Friday, January 18, 2013

Figure Friday: The Rockers were Rip-Offs (and not of the Rock & Roll Express)

As a child of the New WWF Generation, I owned not only the Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels figures as part of the Rockers' tag team set, but as singles wrestlers, as well. In all those years, I never noticed that both figures are exactly the same, minus the heads. It's as if Hasbro were trying to sabotage the Rockers' split by refusing to differentiate between the two party animals. 

Make no mistake; these two figures tell a story. Marty's figure is wearing the exact same gear he wore when he beat Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Title on Raw. Michaels is... not wearing the same gear in the figure I owned, but in a re-painted version released later, he would wear the black and white (okay, silver) tights that he wore on that famous (not infamous, but famous) Monday Night Raw.

Still, looking back, it's pretty amazing that I never suspected that anything was up. Sure, right off the bat I noticed that both figures had identical finishing moves (a double arm strike called the "Jannetty Jam" or the "Conceited Crunch"), but how did I not catch the fist tape? You know, the fist tape that is flesh-colored on Marty Jannetty because he never wore it? Look or feel carefully on HBK's figure and you'll find that the Boy Toy has taped fists as well, disguised by the gloves he is wearing. That's in addition to the wrist bands the two Rockers shared (though Michaels's were again disguised by the gloves).

Another feature that gives away the Hasbro re-hashing of parts is the legs, which are both bent identically so that their feet converge at the heels in a V shape. That got 2012 Me thinking (I did the research for this article at the end of 2012, by the way): "What figures have the same double-armed action move as Shawn and Marty?"


First offender: Rick Martel. Like Marty and Shawn, he was a smaller wrestler, and like Shawn (and Lex Luger, who doesn't count), he had a narcissistic gimmick. You know what else he had? The same lower body as Shawn and Marty. If my hypothesis of Hasbro re-using entire bodies of figures were true, Martel's figure should have taped fists. Lo and behold, it does, although just like Marty's the tape is unpainted.


Still, there was one more piece left to the puzzle. No, it wasn't why Rick Martel's head looks like John Cena when unpainted, although that is a very fascinating question that deserves an explanation, especially considering that it is the "prototype" Martel head that looks like Cena.
No, the remaining question was, "What was the first figure to have this body?" It had to be someone with their legs in the same position and with the double-armed finishing move that Martel, Michaels, and Jannetty all shared. The figure also more than likely has taped fists.

This figure has most likely had its fists
hand-painted by its owner, meaning
that the tape were originally
flesh-toned, and the taped
fists were all for naught.
Enter the Macho Man. Actually, he didn't enter at all, and if an action figure were capable of locomotion and autonomy, I would not be wasting my column writing about some inanimate pieces of plastic. Macho Man's 1990 figure not only had all the most obvious similarities with Rick, Shawn, and Marty's figures, but his fists were taped. Moreover, the tape was indeed painted white (on some versions, at least), although that particular feature of the figure would end up messing up a lot of future figures that borrowed Savage's body (not that Hasbro cared).


It's just like Randy said. He did indeed bridge the gap from one generation to the other generation. He's the bridge that makes it work!

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed this. I don't think I'd ever noticed this, but it just goes to show that Hasbro were having a great laugh at people buying essentially the same thing with a slightly different paint job!