Man I loved wrestling as a kid. I almost completely lost my taste for it into my teens but I do still indulge by throwing on a classic WWF DVD from time to time. My brother Doug is still pretty into wrestling but mostly in a nostalgic way. He collects toys of the guys who wrestled when we were kids and he reads their autobiographies but he doesn’t follow current going-ons in the WWE. Recently he told me about a special he watched which ranked , I believe, the top 100 pro wrestlers of all time. I was shocked when he told me that Hulk Hogan wasn’t number 1. I know some of you people grew up in the age of Stone Cold and the Rock and you think they’re the best and that’s all well and good. Some of you may be older wrestling fans who would rank some guy from the 70s in your number 1 spot, wrestling has been around a long time. But as far as I’m concerned, as a child of the 80s, Hulk Hogan is the undisputed greatest wrestler of all time. Yes, I know he actually wasn’t that great of a wrestler but I’m taking the whole Hulkamania package into account; the prayers and the vitamins and all of that. The guy was a goddamned super hero.
Anyway, the guy who topped the list was Shawn Michaels, HBK, the Heartbreak Kid. I don’t agree with this choice but that’s not meant as a slight to Mr. Michaels. I was a HUGE Shawn Michaels fan as a kid. That was long before he was known as HBK though. Doug and I idolized the tag-teams of the 80s: the British Bulldogs, the Hart Foundation, the Killer Bees, etc. Not only were tag team matches generally more exciting to watch, but the figures came in easily shared 2-packs. Doug and I used to emulate our favorite tag teams when wrestling our stuffed animals. When the Rockers, a team featuring a young Shawn Michaels and his partner Marty Janetty, came onto the scene Doug and I became instant super fans. We were won over by their high flying acrobatic moves and their rock n’ roll attitudes.
When wrestling Scooby Doo and Stinky, our largest stuffed animals, in our epic bedroom brawls it became common practice for Doug and I to tie our housecoat belts around our arms and legs in an attempt to replicate the Rockers look. I was always Shawn and Doug was always Marty. Pretending to be the Rockers was fun and all but we both so wanted LJN to produce action figures of the Rockers. Back in those days LJN produced big solid rubber wrestling toys which were well sculpted and a blast to play with. Sadly LJN lost the WWF license before they got a chance to produce any Rockers toys.
When Hasbro took over the WWF license shortly afterwards they began releasing shorter, articulated figures made of harder plastic. Some of them were okay but in no way compatible with our beloved LJN rubber wrestlers. Some of Hasbro’s toys down right sucked. Their Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka figure received the lowest ranking I’ve ever given on this site (and yet for some reason it remains one of my most viewed posts??). Hasbro released the first ever Rockers figures and unfortunately they were on the sucky side of the spectrum. They shared the same action feature and construction as that god awful Snuka figure. Their legs were stuck together and their oversized torsos could be pulled down over their legs, revealing a giraffe neck, in order to launch the figures into a drop kick or something. Doug got the Marty out of the pack and I got Shawn. I hated that Shawn Michaels toy but I played with it a lot anyway since it was the only Shawn Michaels toy available at the time.
I still own that figure and I still hate it. He looks fat, has a growth on his back, and his proportions are way out of whack. You would never guess from looking at this figure that this guy would go on to make a solo career based on a heart throb persona. I almost feel like I should go out and buy a better Shawn Michaels toy for myself as dozens have been made in the years since, but I just don’t care enough anymore. This clunker shall remain my one and only Shawn Michaels figure. I should give it a 1 but just because I idolized this guy so much and this was his first ever figure I’ll give it a 3 out of 10.