Thursday, June 29, 2023

From The Musty Yellowed Pages—NWA Wrestling Magazine Vol. 1 No. 1

After nearly fifteen years of maintaining this blog, at times I forget everything that I have, or haven’t, covered. I felt for certain that we’d taken a voyage through the debut, and only, issue of the NWA Wrestling Magazine. Aside from some mentions here and there, as well as plenty on its sister publications, I don’t think that it’s been done. Wait no longer, NWA fans, the time to revisit an era when the territories were king, Terry Funk was champion and Jesse Ventura was “The Great” instead of “The Body” has finally arrived.

Yes, this publication had just the one issue. Could you think of a better cover for just one issue of the NWA Wrestling publication? I can’t. If it reminds you of the WWWF Wrestling Action and Mid-Atlantic Wrestling magazines it probably should. It was done by the same artist, Cal Byers, and wrestling renaissance man Les Thatcher was at the helm of all of them. Wrestling, broadcasting, training, promoting and publishing. He did it all and has the stories to tell about it. I’ve had input from him while covering the aforementioned publications here on the blog and I still remember how surprised he was to see a copy of this one when he signed it awhile back.

More familiar names come about when looking at the list of contributors from then-NWA President Eddie Graham to Gordon Solie, Freddie Miller, Paul Boesch, Larry Matysik, Jeff Walton and Gene Gordon. The magazine covered all of the NWA wrestling hotbeds of the era and seemed to want to devote adequate press to all of the big territories. Even NWA members in other countries were not to be excluded. After all, this was the only publication to be “sanctioned” by the National Wrestling Alliance!

Though he was still relatively new to the game that he would eventually become the dirtiest player of, it’s telling that Ric Flair is the topic of one of the first features of the issue. The Crockett’s knew what they had and that’s why he was proudly displayed as the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion. You’ll note the famed Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling logo adorns the article here. As noted with all of the Thatcher publications, the art direction was second-to-none. There are logos for most, if not all, of the NWA territories featured within. In the late ‘70s this isn’t something that I would expect in a wrestling magazine at all, but here it is.

More familiar names pop up with looks at Georgia Championship Wrestling and Gulas Wrestling Enterprises Inc, the latter of which being the fabled Memphis wrestling territory. We have great color photos of Dick Slater, Mr. Wrestling II and Jerry “The King” Lawler. We also get a printing of one of my favorite Memphis photos displaying Jackie Fargo, Jerry Jarrett, Tojo Yamamoto and…George Gulas. Ok, so three out of four isn’t bad as far as levels of greatness. Still, I’ve always liked that photo ever since I saw it grace the cover of an “NWA East” edition of “The Wrestling News,” probably around the same time.

A very different Terry Funk than the version many are familiar with today graces the centerfold of the first and only NWA issue. This isn’t the “middle aged and crazy” Funker that’s so beloved today, but rather a tad more serious NWA World Champion who was continuing on the family’s championship legacy. I often talk about how much I admire wrestlers who are able to successfully reinvent themselves during the course of their careers. Terry Funk may own everyone else when it comes to that. I could picture the later Funker taking a flaming branding iron to the attire he’s wearing here. From champion to legend, that’s for sure.

One of my favorite pages in the issue has always been the feature on Chavo Guerrero. Talking about his famous exploits in the rings of California, it gives you an idea that Chavo may be one of the more underrated stars of the decade. I feel that his popularity was of the type that you really had to be around for to experience. I also think that, through no fault of his own, the popularity of brother Eddy may have overshadowed Chavo’s legacy. Still, ask most any wrestler who was around at that point and they’ll tell you what a huge star Chavo was in the business. A family photo here really tickles me as we get to see young Chavito, who we all got to know better many years later. Pepe was not invited to participate in the photo.

“The Great Ventura?” What? Yes, before he was “The Body,” Jesse was just “The Great.” I think we can all agree that “The Body” fit and rolled off the tongue much better. He has a short blurb in the magazine right alongside the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Jimmy Snuka. It’s amazing to think how many bonafide all-time greats came from wrestling in the ‘70s. I truly believe that the territorial system helped in that regard and would’ve been beneficial to many wrestlers in the past twenty years who seemed destined for greatness. In the old system you could try different things, work plenty of different opponents and move along when things got stale. Sadly, many of the newer generation stars had virtually “one and done” shots thus robbing us of quite a few talents who could’ve made it to superstardom.

Speaking of “one and done,” those are just some highlights of this, the only issue of NWA Wrestling Magazine. There are more photos and articles to peruse and you can see several of them on our Instagram account right here! Despite their age and rarity, copies of this magazine do show up available but almost always at a price. You never know, some shrewd searching may yield one for your collection. It’s certainly worthy as a collection centerpiece for any fan of the NWA, Terry Funk or just the last great wild west era of wrestling – the ‘70s!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Intelligent American Know Iran Numbah Wun!

No matter who we’re mourning in pro wrestling, it’s almost always a true character. But what a character The Iron Sheik was! He took what could have been a one-dimensional foreign heel and made it into one of the most memorable characters of his era. He also found a way, for better or for worse, to reinvent himself decades later. It certainly kept him in the spotlight, so for him it was certainly for the better.

Before his passing this month, The Iron Sheik had been rather stagnant as far as appearances for several years. His handlers took to Twitter for him and there was the very occasional signing appearance, but it wasn’t what it once was. You had the feeling that “Sheiky Baby” was winding down. Even still, with all that he admittedly put his body through both in and out of the ring he lived what could be called a truly long life. As we all know, most of his contemporaries didn’t make it close to 81 years of age.

The Iron Sheik was also one of the ones with the dual talents, especially earlier in his career. All that zaniness in front of the microphone could easily be backed up in the ring. I still remember  a late-bloomer fan telling me that he’d often dismissed Sheiky as simply a crazy ‘80s character. When the fan actually paid attention to Sheik’s matches he realized the talent that the man had. He was well-schooled and could obviously take care of himself. This is obvious if he was going to break Hulk Hogan’s leg for “Mistah Verna Ganya.”

Admittedly, I was not a huge fan of the “crazy” Iron Sheik revival of the last few decades. Don’t get me wrong, it worked. It got him mainstream attention that he hadn’t had since the Rock n’ Wrestling era. And I thought that his WWE Hall of Fame speech was hilarious. I just think that it was over done and at times went too far. Also, I don’t care what any one or any show tells you, he could and would turn it on and off at the drop of a hat. Once in a hotel lobby around fifteen years ago he came limping in, guns blazin’, in full Sheiky mode. In fact, this would have been the night before the attached photo. The hotel happened to be hosting a large wedding that night which was starting to break up. An elderly woman from the wedding recognized him and he immediately curbed “Sheiky” and became a perfect gentleman.

As far as iconic memorabilia, is there any more recognizable LJN figure than Sheik? Every kid seemed to have him. He still seems to show up in every resale shop and probably a lot of flea markets and garage sales, too. When the boys in those early LJN series tell me about the astronomical checks that they received from those figures I always believe them. They were omnipresent in ‘80s kids toy boxes.

Mr. Khosrow Vaziri has left the building. He has filled his duties in life. Somehow, I don’t think that we’ll ever stop hearing his voice…


The Iron Sheik


Sunday, June 18, 2023

PowerTown Arrives: Lou Thesz & Verne Gagne

For as many great legends figures as we’ve received over the years, the true early television era of wrestling has largely been ignored. While no one ever expected figures of a Hans Schmidt or a Wilbur Snyder (although…), fans have clamored for representations of the champions and megastars of the day. In PowerTown’s Ultra Series 1 we’re finally treated to certainly two of the biggest names of that era and the championships that defined them. Put away the signs, cellphones and t-shirts. Put on your Sunday suit, slick back your hair and, as much as I detest it, light up your unfiltered ciggies: we’re going back in time!

For some collectors the entry of Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne into the first PowerTown set was disappointing. They aren’t as recent as the other four men in the lineup. You cannot count myself, nor you, among those people. Not only did we want them as figures but I think that they actually may be the sleeper hits of the set. Didn’t think that action figures of wrestling stars of seventy years ago could be exciting? Think again! My one and only qualm was that we weren’t getting the older version of Verne that many of us grew up knowing. I’ve long wanted a figure of the Minnesota legend from that era and I still feel that he is a glaring omission from the Remco AWA line. I have a feeling that PowerTown will take care of all of that in the future, but that’s just my own speculation. In the meantime I’ve truly come to love the figure that we did get.

As shown in our Stan Hansen review, the packaging is very nice and unique in design. I don’t know that I’ll ever find the strength to purge these boxes even considering how big they are. Even without the figures inside they truly feel like part of the product rather than just a disposable means of delivering the figure to collectors. It should be noted that the NWA Championship included with Thesz is labeled as such but the AWA Championship with Gagne is just called the “Police Gazette” (named after the Police Gazette presenting the belt to Gagne as Wrestler of the Year) belt. Ultimately it doesn’t matter when it pertains to the figures and the accessories.

Each figure comes with their respective championship belt, towel and a changeable fist for their right hand. Thesz has a robe while Gagne has a ring jacket proudly proclaiming “VERNE” on the back. These pre-match gear items are both soft plastic as we’ve seen in virtually every wrestling figure line of the past few years. They can be a bit difficult to remove and replace, but they do look spectacular when on. The colors are perfectly muted for the era and really help to make these figures look as if they stepped right out of a black and white photo.

Speaking of photos, the longtime fan can easily pinpoint the promotional photos that were used to design each of these figures. That’s because, again, they look just like the photos. Some companies would have tried to get away with generic faces here, but PowerTown did not go that route. They brought the respect that these guys deserved. Each has an expression that is easily recognized with these golden age champions. The lower legs/boots are removable just like on the other PowerTown figures even though there aren’t kneepads with these two. Kneepads? Who in the ‘40s and ‘50s needed kneepads? As mentioned above the hands are removable, too, which greatly helps when utilizing the robe and jacket.

One thing that was big in the era was the “wrestling stance.” That look where a wrestler looks as if he’s about to go for a takedown. The poseability here is perfect just for that. Want these two to go an hour Broadway? You can do it. LJN may have said “twist ‘em! turn ‘em!” four decades ago, but that’s what these two grappling greats will be doing. Only now it looks insanely real! No flippity floppity thigh slapping good times here, this is real wrestling. No sociopolitical agendas being promoted with keyboard warrior fans complaining about missed spots. Real men who were unafraid to act as real, respectable people.

With Stan Hansen I didn’t dive too much into the belt, especially since we’ll be looking at that belt again, but I will go that route here. If you had asked me to make a list of wrestling world championships that we would have in figure form one day I never would’ve guessed these. This AWA Championship was indeed the one that Gagne wore back then, but you may remember it from its revival in the late ‘80s with Jerry Lawler and Larry Zbyszko. Some of the PowerTown championships have very large straps but this one is absolutely perfect compatibility wise. I’ve already tried it on a figure of Lawler and let’s just say that The King is on top again! This version of the NWA Championship is best remembered with Thesz, but in a cool move he actually presented it to Adrian Adonis upon the latter winning the Southwest Championship Wrestling tournament. Lou took it back, of course, but that’s one of my first recollections of seeing it on tape.

As I believe will be the standard for PowerTown, I feel that two huge gaps in the wrestling figure world have finally been filled. If you already have these or have them coming to you, congratulations! I knew that these would be a worthwhile pre-order and it’s nice to see my prediction come true. If you didn’t partake in the pre-order I sadly don’t have any further info for you. What I can tell you is not to sleep on Series 2 when it’s finally announced. There has been a long standing rumor that yet a third legend from this era will be coming shortly from PowerTown. It would fill another gap, to be sure.

Get your Georgie pins ready…

Thursday, June 15, 2023

More Legends Are Immortalized!

Can you imagine if the famed Classic Superstars line returned? What if it had never ended? Both are true, from a certain point of view. Without getting too Obi-Wan for anyone, let’s explain. Several years ago Figures Toy Company started a wrestling figure line built nearly identically to the Jakks WWE “Ruthless Aggression” style figures that included Classic Superstars. FTC has broken their line into separate smaller lines including Rising Stars of Wrestling and Legends of Professional Wrestling. Several of the figures have been featured here on the blog over the years, but I couldn’t wait to take a look at the newest releases. All of the latest released names are either brand new to the figure world or haven’t had a plastic representation in years!

Today we’re looking at Dr. Tom Prichard, Brad Armstrong, Mr. Hughes and Savio Vega. Talk about four who would’ve easily fit right into a CS series. Actually, they would’ve been a lot better than some of the names that we did get. In any case, I’m particularly happy for Dr. Tom. He was such a good wrestler who saw action in virtually every promotion and territory. He became a great trainer and to this day remains one of my favorite names to see at conventions. A random conversation that the two of us had in Charlotte a few years ago will always stick with me. I could tell that his late best friend was on his mind while we spoke. That would be another legend getting a first figure here, Brad Armstrong.

Nothing has changed with the packaging aside from the names on the back which we’ll get to. The clear plastic clamshells are cool and different from anything you’ll find in the stores. The figures can be replaced into the packaging but you will have to readd twist and zip ties if you want it to look unopened. I love that the cardbacks inside of the clamshells have nothing attached to them whatsoever. The inner tray is a separate piece, so if you choose to keep just the card, as I do, you get a nice, clean card that you could easily display if you desired. Accessories with Hughes and Vega are inconspicuously included in small plastic baggies around the feet of the figure.

The facial likenesses on all four are really good. In fact, I would have to say that Savio is far better than he looked in the photography, for whatever reason. They really nailed him which is nice considering his only other figures, from the early Jakks Bone Crunching line, are rather bug-eyed. Dr. Tom is absolutely perfect and I can just see him primping his hair as Jim Cornette announces him. Hughes is perfectly ferocious looking. The glasses are part of the sculpt which is fine considering he wrestles with them on to this day. Armstrong is really good and, like with Prichard, the hair style is down pat.

Each figure has some amount of soft goods and they all look great. Tom and Brad each have real working zippers on their jackets. Hughes is decked out just as he wrestled and does include his hat. Savio has a gold chain and is ready to defend the Caribbean. 

The best part is that these fit right in with the Classic Superstars figures that so many of us have loads of. That line had political restrictions as does Mattel’s Legends line today. It’s a great thing that in this era we have companies like FTC that will give us names that other companies won’t touch. It allows us to flesh out our collections while, at the same time, giving recognition to some of the stars who never got this particular honor. I’ve wanted a Mr. Hughes figure since those WCW and WWF runs thirty years ago. Here he is, suspenders, scowl and all! And the guys like Prichard and Armstrong who you could honestly consider to be some of the last territorial greats? Whether you photography, play or just display, these are the names that you need to flesh out those rosters. The Hulk’s, Dusty’s and Savage’s of the world are great and we love all of their figures, but what are they without an undercard?

You know what else is great? There’s no pre-ordering here. These guys are ready to ship. As always, I highly recommend you go to FTC using our link right here and be sure to use our special code: JWS_WRESTLING_MEMORABILIA for 10 percent off. You can also pick up many other legendary names such as Louie Spicolli (another new release!), Alex Wright (reviewed right here a few months ago), The Sandman, Francine and Jim Cornette in just about another color combination that you can think of. Order the four that you see here (or any combination of four or more) and you’ll even get free shipping!

What’s next from FTC? It’s been known about for awhile, but I loved seeing Dennis Condrey on the back of the card. He’ll be joining the line soon with his very first action figure along with Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane. I will continue to ask for a “wrestling tights” version of James E. Cornette, also. We’ll truly be in for some Smoky Mountain madness when that happens…

Saturday, June 10, 2023

PowerTown Arrives: Stan “The Lariat” Hansen

The time has come. PowerTown is here. Some said that it would never happen. Others said that it would be the greatest thing ever to happen for wrestling figures. A line without political restrictions, an impressive roster of legends and a lot of ambition. Have their been hiccups? Sure. They’ve owned them. These aren’t your father’s wrestling figures (though they are his heroes) and this isn’t your rinky dink “boutique” manufacturer. I noticed that as soon as I opened the shipping box. This is something completely different with everything we were promised, a few little surprises and plenty to look forward to. Let’s start the journey to PowerTown Wrestling Ultra Series One figures.

When I wrote the preview article last year I’d fully intended on doing one big blog entry reviewing all six figures at once. Several things changed this. First was a shipping delay with Kerry Von Erich. The company will be shipping that sixth and final series one figure out as soon as it arrives. Without one of the figures I didn’t want to do a massive entry with a hole in it. The second change in my decision came when I actually had these figures in hand. With the obvious care and craftsmanship that these figures were made with, they each deserve a separate review. Just as much as the plusses of each figure need to be highlighted, I know that the company wants to know where improvements are needed, too. I can tell you this much at the beginning: anything that needs fixed is few and far between. I’m not going to hide on any negatives but it’s hard to dwell on them when you come across true pieces of art like this.

Each figure will either get its own review here or two will be coupled up together. A third reason I’m going to do it this way is based on a topic we’ve tackled several times over the past near decade and a half of the blog’s existence: all six of these men have had very few or zero action figures whatsoever. They all deserve an individual look. It wasn’t hard to pick the first. For many of us, he’s the name out of these that we’ve been waiting the longest time to have a modern figure of. He fits into several decades and nearly every promotion that you can think of. He was not only a star on U.S. soil but was an even bigger legend in Japan. I can only be talking about Stan “The Lariat” Hansen.

We all remember his spectacular Remco AWA figure and he’s had several Japanese figures, but there hasn’t been a true modern figure of a man who is very, to use an overused word, toyetic. That is, until now. Upon the initial PowerTown announcement, Ted DiBiase was announced in his look as part of the PWF Tag Team Champions with Hansen. When issues arose with DiBiase’s licensing, Bruiser Brody took his spot. This especially worked out as Hansen also held these belts with Brody. Another underutilized and very “toyetic” legend who’s been underrepresented in the figure world, Brody probably made the Series 1 announcement even more enticing for fans and collectors.

The figures each come individually packaged in sturdy, full color boxes. They’re actually nicer than anything you’d find on the shelves. Why? Loads of photos, a huge bio inside, and a magnetized flap that can be opened to reveal the majority of the figure and its accessories. These boxes are big and are certainly going to take up a lot of real estate for loose collectors, but how you could throw these away? The care is even evident in the packaging. That’s extra effort. I’d like to think that eventually I’ll toss the innards and flatten the boxes for more sensible storage, but I just don’t know if I’ll be able to do it. You may notice a glare on the wrestlers on the boxed photographs. That’s because the figures are held in by an upper plastic tray. This is so much nicer to deal with than those clear plastic bands that everyone else uses.

Even in the boxes you notice the heft on these guys. Get them in your hand and it only doubles. The Lariat was always a burly/beefy guy and it’s well represented here. These likenesses look like wax museum pieces or something. They’re that realistic. What about accessories? You got em. With Stan we have his cowboy hat, vest, chaps, aforementioned belt and bullrope with cowbell. Oh yeah, the rope is soft goods. I was not expecting that at all. You get to tie the bell onto the end yourself. I fully expected this to be another rubberized bullrope. I told you there were surprises here in PowerTown. All of the accessories fit great and are removable to however you see fit. Both hands are removable and Stan includes an extra right hand doing his trademark “horns” sign. The hands aren’t loose but they do come off a tad easier than they should. The peg probably just needs to be a bit longer in future releases.

I don’t use too many comparison shots in my reviews. I’ll report on how figures interact with each other aesthetically, but I feel that the focus should be on the figure being reviewed. Since I know that there’s been much talk about scale, I’ll include a shot here. You'll also note that The Lariat was doing battle with one of his WCW rivals, complete with the PowerTown version of the NWA United States Heavyweight championship. I grabbed a few examples from various recent manufacturers yet I honestly feel that these most closely resemble the few wrestling figures done by Storm Collectibles. I own a few of the Jushin Liger offerings from that company and I just get a similar vibe.

These are just solidly built figures. Of course it will take time to see how well they hold up to the standard use that many of us put our figures through, but so far so good. They settle in well with other figures. The likenesses are amazing as are the accessories. There's room for improvement in a few places, but I don't know a line that's avoided that yet. All of these points will be expanded on as we move along with the Series 1 roster.

I don’t have to tell you that I’m extremely pleased with PowerTown thus far. I don’t want that to discourage you from reading about the other five figures. Verne Gagne, Lou Thesz, Magnum T.A., Bruiser Brody and Kerry Von Erich certainly deserve your attention. There’s plenty more to discuss with all of them and the line itself. If you didn’t pre-order these I don’t have any info on how you may be able to obtain them. I can give no straight answer on whether or not this initial series will be available again. What I can guarantee is that more PowerTown is coming. We only have speculation as to the names involved in the next series, but I’m not the only collector already salivating at the thought. Who knows, maybe we’ll get an exclusive reveal one of these days for an upcoming product. I can think of no better place!

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Wrestling MarketWatch: The Return To WCW

It’s hard to believe that WCW has been gone for over two decades. It’s even harder to believe that the company itself, as World Championship Wrestling, really only lasted a little over one decade. It produced enough memories, and memorabilia, to conjure up classic wrestling excitement to this day. The product had its ups and downs and everyone has their favorite era, but one thing is for sure: WCW was the ‘90s in a nutshell. Bright, neon and maybe some bad music in the first half of the decade. Dark, faux-edgy and worse music in the second half. It sounds like I’m putting it down, but I’m not. Nevertheless, it’s been nearly a decade itself since WCW was the topic of one of our MarketWatch posts. That means that it’s time to “Return To WCW!” As always the recent selling prices quoted are for unsigned examples.

*As big of a Hulk Hogan fan as I am (oh, you missed that?), I never truly warmed up to his WCW run. I mean, it’s ok, and the nWo turn was a shocker, but it just never felt the same as the WWF-Hulkamania glory years did. That doesn’t keep me from Hogan WCW merchandise, of course. In fact some of the early WCW-Hulkster items rival those from the decade prior with “those other guys.” Some say Hogan’s arrival took WCW marketing and merchandising to the next level, but you and I both know that’s not true. I think an argument could be made that the nWo concept shot it through the roof, but WCW merch was great from its inception. The Hogan “bow and arrow” pose foam hand recently sold for $57.

*Think you have all of the Starrcade programs? Think again! There were two editions of Starrcade in 1991 and the first was held on March 21st at the Tokyo Dome. In the United States the show was touted as “WCW/New Japan Supershow,” but on the soil on which it was held, this was Starrcade. An oversized program was sold for the show similar to many other Japanese wrestling programs of the time and some produced over the last twenty years or so here in the states. Think large, glossy, lots of pictures and some bios. All of the ’91 WCW names are inside as well as NJPW stars and some killer photos. WCW merchandise is sprinkled throughout, too! The program recently sold for $90.

*Another great WCW event was Fall Brawl, often featuring the beloved Dusty Rhodes creation of “War Games: The Match Beyond.” One of the final pay-per-view events of the 1990s was the 1999 edition of Fall Brawl held at the Lawrence Joel Center in Winston-Salem, NC. With Sting, Hogan, Diamond Dallas Page and Goldberg among the headliners of the show, the past decade of the company was certainly represented. It may not have been signed “Keep That Ass Warm” by DDP like my personal one is, but the promotional seat cushion from the event recently sold for $160.

*Along with The Hulkster came “The Mouth Of The South” Jimmy Hart to WCW. Initially aligned with the red and yellow hero, Hart went on to manage The Dungeon of Doom and even a reprisal of his “First Family” stable of many years prior. Managers weren’t quite the focal point that they once were by the time that Hart came to WCW, but The Mouth was still part of many storylines and feuds during his run. He also returned to the recording studio to create theme music just as he did in the WWF. Of course the world remembers Jimmy for his ubiquitous megaphone and his merchandise has always reflected that. The WCW souvenir version of his megaphone recently sold for $34.

*By now everyone knows that the classic Galoob WCW figure line went a tad longer in the United Kingdom than it did here in the states. Characters like The Fabulous Freebirds, Dustin Rhodes, Big Josh and El Gigante were added to the lineup while old favorites were reimagined with new colors. Sting and Lex Luger even received entirely new “entrance gear” sculpts. You may remember a near copy of this figure for The Stinger in the mid-1990’s line by The Original San Francisco Toymakers. The original was indeed produced by Galoob and is one of the most striking figures of the line. The Man Called Sting has recently been selling for an average of $45.

Well, that was quite an assortment of goodies from “Where The Big Boys Play!” Even still, like with most of the topics on MarketWatch, there are countless more great items out there. Say what you want about the WWF marketing machine, WCW knew how to do it pretty well, too.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

A Bad Guy Of Many Colors

“The Bad Guy” is one of those characters who will never fade away. He started in 1992 as a “Scarface” rip off and, due to the previously untapped charisma of Scott Hall, became one of the best loved WWF stars of the 1990s. It’s actually weird to think that Hall only portrayed the character for roughly four years. It certainly feels a lot longer. It’s also weird for me to think, after doing some research for this blog entry, that I own all but two Mattel figure releases of the character, those being one of two Basic releases and the original “purple” release in the Defining Moments line. Those are actually probably the only two Razor figure releases in all that I don’t own, but this isn’t about me. This is about a Bad Guy…or two.

Like the Elite Legends line, the Ultimate Edition Legends line is also exclusive to a certain bullseyed retailer, though we have seen plenty of Ultimate Edition legends figures released by other means. This is the first to have a proper “chase” figure. Personally, I feel that the whole “chase” deal is out of control in every corner of the wrestling figure world, even if it has yielded us some great alternative looks. I wouldn’t have reviewed this figure had I not had both to present to you. Since there ended up being an opportunity to grab the chase at retail price (remember folks, I’m not an “influencer,” these companies send me nothing), we’re gonna dive in and look at both.

The Ultimate Edition packaging has changed little since it was first brought out. It’s very functional for what it houses, but I just wouldn’t ever have the desire to get these autographed with hands and things just floating around. You get that with Elites occasionally, too, but it’s much more obvious here. It’s a great showcase for why these figures are supposed to be “ultimate,” I just don’t think that it lends itself to carded/boxed collecting. I actually feel a bit guilty when disposing of some of these Ultimate Edition boxes, but it isn’t my fault that there’s so much material there. I didn’t design them and, on the flip side, I have absolutely zero room to keep them.

The difference between the regular and chase editions is interesting. I’m guessing that the purple version is the chase due to the aforementioned purple Defining Moments release of many years ago. The reason I say that is that the regular version is so much more interesting. Though the look is totally authentic, I don’t recall the yellowish gold vest with red trunks ever being done as a figure before. The vest showed up in an early Jakks figure and the trunks on the iconic Hasbro, but together? As you can tell by my comments, I greatly prefer the regular version. This is the Razor I’d have displayed with Ric Flair for a ’92 feel, if I did displays. Don’t get me wrong, the solid purple is great, too, and of course takes us back to the Hasbro re-release.

In either release you get three different heads, four sets of hands (including the thumbs up hands that it felt like Mattel didn’t want to do for the longest time), the vest, the gold necklace and the Intercontinental Championship belt. The "Ultimate Edition" torso has never struck me as worth the extra cost, but considering Razor's broad shoulders it does work here. The logos are well done everywhere including on the backs of the vests. The heads are probably the best ones we've seen to date as, for whatever reason, Hall was a tough likeness to nail down as a figure. Most over the years turned out too cartoonish. These, especially the smiling face, are just right.

I have to split this one down the middle. Both are great figures, but unless you happen upon a chase I don’t think I can recommend needing to necessarily break any doors down to get this one immediately. Unless you’re a huge Razor fan, of course, which in that case commence breaking. We’ve had other great figures of him before and, to me, the “Ultimate” stylings don’t make a huge difference. The red dot retailer is known for constant sales both in store and online. With the higher price of these Ultimate Edition figures it’s sometimes better to just wait. The stores tend to do a lot of clearance, too, although there’s no real guarantee with that.

Just be sure that you take care of them. Why? Because… “Something happen to these figures, something happen to you, chico…”