Hello TRN Readers!
Today I’ll be rounding out my WWE Memorable Moments Series of Posts that I started last year. It’s been fun thinking of different ideas for Wrestling Figurines, and today, we go even more “old skool” as we harken back to the Golden Era of Wrestling – the 1980s (What’s more retro than the 80s?)
Each of these moments with these wrestlers happened in the 90’s – which is the era that most connect with growing up as a teenager.
But this series of figures needs a moment from the 1980’s. There are real figurines already released in recent years that commemorate some of the big time events from 80’s wrestling (these two, a Mr. T Action Figure and a No Holds Barred Commemorative 2-Pack Come to Mind). And when it comes to 80’s Wrestling, besides Hulk Hogan, is there a more recognized wrestler than Andre the Giant? I mean, the moment at Wrestlemania III when Hogan slams Andre is widely regarded as the biggest moment in wrestling history, which really helped wrestling go mainstream.
In regards to Andre the Giant, most figures that are out there feature Andre in his classic black singlet (either single or double strap) or his blue trunks (like his LJN Figure). There aren’t too many variations of his wrestling attire in the various figures that have been released over the years, so today’s final #FIGREVEAL celebrates an iconic moment in the 1980’s that found “The Eighth Wonder of the World” in a different get-up.
Let’s go back to October of 1988. We’re a year an a half past the Hogan/Andre Slam from Wrestlemania III. Andre has already “Passed the Torch” to Hogan and Hulkamania is running wild in the WWF. In other storylines around the time, Jake “The Snake” Roberts is feuding with Ravishing Rick Rude on an episode of “Saturday Night’s Main Event” when Heenan calls Andre to come out from the back to help Rude in his match (they were 2 of several members of the “Heenan Family”). As Andre attacks Jake and tends to Rude, Jake goes and gets Damien, his pet snake that often accompanied him to the ring, and walks around the ring holding Damien in front of Andre. (Side Note, McMahon and Jesse Ventura do an amazing job of selling the fact that Andre is legit scared). Jake tosses the snake on Andre, and Andre sells a kayfabe heart attack as the show comes to a conclusion.
This was the official start of the Andre/Jake angle. By the way, the booking in the WWF then was quite different than modern wrestling. Back then, angles would be written to take place over the course of six months to sometimes even a year, with long, drawn out, but interesting and well-told storylines and vignettes and promos that would often see the angle culminate at a major Pay-Per-View. It was so different than the modern “here today, gone tomorrow” angles that have plagued wrestling in my opinion. In the coming months, the WWF would continue the Andre/Jake feud with their match at Wrestlemania V with Special Guest Referee Big John Studd (in fact, there is a 3 pack of each of these men released in 2005 that commemorates Wrestlemania V).
My Personal Memory: I must admit, being 5 at the time, I was not into wrestling just yet, but boy would it have been cool to see this live when these angles happened. In just a few short years, I’d be old enough to understand and enjoy this thing called wrestling – with of course Hulk Hogan being my personal favorite. I look back at this late 80’s era of wrestling and consider it the Golden Age (for me, at least).
Figure Details: This figure would be pretty simple to package and design, but to see Andre in anything other than his black singlet would make this a rare and unique version of Andre. The black shoes, brown pants, and light-colored half-buttoned shirt would be the attire, and I think the facial expression on this figure would be the thing that would put this figure over the top. It’s gotta have that same look of fear that Andre did so very well in this angle, along with maybe Andre extending the hand out to keep Damien away.
This angle was so good, that, in fact, it’s best known for producing the modern meme that you can often find on the web or on social media.
What’s kinda sad about this moment in wrestling history was that it was a time where the WWF knew what they had on their hands with Andre at this time. His health was declining, and they would go on to use him sparingly after this. He go on to form a new tag-team with Haku – the Colossal Connection, where they would win the titles in 1989 and drop them to Demolition in 1990 at Wrestlemania VI in a match where Haku actually wrestled the entire time due to Andre’s declining health. Sadly, in early 1993, Andre died of congestive heart failure and the WWF lost one of it’s greatest wrestling characters of all time.
So, there you have it, all 4 figures in my fictitious action figure set, remembering some of the best moments and angles in wrestling history. Hope you’ve enjoyed the ride!
By the way, shout out to Wrestling Figure Database – a great resource to look up Wrestling Figures of all years, promotions, and toy lines. Visit them at www.wrestlingfiguredatabase.com.