Some time ago, we asked readers of this site the important question "Which Bundy Is Best?" taking stock of the King Kong Bundy figures we not only owned, but also sought out. Was it a controversial topic? Yes. Did it cause fistfights in some regions of the country? Probably. But it needed to be done.
So now it's time to rank Bundy's Heenan family stablemate and frequent tag team partner, Big John Studd. Often claiming to be the "true giant" of professional wrestling, Studd was a part of featured matches at three of the first five WrestleManias, and won the first (pay-per-view) Royal Rumble in 1989.
While we (sadly) still don't have all of the commercially-available Bundy figs, we strongly believe that we own each Big John Studd figure in existence. Ok, maybe not the bootleg Studd figure that looks like a He-Man/AWA Remco hybrid... but certainly all of the official ones.
We decided to rank (in reverse order) our favorite Studd figures for the purposes of this article, showing from worst to best. Here we go!
Honorable Mention - Big John Studd Gamepiece
We're not stupid. We KNOW this isn't an action figure. But given we had a BJS gamepiece from Milton Bradley's WWF Wrestling Superstars Board Game, we figured we'd throw it into the mix anyways, given it ties the group picture together nicely. But it doesn't count.
# 8 - WWF Wrestling Superstars Thumb Wrestlers
To address the elephant in the room... we realize at looks as though Big John Studd is wearing crotchless chaps. This is NOT the case; we found the figure at a collectibles show a dozen years ago with the white paint missing in the overall groin region (which, come to think of it, probably begs some other questions).
But even if you suspend disbelief that BJS isn't meant to be nekkid... it's just a thumb wrestler, and not a very decorated one at that. If I didn't have most of the other Thumb Wrestlers in the LJN line, I would have probably sold it off or given it away by now.
# 7 - WWE Deluxe Classic Superstars
This comes from Series 8 of Jakks Pacific's Deluxe Classic Superstars and because of the "Deluxe" modifier, it is far more articulated than most of the Jakks figures -- buddy can do the splits! Plus he's noticeably taller than the other Studd figures made by the exact same toy company, which is kind of neat.
But there's no getting around the fact that this is a BIG JOHN STUDD FIGURE WEARING PLAIN BLUE TIGHTS! Look, I get it - this is what he wore in his pre-WWF career. But when any of us outside of his immediate family think of BJS, we think of a guy in white trunks with red stars on them. This is like creating, I dunno, a Bret Hart figure wearing a green-and-yellow singlet. Maybe he wore it once upon a time, but who cares?
# 6 - WWE Classic Superstars "Classic Match" Set
This figure came packaged with Andre The Giant and Jake The Snake Roberts, commemorating their (cough) classic match at WrestleMania V in which Big John Studd was the special guest referee.
I totally get that for collectability, not every Studd figure can be the same plain-jane white tights and red boots version, but this entire set is plagued by errors. For example, Andre The Giant is wearing a two-strap singlet (which he never did), Jake The Snake is almost as tall as his opponent, and as for Studd - his hair should have been light blond, his boots were a darker red, and the referee shirt just looks.... wrong.
Oh, and the WrestleMania match was totally forgettable.
# 5 - WWF Wrestling Superstars
Look... I KNOW that this pick is going to be more than a little controversial, as this fig is the OG of OGs - part of the very first series of the WWF's very first set of figures. And LJN can do know wrong in the eyes of many figure fans.
It's actually not a terrible figure, not in any way shape or form. It's a decent likeness of the guy and unlike, say, series one Hulk Hogan, he's proportioned well-enough as compared to the other figures. But I can't get past the fact that the poor guy is squatting like he's getting to sit on the official LJN toilet. Apparently this was done because it was hard to package the biggest wrestlers (e.g. Studd and Andre The Giant) in their packaging without bending their legs. But imagine what the Studd figure would have looked like if he was standing tall?
#4 - WWF Wrestling Superstars Bendies
Well.... this answers my previous question. The Bendies figure (released shortly after his LJN) had Big John Studd standing tall and, in my humble opinion, it makes all the difference in he world. This is low-key one of the best Bendies in the line and it shows how to manufacture the right kind of Big John Studd fig.
#3 - WWE Classic Superstars
This figure came out in the second series of Jakks Pacific's WWE Classic Superstars set, packaged in some cases with a chair and microphone, and in other cases a stretcher and ring bell. Given none of these accessories really meant much to the career of Big John Studd, I'm fairly indifferent.
But what I love about this figure is, they got everything pretty much right! Sure, they could have lightened his hair up some (depending on what period of his career this was depicting), but they gave the guy chest hair! Honestly, for a Jakks figure, it's quite good and as a Studd fan, it's a satisfying representation of the guy.
#2 - WWE Legends
This was released as part of Mattel's WWE Legends collection (Series 11) and gives you pretty much everything you'd want in a Big John Studd figure. He's got a lighter shade of hair on his head, chest hair, the proper trunks and boots, etc. and because it's Mattel, the figure is perfectly in scale with other figs. Plus he comes with a set of interchangeable hands and, for the first time ever, his red and white ring robe.
This is a banger of a figure that would look great on any display shelf. In fact, there's only one SMALL thing that made this number two instead of taking the top spot....
#1 - WWE Hall of Fame Heenan Family Set
Packaged alongside Andre The Giant, Bobby The Brain Heenan and Mr. Perfect, this is my favorite figure iteration of Big John Studd.
While it's very similar to the WWE Legends figure and does NOT come with the robe of interchangeable hands... I think the head on this figure is an improvement. Take a look at them side by side.
While it's a small detail in terms of overall enjoyment, I would say it makes a big difference in the world of Big John Studd.