Muscles 2M.U.S.C.L.E. 

Way back in June of last year I reviewed a trio of M.U.S.C.L.E. figurines.  I can’t recall exactly what I said in that review but seeing as it was my first and only MUSCLE review up to that point I imagine I filled you in on the back story of this toy line.  To recap, they were tiny wrestling figures imported from Japan in the mid 80s that you could purchase in a variety of multi-packs:  large rectangular boxes (which big bro Doug and I used as the wrestling rings), small blister packs, and clear plastic garbage cans for some reason.  Doug and I each had a fairly sizable MUSCLE collection which was relatively easy to acquire given how small and affordable they were ( I actually have no idea how much they cost but I’m sure it wasn’t much).  The initial assortment of figures was only available in a solid flesh tone.  Later figures were released in solid green, purple and other colors but Doug and I’s collection was pretty much entirely flesh toned.  The few colored figures we had actually looked like knock-offs to me.

Much like the Battle Beasts of my youth these toys were basically a clean slate  Only a select few had names on the packaging and there was virtually no established back story.  The fact that they were wrestlers was pretty much the only story provided by the manufacturer.  Most of them didn’t look like wrestlers as there seemed to be absolutely no common thread amongst the figures. There were animal people and monsters and and all kinds of really weird stuff that only the Japanese could come up with.  Just look at the assortment of figures I’ve lumped together for this review and you’ll get an idea of the variety of characters within the line.Muscle pack

Regrettably I don’t recall all of the names that I gave to my MUSCLE figures when I was 8 years old.  I played with them a ton but I’ve barely looked at them in the past 25 years so any clever monikers I came up with have slipped through the cracks of my mind.  The only name that I truly remember from this particular lot is COMBO though I imagine the other names I just came up with for this review are pretty close to what I would’ve named these other guys back in the day.

Mummy is clearly some kind of bandaged up something with what I think is a long braid on the top of his head.  I colored his pants with a marker years ago which I regret doing.  It doesn’t look so bad on him but I really f***ed up some of my other MUSCLE figures when I attempted to color them.  Combo was a favorite of mine as a kid.  He’s clearly some sort of combination lock man.  I seem to recall him being a frequent title holder in my MUSCLE wrestling league.  Judo actually looks pretty close to human if you look past the absence of a nose.  He’s a pretty cool, straight forward figure who was a member of a pretty deadly heel tag-team of mine.  Lastly there’s Mr. Spray who is a living aerosol can.  I guess it’s no weirder than a combination lock man but at least Combo looked mean and tough; this guy looks fat and goofy.  But I like him regardless, he’s kind of cute.  I used to make him use his aerosol spray like a foreign object whenever the ref had his back turned.

I think I graded them individually last time so I guess I should again.  Mummy: 6, Combo: 8, Judo: 7, Mr. Spray: 7.


About mike's collection

I'm a dude that collects toys and writes. I figured I'd combine my hobbies.

Posted on May 2, 2013, in Wrestling and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. MUSCLES!!!!!!!!! I love these things. I have some here somewhere. Where are those dang thingies??? Hmmmmm. Have to go hunting tonight. I had and may still have Judo somewhere. My cousins and I named most of our wrestlers based on their looks as well. I recall names like “Screwhead”, “No Face In Place”, “George The Animal Nightmare” . My cousins and I made a ring out of plywood and ropes from heavy twine with big nails as ring posts. Along with a commentators table made from Lego and an interview platform made from a chunk of 2X4. And a ringside rail made from the wire from a chicken cage and a cage for cage matchs made from a chicken cage as well. We went all out. Yep MUSCLE hunting time. See ya.

  2. Oh and this is one of those toy lines that you mention to people and they either had and loved them as kids. Or they never heard of them. I remember going to Kmart and taking ages to pick out a blister pack of new MUSCLES because I wanted some “Cool” ones.

    • This is a collection i could see myself revisiting one day. Maybe if the Joe brand ever goes on hiatus again and I have some extra cash in my wallet i could attempt to complete a set.

  3. I loved these as a kid. Like you mentioned, they were cheap and plentiful; making them the perfect mid-trip “shut up” gift. I even had the horrid licensed wrestling ring; which had a sub-Rock’em, Sock’em Robots level of playability. (I think you just jammed the stick hard hoping your movements didn’t knock your figure out of his holder before your opponent did the same to his.)

    These types of toys have have quite a resurgence in recent years; sadly all the figures have names now, which takes half the fun out of it.

  4. man, I forgot all about these. I had some when I was a kid now that you’ve jogged my memory with this!

  5. I found one at the beach here in Northern California yesterday, and assumed it could be tsunami flotsam from Japan. Finding your blog, I guess this guy (Combo) was probably just the plaything of a kid around here.

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