Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Memorabilia Of WWE Legends House

It should come as no surprise to anyone that a show like WWE Legends House is right up my alley.  While no big devotee of the "reality" television boom of the last fifteen odd years, I've never made it much of a secret that I am a fan of the stars of wrestling's past.  Giving some of those stars the chance to shine once more in a setting that highlights the often quirky personalities of these past titans?  I'm there.

As soon as WWE Network was announced, Legends House promos started rolling.  After all, the show had been filmed two years earlier and was finally going to see the light of distribution.  I'll be the first to admit that the initial "teaser" look at the show appeared less than promising.  Sure, everyone expected normal reality show hijinks paired with wrestling legends, but for whatever reason the preview felt underwhelming.  The novelty of seeing these men as they appear today was nonexistent for someone like myself who sees them regularly on the convention circuit.  Would there be another hook to Legends House?

With Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, Pat Patterson, Mean Gene Okerlund, Tony Atlas, Hillbilly Jim, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and Howard Finkel all under one roof, the answer could only be "yes."  Thus far, the show has been an entertaining mix of humor, drama, and cabbage rolls.  Viewers are already debating as to which of the legends will be standouts and which will cause the most trouble during the group's stay in the former Palm Springs estate of "Marx Brother" Harpo Marx.

While no memorabilia from the show itself has crept up (yet), any fan is bound to get nostalgic with these eight legends.  Only one (Patterson) never had an action figure, but others like Piper and Duggan more than make up for that.  Great portraits hang above each legends themed bed area, but what other items could've been placed in the house?

The first legend to arrive at the house was "Mr. USA" Tony Atlas.  The strongman immediately noted that he is known for press slamming Hulk Hogan.  This is indeed fact, and one of these moments was immortalized on the cover of Pro Wrestling Illustrated back in August of 1981.  Atlas loves seeing and discussing merchandise that included him, but he has always seemed especially proud of this PWI cover.  He often adds the story that this particular photo was the sculptors reference while designing the Slammy Award trophy.  Truth or fiction, it is still an impressive shot from wrestling's past.

Jimmy Hart has described himself as "the ultimate entertainer."  While many fans have certainly enjoyed his ringside antics, Hart was making audiences get off their feet long before entering pro wrestling.  As a member of "The Gentrys," Hart crooned out hits like "Keep On Dancin'" that helped define 1960s music.  In wrestling, Hart continued to parlay his musical skills by penning countless entrance themes and even cranking out a few albums.  His "Outrageous Conduct" album was released both during his Memphis and WWF runs.  With songs as clever as they are comedic, the albums are sought after due to being produced in relatively low quantities.

Hillbilly Jim is one wrestler who seems to have adapted nicely to life after the business.  He's also one of the better remembered characters of 1980s WWF.  This is, in part, due to the visibility of his LJN WWF figure.  If you didn't have one, you knew someone who did.  I can still remember pointing out the wrestling figure of "the farmer" (as my young mind dubbed him) on trips to the much-missed Hills toy department.  We may never know why the figure was designed with a red shirt underneath Jim's overalls, but no LJN collection is complete without the country boy.

It will be a shame if the show completes without Mean Gene or The Fink grabbing a microphone, and what better choice than the WWF Microphone by PlayTime Products.  This toy wasn't on shelves very long, but it was the closest that any company came to the real deal.  The 80s/90s WWF microphone was so iconic, it even "showed up" at a 1992 WCW/NWA press conference.  Wherever it appeared, you knew that something was about to go down in the wrestling world.  "Put that cigarette out..."

We can only wonder what predicaments the legends will find themselves in as the weeks go on (I'm personally anticipating their encounter with Adam West), and if indeed a Legends House Season 2 will go forward.  Hulk Hogan has been already been rumored for a second run.  Despite being a lifelong Hulkamaniac, I'd rather see some of the underexposed legends get time in the house.  Who would I book?  How about Arn Anderson, Nikolai Volkoff, Ron Simmons, Dusty Rhodes, Bob Backlund, Sgt. Slaughter, Terry Funk, and for the first time, a female legend.  One who has a place in history, but whose real-life personality has never really taken center stage.  Knowing her as I do, she considers herself one of the "boys" and would fit right in.  Of course I am speaking of the one and only, Leilani Kai.

Aloha, Legends!


Anonymous said...

A WWF toy microphone showed up at a WCW press conference? You have to explain that scenario Josh?

Thanks and keep up the great blog!

J\/\/ said...

Not the toy but the actual WWF microphone that the toy above was based off of. WCW either got ahold of or created a WWF microphone and placed it on the podium at their 1992 press conference regarding the NWA tag team championship tournament. It's placed so that the viewers definitely see it and think, "Wow, this tourney is so big that even the WWF is interested." :-)

Thanks for reading!