See what I did with the title? Anyway, LJN Wrestling Superstars are back! Again! Though this time it's actually for real. In stores. On the pegs. I don't rally for either promotion in 2021, but I'll give credit when it's due. If there's a battle going on, AEW is certainly ahead on points in all aspects at the moment. They're simply hot while the other company is busy making bad decision after bad decision. But this isn't the Observer. We do what we've done here for over a decade: check out merch! Let's take a look at the latest and most unique entry into the action figure offerings from AEW: Unmatched Series 1 LJN Wrestling Superstars Cody Rhodes.
You'll notice a few things in my "official" description of the figure in the last paragraph. Cody...Rhodes? Yes, this is the first AEW Cody figure to have the last name included. Since I never took to referring to the second-generation star as simply "Cody," it actually took me awhile to even notice. He's just always been Cody Rhodes to me. You may also note that I did not include the word "style" after LJN Wrestling Superstars. Technically this is not a tribute figure but an actual LJN branded figure.
Looking back you could argue that there have been attempts to recreate the LJN line as far back as 1995. That was when The Original San Francisco Toymakers launched their WCW line. The figures were a bit firmer and a tad smaller but the intent was obviously there. Years later, during the latter waves of the Jakks WWE Classic Superstars line an "LJN style chase" was included. These were even smaller than the Toymakers WCW figures. While the intent was there, the LJN branding wasn't. They're fun and a nice inclusion to a "classic" line, but something was missing.
I'm not going to act like the Young Bucks two-pack doesn't exist. Around the time that AEW was forming, there was an official "LJN Wrestling Superstars" two-pack of the super-kicking tag team released. It certainly counts, but it was something you had to seek out. You weren't walking into Target and buying one. Granted, Jazwares distribution thus far isn't much better than Mattel, so you may not be walking into Target and buying one anyway. Still, the chance is there. This figure is part of the first wave of the AEW Unmatched Collection which also includes standard figures of Kenny Omega, Darby Allin, Dustin Rhodes, Miro and the rookie figure of Dr. Britt Baker DMD. If you follow the social media for this blog you've already seen a cool story (bro) on the latter.
So what's the figure like? The packaging is a LJN-stylized version of the standard AEW box. It's actually a lot like what the LJN-styled Classic Superstar packaging could've been had licensing been worked out. Just like in the '80s that baby blue is very visually appealing and stands out. The figure seems just right for the box and isn't too big. You get the notification of the included poster as well as a clip and save file card on the back. I didn't even realize that I missed that concept so much until this figure came along.
The figure is definitely an LJN-produced Cody Rhodes. It's not a perfect likeness but it's an LJN likeness. It's supposed to be just there. And it is. The pose is vintage Wrestling Superstars. The size is close. It's much closer to the original LJN figures than the Jakks efforts. Considering the original LJNs were all over the place in terms of size, Cody fits. He would also fit right in with the Toymakers WCW figures. The material used is probably a tad closer to those, too.
Yes, you read right above. Included are the LJN poster and file card. There was obviously a great bit of detail put into this figure which I have no doubt will carry over into each one that is made. Even the fonts are the same. Now why wasn't I put into the crowd?
We have a winner! As scale and other issues have been slowly worked out I've been getting more and more into the Jazwares product. I've found myself picking up at least one of each character and even multiples if I see myself wanting one for autograph purposes down the line. This was an easy double purchase for me, as who wouldn't want the thrill of opening official LJN wrestling figures in 2021? I doubt these are warming the pegs anywhere. If you see 'em, grab 'em! With the AEW roster as deep as it's getting, it's fun to think about who all may receive the LJN treatment. It should be noted that a Wal Mart exclusive variant of this figure is coming, but that shouldn't detract much from the popularity of this standard release.
And yes, I clipped and saved...