In my last post I told you about how much I loved comic books and toys in the 80s. Another passion of mine that developed around the same time as my love of comics was my love of wrestling. I went to local matches at the Halifax Forum whenever I could and I sat mesmerized in front of the TV every Saturday morning to see all of the latest WWF action. It was like a soap opera and I couldn’t bear to miss a single episode because you never knew what you might miss if you didn’t tune in. While toys based on my favorite comic book characters were difficult to find at the time, that was not the case with my favorite wrestlers. Toy company LJN began producing solid rubber wrestling toys in 1984 and they continued to do so until 1989 when they lost the WWF license to Hasbro. Those 5 years of LJN figures coincided perfectly with my need for wrestling toys. Had they been released any earlier I would’ve been too young and by the 90s I was pretty much over wrestling all together. I bought a few of the Hasbro produced wrestling toys in the early 90s but I never really cared for them (here’s why) and I had lost interest in watching the matches on TV by then. But during that second half of the 80s I saw a ton of great matches and collected a bunch of great toys. And while solid figures with no articulation wasn’t ideal for super hero toys (like the Hulk I reviewed yesterday) I thought it was perfect for wrestling toys. Those big solid LJN toys could take a ton of abuse.
Brutus Beefcake joined the World Wrestling Federation in 1984. My earliest memories of him were when he was a member of the Dream Team with Greg Valentine. My brother Doug and I were always partial to tag teams and the Dream Team was a favorite of ours early on. They were champs for a while but they eventually lost the belts to another one of our all-time favorite teams, The British Bulldogs. Not long after that Brutus went solo and developed his new persona, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.
As the barber, Brutus’ new schtick was putting his opponents to sleep and then cutting off their hair. I very much enjoyed him as the barber and his popularity sky rocketed during that period. His outfits got flashier and flashier during his barber years. Most of them, with their long tassels and barely-there pant legs, are straight up disturbing. But this figure came out before he had made the switch to a solo act. This is from his Dream Team days, when his outfits, while still loud, were much tamer by comparison.
This figure features Brutus in some pretty spiffy pink pants. I don’t think that I could pull off this look but I actually think Brutus can, mind you a lot of leeway is given to wrestlers and hair metal bands. The spotted tights made this one of the most interesting looking figures of the LJN years. He’s also wearing his “sexy” elbow high gloves. Sadly his trademark bow tie is absent.
The face is kind of weird looking. The sculptors captured his smugness but he looks more like a smug Jay Leno than a smug Brutus Beefcake. And I’m just noticing now how strange his abs look. With these unposable figures, having a good pose was critical and Brutus has a pretty good one. Having one arm up and one arm down allows for a variety of simulated wrestling moves.
A funny side note: My brother Doug had this best friend named Brad for a couple of years during High School. Brad’s grandmother lived across the street from us and one day when Brad was visiting he and Doug got talking and they became pals. Doug started spending entire weekends out at Brad’s place in Cole Harbor. This Brad kid was OBSESSED with wrestling. He used to tell us that his high school had a wrestling league and that he was the heavy weight champ and that he wrestled in a mask. No schools around here have wrestling teams (as far as I know) and even if they did it definitely wasn’t WWF style wrestling with theme music and all that crap. And yet Brad continually told us stories of his epic matches with foreign objects and managers and all that stuff. When Doug would sleep over at his house, Brad would greet him in the morning and say that while Doug slept he had went to an early morning match and won. It was ridiculous and yet Doug let Brad think that we believed it all. Brad also told us that Brutus Beefcake was his uncle and that Brad had visited him in the States a few times and that Brutus had gotten him tickets to Wrestlemania one year. This kid was so full of shit but it was interesting to listen to. I wonder what happened to that guy…