Thursday, January 22, 2015

The 25th Anniversary of Hasbro WWF--Part 4

The Hasbro WWF line was a ton of fun to play with.  Growing up with them as I did, I ought to know.  The lack of non-wrestler figures in the collection was a bit frustrating, but Hasbro was likely looking at LJN sales records where some manager and announcer figures performed worse at retail compared to the wrestlers themselves.  Even without the extra characters, the Hasbro figures remain a favorite all of these years later, and here are five more of my own favorite products from the line...

*Macho Madness makes my list twice!  Although he was the "Macho King" for less than two years, it was a very cool extension of the Randy Savage character.  Coupled with Sensational Queen Sherri, the duo is well-remembered for their feuds with Dusty Rhodes, Sapphire, Miss Elizabeth, The Ultimate Warrior, and Roddy Piper.  Despite not being in the title scene of the time, Savage's matches with the aforementioned foes headlined cards around the country.  The Hasbro Macho King figure had a regal purple and gold color scheme and came complete with removable crown and a sceptre for bashing opponents ("Ding!"--Jesse Ventura).

*Earthquake and Typhoon weren't a couple of fat slobs, these were two gigantic and powerful men.  I was always a fan of the larger-than-life wrestlers, and the very first tag team match that I saw live pitted the Natural Disasters against Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Sgt. Slaughter.  Just a few months later I was again thrilled when the Hasbro Natural Disasters hit the stores.  By this time, Hasbro was no longer producing tag team sets, so Earthquake and Typhoon were sold separately.  My parents were as watchful for new product as I was, and one afternoon my mother surprised me with Earthquake.  She even went as far as to suggest that I team him with Akeem until I could purchase Typhoon!  In case you were wondering, that extra large team never came to be.  A short time later I bought Typhoon at Children's Palace with some money from my grandparents.

*The Hot Rod!  Though the Hasbro version of Piper is wearing entrance gear, I.wouldn't have it any other way.  Roddy has always been among my favorites in the Hasbro line, and it's actually a version that we haven't seen since.  The red elbow pads indicate that Hasbro was trying to capture the look from early in his 1989 return.  I have also always appreciated the effort that was taken by combining his "pre-ring" kilt attire with a no-nonsense action pose.  And of course, this figure is perfect for recreating his 1992 Saturday Night's Main Event match with The Mountie.  You remember.  "Shock Proof!"

*As most companies do with major licenses like the WWF, Hasbro branched out.  None of the other toys were nearly as successful as the action figures, but a few were just as fun.  The Jake Roberts "Snake" toy is a cool spin-off, but it was released at a bad time.  To begin with, it was simply marketed as his "snake" as opposed to Damien or Lucifer.  Whether or not this had to do with the names themselves or the fact that it was designed/released around the time of the transition is anyone's guess.  Add that to the fact that Roberts himself was gone from the WWF not long after release ensured that the snake would have a short sales window.

*Who would've believed, even in 1992 when his first figure hit shelves, that The Undertaker would be one of the longest lasting creations to come from the company?  The aura of the character may only be matched by the likes of Andre the Giant.  The evolution of the character helped keep "The Deadman" alive for nearly a quarter of a century.  The original look and feel of The Undertaker, an old west mortician, was never better captured than in the Hasbro figure. In his second release, it was the inclusion of the cloth overcoat that truly made the figure fresh and unique.

Up final five!

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