Toy Knockoff--Champion Wrestling Figures
Wrestling can be cheesy enough without having knockoffs but if you can use the emergence of knockoffs as a sign that the action figures are selling well again, then it looks like wrestling action figures are having a resurgence. Champion Wrestling Figures are low budget knockoffs of Jakks Pacific’s line of 14” WWE figures. The WWE figures are muscled up with cartoonish, bulky physiques and tower over the standard sized wrestling action figure. Champion Wrestling Figures don’t quite tower, rather, they just sort of loom. These figures are 10” tall and mimic the cartoonish proportions of the 14” Jakks Pacific figures. But of course, they feature generic wrestler heads on identical betrunked bodies.
These sell for $4 at Big Lots and are distributed by Big Lots stores. There is no manufacturer listed, which could be simply to spare them the embarrassment.
These are very oddly created figures. The plastic is slightly thicker than that used in the old Soakie shampoo bottle toys and the articulation is just strange. The arms swivel at the shoulders, but they also swivel at the elbow, rather than bend. It’s the same with the knees. Twist one leg slightly and the figure is incapable of standing on its own. There are ten points of articulation, but they don’t allow for much range of movement. Making matters worse, the somewhat squishy plastic used in the rotocast process maintains a nostalgic reek not unlike that you used to smell when burying your head in an old Avon Snoopy Soap Holder box.
I saw four head styles on this figure (the bodies were all identical). One was a generic masked head. Another looked like the woe begotten love child of Ric Flair and Brock Lesnar, while the third, and the one I picked up, was a dead ringer for Stone Cold Steve Austin, with the addition of a little G.I. Joe scar on his cheek, just for kicks. A fourth sculpt, featuring what could either be Austin or Goldberg, but definitely a different sculpt than the one I picked up, was spotted at another Big Lots store. What was unusual was that the Stone Cold Steve Austin-ish sculpts are really good, but the other two looked like the work of blindfolded craftsmen sculpting with their toes.
The body is a muscle-bound affair, with red veins painted on the bulging biceps and black elbow and knee pads, and gloves painted in the appropriate place. The black trunks are a single piece of plastic molded in black and the boots are molded in red. A determined customizer may decide to slice this figure up to adapt to a 12” action figure body. The boots could definitely be used to customize a wrestling figure, while the chest could be used to turn a 98-pound weakling action figure into a roided up muscle man. I don’t think the heads would be very useful for a 1/6 scale customizer, as they are a little oversized. But this figure as a whole could provide an interesting blank canvas for someone who wants to customize their own wrestling action figures.
The back of the package, which features CGI art, probably lifted from a video game, proclaims in bold print, “Fully Jointed And Poseable, Approximately 11” Tall, Real Wrestling Action”
Let’s take a look at those claims. “Fully Jointed and Poseable?” Well, it does have joints, but this figure can’t strike many poses. “Approximately 11” Tall?” Actually, they’re just a hair under ten inches. “Real Wrestling Action?” Okay, these are inanimate objects. They don’t move on their own. They just sit there, immobile, doing nothing. That’s only “real wrestling action” if you’re talking about Kevin Nash.
All in all, it’s not too shabby for four bucks. It might be perfect for a customizer or a very young child--there are no sharp edges and the plastic is soft. But it’s still cheesy as all git out.