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.
You know.... I've reached the point where I realize that many of the readers of this website may not even KNOW who Outback Jack is, let alone why he's worthy of inclusion in the prestigious Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame. Some background may be in order....
To quote The Simpsons: "In the late 1980s, the U.S. experienced a short-lived infatuation with Australian culture. For some bizarre reason, the Aussies thought this would be a permanent thing. Of course, it wasn't."
Right when Crocodile Dundee was taking the nation by storm, the WWF began airing vignettes for Outback Jack, a 6"6 Australian who claimed to live in the outback and came to the ring with this theme song (yes, this exact version - worst entrance music ever! Was Raffi busy?).
By the time Jack arrived in the WWF in late 1986, his mystique quickly evaporated and he soon became a Jobber To The Stars, yet that didn't stop Vince McMahon from turning him into an LJN Wrestling Figure.
Outback Jack was released as part of LJN's fourth wave of Wrestling Superstars figures, right around 1987. His figure was definitely a memorable one. Decked out in khakis, yellow boots and a brown (non-removable) vest, OBJ had a buzz cut of sorts and his smile revealed a missing tooth a la Alfred E. Newman. As Bobby Heenan once quipped, Outback Jack flossed his teeth using a rope.
The only removable item on Jack was his folded-up white hat, which I understand from doing about 30 seconds of research is called a Slouch Hat. Unfortunately, Outback was a slouch in the ring, which is why he was constantly jobbed out to the likes of Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase, Killer Khan and others.
But hey - not all of your LJN collection can be main event superstars, so the addition of Outback Jack (along with S.D. Jones and, to a lesser extent, Tito Santana) is a necessary one.
Was it likely that Outback Friggin' Jack was going to bodyslam Big John Studd in real life WWF? Gonna have to give a 'Oh, hell no!' on that one.
But - here's the thing. In your own LJN universe, you could do whatever the hell you wanted! So if you want Simple Jack to scoop up The Giant John Studd and become $25,000 richer due to Bobby The Brain Heenan's braggadociousness.... go nuts! Make him the WWF World Champion if you really see that happening! Just know that Internet nerds would endlessly troll you for that controversial booking decision, because they and only they know how the business is best operated, even though taking a chance on a dark horse can be a shrewd strategy.
Full disclosure: it looks as though Outback Steakhouse is holding The Magnificent Muraco with some sort of rope (or worse, giving him some sort of bizarre wedgie), but that's simply not the case. There's an elastic band holding up the cabinet drawers in the background, as said doors have been collecting dust in my parents' basement for the better part of two decades.
Now you know some of the behind-the-scenes secrets that go into marketing this very prestigious Hall of Fame.
Where the hell was I? Oh, right.... Despite rarely winning any matches in his career, Outhouse Jack had a finishing move, and it wasn't a terrible one. With his opponent's back turned, Jacko would deliver a reverse clothesline right into the back of the guy's head. And this figure was perfectly sculpted for that purpose!
Not that these thick, rubber statues were really ripe for articulation in the first place, but Outback Crap could also cock his fist and throw a punch, be that in a bar brawl or the squared circle. Of course, he's still grinning like an idiot, but there were dozens of others in the collection ranging from Rowdy Roddy Piper to Hillbilly Jim that had a similar expression.
Back in the day, I would often team Out Of Touch Jack with fellow jabroni S.D. Special Delivery Jones because, let's face it, Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine needed some fresh opponents now and then.
With these two side by side, I could TOTALLY have seen Outback and S.D. Jones jumping ship to Jim Crockett Promotions and then losing in the first round of The Crockett Cup to, like, Ivan Koloff and Krusher Kruschev. No idea why I used to make fantasy booking decisions that were that ultra-specific, but here we are.
In any event, let's welcome Outback Jack to the Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame. And don't forget to throw another shrimp on the barbie, mate.