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.
First thing's first - and it's important to establish this fact right out of the gate - my original Hercules Hernandez figure circa 1988 is diseased.
I'm not sure the scientific explanation behind this, but certain LJN figures grow spores of mould on them from time to time, and without any rhyme or reason. If Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins are to be believed, there's no way to remedy this and simply "clean" the green mould off your figures.
So I did what any proud curator of the (prestigious) Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame would do -- I found a replacement Herc on eBay for a reasonable price and swapped out Old Moldy.
Disease aside, the Hercules Hernandez figure is arguably one of the forgotten classics among the entire LJN line.
Introduced in the fourth series of Wrestling Superstars figures circa 1987, this figure harkens back to a time before Herc cut his hair short, was slobbered all over by Billy Jack Haynes at WrestleMania III, and was the dude who made Hulk Hogan submit on Saturday Night's Main Event.
This version of Hercules was from his early WWF appearances where he had Sampson-like hair and wore weird Greek God battle armor wherever he went. And he was constructed in the perfect position to wallop the hell out of Tito Santana with a powerful elbow smash.
Hercules (at least this version of the gimmick) didn't have a ton of high-profile matches in the WWF, but the most notable one was a random match against Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat at WrestleMania II.
According to legend, Herc wasn't even going to be Steamboat's opponent at first - they had made plans for it to be a match between The Dragon and a young Bret "Hit Man" Hart. Can you imagine how wrestling history might have been forever changed if, instead of getting Ricky Steamboat versus frickin' Hercules, we got a Steamboat-Hart clinic?!?
So yeah, anyways, thanks to the miracle of LJN figures, you can recreate that "classic" match that happened like six hours before Hulk Hogan battled King Kong Bundy.
We don't mean to be some negative to the man who would later go on to almost become the slave of Ted DiBiase. The figure is actually quite badass, between his war costume, long hair and beard and his imposing figure. There was a LOT you could do with this guy, and not just putting him on your LJN house shows against the likes of George "The Animal" Steele or Koko B. Ware or (on the B shows) in a semi-main against Randy "Macho Man" Savage.
Fun fact: Did you know that Hercules Hernandez briefly had TWO managers? For a few weeks in 1986, he was co-managed by Slick and Classy Freddie Blassie, which in itself is a HOF-worthy accomplishment. They probably didn't know he was diseased, though.