True story: The very first time I ever searched for a product on eBay, it was for the U.K. Exclusive figures from the WCW Galoob line. Once I found out that the entire line sold for upwards of $1,200 (Canadian), I decided that I may need to develop a longer-term strategy... but damn, was that El Gigante ever on my bucket list for years!
To give some context.... the very first article I wrote for our predecessor website Canadian Bulldog's World was a loving tribute to the WCW Galoob figures released in 1990. The original set had 12 figures, which were readily available at toy stores across the U.S. and Canada. And while these were merely statues (not articulated or moveable in the least), these figures were absolute things of beauty and a wonderful counter-culture find to the WWF Hasbro figures that had flooded the toy market at the time.
It wasn't until 1992 or thereabouts when I saw an ad in WCW Magazine for a completely different set of WCW Galoob figures. Some were clearly repaints of existing characters, but they had new wrestlers as well, such as this El Gigante who is so friggin' huge that he towers everyone in the line and barely stands up on his own. It took me a long time, but I finally got me some Gigante!
The other new" (and it seems weird calling anything from 1991 "new") figures I now own from the U.K. collection are The Fabulous Freebirds. Michael Hayes and Jimmy Jam Garvin come complete with glam rock facepaint and crazy 1990s trunks, making them must-have items in any fan's collection.
And while I'd love to brag about the Dustin Rhodes, Big Josh and "new" Sting and Lex Luger figures I have in my collection.... they don't exist. Yet.
Instead, I can show off my alternate road uniform version of Rick Steiner, decked out in green (instead of grey and purple as he is in his original version) with cool shapes and squiggles all over the trunks.
I also have a U.K. version of Arn Anderson in my possession. This one is different for a couple of reasons.
Double A's first Galoob release has a massive bald spot (which, reportedly, The Enforcer wasn't happy about) -- this version doesn't. And the trunks here are solid red instead of white in front, red in the back. A subtle but cool difference.
Ric Flair's alternate U.K. version is a bit of a headscratcher. Instead of wearing baby blue trunks and dark blue boots, The Nature Boy is decked out in solid red, possibly to match the gear of Arn.
That's all well and good, but why on earth is Flair decked out with a lightning bolt on his crotch? It just..... doesn't seem particularly accurate, you know?
I also own not one, but two alternate versions of Sting, the original version of which has blue trunks and pink facepaint. One of the U.K. figures has the same facepaint but with black trunks and yellow boots, which is pretty awesome. And another has orange trunks, black boots and blue facepaint. All I need now is the U.K. sculpt where Stinger is wearing the Sgt. Pepper's pink and black jacket, and I'll all sorted out there.
Beyond these figures and the aforementioned Big Josh, Dustin Rhodes, Sting (with Sgt. Pepper jacket) and Lex Luger (with entrance robe and removeable chain), the only figures I'm now missing are:
Sid Vicious with pink singlet
Brian Pillman with blue trunks (there are apparently two different versions of that variant, for those who care)
Barry Windham with blue trunks
Scott Steiner with a pink and blue singlet (very similar to his Hasbro figure, actually)
Lex Luger with green and yellow trunks
Ron Simmons with a white stripe down his pants
Time to check eBay again?