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.
I was watching the (amazing) Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody the other week, and when they got to the scene where the band is coming up with their hit song Another One Bites The Dust, something important struck me: we haven't inducted Junkyard Dog into the (prestigious) Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame!
Another One Bites The Dust was his theme song, you see, before Grab Them Cakes ever became a thing and ruined pro wrestling forever.
We're not going to lie: our version of JYD has certainly seen better days. In our defense, this figure was one of our first ever, and certainly among the first series of LJN Wrestling Superstars released in 1984.
So you'll forgive us if little details like his "J Y DOG" writing on the trunks and his bulldog-like logo have eroded somewhat over the past 34 years. This is a genuine antique, people!
While Junkyard Dog's trunks may be falling apart at the seams, and the dog collar and chain he came packaged with is likely trapped in the drywall of my parent's basement, JYD was still capable of some amazing feats of strength.
Take, for example, the way he could pick up fellow CBWLJNWFHOF'er King Kong Bundy with relative ease and slam him to the ground for his patented Thump. It was what made Junkyard Dog among the elite in our LJN collections.
JYD's calling card was his headbutt which, (along with many African-American and Samoan wrestler stereotypes), was apparently a legitimate finisher in the mid-1980s.
Here, The Dog gets down on all fours to deliver his headbutt to Jesse The Body Ventura, a spot that always seemed more like comedy to me than legitimate wrestling...
The Junkyard Dog figure was also capable of absorbing huge amounts of punishment, according to my imagination.
I remember constantly putting JYD in Greg The Hammer Valentine's patented figure-four leglock because (a) Junkyard looked like he was screaming out in pain and (b) he was one of the few figures you could interconnect Valentine's legs with to properly put the hold on.
The little poster that was rolled up into the bottom of the package is a genuine work of art, and puts JYD in the best possible light. Not only are his pants not falling to pieces, but he's also in that classic JYD pose, getting ready to get down.
Let's welcome Junkyard Dog ("Junk Yard Dog" according to the poster) as the 28th inductee into the prestigious Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall Of Fame.
And another one gone. And another one gone....
Junkyard Dog was one of the most versatile figures in the entire LJN Wrestling Superstars roster. Not only could he look credible against the likes of Bundy, Ventura or Valentine, but he was also a trusted ally to most of the babyfaces.
Look at the picture to the left: it's entirely possible he would have teamed with George The Animal Steele and Ricky The Dragon Steamboat in a six-man match that was captured somewhere in a Coliseum Video release.