I think the last wrestling figure I reviewed was a craptacular version of Jimmy Snuka. Well today I’m going to review a much better figure of different wrestler with the same fashion sense as Mr. Snuka, Flyin’ Brian Pillman. I loved my WWF wrestling figures when I was a kid. Back in the day when the WWF aired on Saturday mornings Doug and I watched it religiously. But the WWF figures that I have such a fondness for can hardly be called action figures. They were just big chunks of molded rubber with zero articulation. I imagine that some kids back then longed for more traditional action figures but I wouldn’t have changed a thing about those big clunky figurines produced by LJN. I feel LJN losing the WWF license to Hasbro played a huge part in me losing interest in wrestling. The Hasbro figures were smaller, chubbier, articulated (poorly) and made of harder plastic. I collected the first wave or two of the Hasbro figures but for the most part they sucked balls and so I moved on. Hasbro is to blame for that Snuka monstrosity so you can see what I mean.
Around the same time that Hasbro launched their WWF figures another toy company, Galoob, released their own series of wrestling figures based on the WWF’s only real competitor of the time World Championship Wrestling; or WCW. I was never really into the WCW and probably only watched it a couple of times. However there were so many cross over figures because wrestlers tended to change promotions quite often so I was familiar with most of the wrestlers in Galoob’s 12 figure line. The line featured future Hall of Fame-ers like Sting and Ric Flair and other big names like the Steiners and Arn Anderson. I owned 3 figures from the line, all of whom wrestled in the WWF at one point or another: Butch Reed, Lex Luger and Brian Pillman. Doug had Pillman’s partner Tom Zenk along with Barry Windham.
The Galoob figures were leaps and bounds better than Hasbro’s offerings in my mind. They were the same size but they had superior sculpting and lacked articulation, akin to the LJN figures. I personally don’t think wrestling figures need articulation so long as they’re given a nice static pose. Sure it makes moves like the figure-four-leg lock impossible but it makes them durable enough to take a real beating. If I had dared to put any of my G.I. Joes or Transformers through the kind of abuse my wrestling figures endured I’d have nothing to show of my childhood but a bucket full of loose screws and broken plastic limbs.
My fondness of Pillman didn’t come from his stint in the WWF wither. That occurred around the time I was graduating from high school and I had been done with wrestling for years by then. I discovered Flyin’ Brian when he wrestled in Stampede Wrestling based out of Calgary. I barely remember watching Stampede Wrestling on TV as I would’ve been quite young but I remember really liking this guy. He was my favorite wrestler in the company. He had the same acrobatic stylings as the Rockers who were another favorite of mine and he seemed like a good guy.
I remember Pillman died a while back but I couldn’t tell you the specifics about it. I read his wikipedia page before writing this to refresh my memory on the man and was kinda shocked to discover that he died at the age of 35 back in 1997. His body was discovered in his hotel room after he failed to show up for his match against Dude Love/Mick Foley. What shocked me was his age. I turn 35 10 days from now so it’s kind of eerie. Hopefully I don’t have any undiagnosed heart conditions like this childhood hero of mine.
This figure is a great representation of the man how I remember him. He looks young and happy and ready to fight. He’s got his long curly hair which looks wet from sweat here. He’s wearing his classic animal print tights and he’s sculpted in a pretty good pose; perfect for diving off the top rope. R.I.P. Brian. 7 out of 10.