Time Capsule: Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Coverage of Super Cards ’87

Growing up in the mid-late ’80s, one of my greatest joys would come when I would go to the grocery store with my Mom and be able to pick up a new wrestling magazine.  It never mattered to me which one I got as long as I got one.  If you know anything at all about the glory days of the Apter magazines, you know that the Cadillac of wrestling magazines was Pro Wrestling Illustrated.  One reason it was considered the best was because of its full-color coverage of various events.  One of the things I really looked forward to each year was their coverage of the spring super cards like Wrestlemania. 

Well, I recently picked up some old wrestling magazines from eBay, and one of them was the Pro Wrestling Illustrated with coverage of the super cards of 1987!  After salivating over the 19 pages of greatness multiple times, I thought I would share them with the world so others who used to enjoy this stuff could relive how great it was.  So what follows is all 19 pages of PWI’s coverage of Wrestlemania 3, Crockett Cup ’87, Parade of Champions ’87, and UWF Super Blast.  Enjoy! 

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The 1990 TV Pilot ‘Tag Team’

We all have some TV shows that we were very fond of that didn’t last more than a season. Well, in this edition of Retro Ramblings, I want to talk about a show that never made it past the pilot that I was a huge fan of. Tag Team.


In the mid-late ’80s, professional wrestling, and the WWF in particular, was big business. A lot of the WWF superstars were becoming household names thanks to Vince McMahon and his traveling circus. Two of the better-known superstars were “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Piper had spent years as the biggest bad guy wrestler on the roster, while Ventura was well known as one of the voices of the shows as color commentator. Each broke out of the WWF world to become moderate successes in Hollywood. Piper had starring roles in B – Movies like Body Slam, Hell Comes to Frogtown, and They Live. Meanwhile, Jesse was becoming a solid backup man in action flicks with Running Man and Predator. 

In 1991, they teamed up on the small screen in the pilot episode of Tag Team. The show’s premise was simple. These two wrestlers couldn’t wrestle for a living anymore, so they decide to become cops. That decision was made after they used their wrestling moves to stop a robbery at a grocery store. It was a simple idea, but one that a television series could conceivably be based around.

As the air date for the pilot episode drew closer, Vince McMahon was hyping the debut of the show on his wrestling shows, and as a 13-year-old wrestling fan, I was salivating. I marked the date and time on my calendar so I wouldn’t miss it. Here was another chance to inject more wrestling into my world, and I wasn’t going to miss it. Although I can’t recall what night of the week that this premiered, I DO remember getting everything set up in my room for it. My chair was at the right angle, I had a frosty beverage at my side and some sort of snack at the ready. I was pumped. 

As I remember it, the episode was pretty good, and I thought it was really cool that these two wrestlers were going to be in a television show every week. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of just how exactly television worked at that time, and was quite disappointed when the show never aired again. The series wasn’t picked up, and the show was thrown into the huge pile of “could’ve been” with hundreds of other series that were never picked up. 

I listened to a podcast featuring Ventura and Piper that was recorded a long time ago before Piper passed away, and Ventura explained why the series wasn’t picked up. The two companies who were producing the show together, Disney and Corelco, got into a lawsuit with each other over something not even remotely related to the Tag Team series, and while in litigation, the show was left in limbo since neither side was doing business with each other at the time. When the lawsuit dust settled, too much time had passed and the Tag Team series was abandoned. 

It’s a real shame because the two had great chemistry together in the pilot, the premise was solid for an action/comedy show, and would have probably drawn decent enough ratings to keep the 13–episode first season on the air. Whether it would have been picked up beyond that is anyone’s guess, but I know one 13-year-old who would have watched religiously.

Watch the pilot below and decide for yourself if it had a shelf life or not.

Wax Pack Flashback: WWF Wrestlemania 3 Cards (1987)

This is Wrestlemania week, and I’ve been feeling awfully nostalgic for old pro wrestling. Because of that, you got the post earlier this week on the old pro wrestling action figure lines. So to keep the ball rolling, here is an older episode of Wax Pack Flashback that I do for The Retro Network on TRNTV. Give it a watch and check out how awesome these cards were.

It’s always fun to open an old pack of cards, but these were even better than normal because they featured so many of my heroes growing up. Every card in the pack brought back it’s own old memories. I need to find more of these packs and see what other treasures I can find lurking inside.

If you enjoyed seeing this old pack of cards get opened, check out some of the other packs I’ve opened…

Retro Wrestling Action Figure Lines

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 in this testosterone-filled edition of Retro Ramblings.


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 the looks and designs of these figures, but I never owned enough of them myself to put them really high on my all-time list of favorite toys. Not to mention that their lack of articulation hurt their play a bit.

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.  As 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 but failed miserably.  They were great for just playing with and having them do moves to each other though. And since they were far more flexible than their larger counterparts, they were actually more enjoyable to play with in my opinion.

Remco AWA Wrestling Figures

Growing up without cable TV, my only exposure to AWA wrestling was catching it when I was at my grandmother’s house, and in the wrestling magazines.  Back then, I was consuming every wrestling magazine I could find, so I was fairly up to speed on the goings-on in the AWA.  Then I started seeing these figures in my local Family Dollar store.  Not only were they a cheaper option than the LJN WWF figures, but you got two figures in a pack.  Well, in most cases.  I was buying the packs as I pictured above, so I was getting a lot of bang for my buck.  I had Ric Flair, Rick Martel, Larry Zbyszko, Baron Von Raschke, Stan Hansen, and Crusher Jerry Blackwell.  I took these things everywhere with me.  Like to the lake for our weekend camping trips.  For the short time I was finding these things, they were probably my favorite toy.  They were sized and proportioned just right for mixing in MOTU figures as wrestlers.  I still remember the legendary matches between He-Man and Ric Flair.  Of course, Flair won, why are you even asking?

Knock-Off Figures

Call me crazy, but I used to love all the knock-off wrestling figures you could easily find at the grocery store and dollar stores all over the place.  Some of the knock-offs tried to make their figures look like famous superstars, and others just created whatever sculps they could think of and call them wrestlers.  The real beauty of these figures was they were all sized identically, regardless of who was making them.  That made them perfect for mixing and matching.  Not to mention that almost all of the companies making these figures also made wrestling rings to go with them.  You could pick those up on the cheap as well and use them for these figures or your G.I. Joes or MOTU or whatever else you wanted to put into a rumble.  These knock-off figures were scaled to work well with the Remco AWA figures, so it was another source for building up both sides of the locker room for wrestling action.

And while I’m on the subject of knock-offs, the knock-off thumb wrestlers were great too, and were perfectly sized to compete with the WWF thumb wrestlers.

M.U.S.C.L.E.

I got hooked on M.U.S.C.L.E. toys in 1986.  Picking up the packs of these little critters and getting four of them was quite the treat.  You could also pick them up in bigger packs, and even the cool trash can packs.  On top of it all, they had a wrestling ring to use for them to do battle in.  I had the ring, and my friends and I would use it for our own gambling purposes.  We’d each put one of our figures in and do battle.  Whoever won the battle got to keep his opponent’s figure.  It was kind of like marbles, but with little pink alien wrestlers.  I also had the championship belt carry case thing.  It worked great to put on and wear as an actual title belt when my friends and I would wrestle. If you want to see more great images of old M.U.S.C.L.E. figures and accessories, check out the full scan of the M.U.S.C.L.E. toys from the 1986 Mattel Toy Dealer’s catalog here on Retro Ramblings.

Time Capsule: 1986 M.U.S.C.L.E. Toys Catalog

Here are scans of the M.U.S.C.L.E. toys lineup as featured in the 1986 Mattel Toy Catalog.  Intended for retailers, Mattel’s dealer catalogs showcased all the latest and greatest releases, along with existing products within its various current (at the time) toy lines.  These are great photos of some of my favorites toys from the past.  Hope you enjoy them as well! 

When you’re done here, you should also check out the 1986 Masters of the Universe Catalog, and the complete 1988 Toys ‘R’ Us Christmas Sale paper. Let’s get onto the scans!

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