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.
THE HART FOUNDATION
Because May is Tag Team Appreciation Month here in Wrestling Merchandise and Memories (remember to use the hashtag #TagTeam on social media!), we were able to convince the selection committee of the prestigious Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame to take the unprecedented step of inducting not one, but two LJN figures at the same time! We may have also given them a small cash bribe.
Which two figures? Well, LJN only made Demolition Ax and not Smash.... so we chose The Hart Foundation for this unique honor.
Make no mistake about it; the pairing of Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and Bret "Hitman" Hart was nothing short of a masterstroke. They had decidedly different wrestling styles, but for them... the contrast actually worked.
And The Harts even made a concerted effort to look alike, what with the purplish trunks (yes, I know they were pink in real life, but not on my figures), black singlets and badass black elbow pads. They looked like a pair of purple thugs.
Individually, I'd have to say that these were two of the better renderings LJN came up with back in the day.
Bret has the shades and the arrogant scowl on his face, ready to tear apart anyone who tells him he should be wearing pink trunks instead of purple ones. And Jim has his flat-top hairdo and pointy orange ZZ Tops-esque goatee, ready to pull at and laugh maniacally.
What I've always LOVED about The Hart Foundation figures is that they could actually execute their tag team finisher, The Hart Attack!
Here, Bret bounces off the ropes (or my dad's tool cabinet, if you prefer reality) ready to clothesline the hell out of Ricky Steamboat, while The Anvil bearhugs The Dragon and holds him in place. YEAH, BABY! (Neidhart laugh) Dahahahahaha!
Together, The Hart Foundation took tag team brawling to a whole new level, as evidenced on the left. They are kicking ass and taking names on The Killer Bees, and there's absolutely nothing Jumpin' Jim Brunzell or B. Brian Blair can do about it!
In my own personal LJN battles, I always brought out the Harts any time a babyface (such as fellow Hall of Famer Randy "Macho Man" Savage) needed to be put to a serious test. Forget outlasting Kamala or Big John Studd -- just try and cross Calgary's finest and you'll be in for a rough day at the office. There's a reason these guys were trained in The Hart Dungeon.
One other point that's worth noting: even when you thought Hart and Neidhart were under control, you almost forgot to factor in their secret weapon, "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart (don't worry; The Mouth will get his own induction one of these days).
Armed with his trusty megaphone, there wasn't much that Jimmy wouldn't do for his clients -- run interference, argue with the ref... heck, he'd even wrestle from time to time if you could get past the fact that his megaphone wasn't removable.
Between their kick-ass look, brutal tag team maneuvers and dastardly manager, The Hart Foundation were always the team to beat whenever I hauled out the LJN figures. Other teams were talented, but they never had as much Hart.