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.
BAM BAM BIGELOW
With all due respect to the other 15 members of the prestigious Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame (patent pending), Bam Bam Bigelow may be the most awesome figure to date. A combination of being massive and badass seals the deal for me.
I mean, just look at his "only a mother could love" face. He's got one eye open and the other closed tightly shut, which has to be some sort of milestone for an action figure of any kind (let alone in the wrestling community). He's got an arched eyebrow that The Rock himself would be jealous of. And he's got a missing tooth, which is the true symbol in all this that the folks at LJN actually cared enough to add that tiny detail.
Any yes, I realize there's something wrong with Bammer's nose. While I can't confirm the details, I believe it was an injury suffered at the hands of One Man Gang in my basement some 25 years ago.
Just to give you a point of reference, The Beast From The East is certainly a large fellow, but he still looks small compared to his New Jersey counterpart, fellow CBWLJNWF Hall of Famer King Kong Bundy. He's also dwarfed by Big John Studd, Andre The Giant, Kamala and One Man Gang.
But that's absolutely fine, because his size is still more than enough to tower over most of the LJN roster. Bob Orton, The Warlord or whomever else tries their luck against Bam Bam knows that they're down 100 pounds or more right from the get-go.
And did I mention the yellow and orange flames that adorn his pants and shirt? Badass, baby - badass. You're not going to see, say, Greg Valentine, trying to pull that look off.
Speaking of cool little details, Bam Bam's head tattoo is included and is quite the work of art.
Let's be honest -- if LJN had neglected to include the head tat, Bam Bam would have looked.... well, bald, and the oversight would be laughed about still to this day.
But give them credit: they at least attempted to replicate Bigelow's work of cranial art, and while it looks more like a bunch of ink blots -- they tried.
I can only imagine how much stress LJN would have had if they'd been tasked with creating a CM Punk action figure back in the day! Blue scribbles clearly wouldn't cut it in that world...
One VERY cool thing about the Bam Bam figure: by the time it came out in 1998, he was pretty much on his way out of the WWF. And because his was a really limited run, he never quite lived up to his full potential (Lawrence Taylor jokes notwithstanding).
So that means you could have matched Bammer up with pretty much anyone on the LJN roster and it would have been a fresh matchup: Hercules Hernandez, The Iron Sheik, Randy Savage, whomever.
Plus, if you wanted to turn him heel years before he did in real-life, that option was more than open to you, so you could give Greetings From Ashbury Park to the likes of Tito Santana.