Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Wrestling Classic Figure Review--Galoob WCW Arn Anderson

A fact suddenly hit me while writing one of the more recent action figure reviews here on the blog. Although we look at loads of other classic memorabilia, I haven't truly done a classic action figure review in the over seven years since the inception of this blog. We now have over thirty years of action figures to choose from ranging from the good, to the bad, and even to the downright ugly. Multiple companies on several continents have seen wrestling figures of some of the all time greatest grapplers and even many of the worst. Thus was born a new blog feature, The Wrestling Classic Figure Review.

Kicking off the new recurring feature is a figure that I'm admittedly biased towards. It was one of the first non-WWF products in my collection. With as much love as I have for the entire wrestling world, I grew up a child of the WWF. While I knew that there was other wrestling out there, and I now have just as much fondness for those companies as I do the stuff that I watched back then, until the age of 9 I knew everything else as "that other wrestling." Once I discovered the larger world, I made it a point to absorb any info that I could through magazines and videotapes, thus these days no one would be the wiser about my WWF-exclusive past.

I can pinpoint my first real WCW exposure to my dad. One day, while looking at wrestling figures in the now-defunct Family Toy Warehouse store, my dad picked up the Galoob WCW Ric Flair figure and told me that we were buying it as he was coming to the WWF soon. What kid would say no? It was another wrestler to add to my Hasbro WWF roster and he included a new championship belt! Sure enough, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan shortly thereafter started to tease the arrival of "The Real World's Champion" on WWF television. My dad was not only the most giving guy who ever lived, but apparently he had some "inside" info, too!

But this review isn't about that figure of "The Nature Boy." I began to watch WCW (thanks to my mom, a story that I believe I've already told here), but knew some of the other Galoob figures from their pasts in the WWF. One of those wrestlers was "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson.

To me, Arn Anderson was one of those guys who just looked like a wrestler. Not menacing in the traditional sense, but someone who could take you out in an instant. Just rugged and tough. The Galoob figure resonated with me because it capture Anderson's look completely. For those unfamiliar, these WCW figures were devoid of poseability. They were solid plastic making it essential for the sculpted pose to not only capture the likeness of the wrestler but all of the action as well.

Anderson's pose was spot on. You could do a spinebuster, DDT, piledriver, slam, and various other maneuvers thanks to the way that Galoob produced the figure. Some of the other figures in the line were a lot less pleasing to play with. I took care of my toys, but there's a reason that the Arn from my childhood (the one shown here is an example that I picked up later) has a lot of paint wear--he fought the ring wars! He battled alongside fellow Galoob Horsemen members, took the bionic elbow of the Hasbro WWF Dusty Rhodes, and even battled with JusToys WWF Bend-Ems as the 1990's wore on.

Each Galoob WCW figure came packaged wearing a championship belt. The belts all had the identical WCW design, but I'm sure that I'm not the only one who used these belts as Intercontinental and Tag Team championships. It just worked out great. The belt itself really didn't closely resemble any of the actual WCW championships, but it was still a nice add-on that Hasbro might have been wise to copy.

Arn saw some variations, including the infamous "bald spot." While I've owned three over my lifetime, only my carded example actually has the bald spot. The rest have it painted over. My carded Arn is also one of the early releases that has "NWA" on the right side of the card back. There is also a second series re-release in the UK that has completely red tights. Arn additionally came packaged in a tag team set with longtime ally, and occasional "cousin," Ric Flair.

To many, this will always be the quintessential action figure version of Arn Anderson. The Jakks versions seemed a bit too bulky. The more recent Mattel examples were just a bit too spindly. Galoob's Arn is probably the best that we will ever get. While signing my carded version, Arn even pointed out to Dean Malenko that he preferred this one. Not to toot his own horn, but "toot, toot," the original is still the best!

No comments: