen the logo on figure releases here in the States and a full line in Japan, this is the first figure line of the company to be readily offered to U.S. collectors.

While Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay are among those announced for the first offering, one name notably missing who instantly translates into an action figure by appearance alone is Tama Tonga. Fear not fans of this founding member of The Bullet Club, Tonga actually already has two figures. Several years old already, Tonga debuted as part of Figures Toy Company's Rising Stars of Wrestling line which included several New Japan stars who struck their own figure deals with the company. There are both painted face and non-painted versions. Here we go with the much more exciting painted version.

Several years ago Figures Toy Company decided to re-enter the wrestling figure game with three separate lines: Ring of Honor, Legends of Professional Wrestling, and Rising Stars of Wrestling. While exciting names were announced, many making their figure debuts, it was soon discovered that quality control on these was less than stellar. Figures were arriving to consumers with loose or broken limbs and the quality seemed brittle as best. The Blue Meanie figure was reviewed on this very blog with somewhat of a bad taste in this author's mouth after the figure arrived with its head popped off in the packaging.

To their credit, Figures Toy Company responded to the concerns voiced both here and elsewhere on the Internet. They promised that the quality would rise with future shipments. While that did not help those of us who purchased the already-shipped items, it did improve the odds of the company getting another chance.

With Tama Tonga, I would have to say that the improvements are there with room for more. The loose limbs and popped heads aren't here, but this figure still does not feel as well made as the Jakks product on which the design is based, at least not the early Jakks figures which were fairly sturdy. The look of the figure, as with many of these Figures Toy Company figures, is superb. From the facial sculpt to the detail on the attire and vest, it is a great looking figure. These figures fit perfectly with the Jakks WWE "Ruthless Aggression" style figures, and Tonga looks great posed with figures of his father, King Haku.

The packaging on these is also unique with the resealable "clamshell" packages that Figures Toy Company also uses for their retro superhero and TV lines based upon the classic Mego figure molds of the 1970's. Drawings of the stars are used in lieu of photos, probably to avoid any copyright issues. I don't particularly care for the way many of these figures are twist-tied into the plastic trays within the bubble. It makes many of the figures look as if they're in some sort of bondage. That, coupled with the fact that heads and other parts have been found disassembled in the packaging, keeps me from getting any of these autographed. It should also be noted that despite Tonga being a major star for New Japan, the companies logo does not appear here as this is not an NJPW release.

It's hard to give a green light to actively pursue these figures due to the quality issues coupled with price point. It's difficult to find them under $30 per figure. On the other hand, the company is bringing us names like Meanie, Francine, Vince Russo, PCO, and others who've never had a figure and likely won't ever again. Will Tonga even appear in the upcoming New Japan line? Status unknown, but if you're concerned about owning him at all you may want to pick one of these offerings up while the price point is at the aforementioned $30. As unpredictable as wrestling is, the demand for its stars is as equally enigmatic.

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Marketable Visage Of Rick Martel

When you heard the strumming of the harp strings, you knew that the arrogant one was about to enter the arena. Yes, he was "The Model," and despite beginning his career in the relatively merchandise-light era of the 1970's, Martel ended up being featured on a load of items over the next few decades. Some of those pieces were reeking with arrogance, while others showed a clean cut hero who was virtually always striking with force. As we take a look at a few of them, perhaps you will want to cue up his famous WWF theme as mood music.

Originally making his mark in tag team wrestling on the '70s World Wide Wrestling Federation scene, Martel ended up honing his craft all over the world. The French-Canadian star began, as mentioned above, as a babyface who made the men cheer and the women swoon. Similar to his later partner Tito Santana, Martel may have had an accent but the fire in his promos came across crystal clear to all audiences. That fire translated perfectly into the ring with a style that was adaptable to virtually any opponent. Add it all together and Rick Martel had the perfect recipe for success.

Many fans will recall when Rick Martel shot to the top of the American Wrestling Association. "Ricky" made a credible AWA World Champion and was a good compromise between the ever-changing 1980's wrestling scene and the often-antiquated AWA approach to the industry. Martel, always a favorite with the magazine publishers in those days, appeared on covers as both "World Champion" and "rising star" simultaneously.

Famously, this period also saw the first action figure of Rick Martel. Originally packaged with opponent Baron Von Raschke, Martel's figure is one of the first that flashes to mind when the Remco AWA line is mentioned. Complete with jacket and occasionally a championship belt as well, there were several head sculpt variations for the figure that have previously been shown in these pages. Martel also appeared on the kid-sized championship belt carrying case that was supplemental to the Remco figure line.

In 1986 Martel jumped back to the World Wrestling Federation and immediately returned to the tag team ranks. Initially teaming with Tom Zenk as The Can-Am Connection, Zenk's departure led to Martel joining forces with Santana as Strike Force. The team saw a nice burst of success including a classic theme song in "Girls In Cars," a tag team championship run, and inclusion in LJN WWF Wrestling Superstars figure line.

1989 finally brought us a side of Rick that we did not yet know existed. At WrestleMania V, Martel turned on Santana and became an arrogant heel. Later that year, Martel became "The Model." Complete with his own cologne appropriately named "Arrogance," Martel took the ball and ran with the character. While he did not add any titles to his resume during this time, "The Model" had several memorable feuds all the way up to 1995. His inclusion in the Hasbro WWF figure line has always been a favorite of mine and in many ways was unexpected when released in 1993. Over the years "The Model" has also been produced by Jakks and Mattel as action figures, was included in the Remco WWF Superstars Shoot-Out table top hockey game, and appeared in several video games.

As arrogant as "The Model" was, Martel himself has always seemed to be a likable guy. Though he has appeared on the convention circuit in the past, promoters report that he has been relatively unavailable for bookings in recent years. By all accounts, Martel has had a happy and successful family and business life outside of the wrestling world. With all of the tragedy and sorrow that has surrounded many of his colleagues from the same wrestling era, this can only be taken as good news. Last seen on WWE television over twelve years ago, I think it's time that we hear that harp one more time, perhaps as part of the WWE Hall of Fame?

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Wrestling Classic Figure Review--Mattel Create A WWE Superstar Hulk Hogan

As touched upon a few entries ago, toy companies love to branch out by making various side series of action figures in which they hold the license. Get the maximum out of that investment, right? Mattel has done quite a few of these "subsets" in the decade that they've held the WWE license, yielding a variety of results. While the Basic, Elite, and Battle Pack lines have stood the test of time, others have come and gone. Some are aimed specifically to children such as Flex Force, while others like the Retro collection were most assuredly designed for the adult collector.

One series that never seemed to find its footing was the short lived Create A WWE Superstar series. The figures were undoubtedly inspired by the "Create-A-Wrestler" feature that has been included in the WWE video games for so many years. Seeing as how popular being able to invent your own grappler has been with kids and adults in the digital world, it's no surprise that a toy company would want to adapt that. Interchangeable parts and accessories to customize your wrestling world the way that you want it? Why not?

Though several waves of the collection did make it out, including some specific accessory packs, the success of the video game feature didn't seem to translate as well to action figures. While most sets contained a real WWE superstar head, accessories, and occasionally even a fictional head to identify yourself, the choice of outfit design may have been just a bit too far out. Most of the choices seemed like they were out of a really bad independent promotion. While I could imagine having loved them as a kid, the sets mostly clogged retail shelves. That is, all but one set which seemed like the only figure representation ever to be made of a certain American hero.

The set in question was the Create A WWE Superstar Hulk Hogan figure. Hogan was dressed as an All-American superhero complete with red, white, and blue coloring, flowing cape, and a face mask. While Hogan never donned this exact outfit in real life, the design was startlingly familiar to one that he did wear over a decade before this figure's release in 2015. Was this figure mere coincidence being included in a cartoonish figure series or was it the answer to a glaring gap in the figure archive of The Immortal one himself?

Rewind back to 2003 and you'll see a very interesting WWE scene. Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper were back in the mix of things on Smackdown. Whether you enjoyed it or not, it was much bigger than just a few nostalgia appearances as both were deeply involved in a top story line with Vince McMahon. Eventually the angle progressed to where Hogan had to leave WWE. Who showed up in his place? Mr. America. The tanned, muscular, mustached hero wore a mask to hide his true identity, but everyone in WWE seemed to have a hunch that the masked man wasn't Dusty Rhodes, Jimmy Valiant, or even Shane Helms.

Alas, real-life disputes between Hogan and McMahon ended the formers association with the company at that point and thus fans saw the end of Mr. America. Jakks Pacific, holder of the WWE toy license at the time, was certainly planning to add the character to their figure line-up, though the toy ended up being cancelled. Not long ago pictures of the prototype surfaced on the Internet, though this was identified as being slated for the Classic Superstars line. Either way, a very cool and unique figure never saw the light of day.

Though this Mattel version isn't exactly what the figure would have looked like had it been made at the time, it's very close. There is no doubt that this is what the company was going for. Perhaps the biggest difference is the addition of the cape, though one could easily imagine the character wearing one. Because this is the closest we will likely ever get to a true, production figure being released of the character, not to mention most of the other figures being too far out for what they were supposed to represent, it quickly became the most popular of the line.

Like most Hogan figures from Mattel, secondary market prices have gone up and held. Expect to pay around $30.00 for the figure at press time. Even with Hogan back in WWE, I wouldn't expect to see a repeat of this figure. Sure, a true Mr. America could come about if Mattel starts producing figures of The Hulkster again, but I just wouldn't bank on it. The company has enough trouble now with producing legends and actually getting them into true fans hands. But that's another rant for another entry.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

2019--The Year That Wrestling Was Reborn

Just a few months ago I was not alone in the thought process that wrestling as we knew it was dead. Thanks to the stagnation of a company that so many of us grew up on and supported over the years, there wasn't much to be excited about. Everything from the storylines to the shows themselves have been formulaic for years if not decades. An alternative has been long overdue. While there have been other options in recent years, over the past month two new entities have given wrestling fans hope in what can only be described as a true rebirth of the squared circle.

For over a year die hard and casual fans alike have been abuzz over the company that would become All Elite Wrestling. The promotion, led most visibly by Cody Rhodes, has managed to ostensibly pick up where WCW Nitro left off on TNT nearly two decades ago. With an underlying theme of giving the fans what they yearn for in a wrestling promotion, Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega are leading a band of relatively young talent who are tearing up rings on both cable and YouTube. Peppered with veterans like Chris Jericho, Dustin Rhodes, and Jake Hager (the former Jack Swagger), the company has enough name value to attract fans who don't necessarily follow the indy scene and its darlings.

Attending their fourth television taping in Pittsburgh, I was pleased to see that the atmosphere was completely different from similar events held by WWE in the past umpteen years. Fans were engaged throughout the show with very few backstage skits for the live crowd to be bored by. With a few exceptions, each individual character seemed to be someone that the audience was invested in. Perhaps the latter two dark matches (all of which air on AEW Dark, a YouTube program) were out of place in terms of match order, but I can't imagine that any fan left feeling ripped off.

While I enjoy AEW, I feel that more variety is needed on their roster. There's a place for "flippy" wrestling, but at this point there's just too much of it from match to match. This critique brings me to what is my current favorite wrestling program, NWA Powerrr. The brainchild of current NWA owner Billy Corgan, NWA Powerrr is a weekly one hour studio wrestling program in the grand tradition before the sport moved completely to arenas. The first taping occurred over two nights with about eight weeks worth of shows completed. Those shows air for free viewing on YouTube.

I'm not only biased towards NWA Powerrr due to the classic format, but I truly enjoy the variety of talent presented as well. Up and comers are coupled with guys like current NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis, Cowboy James Storm, Aron Stevens (the former Damien Sandow), Trevor Murdoch, and Ken Anderson. All of the names that I just mentioned are men who never quite seemed to get their due previously on the national scene. They thrive here, drudging up memories of stars from the '70s and '80s who once plied their trade in very similar studios. Sure there's a lot of jaw-jacking going on, but it helps to invest you into the issues that these stars are fighting over. These aren't silly skits over stolen wives and high school boyfriend-girlfriend drama. These are issues over being the best in the business, aka winning championships and having integrity.

Due to the length of the episodes, NWA Powerrr keeps you wanting just a bit more as the classic wrestling television shows did. Seeing as that the promotion will be looking to pay-per-view buy rates for success, this is exactly what they need to do. Along with AEW, so far there has been little presented to insult the viewers intelligence. I'm not ashamed to suggest trying either program to lapsed fans. That's something that I haven't been able to say in a long while. As far as AEW goes, who doesn't want to give it a try once they find out that Tony Schiavone is back in the fold? Speaking of the former voice of WCW, he may just be the MVP of the professional wrestling world in 2019. Who would've imagined that?

Is WWE dead? Not by a long shot. Due to SmackDown moving to Fox and a general feeling of the beginning of a new era, I tuned into both that program as well as Raw for the first time in two years. I have to say that neither program is truly for me anymore, but that may not be the same for everyone. NXT remains a fun product, though it still has the looming overproduced feeling of WWE. Regardless, the company as a whole is home to many amazing talents who deserve admiration and support. WWE also has the best female roster going which really shouldn't be a surprise due to the immense size of the company.

The talent throughout the entire wrestling world is a huge part of what makes this new era so exciting. One of the biggest thrills of being a wrestling fan when there were different viable options promotion-wise was to see where the stars would end up next. We now have chances for those "what ifs" to happen again. It's truly an exciting time and a throwback in every sense of the word.

And how about merchandise? So far we have a lot of t-shirts. There are also a lot of enamel pins, the coolest two being that of the NWA World and National Heavyweight Titles. Certainly with all of the national buzz I see an action figure deal coming for AEW sooner than later. With its unique format, it's a bit more difficult to see what lies ahead in memorabilia as far as NWA Powerrr, but my mind runs wild at the thought. If ECW could have a toy line, so can the little studio wrestling show that could!

I am positively energized as a wrestling fan. That is a sentence I could not have imagined typing just a few short months ago. There truly is something for everyone out there now. From AEW and the NWA to WWE and all of its many brands. MLW is making headway and Impact Wrestling is still chugging along as what almost seems to be an island of misfit toys. ROH is still running, though with considerably less buzz, and I have a feeling that NJPW is about to challenge AEW by diving even further into the American market. And hey, don't forget about lucha libre!

Now, if we only had time to watch it all...

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Help, Help Me Ronda

In the decade since the company acquired the WWE license, Mattel has tried seemingly countless lines to further the brand. The three most successful have been the ones so closely intertwined due to scale, those being the Elite, Basic, and Battle Pack (two-pack) lines. Aside from varying articulation, the figures are interchangeable. Due to this, Mattel has become quite a formidable rival to the vast variety offered by Jakks during their time with WWE. While that company had a much deeper roster of Legends thanks to the beloved Classic Superstars line, they did not have nearly the amount of current stars to create. Mattel has superstars from Raw, Smackdown, and NXT to produce, not to mention the stars of 205 Live and NXT UK.

In 2019 Mattel has introduced yet another line that, while fitting with the aforementioned Basic and Elite figures, ups the price point and, hopefully for Mattel, the desirability of re-releasing previously made characters. This is the "Ultimate Edition" figure series. At a price of around $30 per figure, Mattel is selling it as the ultimate in articulation for a figure as well as a way to package many different interchangeable parts with the figure thus creating different looks. The first series of two includes The Ultimate Warrior and Ronda Rousey.

Rousey was a polarizing figure in WWE for sure. I never had much of a problem with her being there, but I never felt that she added much to the product, either. This was at a time (continuing to this day) where I loosely watch at best, but her charisma seemed much more suited for the world of MMA than WWE. That being said, nothing that she did really put me off, either. Considering that her connection with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper was legitimate (unlike other current stars that WWE has attempted to link to legends), that was also fine with me. She was simply there. Another name. And here we have two or three of her signature looks in one figure.

The packaging is large but does show off everything that's included. Heads, arms, hands, a jacket, and her kilt. Opening the package wasn't as easy as opening an Elite. In fact it was a bit annoying. It's a nice window box, but maybe a tad too big. Once open, it is fun to lay out and think of what combinations can be made. To my knowledge, this is the only way as of press time to have a Ronda in pre-match entrance gear. While there was a Ronda figure with the jacket and one in wrestling gear, I think that this is the only one with the ponytail, jacket, and wrestling gear combined.

All of the Ronda figures have been spot on with the face, so all three of the heads are good here. The heads and arms aren't too difficult to change, but I had a bit of an issue with getting one of the jacket arms to stay on. Honestly, I'd rather have a soft goods jacket. Almost always. With any figure. It's just easier. The extra articulation in the arms really doesn't do much for me either. It doesn't look bad, but is it really necessary? Maybe there's a certain niche audience that Mattel is looking for here who wants that, but I'm more about the ease of changing the look of the figure with a product like this.

It's a nice figure, but not worth $30. I paid a sale price much closer to the cost of an Elite, which felt more reasonable. With the inclusion of extra hands, heads, and other parts in many of the Elite figures, it's really the extra articulation that should be considered for the price jump. Since I'm not concerned with it, that's simply not worth it to me. Aside from the first Basic of Ronda which seemed like a rush job (though unique as she's simply in her white t-shirt and pants), I held off on her other figures until this one was released. I'm glad that I did, but I don't feel any urge to pick up Bret Hart, Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor, Triple H, or anyone else who may show up in the line as of yet.

The "Ultimate" Ronda figure? Yes. An ultimate pass for the rest as far as the foreseeable future.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Forty Years of PWI

September 1979. Were you alive? I was a few years away from arriving, but it had to be a great time to be alive. A great decade was ending, another good one was on the way and those nasty '90s were a good ways off. Bias towards eras aside, I will always be partial to Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Beginning this month some forty years ago, PWI became the standard in wrestling magazines. In 2019 it's the only wrestling magazine still regularly on the newsstands. Have you ever peeked into that first issue? You're about to.

Is it any surprise that the cover of that first issue features '70s wrestling icons? "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes and Mil Mascaras are nicely photographed by editor Bill Apter with an inset action shot of Nick Bockwinkel. Mascaras was always billed as the favorite wrestler of Apter and neither the masked luchador nor Dusty were strangers to the covers of this family of magazines. I had the opportunity to witness a reunion between Mascaras and Apter this summer. When the legendary photographer and editor is present with "The Man of 1,000 Masks," he tells me that he suddenly becomes "Mil Moscawitz."

Speaking of Apter, in this first issue we get his well-remembered "Ringside" potpourri column as well as "The King's Court" with Peter King, "On Assignment" with Steven Farhood, and "Dressing Room Confidential" with Randy Gordon. The first letters section, "Between Falls," is a star-studded affair for this first issue with correspondence from the stars themselves! Dusty, Rick Steamboat, Bruno Sammartino, Johnny Valiant, Ric Flair, Captain Lou Albano, The Grand Wizard, and Andre the Giant have all sent their thoughts on this new publication! A worthwhile read if only to see how eloquently Andre pens his congratulatory letter. And just how are the legends shown reading this first issue that we're reading? Hmmm...something's fishy here!

Speaking of fishy, we come to none other than Matt Brock. Brock was already known to the readers of the Weston wrestling magazines and here he is "Looking At..." Jerry Lawler. Brock was always described as a grizzled, tough-as-nails, veteran wrestling reporter who shunned computers in favor of a vintage typewriter. This was forty years ago. Last I checked, ol' Matt was still plugging away as if time has stood still. It's as if he was a special being living in a world reserved for unique people such as himself, fellow wrestling writer Liz Hunter, Little Jimmy, and Sister Abigail.

Next up we get articles featuring some of my favorites such as Harley Race, Rick Steamboat, and our cover boys Dusty, Mil, and Bockwinkel. Steamboat is also shown in the "heel" column "Off The Top Rope" written by Dan Shocket. Unlike with Matt Brock, there's no question that Shocket was true blue. As was reported in the magazines several years later, Shocket tragically passed away from cancer. Eddie Ellner and Brandi Mankiewicz would carry on the "bad guy" writer legacy in a way that corporate pretenders like "Vic Venom" in the WWF Magazine couldn't quite match.

We also get our first "edition" of Wrestling Enquirer. This feature was two pages set up to look like the front page of a newspaper. Included were blurbs from around the wrestling world, written in a breaking news style. In the lower right corner we even get some upcoming event dates from around the country. Following that is wrestling's answer to "The Playboy Interview." Yep, it's the PWI Press Conference. And just who was the first subject? "The Living Legend" Bruno Sammartino. Among the topics covered are his title loss to Ivan Koloff and whether or not Bob Backlund will be an unforgettable champion.

Florida star and eventual gator breaker Steve Keirn gets a good write-up, as does the legendary Chief Wahoo McDaniel. While we get plenty of ads for back issues of other wrestling titles, ways to get stronger, ways to retire before 50, and other mail-away offers of questionable authenticity, the somewhat un-PC items shown for sale in other publications of the '70s are all but gone. Need a vinyl "friend" for those cold lonely nights? You will just have to find an older copy of Sports Review Wrestling to fill that need.

If your need in 2019 is to add this magazine to your collection, it may cost you. Selling prices have varied over the years, but most recently a copy sold at auction for $129.99. Also be aware that a "replica" issue from 2004 that came polybagged with the 25th anniversary edition of PWI is out there, though it has markings to indicate as such right on the cover.

For those of us who grew up with the title, the memories of articles, photos, and covers should come flooding back. It is an absolutely true story that upon my first PWI magazine purchase I knew what I wanted to do in the wrestling world. While it was only for a few issues, I am immensely proud that I was able to live that dream and can count myself among the names of writers who have been able to contribute to this long lasting publication.

While we couldn't fit every picture and page here in the blog entry, be sure to follow @JWs_Wrestling_Memorabilia on Instagram to see more of the issue, including the very first PWI Ratings page. Happy Birthday, PWI!

Monday, September 9, 2019

"The Man"

Over the past decade I've tried to keep the content of this blog exclusive to what the title states: wrestling memorabilia. I've deviated at times, most notably when a wrestlers passing needed acknowledgment or even regarding a live event or convention. I don't recall a time when I've felt the overwhelming need to acknowledge a current topic in the industry unrelated to those concepts, but here we are.

Most anyone reading this will already know the recent news regarding Ric Flair. As a brief recap, Flair is threatening to sue WWE over the use of the nickname "The Man" for Becky Lynch. We've all heard "The Nature Boy" utter "to be the man, you've got to beat the man" countless times over the years. His use of it is not in question.

Flair's given reasoning for the lawsuit is that he wants to provide financial stability for his family once he is gone. His financial troubles in recent years have been no secret, nor have the multiple instances of WWE bailing him out. Following a wacky business like pro wrestling for over thirty years leaves one pretty numb to inane ideas. This one left me speechless.

What we have is a true legend (a title that no one will deny) culminating years of pathetic behavior by slapping the face of those who have rescued him. His daughter, Charlotte, is reportedly as unhappy as many fans are by this recent development.

Aside from meeting Flair numerous times over the past fifteen years, I have no personal connection to him. On the flip side, I have horror stories from friends who have dealt with him on a business level. Those stories, along with others which have been variously retold, coupled with his inability to appreciate chance after repeated chance to repair both his finances and health, have left me pretty disgusted with the modern-day Ric Flair. This latest issue is simply the straw that broke the camel's back for me.

Flair is one of my five all-time favorite wrestlers. I didn't choose them out of thin air. They were the five characters that I've most enjoyed in my wrestling fandom. None of the five men behind those characters were perfect. But unlike the other four, Flair is the one who makes me wish that I could go back in time to completely ignore him. When I watch his old material, an asterisk appears in my head. "The character of Ric Flair was great...but."

Let's get this straight again. Ric Flair wants to sue a company that has repeatedly saved him financially so that he can provide for his family when he's gone. I don't always stick up for WWE, but who could take any other side here? Asinine doesn't even begin to describe this thinking. This isn't about the use of a nickname or catch phrase. Or perhaps, maybe it is...

Ric Flair, if forty years ago you had learned how to be A man rather than running around trying to outdo your own fictional alter ego of THE man, you wouldn't have to worry about leaving your family anything. They would have been taken care of and put first. But that's something that REAL men do.

The character of "Nature Boy" Ric Flair may have been "The Man." That's where any resemblance ended.

And for a memorabilia tie-in, well, here's the current character who is "The Man."