Welcome to another edition of WWF Hasbro Memories, where we’re taking a series by series look at the greatest toy line of all time – the Hasbro WWF figures from the 1990’s.
I’ve taken a detour the last two columns, looking at last year’s unexpected and awesome tribute line of Mattel WWE Retro figures. And while Santa was VERY good to me when it comes to Retro Series 3, today, we’re getting back to our roots And by our roots, I mean 1993 – the year that brought us the original Series Six!
But first, as always, don’t forget to take a look at all of the reviews we’ve done already!
Now let’s do this!
1992 was the first time that Hasbro released two series in one calendar year, and Series Six is the second series to come in 1993. Hasbro went a little more balanced this time, releasing 10 figures as part of Series Five, and then following that up with 6 more in Series Six. That’s still just 16 new figures for the year, but (SPOILER ALERT) there are more coming.
I like the 6-figure series, which is exactly the number Mattel is releasing in their Retro sets. It’s enough to feel like you got a good influx of talent, but not so many that you feel overwhelmed trying to find them all.
All of the superstars in Series Six are new to the line, but I would generously call the group a mixed bag. Sure, you have a legend in Ric Flair, and there’s Tatanka, who helped define the WWF during this period, but you also have a LOT of forgettable gimmicks. Even worse, nearly every wrestler in this series left the WWF in the first half of 1993. That’s rough.
But let’s dive in, shall we?
Don’t remember The Berzerker? If it weren’t for the Hasbro figs, most people wouldn’t. He was only on WWF TV for about a year. Berzerker’s biggest claim to fame is a feud with The Undertaker where I honest to God thought he was going to stab the Dead Man with a sword. #MARK
The Berzerker debuted (as The Viking – which is why he looks so much like, well, a viking) in 1991, and this is his first figure. If you think he looks familiar, well, that’s because THEY USED “HACKSAW” JIM DUGGAN’S BODY AND PAINTED HIS KNEE PADS BROWN! I understand reusing molds, but this one just looks SUPER lazy. Look at that Toy Fair ad up top – they even posed him with a 2×4. HACKSAW’S 2X4! HIS THUMB IS DOING THE “HOOO!”
There are a few things that save this figure, though. First is that sweet viking helmet. Would anyone be allowed to wrestle in a viking helmet? No, but Berzerker doesn’t play by the rules. In fact, his whole head rocks with that sweet beard.
I’m also a big fan of his cloak accessory. So much of a fan that I paid $19.50 in an eBay AUCTION to win a Berzerker with his cloak. Sadly, our original Berzerker had lost his. The worst part is that our original Berzerker is in way better shape than eBay Berzerker. Probably because we never played with the Berzerker, because the Berzerker sucked.
Berzerker’s Real Wrestling Action is the Berzerker Blast (wow, not Bash?!?), which is the old double pull and release arms that you see in, well, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.
And just because I’ve had to write “Berzerker” so many times:
Tito Santana is a fairly legendary wrestler – in fact, he wrestled in the first 8 Wrestlemanias (9 if you count a dark match). Tito is a former Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion and, not only that, a member of the 2004 WWE Hall of Fame Class. But even legends can have their down years.
In 1992, the WWF decided to repackage a returning Tito as El Matador, a Spanish bullfighting gimmick. Tito would come to the ring with his bullfighting gear, waving a red cape around and shouting “Ole!” It was a bunch of bull, and El Matador would ride off into the sunset by the summer of ’93.
So it’s lucky for us fans, really, that Tito had a chance to be immortalized in the Hasbro line. Sure, it’s with a crappy gimmick, but other than wearing tights instead of trunks, they might as well call this figure Tito Santana.
Unfortunately, like Berzerker, El Matador suffers from LazyMoldItis. Again, I’m cool with reusing molds, but can’t they mix and match the tops and bottoms, arms and legs? El Matador is CLEARLY Jake “The Snake” Roberts with a different head! They even kept him in green pants!!!
El Matador is a decent enough figure, but since Tito wasn’t flashy to begin with, the mold reuse just makes this one boring. El Matador’s RWA is the “Bulls-Eye Bash” (oh, there’s the bash), which is the springloaded punch arm that Jake “The Snake” does.
Our original El Matador didn’t make it to 2018, but I was able to grab the one pictured on eBay for just $4.99.
Papa Shango – the Voodoo Priest/Wrestler who would eventually become a Hall of Fame Pimp/Wrestler – is an odd case. As a character, he didn’t last very long in the WWF. Yet, everyone my age vividly remembers all of his feuds. And his spooky entrance. And the time he made the Ultimate Warrior puke black stuff.
Shango makes his debut as a figure in Series Six and boy, it delivers. His body mold is all new – tall and lanky, befitting of the real Papa Shango. He’s all tatted up with crazy voodoo symbols, which you have to love. And the likeness is just perfect! I would prefer that his hat be removable, but I’m fine with it staying on, since I probably would’ve lost it otherwise.
One of the coolest things about Papa Shango is his bone necklace, which he can either wear around his neck or hold in his fist, thanks to a little peg on the back. Unfortunately, my bone necklace didn’t make it to 2018, and I’m just not going to pay eBay prices to get one. I love y’all, but I just ain’t.
Papa’s Action is a pull and release arm, letting him perform the “Spell Binder” punch. Kind of odd that they’d put two spring arm figures in one series, but I’m not complaining, because this guy is just awesome.
Let’s get down to the facts here. Ric Flair was always a WCW guy. When Galoob released their WCW line in 1990, Flair was one of the marquee figures. The Galoob figures were the same size as the WWF Hasbro figs, but had no points of articulation. The likenesses were less cartoony, too, which led to mixed results. Let’s just say the Galoob Flair was not the best likeness in the series. But every kid was happy just to have a Ric Flair in their federation, so we kept our mouths shut.
Ric Flair shockingly left WCW for the WWF in late 1991. By the end of 1992, he was a two-time WWF Champion. By January ’93, Ric Flair was headed back for WCW. It was a fun stint, but everyone knew that WCW was where the man belonged.
However, thanks to Flair’s short WWF run, he got a second chance at having his own 4″ figure. And boy does it suck. I mean it’s terrible. God awful. The drizzling sh*ts.
Part of it is his Real Wrestling Action – the “Flare Snare”. Why not “Flair Snare”? No one has lived to tell. We’ve already discussed this headlock RWA with Series 1 Rick Rude. It’s an awful action, it limits playability, and the body mold is just too thin compared to the other wrestlers. So Ric is limited from the beginning thanks to that mold.
Even worse though is how badly they messed up Ric’s likeness. Those bushy black eyebrows, that expression, the awful haircut. Did they even have a picture of Ric Flair when they made this thing? Did Naitch take all of his pictures when he left??
When we were kids, we usually didn’t re-buy a figure just because a new version was released. Since we had the Galoob Flair, we never considered buying this Hasbro one. Flash forward to 2018 and I’m paying $8.50 on eBay (plus $5 shipping) (a great price BTW) all to definitively say this:
Ric Flair is the worst figure in the Hasbro WWF line. Period.
Like El Matador, Repo Man is the product of a career-freshening repackage. After Demolition split up in 1991, Smash banged around house shows, losing to whoever they booked him against that night. His career was revitalized when the WWF re-debuted him as Repo Man, a crazy car repossessor who basically went around stealing things and choking guys out with a hook on a rope.
Repo Man is a divisive character in 90’s WWF, but I always liked him. He was funny, he was sneaky, and he had a great catchphrase.
Like literally every wrestler we’ve talked about to this point, Repo Man wasn’t long for the WWF and split after the 1993 Royal Rumble. So, if you’re a fan, you could say we’re lucky to get a little piece of ol’ Repy immortalized in plastic.
They get the Repo Man’s likeness down pretty well with this figure, and I like the random junk on his gear, since that’s how his real gear was decorated (that’s supposed to be a tire track FYI – since he repossesses cars).
Unfortunately, Hasbro saddled Repy with the kiss of death – the handleback mold. I don’t get this one, since there’s nothing “jumpy” about the Repo Man. It’s a double bummer, too, since the handle on the back means we don’t get that cool coat with “Repo Man” spelled out in license plates. FYI, his RWA is the “Robber Clobber”.
I’ve taken up for the Repo Man a lot in this section, but I honestly don’t remember him ever winning MBWF gold. And if you never even held the Mud Pit Title or the US Tag Titles, you didn’t have much of a run.
Let’s go out on a high note, shall we? Making his debut in Series Six is the Native American himself, Tatanka! Before Goldberg, Tatanka worked a fairly successful undefeated gimmick in the WWF, and positioned himself in both the Intercontinental and WWF Title ranks.
Tatanka was a big player in the New Generation, but one who didn’t transition into the Attitude Era, thanks to his heavy handed gimmick. Still, the Hasbro line LOVES gimmicks and Tatanka turns out great.
He has a bunch of great little touches, like his ornate wristbands and earrings, the mohawk. Plus, his color scheme is just nice to look at.
Tatanka’s Action is the “Tomahawk Tackle”, which is the double clothesline arm, spinny waist we saw debuted with the Texas Tornado. And yes, I know Tatanka is the Texas Tornado mold with a different head, but the head is great and there are a lot of differences in the body paint (skin tone for one) that keep this fig from being boring.
There must have been a Series Six curse, because our original Tatanka was also lost. Thanks to eBay, I have bought Tatanka figures in TWO MILLENNIA! This one only cost me $5.99.
SERIES SIX GRADE: C+
Series Six is pretty bad, folks, I’m not gonna lie. But here are some positives – 1) there are plenty of obscure figures, 2) you finally get your Tatanka toy, and 3) Papa Shango rocks pretty hard.
A lack of steady direction in the WWF itself (all of these guys minus one were gone by the time these figs hit shelves) and a little bit of laziness from Hasbro (out and out reusing three body molds in a six figure set) drag this series way down.
Favorite is Papa Shango, with Tatanka right up there. Worst figure is easily Ric Flair, who just sucks.
Note: S6 Tatanka would return repackaged on a purple card for Series Nine
Watch this space for my next review, which could be Series Seven (if I find a Nailz), but will likely be Retro Series 3. See you then!