Wrestling Action Figures of the Past

Even though I don’t keep up with modern wrestling, I always know the date of Wrestlemania. And as it gets close every year, I get really nostalgic for old pro wrestling and everything that goes along with it. And not much went more hand in hand with wrestling on TV than wrestling action figures. Let’s look at some of my favorite wrestling figure lines from the past!

WWF Wrestling Superstars

To begin with, I’ve got to start where it kind of began for a lot of people…WWF Superstars figures from LJN!  This was the wrestling action figure line that most folks would say was their first.  It kind of was for me, but I never had a truly great experience with it.  I first saw them when a neighbor kid at my grandmother’s house brought over his Hulk Hogan, Big John Studd, and Andre the Giant figures.  I was mesmerized.  I told my Mom about them, and that I wanted some.  For Christmas, I got a Nikolai Volkoff figure, and a Mean Gene Okerlund.  Now I love Mean Gene, but what the hell was I going to do with his figure?  Have him interview Volkoff over and over again?  This was not a good start.  A while later, I got a Junkyard Dog figure, but by then, the bloom was off the rose for me as far as these figures went.  In the meantime, I had played with them a couple of times at my cousin Tim’s house.  He had the ring to go with the figures, so it was really cool.  I still love these figures, but I never owned enough of them myself to put it really high on my all-time list of favorite toys. 

WWF Thumb Wrestlers

Sticking with the WWF, these Thumb Wrestlers were my consolation to not having the LJN figures.  I was actually able to pick up several packs of these with my weekly allowance, and that gave me enough variety to really enjoy having these.  I had Hulk Hogan, JYD, Hillbilly Jim, Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, and Big John Studd.  Like I said, enough variety to play around with and have some matches. 

Now, these things weren’t great as what they were designed to be.  They were too cumbersome to put on your thumb and have actual thumb-wrestling matches.  I tried taking them to school to do that very thing with but failed miserably.  They were great for just playing with and having them do moves to each other with though.

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1986 Matchbox Cars Collector’s Catalog

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately about all the cool old cars I used to have growing up. So much so that just a few weeks ago I detailed Five of My Favorite Hot Wheels Toys. But my love for toy cars spanned multiple brands, and right behind Hot Wheels came Matchbox. I probably had as many Matchbox cars as I did Hot Wheels.

When I came across this old Matchbox catalog recently, I knew right away that I needed to share it with all of you, so we could all remember together. I’m not going to hold you up from browsing through its pages any longer and let you get to the good stuff. But when you’re done with this, you might enjoy checking out the feature I did for The Retro Network, Five Fun Facts About Hotwheels.

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Hot Wheels

Five Fun Hot Wheels Toys

I’ve been feeling pretty nostalgic for Hot Wheels lately, so I feel like running down some of my favorite Hot Wheels toys. There have been plenty of cool Hot Wheels toys that have come along in recent years, but my list is looking at Hot Wheels toys from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.  I’m not including any individual cars this time out, because I hope to do a deep dive on those in the near future. 

Sto & Go Playsets

Hot Wheels made their own play sets for a while called Sto and Go.  You can’t see it in this picture, but these things folded up and made their own carrying case, hence the name Sto and Go.  They made several versions of this play set, but the city one was probably my favorite. There was one at my grandmother’s house, and it became the main street area from The Dukes of Hazzard as we played with the Ertl cars based on the show..  I had a lot of various construction themed vehicles and the construction zone Sto and Go was a great addition to those cars.

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Classic Commercials: Lazer Tag

Back when the commercials for Lazer Tag came out, I was blown away by what I was seeing on my TV screen. Those guys and gals were running and jumping around an arena, playing a game of tag with laser pistols. It was not only exciting, it was futuristic. You gotta remember back to 1986. The Walkman was damn near at the top of the technological heap as far as 8-year-olds were concerned. So seeing this was mind-blowing.

While I never had these wonderful toys, I do remember them being on the lips of me and all my friends at school for a good long time. Some of my friends were lucky enough to get their hands on them, but sadly, I wasn’t ever invited over to play with them.

I did however get to watch Lazer Tron on NWA Wrestling. The character was created to capitalize on the popularity of the toys and technology. I just had to make do with cheering him on in a wrestling ring instead of suiting up and playing an incredible game of tag.

Super Toolbox City

Classic Commercials: Micro Machines Super Toolbox City

I was all-in on Micro Machines in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I had cars, small playsets, bigger playsets, Monster Trucks, trains, and more. But the toy that alluded me that I really wanted was this Super Toolbox City. Just look at that thing! It folds out to such a degree that you could put 20 – 30 cars on this thing for maximum play fun. And that replica of the Golden Gate Bridge is massive and just seems to come out of nowhere for such a small playset.

The earlier play sets that were released for Micro Machines were the pocket playsets. They were pretty cool in their own right, as they would fold up to a size that you could put in your pocket. When you were ready to play, you’d unfold, install whatever set pieces with had with it, and you were ready to go. You could also snap all the little playsets together to make one larger cityscape.

But this bigger one was pretty cool because it could be toted along pretty easily, didn’t take up much space, but still unfurled to make a hell of a playset. I always fantasized about having this thing and toting it to grandma’s house, knowing that it would keep me from getting bored there. And that John Machida guy is pretty damn cool too.

Check out other old toys in these other Classic Commercials posts!

Classic Commercials: G.I. Joe Killer Whale Hovercraft (1984)

Throughout my memories of the mid-’80s, two action figure lines dominated my playtime. Masters of the Universe and G.I. Joe. The cartoon series and the Real American Hero toyline was a powerful combination. I lived and breathed G.I. Joe pretty hard back then. I mean, I still do today, but not nearly like I did back then.

This commercial combines the two pretty well. The animated sequence at the beginning is befitting of its own episode of the cartoon and would make a great commercial by itself. But then you throw in the hovercraft itself, and I was in playtime heaven.

Like most things I salivate over in these old commercials, I never owned the WHALE, nor did I ever get a chance to play with it. So watching the kids in this commercial put it through its paces makes me excited even today. The fact that it actually floats on water is a big drawing point, and watching the depth charges roll off into the water almost sent me over the edge. It was a stellar toy in a line full of them, and yet it still stands apart from the rest because of all its cool features.

And what about that environment they are playing with it in? I wish I had had a place like that to take my Joes back then and fight out the battles between G.I. Joe and Cobra.

Classic Commercials: Evil Horde Slime Pit Playset (1985)

The Masters of the Universe was one of the great loves of my cartoon and toy life when I was young. I had a fairly large collection of Masters, as well as Skeletor minions. I also had some of the vehicles, and I had Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain. But just when I thought the battle for Eternia would finally be won by one side or the other, along came Hordak and his Evil Horde to make it a three-way battle!

The Horde had some cool figures, but its playsets were where their real strength was. The Fright Zone was pretty good as a small base of operations, but the Slime Pit was evil at it’s best…in playset form anyway. This commercial did such a great job at making this thing look so darn evil, yet awesome at the same time. After seeing it at the time, I knew I just had to have it.

Slime of any kind was the hot property back then, so MOTU incorporating it into its line was a no-brainer. But how they incorporated it was genius and fit the story so well. Hordak would seize his victims and had them transported to the Slime Pit where he would drown them in his slime and turn them into his zombie servants. And they made a toy out of that. Sheer genius. At least until you tried playing with it in your room on the carpet where the slime would become stuck and your Mom would then outlaw the stuff from that point on. But that’s a story for another time.

You can see the Evil Horde Slime Pit in all its advertising glory in the 1986 Masters of the Universe catalog from Mattel, which I just happen to have the full scans of. Just click that link to go check it out. You won’t be sorry!

My Virtual Christmas Tree!

Way back in 2014, Matt at Dinosaur Dracula unleashed on the world an idea to create a virtual Christmas tree. It was an awesome idea, but I didn’t heed his advice until this year. I’m glad I waited actually. 2020 has been such a year, that making this was a much-needed distraction. While he printed out the blank tree, used crayons to color it, and printed out the ornaments and presents to glue on, I opted to do it all digitally. The end result was still the same in that I probably had as much fun making mine as he did his.

So for my tree, I went with traditional green as the color scheme. I almost chose to go with white as a throwback to the awesome tree my grandmother had for the Christmases of my youth but felt that the green would make a better background for the ornaments. And speaking of the ornaments…when you’re doing a virtual tree like this, you’re not limited to traditional ornaments. So I went with ornaments based on the members of WCW’s Dungeon of Doom! I didn’t feature them all, but the main ones are there.

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A Review of My Christmas Toys from 1986!

Earlier in the month, I posted about how 1986 was the year Santa became real for me. I briefly talked about some of the things I got for Christmas that year, but those little snippets just don’t do all those wonderful toys justice. So here, in detail, is what I got for Christmas in 1986!

The big one that Christmas morning in 1986 was the G.I. Joe Cobra Terror Drome.  At that time in life, my world revolved around four toys.  G.I Joe, Masters of the Universe, Construx, and Legos….with G.I. Joe being at the top of the list.  Knowing this, it was no surprise to my parents that the biggest hit of the holiday season would be this huge G.I. Joe playset.

It had room for plenty of figures, so massive battles were a foregone conclusion.  I stockpiled this sucker with every bad guy I had in my collection and then began a full-on assault with all of the good guys I could find.  Even Bo & Luke Duke in their 3 3/4″ figure form and the General Lee got in on the action on the side of the Joes!

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