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.
RAVISHING RICK RUDE
What I'd like to have right now, is for all you fat, out of shape, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories-reading sweathogs to keep the noise down what I show you what an action figure of Ravishing Rick Rude is kind of, sort of, supposed to look like. Hit the music!
Ravishing Rick Rude is amongst the rarest figures in the LJN line and, technically, wasn't produced by LJN at all. In 1989, a Canadian company called Grand Toys released roughly a dozen figures after LJN lost the account - some were repaints, and some were originals to the line such as The Ravishing One himself.
Let's address the elephant in the room: this figure was one of the least playable in the entire series, what with his hands permanently affixed to his hips and his face in a "pucker up" pose.
You couldn't trap an opponent in a decent headlock (a la King Kong Bundy and others), but you could stand over Tito Santana and threaten to kiss him.
Rude's complete lack of poseability led to some incredibly awkward moments in your LJN figure battles, such as Brutus Beefcake applying his patented sleeperhold, and Ravishing Rude just kind of accepting it as he stood there, hands impatiently on his hips, not really giving a shit that he was on the verge on consciousness.
While we're pointing out the negative things on this figure, let's talk about the trunks. These generic, multicolored tights were something Rude may have worn, but really only in his earliest days in the company. By the time he began feuding with Jake Roberts (a year before this figure was sold), he'd already adopted the airbrushed tights that he's closely associated with to this day.
Once you got past the ineffectiveness of this figure's playability, there were some good things about him.
For example, they replicated Rude's "anchor" tattoo on his right arm, giving him a bit of personality. Aside from maybe Bam Bam Bigelow and One Man Gang, I don't believe any other LJN figures were represented with ink of any kind (mind you, not many top wrestlers had visible tatts in the early 80s).
Plus, Rude could deliver one hell of a powerbomb to his WWE Hall of Fame inductor Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, so long as you weren't to fussy about the laws of physics and gravity.
One of the things you REALLY needed to make your Ravishing Rick Rude figure effective was his manager, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.
Heenan added a unique element to Rude's persona, giving him a level of danger, intrigue and class not previously attained. And we're absolutely not just saying that because Heenan gave us a brief interview earlier this year. It's absolutely true.
Without The Brain by Rude's side, who was going to trip up The Ultimate Warrior and cost him the Intercontinental Title? Who was going to pick a lady out of the audience for him to kiss? Having said that.... Miss Elizabeth was the only woman in the line, so the pickings were kind of slim.
Interviews were, of course, one of Ravishing Rick Rude's fortes. Whether he was threatening to steal Jake The Snake's old lady right out from under him, or whether they were replicating the SummerSlam '89 promo where a piece of the set suddenly fell, causing Mean Gene Okerlund to say "F*CK IT!" live on the air, you knew that when you got The Ravishing One in front of a live mic, exciting things were about to happen.
Yes, we admit that Ravishing Rick Rude could do little more than pose in the ring, so even those with the best imaginations couldn't pull off a five-star match with Rude in the Sling 'Em, Fling 'Em Ring. But opponents who thought his mere presence was about not applying holds and appearing to kiss other people were in for a Rude Awakening.
Welcome to the prestigious Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame, Ravishing Rick Rude. Hit the music!