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.
HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN
Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Ex-football player. Noted patriot. The man who stood up to Andre The Giant and knocked him down. And now... the newest member of the prestigious Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame.
This particular figure of Hacksaw was released in 1988 as part of the fifth series of LJN Wrestling Superstars, and yes -- it did come with a little plastic two by four. But I've lost the weapon over the years, and it's probably somewhere in a pile right next to Terry Funk's branding iron and The Honky Tonk Man's guitar.
But even without his "equalizer", Hacksaw was an imposing addition to the LJN figure line. Big enough to take down goons like Kamala and Bam Bam Bigelow, yet nimble enough to get down and the dirty with the likes of Randy Savage and Greg Valentine. Hacksaw was the perfect mid-carder, someone who could beat anyone on any given night, as Gorilla Monsoon used to say.
Unlike the Hacksaw Jim Duggan that later would sing the song from Frozen to my daughter, this version of Hacksaw was perpetually angry. Angry scowl, cross-eyed eyes blazing, messed up hair, fist (at least the one not giving the "thumbs up" sign) pulled into a fist - the whole thing just worked for the guy.
Just look at Hacksaw carrying around poor Nikolai Volkoff here like a sack of potatoes. Hacksaw almost appears to saying "Get out of my country, you commie bastard! Hoooooooooo!".
Almost appears to be saying that. You can't tell for sure; I'm just making some assumptions here.
This figure of Hacksaw was also supremely confident. Here, he's telling Vince McMahon what he's going to show his opponents what cracked the Liberty Bell.
(Once again.... just assuming that.)
One thing I've neglected to mention so far is how... plain Hacksaw Jim Duggan looks with this figure. Black trunks, white kneepads and boots and, that's really about it. Not since Strike Force members Tito Santana and Rick Martel had LJN marketed someone who looked like an actual old-timey wrestler and not someone from a friggin' Broadway play.
I've rarely used the word "hero" in association with any members of the prestigious Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame. Possibly because all of the past inductees have been pieces of painted rubber. But still, I think "hero" is apt here.
Let's face it -- when you're being attacked by the forces of evil (in this case, Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik), who are you going to call to wipe them out within the LJN arsenal? Outback Jack? I don't think so. Ted Arcidi? Thanks, but no thanks. Hillbilly Jim? Well, maybe.... if you weren't particularly fussy about winning against said forces of evil.
No, you'd bring in Hacksaw Jim Duggan, tough guy! There's no guarantee he'd win the war, but I'd absolutely guarantee he'd go down fighting. That's the kind of hero that not only makes a match, but makes your whole damn show.
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! Hooooooooooooo!
Now, if I could only find that two by four...