LJN's Wrestling Superstars action figures are generally considered the first series of wrestling toys to be marketed to the mainstream internationally. And I'm lucky to have collected them all back in the 1980s! Each month, I'll look at one classic figure and explain what made them so special.
ANDRE THE GIANT
During his wrestling career, he was known universally as "The Eighth Wonder Of The World" and this month, he becomes the eighth inductee into the prestigious Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame. Coincidence??
Andre The Giant was an unusual addition to LJN's Wrestling Superstars line in 1984, in as much as he's, like, a billion times taller than every other figure before or after him. I mean, it makes sense given his real-life proportions, but it's still really cool to see.
Somewhat less cool is Andre's pose. I mean, it's like a cross between an upright horse and a guy who has to take a dump really badly. The folks at LJN certainly didn't need to make him so.... bow-legged and pot-bellied. And let's be honest - his "I'm kind of flexing my muscles but not actually" stance doesn't flatter Andre's physique, either. He certainly won't be featured on WBF Bodystars any time soon.
But we're not here to dump all over Andre's ridiculous physique, blue Speedo-style underwear and "mane of a lion" 1970's style afro. Andre was an incredibly imposing figure in your collection, no matter whom he was matched against.
The Hart Foundation, for example, were about as awesome a tag team as you could put together in the mid-1980's, but even they looked like children in the arms of Fat Ass Andre. Here, The Giant is recreating the finish of the WrestleMania 2 battle royale and dumping them "like so much garbage," as Vince McMahon once said on commentary during the March 14, 1987 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event.
Remember when Andre boldly challenged Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania III? Well, this isn't an exact replica of their epic stare down, but it's as close as we're going to get.
Actually, that's not even true! LJN came out with a second version of Andre in their dying days (one that my collection is sadly missing), where he finally got rid of the damn hippie haircut and wore a black singlet. He was still fat and bow-legged, but damned if this wasn't a major improvement.
Wanna see something awesome? Click on the video below and pause it at just about the 1:20 mark.
You can watch the rest of the video later if you like (though I wouldn't recommend it), but for now, check out the image below:
It's an EXACT replica! Except for the fact that, in the second picture, there's no steel cage. And instead of a ring, it's my dad's tool cupboard in the background. And Andre was slamming him in the opposite direction in the video. And in the LJN version, Kamala doesn't appear to have a crotch.
But still..... exact replica!
In any event, welcome to the Hall of Fame, Andre! You and your bow legs deserve it.