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 ULTIMATE WARRIOR
The Ultimate Warrior was bright orange. At least, his LJN Wrestling Superstars figure was bright orange. Let's get that one right out of the way, because it's a MASSIVE reason why this figure is remembered nearly 30 years after its initial release.
Warrior's skin tone isn't even flesh-colored. It's, like, day-glo orange, which matches his trunks perfectly.... but it still looks like a little weird. Instead of hitting the tanning bed, LJN Warrior was bathing inside of a pumpkin or some shit.
And unlike Warrior's 1989 release brethren Ravishing Rick Rude, who had his hands tucked into his tights for some reason, Warrior is actually posed in a very playable way.
Take his clothesline arm, for example, Warrior's build is solid enough that a stiff clothesline or two may be enough to put you away. Even if the case of the One Man Gang, who is being totally unprofessional by ducking too early and making Warrior look like a chump in the process.
Bizarre skin hue aside, this Warrior actually looks pretty decent. Part of the final wave of figure created by LJN successor Grand Toys in 1989, the sculptors worked hard at making sure this wasn't your typically LJN doll.
Between his feathered mullet, gigantic eyes, intense glare and signature war paint, The Ultimate One's head is something to look at in marvel - LJN actually got a face sculpt right!
Warrior's brute strength is evidenced in pretty much everything he does, including picking up his WrestleMania III opponent Hercules Hernandez up for a massive bodyslam - even though it looks like he's about to drop poor Herc on his head.
But seriously, look at the difference in their respective skin tones here. What the hell, LJN? WHAT THE HELL?
One of my favorite "Ultimate Warrior brute strength" moves to pull off was picking up Bobby The Brain Heenan over his shoulder and parading around the ring with him, possibly dropping him afterwards with a thunderous bodyslam.
And hey - as a bonus, if the arena ever got too dark, the fans could still find Warrior because of his ridiculously-flourescent skin!
Another puzzling thing behind this figure was the poster that LJN/Grand Toys always included in the bottom of the packaging. While this problem certainly isn't exclusive to just The Warrior (they did it for most of the '89 collection, I believe).... it's just a photo of the guy and not the detailed illustrations they'd had previously.
Half the fun of opening these figures back in the day was being able to see a poster of Andre The Giant sitting on three jobbers, or Ted Arcidi in the evening's "Main Event" or The Killer Bees posing with the WWF Tag Team Championship.
Instead, we just get a regular old picture of Warrior here.... which is okay, but it's really not the same experience.
Couldn't they have at least painted it day-glo orange to match the figure?