WWE M.U.S.C.L.E. FIGURES
Anyone who grew up in my generation (which, according to my kids, was roughly 1937) knew all about M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. Standing for the acronym of Millions of Unusual Creatures Lurking Everywhere (clever!), these were tiny pink-colored alien action figures that Mattel produced in the mid-1980s.
But here's the thing: the figures were marketed as being professional wrestlers, despite some of them having multiple arms and legs or Lego-style bricks for their upper torso. There were figures in the series that looked kind of like Dusty Rhodes, Jushin Liger and others, and I even remember having a championship belt/miniature wrestling ring to stage teeny little M.U.S.C.L.E. pay-per-views in.
Decades later (2017, to be exact), the M.U.S.C.L.E. line returned, only this time the characters were WWE legends. As someone who (a) loved the original M.U.S.C.L.E. line (b) loves old-school wrestling and (c) collects WAY more wrestling toys than any man in his late-40s should probably own... this particular product absolutely scratches me where I itch.
Instead of cheaping out by producing dime store versions of WWE competitors, the M.U.S.C.L.E. folks actually went all out, sculpting detailed, tiny versions of the legends they're supposed to represent.
While it may be hard to see in some of these photos, details like Ric Flair's robe or The Iron Shiek's headdress are spot on, which must be difficult given the small canvas from which they have to work from.
In recent years, WWE has got its roster of legends down to a science, making the likes of Rowdy Roddy Piper, Andre The Giant (w/ massive head and hands) and Randy "Macho Man" Savage (w/ WWF Championship) standard fire. But by adding the likes of Mean Gene Okerlund (above photo), Sgt. Slaughter (two pictures above), Ted DiBiase and Hacksaw Jim Duggan (same pic), they now have a decent group to utilize.
The final three in this collection may be among my favorites. Jake "The Snake" Roberts (w/ Damien around his neck), The Junkyard Dog (w/ chain) and The Ultimate Warrior (w/ tiny tassels hanging from his biceps) are just about perfect characterizations of these WWE Legends, if they were monotone pink in color instead of flesh colored, green, red, neon orange, etc.
And can we spend a few minutes talking about the AWESOME job these guys did on the packaging? You have the WWE (Legends) and M.U.S.C.L.E. logos intermingling, which would seem to me to be right up there with achieving peace in the Middle East as "greatest accomplishments ever." Okay, maybe not, but you get the idea. You have a cartoon rendition of Randy Savage jumping off the top rope. You have the WWE Retro style packaging that we all know and love. And you get THREE FREAKING FIGURES in each package... which is very similar to how M.U.S.C.L.E. peddled their wares back in the day.
If you're a Gen X'er, you probably love everything about this packaging and then some.
As if that packaging weren't good enough (and trust me, it IS!), each box also features two of the three included Legends illustrated on the back, talking smack with each other like something straight Hulk Hogan's Rock n' Wrestling! It's the perfect complement to a small dose of dual-branded nostalgia, and the figures will look absolutely perfect on my bookshelf.
Oooh.... Mr. Perfect! There's another guy they should have included in M.U.S.C.L.E. format!