SPONSORS

All right. So my initial plan to do a big whopping monthly column is a little behind, as one can plainly see… So rather than do one big honking column about WWE and TNA, let’s start with the news first… Namely the next series of CLASSIC SUPERSTARS that seems to have injected some adrenaline into the Jakks WWE line.

THE NEW CLASSIC 3-PACKS

Hot off the success of the recent TREACHEROUS TRIOS 3-packs… Jakks has decided to release 2 new “Classic” 3-packs… One that makes sense and one that I guess, uh, somebody out there was demanding…

First we get 3 variations on Mark Calloway, THE UNDERTAKER… We get the black & gray outfit he wore early on, the infamous “mask” he sported for a while, and of course, his “American Badass” persona. What, no “Fake Undertaker” variant? Who out there remembers the Million Dollar Man’s phoney baloney “Undertaker” who feuded with the real Undertaker? Anyway, here’s a pic of “The Undertaker Evolution.”

Secondly, we get… Umm… “The Forgotten Sidekicks” 3-packs maybe? I think the official name is “Classic Tag Teams Gone Solo,” and Bucky Barnes would be proud! We get Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart from his solo days away from the HART FOUNDATION… Ditto Marty Jannety, one-half of “The Rockers” tag Team from his reeeaally forgettable solo career (what, no Al Snow fig from “the NEW Rockers?”) and finally, one-half of “Strike Force”… Tito Santana! (Donde esta mi “El Modelo” Rick Martel?) Santana, like Jannety, is dressed in an outfit from his solo career.

Both these 3-packs are WAL-MART EXCLUSIVES… So don’t be checking Targets for ‘em!

SWEATY BRIEFS ALERT!

SWEATY BRIEFS…NEW TRU EXCLUSIVE CLASSIC 2-PACKS!

Wrestlingfigs.com has images up of the NEW WWE/F Classic 2-packs… for the first time we’re seeing THE WILD SAMOANS (Afa & Sika) taking advantage of what seems to be the Yokozuna body sculpt… As well as Luke & Butch: THE BUSHWHACKERS… (Headsculpts could use a little help, especially on Luke… Butch is okay from my pov—thankfully no “licking action!”) Does anybody remember when they used to call themselves the “New Zealand Sheepherders?”)

Speaking of the Bushwhackers… Jakks & TRU—how about producing a couple of Tag Teams they feuded with? Namely THE NASTY BOYS (Brian Nobs & Jerry Saggs) and RHYTHM & BLUES (The Honky Tonk Man and in-scale Greg “The Hammer” Valentine to go with Brutus Beefcake to re-form “The Dream Team.”

The third 2-pack is the Bionic Redneck himself packaged with Hot Rod from their most recent mini-feud. Stone Cold Steve Austin with a recent t-shirt (instead of “Unleash Hell” it reads “Unleash Austin”) complete with knee-braces as well as Roddy Piper with short hair.

Check out the images yourself at: wrestleingfigs.com

 

CLASSIC SUPERSTARS WAVE 8?

And while I’m at it, Collectorsfirst.com is reporting that WAVE 8 of Classic Superstars will include:

Thunderlips himself! HULK HOGAN (from Wrestlemania 1)

But who’s side is he on??? HULK HOGAN (from nWo)

It’s Vader time! The man who ripped off Mick Foley’s ear… BIG VAN VADER!

Roddy Piper’s right-hand man, Randy Orton calls him “Daddy,” the rest of us call him COWBOY BOB ORTON (Jakks—don’t forget the arm cast!)

For Andy Kaufman and all you pencil-necked geeks… CLASSY FREDDIE BLASSIE! Have Breakfast with him!

Andy Kaufman’s arch-enemy, JERRY THE “KING” LAWLER!

He was murdered years ago in another country… a moment of silence for BRUISER BRODY!

To heck with Tatanka, we want an even MORE classic CHIEF JAY STRONGBOW!

 

CLASSIC SUPERSTARS WAVE 7

Let’s wrap up this mini-update with some images Jakks-Pacific released of WWE/F Classic Superstars Wave 7…

ANDRE THE GIANT WITH LONG HAIR

(Before Bobby the Brain Heenan and Big John Studd cut his crazy locks! Who can forget the bag-o-Andre-hair Heenan taunted him with for years!)


 

The late-great BRITISH BULLDOG DAVEY BOY SMITH!

(What, no Dynamite Kid or Matilda?)

SUPERSTAR BILLY GRAHAM

The friend of the weasel, the gone-but-not-forgotten, Gino Morella himself, GORILLA MONSOON!

Latino Heat! EDDIE GUERRERO WITH MULLET!

The “Mouth of the South” JIMMY HART!

The ORIGINAL ROCK! “The Magnificent Muraco” DON MURACO!

Who can forget Handsome Harley Race? “THE KING” HARLEY RACE!

And finally, an incoherent ULTIMATE WARRIOR variant!

SWEATY BRIEFS ALERT!
LATE-BREAKING SWEATY BRIEFS...DUDLEYS RELEASED AND WWE CLASSICS WAVE 9!


PWF sources are telling us that the Dudley Boys (Bubba Ray and Devon), despite their legendary status and even their recently released retro versions in the BEST OF WCW/ECW Jakks line, are not having their contracts renewed by the WWE.
The reasons my source cited?
1. The USA TV deal is forcing Vince McMahon to tighten contracts. (Brock Lesnar will NOT get a sweet deal to return!)
2. A lack of new ideas for the Dudleys from creative (they already tried a singles push for both with middling results).
3. An influx of new, young, cheaper talent.
Look for the Dudleys to be re-signed a few months or even a year later at a cheaper price point, or to a short-term contract as needed.
And some breaking rumor/news from my sources...
WWE CLASSICS WAVE 9 will tentatively include:
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat from Wrestlemania 2
Paul Bearer "Manager" Figure
These are unconfirmed by Jakks... But my sources are (usually!) reliable...

 

WHAT’S COMING UP…

In the next few weeks, we will be posting the following:

Comparison & Action Shots of:

TNA SERIES ONE

CLASSIC SUPERSTARS SERIES 6

BEST OF WCW/ECW

CLASSIC SUPERSTARS 2-PACKS SERIES 2

So check out the PLASTIC WRESTLING FEDERATION for more news, photos, and updates!

Also check out the all new PWF forum! And don’t forget to tip your waitress!


Welcome to the first edition of the Plastic Wrestling Federation. The monthly column where I hope to provide news, opinion, pictures, and commentary on the world of wrestling action figures and a few tidbits about the Wrestling World in general.

We’ll try and keep a somewhat positive tone here in the PWF for the most part—as I am not a figure or company “hater.” I wouldn’t be writing this column if I generally hated the product that Toy Biz, Jakks, and the independents produced—in fact if I did—why would I bother to write a column about it? To wallow in my misery? So for all you “figure haters” out there—and you know who you who persnickety miserable misanthropes are—this may not be the column for you. (Then again—it may! Read on!)

That said, if Jakks or Toy Biz drops the ball big time (or even small time) on a figure, sculpt, or choice, I’ll call them on it—or hope that one of the readers calls them on it. And speaking of the readers—if this big wrasslin’ experiment works out-- this is your column too. Write in with questions, opinions, commentary, digital pictures—and to paraphrase Jim Rome- “have a take and don’t suck!” I’ll post the best and most relevant commentary right here in “The People’s Column.”

An speaking of “The People’s Column,” I might have the opportunity to interview former WCW champ and current TNA Wrestler Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) and Kimberly Page in the near future… Please e-mail me any questions you think I should ask the “master of the diamond cutter” at zod@actionfigureinsider.com.

My goal is to update this column at least once a month. So without further ado… Let’s look at the ultra-rare, 1 in 100—going for $700+ bucks on ebay—NEW YORK TOY FAIR 2005 EXCLUSIVE “BLOODY” TERRY FUNK!

(I can’t claim credit for obtaining this figure. I have Julius Marx to thank—who attended Toy Fair this year and who generously gave me this figure because he knows I collect Wrestling figs. Julius is a truly decent fellow, and I thank him not only for this figure—but for the opportunity to write this column here at Action Figure Insider. I’d also like to thank Toy Otter—Disneyana expert and Super Powers historian extraordinaire—who designed not only the layout of actionfigureinsider.com—but the layout of this particular column. His hard work is appreciated by me! )

Anyways—the truth is-- until I heard he was going for almost A GRAND in the after-market—I was tempted to open the Funker! Why? Mainly because of the cool FUNK U t-shirt he’s wearing—a shirt he made famous in his many hardcore matches in WCW, ECW and elsewhere.

NEW YORK TOY FAIR JAKKS 2005 EXCLUSIVE TERRY FUNK FIGURE

If Mick Foley is the crown prince of Hardcore Wrestling—the Terry Funk has got to be the Grand-daddy of Hardcore. I mean—who else would participate in a 1995 KING OF THE JAPANESE DEATH MATCH with Mick Foley—with a barbed wire ring and exploding boards? Who else would allow ECW legend SABU to wrap him up in BARBED WIRE—and tighten a barbed wire noose around his neck??? Who but the Funker could survive 2nd & 3rd degree burns after Mick Foley hit him with a FLAMING CHAIR??? Who else can do a moonsault well into his 50s—and is probably one of the few wrestling old timers respected by young fans with chants of “HOLY SH*T! HOLY SH*T!” And for fans who don’t know Terry—the violent & painful stuff I’m referring to is not “in the script!” These were legitimate injuries and incidents in the Funker’s career!

The exclusive figure seems like a natural segue to do a feature on WWE CLASSIC SUPERSTARS WAVE 5… The fifth wave in Jakks line devoted to classic superstars… First up—TERRY FUNK…

WWE CLASSIC SUPERSTARS TERRY FUNK

REAL NAME: Terry Funk

FOLKS REFER TO HIM AS: MIDDLE AGED AND CRAZY, KING OF HARDCORE, THE FUNKER

MEMORABLE MOMENTS: Was quick on his feet when Mick Foley fell through the top of a steel cage at the infamous “Hell in the Cell” match at King of the Ring on June 28th, 1998… Improv-ed an attack on the Undertaker to give Mick Foley a chance to recover consciousness… Later in that same match carried Mick out of the ring when Mick had a dislocated shoulder, lost a tooth, and bit through his lower lip.

THE “I QUIT MATCH” versus Ric Flair where Funk actually screamed “ I QUITTT!!!!”

Any of his matches with Mick Foley or his “Born to be Wired” match with Sabu.

WORST MOMENTS: Wearing pantyhose on his head, carrying a Buzzsaw and calling himself “Chainsaw Charlie.” Sort of a “Leatherface” in lederhosen.

Claiming to be related to a Chippendales dancer in a black leather mask named “Jimmy Jack Funk.”

Running into the ring in nothing but a hospital gown and IV stand after Degeneration X had thrown Mick Foley and him into a dumpster.

Fighting Chris Candido in a stable, throwing Candido on a pile of of horse poop, and pinning him in the fecal matter for the WCW Hardcore Championship.

Wore a Tuxedo and called himself “TUXEDO TERRY FUNK.” Talk about putting a pig in a dress…

BEST MOVES: MOONSAULT; PILEDRIVER; PILEDRIVER THROUGH A WOODEN TABLE; BLEEDING PROFUSELY, USING A BRANDING IRON FROM THE DOUBLE CROSS RANCH AND “BRANDING” HIS OPPONENTS.

WHAT’S COOL ABOUT HIS FIGURE: His bandanna is removable!

WHAT SUCKS ABOUT HIS FIGURE: He doesn’t bleed!

WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED: A FUNK U t-shirt! A Branding iron from the double cross ranch! Barbed Wire!

DID YOU KNOW: That Funk wrestled all three generations of the Duane “The Rock” Johnson’s family? High Chief Peter Maivia, Rocky Johnson, and of course, The Great One himself—The Rock!

Terry’s a member of a legendary wrestling family that includes his brother, former NWA World Champ Dory Funk, Jr.

“Chainsaw Charlie” was a name of a $1 barber Terry Funk knew—the pantyhose on his head were Chyna’s—and the suspenders belonged to WWF announcer Howard Finkle.

Funk has appeared in the movies OVER THE TOP with STALLONE, ROAD HOUSE with Patrick Swayze… But it you want an honest portrayal of the 50-something hardcore legend and the daily physical pain he lives with—check out the documentary BEYOND THE MAT.

SWEATY BRIEFS ALERT!

(Consider this like one of those FOX NEWS ALERTs where they get everybody all alarmed and then they show some ubiquitous freeway chase in Los Angeles. Coverage of the rest of the Wrestling Classics Wave 5 continues a bit later in the column… )

SWEATY BRIEFS…NEW CLASSIC FIGURES FROM JAKKS!

The Plastic Wrestling Federation received this press release and pics from JAKKS PACIFIC… (My comments in ALL CAPS)

JAKKS NEWS FLASH: Best of WCW and ECW action figures are coming!

Exciting, never-before done wrestling figures from JAKKS are hitting shelves this Spring with the Best of WCW and ECW action figures and Classic Superstars Series 6 assortment!

Best of WCW and ECW


JAKKS has created for the first time ever, action figures based on the top wrestlers from Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). If you are a hard core wrestling fan, then this assortment is for you! Best of ECW and WCW features twelve of the best wrestlers from Paul Heyman's ECW wrestling training ground, such as Rhino and RVD, as well as from WCW - WWE's biggest rival in the 80s, including Chris Jericho and Ric Flair. Each figure looks just as the wrestler did when they belonged to the ECW and WCW, complete with authentically detailed costumes. Check out the awesome line-up!

From ECW:
Stephen Richards with the controversial (for that time) BWO outfit that is the first time that wrestlers parody rival wrestlers during their show (CUBANZOD SAYS THAT WOULD BE THE nWo PARODY WITH THE BLUE MEANIE)
Rhino as the ECW Champion
RVD as seen in the Best of ECW DVD
Billy Kidman (CAN WE GET A SKINNIER BILLY KIDMAN BODY PLEASE?)
Bubba Ray as seen in the Hardcore Haven PPV
Devon as seen in the Best of ECW DVD
Rey Mysterio with a new scanned head (CAN WE GET A SMALLER BODY FOR REY REY?)

CUBANZOD SAYS: AS LONG AS YOU’RE MAKING ECW, WOULD IT KILL YOU TO MAKE A SHANE DOUGLAS?

 


From WCW:
Chris Jericho in his Halloween Havoc costume and with a new scanned head
Rey Mysterio in his '97 Halloween Havoc purple costume with a new scanned head
Chris Benoit in his Four Horsemen t-shirt with a new scanned head
Eddie Guerrero from Starcade PPV with a new scanned head
Old-school WCW Ric Flair with a new scanned head

CUBANZOD SAYS: HOW ABOUT ARN ANDERSON, TULLY BLANCHARD, THE ROCK AND ROLL EXPRESS, THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, NIKITA KOLOFF, LEX LUGER, BARRY WINDHAM, MAGNUM T.A., DUSTY RHODES, OR RICKY STEAMBOAT?

Best of WCW and ECW will be available at retailers nationwide in May for a suggested retail price of $7.99.

Classic Superstars Series 6
JAKKS is featuring nine figures in this Classic Superstars assortment, many of which have never been done before! Classic Superstars Series 6 includes, a first time Earthquake figure - with 5,000 limited edition figures featuring flocked chest hair; first time ever Wrestling Hall of Famer, Bobby "the Brain" Heenan; first time ever Doink the Clown figure; first time ever One Man Gang figure; first time ever Koko B. Ware figure with Frankie the Bird; Andre the Giant with no knee pads; and Road Warriors, Hawk and Animal from Legion of Doom, which are individually packed in their rarely seen blue costumes. Classic Superstar figures are never issued twice in the same costume, making them the most collectible JAKKS assortments.

Classic Superstars Series 6 will be available at retailers nationwide in May for a suggested retail price of $9.99.

Adrenaline Series 11
The latest assortment in the Adrenaline series features many first time figures and newly scanned heads! Adrenaline Series 11 includes a first time JAKKS figure of Paul London vs. Billy Kidman with a new scanned head; a brand new head scan for John Cena with a fabric t-shirt vs. Funaki; and Heidenreich (with brand new head scan) & Paul Heyman.

Adrenaline Series 11 are currently available at retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $12.99.

 

WWE CLASSIC SUPERSTARS SERIES 5 CONTINUED …

 

KING KONG BUNDY

Ah yes—King Kong Bundy! BUNDAMANIA is running WILD! I purchased a much less articulated version of him from wrestlingsuperstore.com—back when they were producing wrestling figs…This new Bundy seems to take advantage of the YOKOZUNA body sculpt—and is a pretty good likeness of the man who headlined WRESTLEMANIA 2—losing to the immortal HULK HOGAN.

Did you know that the creators of MARRIED WITH CHILDREN were huge wrestling fans? That’s why the two main families on the show—Al and Peggy BUNDY and Steve and Marcie RHODES—were named after KING KONG BUNDY and “The American Dream” DUSTY RHODES! Think I’m kidding? Ask Michael G. Moye and Ron Leavitt-- creators of MARRIED WITH CHILDREN—who even had King Kong Bundy guest-star on the show!

KING KONG BUNDY


REAL NAME: CHRIS PALLIES

PEOPLE CALL HIM: KING KONG BUNDY, DADDY BUNDY, BOOM BOOM BUNDY

MEMORABLE MOMENTS:

Defeating Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event—where Bundy “avalanched” Hogan—“breaking” his ribs!

Declaring the advent of “Bundamania!” A parody of Hulk Hogan’s “Hulkamania.”

Headlining Wrestlemania 2, where Bundy lost to Hulk Hogan in a steel cage.

Teaming with Big John Studd and “breaking” Andre the Giant’s ribs.

Inventing the “5 count.” Unsatisfied with a traditional count of 3 in his victories—Bundy would force referees to count to 5!

WORST MOMENTS: The Wrestlemania sketch where Bundy was moving his bowels in the Bathroom stall. Complete with sound effects. REAL mature.

Wrestling Hillbilly Jim and 2 midgets wrestlers (the Haiti Kid and Little Beaver) at WRESTLEMANIA 3—where Bundy splashed the little midgets! Err-- little people that is!

BEST MOVES: THE BUNDY SPLASH, THE AVALANCHE, THE FIVE COUNT

WHAT’S COOL ABOUT HIS FIGURE: The overweight body sculpt and cloth outfit.

WHAT SUCKS ABOUT HIS FIGURE: He doesn’t have a spare hand to do the “five count!”

WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED WITH THE FIGURE AND DIDN’T: A “BUNDAMANIA” Sign or pennant

 

 

MR WONDERFUL!

Who doesn’t love a guy calling himself “Mr. Wonderful?” Back when it was enough to be reviled merely because one was conceited—Paul Orndorff called himself “Mr. Wonderful” and preened in front of a mirror—marveling at how handsome he was. Ravishing Rick Rude and the Narcissist Lex Luger owe a creative debt to Mr. Wonderful.

Paul Orndorff was an 80s legend who teamed with Roddy Piper against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T at the first WRESTLEMANIA. Yes, Wrestlemania 1! Their feud was fueled by the fact that Piper loved bagpipe music and hated Cyndi Lauper and Rock and Roll! (These were simpler times, remember!)

Orndorff became a good guy shortly after that—turning on Piper. But Orndorff spent most of the 80s as a heel—feuding with Hulk Hogan. His career was cut short in the 90s when nerve damage caused him to lose mobility and muscle mass in one arm. He had the corrective surgery to late—and to this day one arm is noticeably larger than the other. He primarily became a trainer for new wrestlers at the now-defunct WCW Power Plant—and still wrestles at Independent Shows as one of Wrestling’s Legends. At WRESTLEMANIA 21 on April 3rd—Orndorff was deservedly inducted into the WWE HALL OF FAME.

REAL NAME: PAUL ORNDORFF

PEOPLE CALL HIM: Mr. Wonderful

MEMORABLE MOMENTS: Whacking Tony Atlas with a trophy. Ouch!

Busting Mean Gene Okerlund’s balls in interviews.

Headlining Wrestlemania 1 against Hulk Hogan.

Wrestled Hulk Hogan to a “draw” in a Steel Cage Match at Saturday Night’s Main Event. The Match was restarted—and Orndorff got screwed!

WORST MOMENTS:

Was one of the “Old Age Outlaws” in WCW. Ugh.

Teamed with the 8 foot tall Mexican Frankenstein El Gigante and JYD at the Great American Bash in 1990. Where’s Robocop when you need him???

Teaming with Pretty Paul Roma to form the tag-team” “PRETTY WONDERFUL.” Pretty, it wasn’t.

Teaming at WCW Battlebowl with “the Shockmaster,” literally a wrestler in a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet covered in silver glitter. Shocking—definitely. And very, very painful to watch. Lucas should have sued!

BEST MOVE: THE PILEDRIVER

WHAT’S COOL ABOUT HIS FIGURE: Note the authentic Mr. 1derful trunks and kickass robe!

WHAT SUCKS ABOUT THIS FIGURE: Nothing! It’s #1derful!

WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED WITH THIS FIGURE AND DIDN’T: Tony Atlas’ Trophy! A mirror!

SWEATY BRIEFS ALERT!

SWEATY BRIEFS…WRESTLEMANIA RESULTS!

Here are the results from WRESTLEMANIA 21 on April 3, 2005, held at the STAPLES CENTER in Los Angeles…

BATISTA defeated TRIPLE H to win the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP. Looks like those two will be feuding for a while now… Even Ric Flair couldn’t help the fact that fans are suffering from Triple H-fatigue!

JOHN CENA defeated JBL to win the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP BELT. I give him 3 months!

KURT ANGLE defeated the SHOWSTOPPER “HBK” SHAWN MICHAELS. Michaels tapped out to the Ankle lock! That, despite an AWESOME dive by Michaels off the ring and onto Angle-- who was lying prone on a commentator’s table at ringside!

THE UNDERTAKER defeated THE LEGEND KILLER RANDY ORTON. Fun match which saw the return of the undertaker’s Druids, Undertaker on a motorcycle—and interference from Randy Orton’s dad—COWBOY BOB ORTON—to try and help his son get the win! Despite all that—the Undertaker is 14-0 at Wrestlemania!

EDGE defeated CHRIS BENOIT, SHELTON BENJAMIN, KANE, CHRISTIAN, AND Y2J CHRIS JERICHO in a very violent LADDER MATCH. Winner had to grab a briefcase full of money suspended 20 feet above the ring to win a future match against the World Champ. Benoit had his arm smashed inside the ladder several time—ouch! Shelton Benjamin bodyslammed Edge off the top of the ladder—double ouch! Benoit did a flying headbutt onto Kane from the top of the ladder and busted his forehead open—requiring stitches later than night! Other than that, a completely uneventful match!

HULK HOGAN defeated MUHAMMAD HASSAN and his aide de camp DAIVARI in an impromptu match. Basically—the “Evil Arab” Hassan—attacked the helpless EUGENE and put him in the “camel clutch!” (The Iron Sheik should sue for copyright infringement!) Hogan came out to the tune of “Real American,” the crowd went apesh*t (I kid you not), and defeated the two “ragheads.” Ah—the culturally insensitive 80s have returned!

ROWDY RODDY PIPER interviewed STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN. Who thought that after his devastating interview on the state of wrestling on HBO’s Real Sports they’d ever see Piper in a WWE ring again? The two old-timers debated who was the bigger rebel—sissy slapped each other—then beat up Carlito Cool when he entered the ring and attacked Piper. Austin and Piper then shared a beer—and Austin gave Piper the Stone Cold Stunner.

REY MYSTERIO defeated EDDIE GUERRERO in a high-flying match. What did Eddie Guerrero do to end up in the Wrestling doghouse? Two years ago—the guy was the WWE World Champ! How Latino Heat has cooled!

TRISH STRATUS defeated Playboy Playmate CHRISTY HEMME in a match that was both unsexy and painful to watch. Couldn’t they have worn lingerie and just hit each other with pillows? Would have been a better match. Lita stood around and did—uh—nothing memorable.

AN ENTIRELY SHAVED AND NAKED BIG SHOW defeated AKEBONO in a SUMO MATCH. This is where Vince McMahon tries to humiliate the Big Show into losing weight by making him shave his body hair and being in a comedy match like this.

HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS: The night prior to Wrestlemania—the WWE inducted the following wrestlers into their HALL OF FAME…

HULK HOGAN (inducted By Sylvester Stallone—whom he appeared with in ROCKY III)

PAUL ORNDORFF (inducted by former manager BOBBY “THE BRAIN” HEENAN)

RODDY PIPER (inducted by longtime friend and rival RIC FLAIR)

NIKOLAI VOLKOFF (inducted by commentator JIM ROSS)

JIMMY HART (Inducted by JERRY THE KING LAWLER)

COWBOY BOB ORTON (inducted by his son RANDY ORTON)

THE IRON SHEIK (inducted by SGT. SLAUGHTER)

And now, back to coverage of

WWE CLASSIC SUPERSTARS WAVE 5

BRUTUS “THE BARBER” BEEFCAKE

The Wrestler known as Brutus Beefcake has one of those hard-luck stories… his star was on the rise in the WWF in 1990 after a successful tag team career with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine…But a parasailing accident saw Ed Leslie’s face horribly crushed—and steel plates were required to repair the broken bones in his face. It was thought he’d never wrestle again—but he did return to the ring eventually—without the youthful good looks he had previously. Fans were sympathetic—but Beefcake “after the accident” did not really catch on—and he muddled through one limp storyline after another.

His “The Barber” character saw him cutting his opponents hair after defeating them— TOTALLY de-value-ing the wrestling staple of “cutting the opponents hair” to motivate a feud. Remember when Big John Studd and Bobby Heenan cut Andre the Giant’s hair? Brutus did that EVERY SINGLE MATCH. Yawn.

REAL NAME: Ed Leslie

PEOPLE CALL HIM: BRUTUS BEEFCAKE, THE BARBER, THE DISCIPLE, ZODIAC, THE BUTCHER, THE BOOTY MAN

MEMORABLE MOMENTS:

Forming THE DREAM TEAM with GREG “THE HAMMER” VALENTINE and won the WWF Tag-Team championship. They were ultimately defeated for the straps by DAVEY BOY SMITH and the DYNAMITE KID, aka THE BRITISH BULLDOGS.

Teamed with HULK HOGAN at WRESTLEMANIA 9 against I.R.S. (which stood for IRWIN R. SHYSTER—triple ouch! Mike Rotundo, you poor sod!) and the MILLION DOLLAR MAN TED DiBIASE.

FORGETTABLE MOMENTS:

His talk show “THE BARBER SHOP.” The movie was better. Yikes!

Wearing a bizarre mask to protect his face, which he later abandoned. Downright odd.

Turning “evil” on Hulk Hogan—and joining the DUNGEON OF DOOM. The Legion of Doom from the SUPER FRIENDS was scarier.

Inexplicably calling himself THE BOOTY MAN and dancing around the ring like an 80s “Flashdance” reject.

BEST MOVE: THE SLEEPER HOLD; THREATENING OPPONENTS WITH GARDEN SHEARS

WHAT’S COOL ABOUT HIS FIGURE: Removable barber shirt creates a classic “Chippendales style” Brutus Beefcake

WHAT SUCKS ABOUT THIS FIGURE: Can you say Mullet?

WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED WITH THIS FIGURE: World Tag Team Championship Belt, Protective Mask, and bag o’ hair.

DID YOU KNOW: Ed Leslie and Hulk Hogan are good friends in real life—which some have attributed to as the reason Beefcake can survive dozens of bad gimmicks and general fan apathy

SWEATY BRIEFS ALERT!

SWEATY BRIEFS…WWE AND TNA WRESTLING TV NEWS!

DAILY VARIETY reports that WWE RAW—the Monday Night Staple of SPIKE TV—will be returning to the USA Networks in the fall.

My sources tell me the following—most Basic Cable TV execs don’t “get” wrestling and actually resent the audience it brings—because it spikes their ratings on one night—making the rest of their basic cable schedule look like crap. So far—cable channels have been unsuccessful in getting a sizeable portion of the wrestling audience to watch the rest of their programming. Add to the mix the fact that most advertisers don’t want to advertise on wrestling shows because of the violent & racy content—and it’s a real headache for basic cable. Unless you have a very secure person at the helm, that is.

Jamie Kellner and Brad Siegel KILLED WCW by canceling it on TNT—and selling it for a pittance to Vince McMahon. Kellner was quoted as calling wrestling “heroin” in terms of its addictive and negative effects on a network. He wanted TNT to be more upscale—and replaced wrestling with the more respectable LAW & ORDER reruns—which feature sophisticated storylines about rape, murder, hate crimes, and sexual deviancy.

USA Network reportedly got RAW for a song—at a license fee of $550,000 an episode. That’s NOTHING. Vince McMahon was desperate—he needs a national platform for his Pay-Per-Views—and didn’t have many options. So he called old friend Bonnie Hammer—president of USA Network and the SCI FI Network—and struck a sweet deal for USA.

As USA & SCI FI are owned by the NBC/Universal conglomerate—expect to see some Saturday Night’s Main Event style specials on NBC, perhaps in the SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE timeslot—to see if it outperforms re-runs of SNL..

SPIKE reportedly dumped WWE RAW because CBS/UPN/Viacom honcho Les Moonves was unhappy with what was happening with negotiations for WWE SMACKDOWN on UPN Thursday Nights, and wanted to strong-arm Vince McMahon into compliance. When the Smackdown deal fell apart, Les “cancelled” the show—and SPIKE, which is owned by Viacom—broke off talks with Vince regarding a RAW renewal.

Smackdown’s future remains VERY unclear—but I would guess it will end up on Bonnie Hammer’s favorite darling—THE SCI FI CHANNEL—which she ran for many years.

My predictions for SPIKE and UPN…UPN will be fine—however—the only night CSI reruns REALLY pop for SPIKE is on Monday Nights—gee—you think fans might be waiting for RAW to come on? Unlike LAW & ORDER—I don’t think SPIKE will get the ratings bang nightly from CSI that TNT does with LAW & ORDER—and although they’ll never EVER admit it—SPIKE will regret making this move. Far as I can tell—SPIKE now wants to be F/X… There’s just ONE problem with that—there already IS an F/X Channel—with hits like NIP/TUCK, THE SHIELD, and RESCUE ME. Good luck trying to be them SPIKE, you’re gonna need it!

Further muddying the waters is the fact that Jeff and Jerry Jarrett’s TNA promotion—TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION WRESTLING—has now approached SPIKE about taking over the Monday 9-11 timeslot and hopefully recreating the heat of the MONDAY NIGHT WARS between WCW and WWF.

I hope it happens—not only for fans—but for the wrestlers who need an alternate place of employment other than the WWE’s current monopoly. But I doubt it will happen. SPIKE would lose face if they made this move. What’s the upside? We lost the best, well-known Wrestling Brand in existence and replaced it with a lesser visibility upstart? We traded big ratings for smaller ratings? But I hope TNA ends up somewhere besides weekly Pay-Per-Views and a miserable timeslot on the FOX SPORTS NETWORK.

For those of you who don’t know what TNA is… I’ll give you a brief thumbnail on what it is and storylines…

TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION—or TNA WRESTLING—was created by former wrestler and Vince McMahon confidante JERRY JARRETT and his son wrestler and TNA champ JEFF JARRETT. JEFF is the biggest star in the promotion—a former WCW Champ and WWF Intercontinental Champ. The up-and-coming star of the promotion is A.J. STYLES—the cocky youth who has held the world title belt at least once before. They’ve tried innovations like the high-flying and violent X-Division—with smaller, athletic cruiserweight wrestlers like THE AMAZING RED and LO KI. They’ve also trotted out innovations like a six-sided hexagonal wrestling ring—and sometimes provide a pretty good alternative to the WWE. They claim their World title has direct lineage to the NWA title of Lou Thesz, Harley Race, and Ric Flair—which was transmogrified when Ted Turner bought the NWA and changed in into WCW.

Storyline wise—here’s what’s been happening lately on TNA…

Director of Authority “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes is the figurehead commissioner… Jeff Jarrett has recently been feuding with names like “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash, Diamond Dallas Page, and X-Pac… This is all leading towards a SIX SIDES OF STEEL match at their April 24th Pay-Per-View (check local listings)—that will see Jeff & Monty Brown and the Outlaw face off against Nash, DDP, and Waltman/X-Pac.

Other stars floating in and out of TNA include the very talented AJ Styles, the Abyss, Raven, Chris Daniels, Jeff Hardy “The Charismatic Enigma” (which has to be the worst nickname in the history of wrestling—I’m really stoked about that—uh—enigma!), Shark Boy, Konnan and 3 LIVE CRU, Dustin Rhodes, Kid Kash, Ron “The Truth Killings, Shane Douglas, The Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and many others.

And this press release in from TNA…Nashville, TN (April 8, 2005) – Today on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling “iMPACT!”, Director of Authority, Dusty Rhodes announced that all the matches on the pay-per-view event “Lockdown” will take place in Six Sides of Steel. This will be the most barbaric night in TNA Wrestling History, and marks the first time in the history of professional wrestling an entire pay-per-view event will be held in a steel cage!

“Lockdown” was originally scheduled to feature two Six Sides of Steel matches but after recent events on “iMPACT!” the DOA Rhodes has gotten approval from management to place the entire pay-per-view event inside Six Sides of Steel.

On April 24th the entire TNA Wrestling world is essentially under lockdown. Besides the historic declaration that all matches will be held in a steel cage, little is known about Rhodes intentions for apparent lockdown of the TNA Wrestling world.

This unpredictable, dangerous and truly barbaric night is a must see event as professional wrestling’s most unforgiving structure will be on display all night long. “Lockdown” continues the TNA Wrestling tradition of innovation, joining Ultimate X, King of the Mountain, Six Sided Ring, X-Division & others as exclusive to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling “iMPACT!” airs Fridays at 4PM on FSN (check local listings) with a Saturday midnight(local) replay and a Thursday night 2AM replay. TNA “Xplosion” is a syndicated program (check local listings).

I’m hoping to review Toy Biz’s upcoming line of TNA Toys… MEMO TO TOY BIZ—GIVE US FANS OF THE BIZARRE LOOKING MARTIAN-SPEAKING CAJUN, SON OF A PLUMBER—WHO’S “WINED AND DINED WITH KINGS AND QUEENS, AND SLEPT IN ALLEYS AND ATE PORK & BEANS”—AN “AMERICAN DREAM” DUSTY RHODES FIGURE! COMPLETE WITH INEXPLICABLE BROWN LUMP ON HIS STOMACH!

And now—let’s wrap-up coverage of

WWE WRESTLING CLASSIC SUPERTARS WAVE 5.

THE IRON SHEIK

Ah, the 80s were less sensitive times! I remember General Skandor Akbar being called A ‘raghead” by fans—I remember unfortunate chants of “fagg*t” against the Liberace-esque Adrian Adonis… And what was more offensive on the heels of the Iranian Hostage Crisis—then giving WWF an IRANIAN CHAMPION! One who brought the flag of IRAN to the ring before the match. They had the Iron Sheik defeat the popular-but-bland Bob Backlund on December 26, 1983 in Madison Square Garden… And then Vince made the one move that gave him the keys to his Wrestling Empire… He hired Hulk Hogan away from Verne Gagne’s AWA—and seeing his popularity and profile rise after Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan) played “Thunderlips” in Rocky 3—had Hulk Hogan DEFEAT the Iron Sheik for the WWF World Title! Vinny Mac put his considerable marketing savvy behind Hogan—creating HULKAMANIA with him—but it’s fair to say one could not have succeeded without the other.

The Sheik went on to form a tag-team with the equally offensive Russkie—NIKOLAI VOLKOFF… And later managed Sgt. Slaughter when he turned evil and defected to the Iraqis. (I’m NOT making this up!) Recently—THE IRON SHEIK was inducted this year into the WWE HALL OF FAME.

 

THE IRON SHEIK

REAL NAME: Hossein Khosrow Vaziri

PEOPLE CALL HIM: THE IRON SHEIK, COLONEL MUSTAFA

MEMORABLE MOMENTS:

Defeating Bob Backlund with the Camel Clutch for the WWF Title at Madison Square Garden.

Losing the WWF title to HULK HOGAN

The BOOT CAMP match with Sgt. Slaughter… Flag vs. Flag!

Winning the Gimmick Battle Royale at WRESTLEMANIA 17

Managing WWF Champ and Iraqi Sympathizer SGT. SLAUGHTER!

BEST MOVES: THE CAMEL CLUTCH

WHAT’S COOL ABOUT HIS FIGURE: Authentic pointy toed Arab boots with proper emblems.

WHAT SUCKS ABOUT HIS FIGURE: Articulation is such that he can’t do an authentic “Camel Clutch!” You gotta be kidding me!

WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED: An Iranian Flag! And the World Tag Team Championship Belt!

 

SGT. SLAUGTER TOYFARE EXCLUSIVE

While we’re on the subject of the IRON SHEIK, I recently purchased the TOYFARE EXCLUSIVE SGT. SLAUGHTER—winner of the “Boot Camp” match against the IRON SHEIK—at WIZARD WORLD LOS ANGELES. He’s shipping now to those who ordered him…

WHAT’S COOL ABOUT HIS FIGURE: Removable hat, glasses, Army Jacket and American Flag.

WHAT SUCKS ABOUT HIS FIGURE: Toyfare made a super rare “Iraqi Sympathizer” variant Sgt. Slaughter from his 90s heel days and charged $100 a pop! That blows! Even I don’t own one!

WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED: A World Championship belt. And a more realistic price on the variant Slaughter!

 

NIKOLAI VOLKOFF

Ah yes—the Russian Bear—Nikolai Volkoff! Any wrestling promotion HAD to have an Evil Russkie Commie Villain! The then NWA was lazy—they LITERALLY had “The Russian Assassins” and even “The Cuban Assassin.” Eventually the NWA opened a newspaper and came up with guys like Nikita Koloff; his uncle Ivan Koloff—and his cousin Krusher Kruschev (Barry Darsow). This year Nikolai Volkoff was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, alongside his Tag Team partner THE IRON SHEIK.

REAL NAME: Josip Peruzovic

PEOPLE CALL HIM: THE RUSSIAN BEAR

MEMORABLE MOMENTS:

Feuding with the incomprehensibly-accented Bruno Sammartino.

Singing the Russian National Anthem before matches to a chorus of boos…

Winning the Tag Team Championships from the U.S. Express (Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo) with the Iron Sheik at WRESTLEMANIA 1.

FORGETTABLE MOMENTS:

Volkoff’s partnership with BORIS ZHUKOV, who had a disturbingly large melon—in a tag team titled THE BOLSHEVIKS. How Dr. Zhivago!

Embraced the spirit of glasnost and perestoika by teaming with illiterate cockeye HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN. Oh, the pain.

BEST MOVES: THE RUSSIAN BEAR HUG

WHAT’S COOL ABOUT HIS FIGURE: Removable USSR shirt and Russian fur hat.

WHAT SUCKS ABOUT HIS FIGURE: It needed a voice chip to sing the Russian National Anthem.

WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED: A USSR Flag and a World Tag Team Championship belt. Maybe a microphone to sing the aforementioned Russian National Anthem.

DID YOU KNOW THAT: In real life, Volkoff was virulently ANTI-communist, having escaped the totalitarian system in his home country of Lithuania.

 

That's it for the maden voyage of the Plastic Wrestling Federation.

E-mail your feedback, observations, guest commentary, figure reviews, and even relevant digital pics to zod@actionfigureinsider.com.

 

 

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