Friday, November 16, 2012

Figure Friday: Giant Gonzalez and homemade wrestlers

As I explained in the Doink the Clown article, after Hasbro stopped producing WWF figures, toy stores were left with only the less popular figures that had yet to sell out. As a result, parents of the mid-90s had slim pickings when it came time to buy an action figure for their kids' birthdays or Christmas. That would explain how over the years my household acquired not one, but three Giant Gonzalez figures.
Like the Doink figure, the Giant Gonzalez figure was unique among the Hasbro WWF line. While Doink was the only figure with hair, Giant Gonzalez was notably taller than the rest of the Hasbro 4½ inch wrestling toys. Sadly, though, Hasbro would not spring for imitation fur on the Gonzalez figure, causing the doll to lack a certain realism.

Speaking of realism, that pretty much goes right out the window with this figure. As you can see, this Giant Gonzalez figure is completely ripped and bulging with muscle. It is therefore completely dissimilar to the real Giant Gonzalez, whose apparent musculature was the result of an airbrushed body suit (Thankfully, Hasbro did not try to adapt El Gigante's airbrushed buttocks into action figure form). Hasbro does, however, get a check mark in the realism column for making his arms movable but not his legs. Anyone who has seen Mr. Gonzalez in action knows what I'm talking about.

With three identical Giant Gonzalez figures at their disposal, kids had to be creative. Thus, one of the figures was dubbed Giant Gonzalez, another was christened The Giant (aka The Big Show), and the remaining Gonzalez figure was given a complete gimmick overhaul. Using some spare Ninja Turtles accessories, we transformed Giant Gonzalez into the Man from the Dark Side himself, the Blundertaker. Oh yeah, I should probably mention that we didn't own an actual Undertaker figure, thanks to the Hasbro WWF line being discontinued, so The Blundertaker was a much-needed substitute to fill that gaping void in our toy wrestling promotions.

The Blundertaker wore the red robe of the Ninja Turtles' sensei Splinter, while his face was disguised by a mask worn by the detective-themed Donatello action figure. Instead of finishing off opponents with a backwards piledriver called the Tombstone, he employed an inverted powerbomb called the Graveyard Powerbomb that slammed opponents onto their faces and chests. The Blundertaker even had a manager (played by a portly Playmobil man in a car) named Hearse Driver.

As the years went by and WWF storylines developed, it became necessary to create an ersatz Kane character to be the Blundertaker's long-lost brother. Enter Aibyll, a Casey Jones TMNT action figure with a built-in hockey mask who wore a vest originally belonging to an Ahmed Johnson action figure (the Ahmed figure came from a Jakks toy line called STOMP that saw wrestlers don outlandish "action" getups, but that's a story for another blog post). The Knock-Off Brothers Of Destruction were thus complete, the indirect result of Hasbro's discontinuation of their WWF action figure line.

As far as the Giant Gonzalez figure is concerned, there are of course pros and cons.

Pro: Appropriately scaled to the rest of the Hasbro figures.
Con: Looks nothing like the real Giant Gonzalez.
Pro: Looks nothing like the real Giant Gonzalez.

All in all, out of 5 stars, I give the Giant Gonzalez figure a B+.

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