Tank’s Toy Chest 3 – Vintage WWE Edition

My last article was a bit of a downer, so I wanted to get back to basics here. Let’s go into one of my favorite and scariest moments that happened to me in conjunction with one my great loves, wrestling and the WWE.

Before I get into that, its Wrestlemania Week at UnderScoopFire, so I’m going to list my 5 favorite WWE Hasbro figures that I own. There are a lot I still don’t have and I am constantly scouring toy shows to find them. If anyone has some they are willing to sell…

image courtesy wrestlingmemorabilia.blogspot.com

As much of a wrestling fan as I’ve always been, I never got into the LJN figures. I always found them to be big and clunky and the paint always came off. I stayed clear of those having only owned maybe 2 in my entire life. I had Don “The Rock” Muraco and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. I now just own Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.

Speaking of, what’s with the age-old practice of naming wrestlers with something in between their first and last name? Tim “The Bed Wetter” Jablonsky or Skip “The Power Drill” Tittlebaum. Anyways when Hasbro released their WWF figures which were more compact (barely any articulation) but easier to play with, I snatched them up quickly. Got the ring and a plethora (what’s a plethora?) of figures.

Here’s my list in no particular order:

 

The Undertaker – Finisher = Tombstone Tackle

Many of you know I love horror, so when they mixed horror and wrestling I was immediately hooked. The music, the look, the fact he had a manager named Paul Bearer (get it?) all these things combined made for one of the greatest characters in wrestling history.

Taker wrestles sparingly today, and for me, his appeal has waned a bit. He’s like The Simpsons, you still love them but they’ve kinda overstayed their welcome and the quality has gone down. I remember he was a big deal in my house and not the easiest figure to come by due to his popularity.

 

Jake “The Snake” Roberts – Finisher = Python Punch

There it is again: ____ “The ___” ____. Ha! The reason I dug Jake was because A) it looked like him, and B) it came with his snake Damian. It was like getting 2 figures in one!

In his prime Jake was on the rise in the WWF, it’s just a shame that his demons prevented him from getting to the top.

Putting all that aside, Jake was one of the best talkers and ring technicians in the business.

 

Honky Tonk Man – Finisher = Rattle and Roll

Now HTM (as the kids call him) was never my favorite. In fact, I kind of despised his character. As long as he was around, he represented what I hated about the WWF at the time.

That being said, this figure was awesome and the likeness was uncanny. I also loved the extra feature of the guitar. I always loved smashing it over the head of the Gary Coleman action figure that came with a cowboy hat and a roll of toilet paper. (that was a thing, right?)

 

Doink The Clown – Finisher = Big Top Clobber

Much like HTM, Doink represented the ridiculousness of the WWF, so it was a love-hate relationship. He started out as the evil clown, then went babyface and started bringing along his little sidekick Dink. Without him, we would never have gotten one my current faves- Santino Marella. Doink was a pioneer for the slapstick wrestler.

I love this figure because of its bright colors… I like bright colors! (awkward pause) I dig it because it’s the only clown action figure (the Joker doesn’t count) that I own. I am always patiently waiting for them to make a Pennywise figure from the movie IT. Until that happens, Doink sits on top of my shelf contemplating mischief.

 

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Finisher = Steamboat Springer

Ricky is my all time favorite wrestler along with Randy “Macho Man” Savage (there it is again).

Enough has been said about his WrestleMania 3 match, but it was his matches with Ric Flair that really cemented his status in my Valhalla. The fire-breathing and the couture he wore were a hot mess but I loved the figure for its attention to detail. For that it has a special place in my heart.

 

Now for story time!

The year was 1999. Wrestling was a pop culture juggernaut. A Smackdown live show was in my town. It was a Tuesday taping and the show was to premiere on Thursday, but this particular Thursday was Thanksgiving.

Next to the announcers’ table were various Thanksgiving accoutrements. Turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes and PIES. Many, many pies. Me, my good buddy Todd Hess, and his roommates had front row tickets along the barricade. We were flanked by resident WWE bouncer/ head of security Jim Dotson.

During a promo with the Rock and Sock Connection, The Rock decided to regale us with his favorite pies. If you know The Rock, you know at the time his favorite pie was poontang pie. This caused the crowd to go wild. I was one of the those excited about the poontang pie thing, in fact I was so excited that I raised my hand up to cheer for this awesome thing. Whilst cheering I knocked a full beer into the face of Jim Dotson.

My area got quiet. I turned around to look at my grouping to see scared faces. I look in Jim’s direction and see him wiping beer from his face.

“What the f@#k was that?”

Oh my god! I am going to be thrown out of this event. The only words I could get out were “I am SO sorry, I was cheering and I must have hit..”

He gave me the death look. In total silence we watched the remainder of the show. A food fight broke out between the wrestlers, and during the melee I managed to grab X-Pac’s hat that had made its way under the barrier. Shhhh! All was not lost, and I have one of my all time favorite memories.

I found some of footage of the incident on YouTube:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Tanski lives in Rochester, NY & manages a movie theater. During his free time (when he isn’t hanging with his wife & 2 kids) he wines & dines on pop culture. Being a child of the 80s, nothing gets him going more than a daily dose of movies from his childhood. They are his muse & inspire him to be a better human.


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