WWF Commercial Breakdown!
By Dave Newman on 2nd September 2023
Over the last few months I’ve been reviewing WWF All American Wrestling and some of the other weekend shows, which will continue in a more varied form next week. What seems to have been a “high spot” is when the person recording the show has left commercials in, so that will be a major inclusion too, but this week I thought I’d have a look specifically at some of the LJN and Hasbro commercials for WWF figures as well as a few others.
Check out the kisser on that kid!
- Two kids in the locker room at school promise to bring their wrestling figures to fight each other with at home. The nicer-looking kid has the babyfaces while the more gurning, snarling one has the heels, with the real wrestlers showing up in the background to pose. It’s JYD, George Steele and Ricky Steamboat against Roddy Piper and the Dream Team, which would be a cool match!
- Kids on a journey to school bring out the thumb wrestlers, or arsehole wrestlers as we used to call them, and can’t stop fighting even at the steps at school until Principal Iron Sheik tells them “Right kids, back to class!”. Imagine he runs a tight ship.
- One I’ve looked at before, with Jimmy Snuka launching off the stairs, Iron Sheik coming from behind the curtains with Arabic flair, and a dubbed Hulk Hogan coming through the doors to then take on Big John Studd in figure form.
- Mean Gene introduces the Bendies, which at least had the benefit of being able to do more moves than the static mainline figures.
- A kid dresses up as the Hulkster to challenge Adrian Adonis, who for a moment I thought was played by a woman and looks very strange in a skin suit and pink trunks stepping in the ring. Again, an unseen Hogan is dubbed at the end. The high point of this is the new cage you can wrap around the ring.
- The Wrestling Superstars Game, which I saw but never played and would have no idea how to from this commercial.
- A longer version of the above, with Ricky Steamboat making a commercial. The box for the game in Gene’s arms looks massive!
- LJN Superstars, with more wrestlers making cameos and a strange bit where it’s billed as Snuka versus Studd, but it’s seemingly a prototype Snuka figure with red trunks that drops from above instead of the leopard skin one.
- Bring home all the action! More on this one lower down!
- A preview of Hulk/Andre courtesy of Kidz Biz!
- Toys R Us has figures and ring on sale for Christmas. The Hillbilly Jim figures looks really detailed for what were essentially chew toys.
- 1989 Jesse Ventura, with no facial hair, takes us through Roberts/Dibiase, Hogan/Savage and Warrior/Andre. Always interesting that they use a lot of less well-lit arena show footage.
- Brutus Beefcake pops up to defend himself in action against Randy Savage, Smash tells us what Demolition is going to do the Twin Towers, and strangely we go back to 1988 with a Jake Roberts/Rick Rude battle.
- One final one from 1989, with Gene listing off the available figures between Jesse’s intro and tagline.
- Jumping forward to 1991 or 1992, with purple trunks Randy Savage knocking down the Undertaker. In fact, the heel Undertaker takes a pounding from a variety of good guys such as Bret Hart, the British Bulldog and the Big Boss Man before vowing to “bury those stiffs”!
- Roddy Piper, sounding like Blurr from Transformers, introduces us to the tag teams, including the awesome new Demolition figures set of Smash and Crush with helmets!
- The Macho King goes through a variety of singles wrestlers and tag teams, with the rare Dusty Rhodes figure in the background.
- Roddy Piper, slightly slower this time, goes through some 1990 era characters, with the Million Dollar Man making a cameo and the Macho King in his yellow gear in a clip from a match that went so short with the Ultimate Warrior that you’d think it was only recorded for footage for this commercial.
- Roddy and the Rockers and then the Bushwhackers demolish Demolition.
- Talking wrestling figures, which talk less than Roddy, get a rebuttal in kind from Randy Savage.
- 1991 era figures see a battle of the elements with the Texas Tornado punching down Typhoon and Mr. Perfect, at this point the executive consultant of Ric Flair, having to don an old singlet with shorter hair in its longer style to show off his figure.
- The Undertaker takes another beating, this time from the Dragon, Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter. It’s alright, he can work through it.
- Macho tells us to watch out for “the audacity of IRS!” – some would say more interminable than audacious.
- Mean Gene presents Wrestling Buddies, which I’m pretty sure everyone practised moves on. Actually from Tonka, not Hasbro. Big Boss Man turns up to cuff Gene to the shelf while making off with his figure. I think Okerlund preferred to put those on in the bedroom, not the toy store.
- Gene’s back in TRU with the Bushwhackers, this time looking at the Squirt Heads, which sounds ruder than it is.
- The loquacious Gene shows off the WWF Power Cycle, doubtless recycled from some other line, before Jim Duggan shows up looking for card 51 of the wrestling card line.
- Back to Wrestling Buddies with Gene. “How would you like to hug the Ultimate Warrior? How would you like to bonk Hulk Hogan?” Who do you think we are: Bubba the Love Sponge’s wife?
- Wrestling Buddies continue the “Bonk it!” catchphrase. Well, I imagine some did, but…
- The line continues with new Big Boss Man and Jake Roberts buddies.
A bit of variety now with…
1. G.I. Joe – From the early nineties, still using a Chris Latta voiceover for Cobra Commander and lots of guys dressed like characters not on sale for a decade. This one pushes the failed subdivisions of Battle Corps, Ninja Force, Mega Marines and Star Brigade without featuring any particular figure or vehicle and instead pushing towards reading the moribund Marvel Comics.
2. Dick Tracy – Itchy and Flattop are on the run and you can track them down with the two-way wristwatch. The film came out in 1990 and they were on major discount as an entire line by summer of 1991.
3. Bill and Ted – The lads jam on their guitars while Genghis Khan hits the drums in the background.
4. Mega Man – Dr. Wiley sees Bomb Man go bomb for bomb with Mega Man. Never really saw these in the UK.
5. The Incredible Crash Dummies – Talk about something that was a surprising fad. The crash car was pretty good, although as I was growing out of toys and into wrestling and video games I thought they had limited appeal.
6. Beetlejuice – Twist and shout and then you get out! Another one I didn’t see the appeal with, although the graveyard set with the magic trick seemed like fun.
7. Super Mario Bros. – A kid with a mullet drops a window on the hands of a Koopa. Bob Hoskins described the movie as about a little man who jumps up and down. Needless to say it wasn’t the hit that the 2023 movie was.
8. The Mask – Based more on the cartoon than the film, which wasn’t as good. My trivia point for the movie it is that it shares sets with Se7en of all things.
9. WWF LJN Wrestling Figures – Bring home all the action! You’ll get more satisfaction! Includes Kamala hitting Elizabeth over the head with his stick (not that one!).
10. Double Dragon – A vehicle showcase, luckily aligning with the cartoon more than the movie.
11. Superman – The mullet and Doomsday era, with time wasted on Conduit, who hasn’t even made it into a cartoon in his costumed form.
12. TMNT – Mike gives the sports report. The Donatello basketball figure is making a comeback in Super 7’s Ultimate line. Mikey gets to be the wrestler, of course unable to be pinned because of his shell.
13. Stone Protectors – An introduction to the characters, with Angus having a halfway decent Scottish accent even if he has the most contrived line.
14. Street Sharks – Apparently Mattel are bringing these back. I personally think they should get Vin Diesel back to be the pitchman for them.
15. Spawn – A difficult one, because Spawn has always skewed towards the adult, but maybe toy manufacturers were predicting that we’d never grow out of them?
16. Batman – Like you’ve never seen him before! In gold! I think everyone wanted all the villains they could get, not Batman in every colour and suit you could find.
17. Tales of the Cryptkeeper – A toy as creepy as the show, as they go for a 12″ talking doll that looks like it would give you nightmares.
18. X-Men – The Blackbird, which could never be as good as it was in the show, but tried to offer a few different options such as flyer, ground vehicle and base. My memory is always of seeing it on a high shelf for years in my local post office.
19. Ghostbusters – They try and fit as many figures, creatures and vehicles as possible into this one, including slime, which after thirty years I saw some of and realised why parents hated it back then, because it’s a bugger to get back in the tub!
20. Creepy Crawlers – Never heard of them! Apparently it got a show for two seasons in 1994, though!
Finally, apparently the rarest and final Hasbro commercial, hosted by the Macho Man, with Repo Man squeaking out something so high-pitched that only dogs can hear it in regards to Jim Neidhart, who’d been gone for a year already after chucking a monitor at Jay Strongbow, and Virgil inspiring Ahmed Johnson’s promo style with something equally intelligible about Skinner. Final show shows us the Anvil, the Mountie, the Warlord, Skinner, Sid Justice, Virgil, Repo Man and Randy Savage: half would be gone by the end of 1992 and three quarters would be done by WrestleMania IX.