Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Wrestling Superstars

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Wrestling Superstars were the first action figures based on the wrestlers of the WWF. They were made by the toy and video game company LJN from 1984 to 1989. The figures were made of solid rubber and paint and were very accurate in appearance to their real life counterparts.

Contents

LJN closed its toy division in 1989, cancelling the Wrestling Superstars line with it. The last 6 figures produced were only distributed by Grand Toys of Canada making them rarer than most of the other figures.

8" Series

The 8" series was the main line in the Wrestling Superstars collection. Each superstar came with a biography card on the packaging and a poster inside. There are 64 figures with unique molds, plus an additional 6 major repaints that change the figures look significantly. The major repaints are Hulk Hogan in a white shirt (red shirt), Tito Santana in Strike Force attire (purple trunks), S.D Jones in a Hawaiian shirt (red shirt), André the Giant (short hair version) with black strap attire (blue trunks), Corporal Kirchner with a painted beard, and the Referee in a white shirt (blue shirt). There are also numerous minor repaints and several minor mold changes.


Series 1 (1984)

  • André the Giant (long hair)
  • Big John Studd
  • Hillbilly Jim (with hat)
  • Hulk Hogan (with black title belt)
  • The Iron Sheik (orange or yellow pant decoration)
  • Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka
  • Junkyard Dog (with dog collar and black, silver or red chains)
  • Nikolai Volkoff (with hat)
  • "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (with kilt) (red or brown boots)

  • Series 2 (1985)

  • André the Giant (short hair)
  • Brutus Beefcake
  • George "The Animal" Steele
  • Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (light or dark blonde hair)
  • King Kong Bundy
  • "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff

  • Series 3 (1986)

  • Bobby "The Brain" Heenan (with or without scrolls on shirt)
  • Bruno Sammartino
  • Captain Lou Albano (red or white lapels)
  • "Classy" Freddie Blassie (with cane)
  • Corporal Kirchner (stubble, painted or no beard)
  • Davey Boy Smith
  • Magnificent Muraco
  • Dynamite Kid
  • Jesse "The Body" Ventura
  • Jimmy Hart
  • Mr.Fuji (with cane)
  • "Macho Man" Randy Savage
  • "Mean" Gene Okerlund
  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat
  • S.D Jones (red or Hawaiian shirt)
  • Terry Funk (with branding iron & hat)
  • Tito Santana (purple trunks)

  • Series 4 (1987)

  • "Adorable" Adrian Adonis
  • Billy Jack Haynes (with hat)
  • Bret "The Hitman" Hart (pink or purple tights)
  • B. Brian Blair (tan or non-tan skin color)
  • Cowboy Bob Orton (with hat)
  • Elizabeth (with gold or purple skirt)
  • King Harley Race (with crown)
  • Hercules Hernandez
  • Jake "The Snake" Roberts (with Damien)
  • Jumping Jim Brunzell (tan or non-tan skin color)
  • Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart (pink or purple tights)
  • Ken Patera
  • Kamala
  • Koko B. Ware (with Frankie)
  • Outback Jack (with hat)
  • Ted Arcidi
  • Vince McMahon

  • Series 5 (1988)

  • Ax
  • Bam Bam Bigelow
  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan (with 2x4)
  • Honky Tonk Man (with guitar)
  • Hulk Hogan (with title belt) (white or red shirt)
  • One Man Gang
  • Referee (blue or white shirt)
  • "Luscious" Johnny Valiant
  • Rick Martel
  • Slick (with hat)
  • Ted DiBiase
  • Tito Santana (Strike Force trunks)

  • Series 6 (1989)

  • André the Giant (black strap tights)
  • Big Boss Man (with nightstick)
  • Haku
  • Rick Rude
  • The Ultimate Warrior
  • Warlord

  • (Re-released on series 6 black cards)

  • Hulk Hogan (with title belt) (white or red shirt)
  • Big John Studd
  • Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake
  • Bam Bam Bigelow
  • Honky Tonk Man (with guitar)
  • Jake "The Snake" Roberts (with Damien)
  • Demolition Ax
  • Randy "Macho Man" Savage
  • Miss Elizabeth (with gold or purple skirt)
  • Bret "Hitman" Hart
  • Ted DiBiase
  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan
  • Adrian Adonis

  • Tag Team Box Sets (each set came packed with a poster, and 2 brown tag team champion belts. Strike Force however, came with black belts)

  • The British Bulldogs
  • Brutus Beefcake and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine
  • Hart Foundation
  • Hulk Hogan and Hillbilly Jim (with Hillbilly Jim`s hat)
  • The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff (with Nikolai Volkoff's hat)
  • The Killer Bees
  • Strike Force

  • Value Packs (includes 2 posters) (usually Series 1-3 overstock)

  • Two random figures

  • Accessories

  • Sling 'Em-Fling 'Em Wrestling Ring
  • Cage Match Accessory
  • Bendies

    The Bendies line was fashioned after the original 8" series using the same paint scheme and pose as their taller version. The difference was that they were much smaller and had metal wire inside allowing the toys to bend. There were 18 figures with unique molds plus one major and several minor variations. The only major variant is the Hulk Hogan which has blue knee pads instead of red and is taller than the rest of the line.


    Single Figures

  • André the Giant
  • Big John Studd
  • Bobby Heenan
  • Brutus Beefcake
  • Captain Lou Albano
  • Corporal Kirchner
  • George "The Animal" Steele
  • Hillbilly Jim
  • Hulk Hogan (red or blue knee-pad versions)
  • The Iron Sheik
  • Jesse "The Body" Ventura
  • Junkyard Dog
  • King Kong Bundy
  • "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff
  • Nikolai Volkoff
  • "Macho Man" Randy Savage
  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat
  • "Rowdy" Roddy Piper

  • Tag Team 2 Packs

  • Hulk Hogan & Junkyard Dog
  • The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff
  • George Steele & Captain Lou Albano
  • King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd
  • Randy Savage & Jesse Ventura
  • Ricky Steamboat & Corporal Kirchner

  • Accessories

  • Cage Match Challenge (Includes Hulk Hogan with blue knee pads and one other figure)
  • Thumb Wrestlers

    The Thumb Wrestler line consisted of only 11 figures which were sold in two-packs. Jake Roberts and King Kong Bundy were produced in very small quantities in comparison to the other 9 figures.

  • Hulk Hogan
  • Big John Studd
  • The Iron Sheik
  • King Kong Bundy
  • Nikolai Volkoff
  • "Macho Man" Randy Savage
  • Jake "The Snake" Roberts
  • "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
  • Junkyard Dog
  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat
  • "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff

  • Available in these two-packs:

  • Hulk Hogan vs. Big John Studd
  • Hulk Hogan vs. The Iron Sheik
  • Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy
  • Hulk Hogan vs. Nikolai Volkoff
  • Hulk Hogan vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage
  • Hulk Hogan vs. Jake "The Snake" Roberts
  • Hulk Hogan vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
  • Hillbilly Jim vs. The Iron Sheik
  • Hillbilly Jim vs. Big John Studd
  • Hillbilly Jim vs. Nikolai Volkoff
  • Hillbilly Jim vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage
  • Hillbilly Jim vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
  • Junkyard Dog vs. The Iron Sheik
  • Junkyard Dog vs. Big John Studd
  • Junkyard Dog vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
  • Junkyard Dog vs. Nikolai Volkoff
  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage
  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Nikolai Volkoff
  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Jake "The Snake" Roberts
  • "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff vs. Big John Studd
  • "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff vs. King Kong Bundy
  • "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
  • 16" Series

  • Hulk Hogan (with title belt & shirt)
  • "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (with kilt, belt & shirt)
  • Stretch Wrestlers

  • George "The Animal" Steele
  • Hulk Hogan
  • Junkyard Dog
  • King Kong Bundy
  • "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff
  • "Macho Man" Randy Savage
  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat
  • "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
  • Prototypes, rarities, and errors

    Various different prototypes were photographed in various LJN advertising and packaging, such as, Adrian Adonis with scarves, Rick Steamboat with red trunks, Tito Santana with an entirely different mold, Fred Blassie with a painted cane and glittered jacket, Hillbilly Jim with a black undershirt, Jimmy Hart with a pink megaphone, Kamala with an alternate paint job, Koko B.Ware with light blue tights, Haku as 'King Haku', and Rick Rude with green tights among others.

    As for the Bendies Series, there are documented issues of the LJN Toy Catalog for retailers in the year 1987 that show prototype bendies for Tito Santana, Magnificent Muraco, Bruno Sammartino, and Terry Funk. There have never been any documented showings of anyone possessing these figures.

    Photographed prototype versions of George Steele with painted on chest hair, as well as a Roddy Piper figure with a panther shirt are rumored to have actually been produced.

    LJN also produced a child size WrestleMania Championship Belt. The packaging for the title belt featured pictures of unproduced large size "Wrestling Superstars Muscle Grip" action figures of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage complete with title belts.

    There were also Canadian release 2 pack "Value Packs" which contained a totally random assortment of any 2 figures generally from (but not limited to) the first 3 series of the line.

    The final series of figures that were scheduled but never produced included: Bad News Brown, Brother Love, Bushwhacker Luke, Bushwhacker Butch, Demolition Smash and The Barbarian. Photographs of the wrestlers appeared on the backs of the black Series 6 Superstars '89 cards and they were mentioned in various ads by a company called The Wrestling Ring contained in 1989 issues of Pro Wrestling Illustrated and their various publications, but photographs of the actual figures have never been seen. Miss Elizabeth was also pictured on the back of the black cards as an available re release. To date there has not been any verifiable proof that it was released as one has yet to turn up in circulation.

    An 8" Sgt. Slaughter figure was made by LJN. Slaughter had a contract dispute with then WWF over merchandising, and left the company. The figure was never released to stores and was instead purchased by Hasbro. Hasbro then made the 8" Sarge figure available as a mail order tie-in with their G.I. Joe action figure line. Slaughter was shipped in a plastic bag which had a chemical reaction with the unpainted portions of the rubber. The result was green spots that plague most Slaughter figures. The 1st design of the figure was a re-molded body of Jimmy Snuka.

    There were 2 prominent misspellings on the red stickers affixed to the figures' packaging. Vince McMahon's name was spelled "Vince McMann" and Bret Hart's was spelled "Brett Hart", though Hart's wasn't really an error as "Brett" was the spelling used on every episode of Championship Wrestling.

    The original Sling 'Em-Fling 'Em Wrestling Ring was recalled on November 4, 1991, due to 4 cases of children seriously injuring themselves falling on the corner ring posts. In one of those cases, a plastic ring post penetrated the child's body causing serious injury. The posts were made of hard plastic and would not budge much, if at all, when fallen or stepped on. 1.4 million rings were sold. The rights to the ring were purchased by the toy company Jakks Pacific and it was re released as The Monster Ring in the 90's. Protective caps were attached to the posts for added safety.

    References

    Wrestling Superstars Wikipedia


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