Thursday, October 21, 2021

Move Over "Bullseye," There's A New Dog At Target!

The two earliest wrestling names that I recall uttering (thanks to the magic of '80s Memorex cassette tapes) are King Kong Bundy and The Junkyard Dog. I still remember my family purchasing the LJN Stretch Wrestler JYD for a relative for Christmas 1987. As my mother was wrapping it, I asked if we could slide him out (the boxes were not taped) so that I could pull the chain. Pull it, I did! Knowing that relative, that figure is probably long gone (sadly even the Bundy and Hogan that I owned are, too) but Target is giving us all another chance to yank that silver chain and grab them cakes, too.

Target's exclusive WWE Legends Series 12 is another wave that's causing both excitement and frustration for collectors all over. I won't go into the distribution issues this time. I've done enough of that this year already. Plus, I have to say that I was personally pleasantly surprised as far as the chase figure in the wave goes. The lineup consists of Rowdy Roddy Piper, Kevin Nash, Billy Gunn and our man of the hour, The Junkyard Dog. The JYD also happens to be the chase figure for this set, with the version in blue tights said to be the chase as opposed to the more common red.

This is actually the first time that JYD has seen a figure release in blue. Both LJN and Jakks produced him in red while Jakks and Mattel have given us The Dog in his white design which is probably his most famous style. The blue is actually one of his lesser-used looks, so if we must have a chase it's the best version to set as such.

The pre-orders for the set were manic as usual. Those of us lucky enough to have folks in their lives with separate Target accounts can try for two, as the figures are limited to one per person. I would never try for more than two, I simply want a fair shot at receiving both versions. With this figure, as well as Brutus Beefcake in a previous series, I lucked out and did in fact receive one of each. For Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase and Greg Valentine I had to resort to reasonable secondary deals while the Jake "The Snake" Roberts chase seemed to be as abundant in stores as the regular version was. Once released the figures do occasionally pop-up with Target online giving another opportunity for the chase. If that doesn't work out for me it gives me a chance to hook friends up with the basic versions as generally even those are hit or miss in stores. It's a silver lining on the black cloud of poor distribution.

With this version of JYD we get his classic collar and chain as well as King Harley Race's crown. Initially I thought that the former accessory was longer than the one from the first JYD Mattel release from years ago. It isn't, though the links used are different. To me, the latter accessory just serves to anger collectors a bit. For one thing the company already re-used it with the RetroFest King Duggan figure. After all, it was his crown, too. However with the confirmation that Race is no longer signed for further figures to be made coupled with the frustrations and anger over the controversial release of his sole entry in the line, I don't think that we really need to revisit his accessories. Yes, JYD famously "stole" and put the crown on at WrestleMania III, but a much better accessory would've been a re-creation of that classic baby blue JYD t-shirt. Not to split hairs, but he was also wearing the white tights at Mania when he put the crown on. Well, at least it fits the figure snugly.

The only brand new part of the figure is the head. I'm not sure that it's better than the initial Mattel release, but it does have a totally different facial expression. It may have been fun to have bushier hair with this one. If they want to revisit JYD again down the line, it might not be a bad idea to re-release the white tights version with a thicker body. The Dog infamously bulked up as his years in the World Wrestling Federation moved along. Honestly, the legs could be a tad thicker too, though that's a common complaint with many figures in the Mattel line. 

Looking back on how big of a star The Junkyard Dog was and of course associating that with how much money he drew, in my opinion he would be the perfect candidate for a figure in the "Ultimate Edition" line. With Target having an upcoming separate line of Ultimate Edition Legends, why not add The Dog? Include the aforementioned shirt, a stockier body and multiple heads representing his various hairstyles. It would fly off of the shelves just like this figure is going to.

That being said, this is of course another one that you should grab immediately should you desire it. It isn't a Figure of the Year candidate, but it's damned cool. Both versions are a ton of fun and since there's never been a blue tights version released before, the chase is worth going out of your way for. As usual around this time of year, the figure reviews here on the blog will be coming in just a bit faster, including one reviewing a certain FOTY candidate, so keep an eye on all of the socials. You can also check out a shot of all three Mattel Elite JYD's on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, so follow the blog everywhere while you're at it!

And yes, I pulled both chains.

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