Thursday, January 8, 2015

The 25th Anniversary of Hasbro WWF--Part 2

While I owned some LJN WWF figures as a child, I best remember collecting and playing with the Hasbro line.  It was always exciting to see new product in stores.  It got easier to spot those new goodies when, in late 1993, Hasbro adopted a system to differentiate between the various series of figures.  The borders of the cardbacks began to be released in varying colors.  Yellow, red, purple, solid blue (red, white, and blue had been the original color scheme dating back to 1990) and finally green all made it into the lineup.  What could have followed will be speculated and debated forever, but it's time again to celebrate five more great items that we did see.

*For some reason, when I began collecting the Hasbro line in 1991 the first tag team set that I wanted was The Bushwhackers.  Though they were a pure comedy act for the duration of their stay in the WWF, Luke and Butch obviously "whacked" their way into the hearts of many fans.  As far as their figures went, a nearly undecipherable appearance (as far as their verbalizing was concerned) in the first Hasbro "tag team" commercial probably went a long way as far as cementing them into the collections of kids all over.  The team from Down Under even saw a repainted re-release on single cards complete with switched heads and "chewed" cap accessories in 1994.

*Most of the Hasbro body styles were reused time and time again, but Yokozuna was one of the few that stood alone.  The Samoan star, billed as a sumo wrestler, was pushed to the moon as an unstoppable villain between late-1992 and mid-1994.  If you weren't around for the "Bodyslam Challenge" on July 4th, 1993, you really don't understand just how unstoppable Yokozuna seemed.  There didn't seem to be any credible threats to his championship reign.  Even after Lex Luger executed the hiptoss heard 'round the world, many of us remained convinced that Yoko would remain on top for a long time.  The result was a popular figure that, like Andre the Giant in the first series, stood out among the rest.  Banzai!

*Few superstars remain as beloved as Randy Savage, but when the Hasbro line was initially designed in 1989, the Macho Man was fast becoming a hated heel.  By the time that the second series was planned, Savage was being billed as the "Macho King," but the first series included a figure that appeared much as he had since his WWF arrival in 1985.  A headband, sunglasses, and stars on the tights.  This is how so many of us will always remember the Macho Man.  This first Hasbro figure of Savage provided that simple yet effective look and while he would make more appearances in the line, many collectors consider this the ultimate version.

*For a "common man," his action figure was apparently anything but.  Although I had no problems finding Dusty Rhodes on the pegs back in the Hasbro heyday, it's become quite evident that a lot of collectors did. His carded figure has long commanded high prices on the secondary market.  Even "The American Dream" himself has a love for the figure, recently using it as his main Twitter photo.  Rarity or not, it is the very first figure of a wrestler who has been capturing the emotions of wrestling fans for nearly fifty years.  Intentional or not, that "Bionic Elbow" left arm seems to be loose on every version, even mine that came directly off of the card. 

*There were a few items in the Hasbro line that if you blinked, you missed them.  If you were lucky enough to see it on the shelf once and wanted it, you hopefully added it to your collection.  The King of the Ring ring was definitely one of those items.  Released in 1994, the ring was a reissue of the original Hasbro ring molded in yellow and red and including King of the Ring stickers.  It will always be my own personal speculation that this item was designed intended as a Hulk Hogan-themed ring.  When his brief 1993 return ended (at the same time that this item would've been planned), the colors were retained but King of the Ring stickers were included instead.  There is no shred of evidence to indicate this, but it certainly seems plausible.

It couldn't have been so many years since my Hasbro Dusty was battling the Galoob WCW Arn Anderson or Yokozuna was being slammed in the King of the Ring ring, but it has.  Time flies when you're having fun, and Hasbro certainly provided that.  Next week, five more in store!


Matt Irrthum said...

Great as usual. Always a treat to read. Happy that I stumbled across this blogspot & will be enjoying it for some time to come. Thanx

J\/\/ said...

Thanks again, Matt! Glad you're enjoying it!

Matt Irrthum said...

Curious & figured it could be answered here? I understand that the R&B GValentine had the raised cursive greg on the right side of tights. My question is the Hammer version also sported that feature on the trunks correct?

J\/\/ said...

Yep, it just wasn't painted.