In the mid-1980s, LJN released a line of Stretch Wrestlers that included Hulk Hogan, King Kong Bundy and others, where you could stretch their limbs to untold lengths, and they would magically snap place into place, a la Stretch Armstrong. The are now now sought after by many vintage collectors and sold for quite inflated prices on the secondary market.
These Stretchy Wrestler figures are.... well, not those. Not in terms of star power, collectibility or cost. And not that's a bad thing, by the way. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
The four Stretchy Wrestler figures I picked up via an eBay auction were relatively cheap. In fact, I'd be shocked if they weren't once sold at a Dollar General or a store along those lines for a buck or two each.
I found four different characters (although the back of the package says "Collect All Three" including one figure I don't have... so how many are there actually?). None of them appear to be patterned after any famous wrestler, past or present, the way many bootleg wrestling figures may. The one of the red trunks has a head that kind of, sort of looks like a darker-skinned Sabu... but even that is stretching things a bit. Get it? Stretch? Ahhh, never mind.
Created by a company based in Jacksonville, Florida called JA-RU, the figures are smaller than the average WWE Mattel figure, and are stuffed with some sort of sand, which allows you to pull on their arms, legs and chest and extend them to become just over double the height they are in the package. Having said that, the package claims they have "4X Stretch Power" but no one is quite sure what that means. Definitely not four times their original size.
Once you crack the package open, one can see how cheaply made these figures are. Whenever you touch them, you feel sand or fuzz rub off into your hands, and little pieces of the boots crumble fairly easily upon touch. Only their heads are made out of a hard, non-stretchable plastic.
The good news is, the stretchiness definitely allows one to place these figures in any number of wrestling holds, including submissions, chokeholds and the whole nine yards. Sometimes you have tie their limbs in knots if you want someone to be "holding" their opponent in, say, a sharpshooter, but it's a small price to pay to see these cheap toys doing some real wrestling moves.
In fact, these are kind of the wrestling figure equivalent of stress balls. Leave them on your office desk and practice figure-four leglocks or what have you to relieve tension while on an important business call. Just make sure not to get wrestler sand all over your important business suit.
The weirdest thing about these figures is actually on the package, which features a creepy child winking at the camera while tearing some poor sap limb from limb. Should we be concerned about this kid? He looks the type of twerp who would play with matches and burn his house down.
Anyways.... the Stretchy Wrestler figures aren't bad for what they are. Collect all three!