It was great being a kid in the 1980s; being a wrestling fan back thenwas even better. But throughout most of the decade, WWF enthusiastsonly had a few options when it came to collecting action figures. Infact, we really only had two: LJN's Wrestling Superstars, and theirsmaller (and less popular) counterparts, the thumb wrestlers. Theseguys were constructed out of solid rubber and basically had zeroarticulation. Sound like fun, eh? At the time these figures were allthe rage due to the WWF's aggressive advertising campaign. And don'tget me wrong, some of those commercials were classic:
"I'll bring MY guys, you have YOURS!"
"They're so real, can YOU tell the difference?"
Yep,they'd get you pretty pumped up, and seeing Roddy Rowdy Piper promotingthe figures on late-night television was equally exciting. But inretrospect, the toys were pretty crappy. The main issue was their lackof durability. It was only a matter of time before the deteriorationset in, and soon enough your wrestlers were grappling with each othersans pants as the paint began to peel away from their trunks, exposingthe flesh-toned color bases of the figures. Dogs were also quite fondof them. After a few months of play, it wasn't uncommon to see LJN'sbig ol' rubber wrestlers lying neglected on the lawn, half naked andhalf chewed up.
In 1989 Acclaim purchased LJN, shutting down itstoy division to focus exclusively on video games. After five years ofproduction, the Wrestling Superstars were canceled. But we neededsomething different anyway. We needed a new generation of toys torepresent a new era in the World Wrestling Federation. And we wouldsoon get it. In 1990, one company introduced what would perhaps becomethe most collectible wrestling figure line of all time: Hasbro's"Official" WWF Superstars.
In contrast to the larger LJN wrestlers, Hasbro produced plasticfigures that only stood approximately 4 1/2 to 5 inches tall, eachfeaturing a signature "action move". The toys were relatively tiny, butcame packed with tons of personality like the series #1 "Macho Man"Randy Savage. This is a great representation of such an intense,colorful performer given how small the scale was. The head sculpt isaccurate and his attire is spot-on for this stage in his career:headband, wacky glasses, star-patterned trunks, yellow knee pads, andyellow boots.
Macho Man was given a generic hammer fist for asignature move; this type of action feature and figure mold would beused again for characters like Rick "The Model" Martel and ShawnMichaels. It wasn't the most exciting wrestling maneuver, but it workedwell enough and was easy to perform. Basically, the figure's arms arepulled up and then released, unleashing a quick, downward strike.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts is another great figure from the first series.They pretty much nailed his appearance, from the icy facial expressionto his trademark snakeskin boots. This figure also came equipped withone of the most essential accessories in the entire line: the SNAKE.That's right, Hasbro included Jake's first pet, Damien, who adorns thefigure perfectly. Jake performs a "Python Punch", an appropriatesignature move given to a wrestler known for his quick,believable-looking strikes.
My only complaint with the appearance of this figure is its size. Jakewas a large wrestler who was billed at 6'5; his figure should reflectthat to some degree. But he looks quite small next to others like HBK,a performer of average build and stature.
Other figures like Andre the Giant, "Giant" Gonzales, and even TheUndertaker tower over most of the models and still manage to beproportioned correctly, so it was clearly feasible to accomplish this.But other than that this is a great representation of the Snakeman, anda must-have figure. The Bottom Line
Istill love looking at these guys today. You won't have any displayissues with the Hasbro figures, provided you take care of them. Asimple dusting every now and then should suffice. The paint jobsgenerally are solid and the toys even seem to retain their glossyfinish after all these years. The signature moves wear down over time,so if you're thinking about purchasing pre-owned figures online, makesure they are in working condition. A broken action feature is usuallyindicative of other problems due to heavy play, such as paint wear,loose parts, etc. There were eleven series in this line and severalexclusives, so stay tuned for more Hasbro figure reviews.