Hello again, and welcome back to this glorious walk through my youth I call Hasbro Memories.
If you’re new, we’ve been going back and reviewing each and every figure in the beloved Hasbro WWF line from the 1990’s. They’re only 4 inches of plastic, but they still take up a giant place in wrestling fans’ hearts.
We’ve taken a look at each wrestler, series by series, and today we’re up to Series Nine. We’ve also taken a few detours, looking at the 1990 WCW Galoob figures, as well as the continuing line of WWE Mattel Retro figs, which act as modern tributes to the old Hasbros.
If you’ve missed any of the articles, go ahead and check them out below. It’s cool, we’ll just sit here and fiddle with Jake The Snake’s spring-loaded arm.
The door is open, let’s go!
Hasbro WWF Series Nine was the second batch of figures released in 1994. Like its predecessor, Series Nine included six figures total. The series was packaged on purple cards.
Also similar to Series Eight, half of the wrestlers represented in Series Nine are making their Hasbro debut. Two others are all new versions of previously released superstars. The sixth? Well, we’ll get to the sixth in a minute.
1994 was the final year that Hasbro would manufacture the WWF figures, as both the toys and the Federation as a whole were experiencing a downturn in business. As co-presidents of the MBWF (Michael & Bobby Wrestling Federation), we only saw fit to draft one figure from this series into our organization. That made this a somewhat expensive article to write, as I had to go back on eBay and pick the other 5 up at collector prices. The things you do for love!
Now, let’s get to the wrestling men.
MILLION DOLLAR MAN TED DIBIASE
We’ll kick things off with WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase. The Million Dollar Man makes his third appearance in the line here in Series Nine, but it’s his first appearance in actual wrestling gear and not a tux. That’s great in and of itself, but this fig is far from perfect.
It’s the little things that bug me about S9 DiBiase. For one, I don’t remember Ted DiBiase’s hair ever being this blonde. S1 and S2 DiBiase had a brownish blonde mane, but Hasbro pushed all in on blonde for Series Nine. Secondly, the body mold is just too generic. Hasbro tried it with S5 Hulk Hogan – it was a dud then and it’s a dud now. Spring-loaded arm+bare torso will ALWAYS be associated with the Jake The Snake figure. Stop trying to reuse it.
Another issue is the timing of the release. Ted DiBiase spent the back half of 1993 off of WWF television. When he returned in 1994, it was as a commentator and manager. I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but if there were any time that a tuxedo-clad Million Dollar Man would’ve been relevant, it would’ve been 1994.
That may sound like nitpicking, but it may also be a glimpse as to why these figures were nearing the end of their run by Series Nine. With the WWF struggling to keep fan interest in 1994, these toys really needed some extra oomph to excite kids into begging their parents for them. A third version of the Million Dollar Man, who was not even wrestling at the time, and didn’t even come packaged with the Million Dollar Belt, was not the answer.
This Million Dollar Man (and his Million Dollar Mash Real Wrestling Action) did not warrant replacing my classic black tux S1 version back in the day. I picked him up a few months ago on eBay for $25.02. A steep price, but not as steep as it will get in Series Eleven.
Ah, the Steiner Brothers. One of the most feared tag teams in wrestling history, and they didn’t need much of a gimmick to reach that level of notoriety. They were just legit badasses. The Brothers left WCW in late 1992, just in time to appear on the first episode of WWF Monday Night Raw. They’d go on to dominate the WWF’s tag team ranks for most of 1993. By May of 1994, the Steiners were all but gone – sadly a footnote in WWF history rather than contenders with the likes of Demolition and the Legion of Doom for greatest tag team of all time.
To commemorate their short but impactful run, the Steiners both make their line debut in Series Nine. We’ll start off by taking a look at the Dog Faced Gremlin himself, Rick Steiner. I’m a big fan of Hasbro Rick’s gear, with its bright colors and pattern. They really nailed the 90’s on this figure – it’s like he stepped off of the set of Saved By The Bell.
Rick also has his patented amateur wrestling headgear. As long as I’ve been a wrestling fan, you’d think I’d know the name of this contraption. I don’t, and I’m not going to look it up. Chinstrap? Could it be so simple?
Hasbro also nailed Rick’s fu manchu. Unfortunately, the combination of his stache and headgear make his cheeks look extra chipmunky. Luckily, his squat body mold makes up for it and keeps Rick looking tough.
Rick’s RWA is the old clothesline arm, which has been dubbed the STEINER SLAM. I guess WWF neglected to inform Hasbro about the STEINERLINE. But didn’t I say I’d quit complaining about Real Wrestling Action names like 11 columns ago?
We didn’t have this figure growing up because we’d already bought the WCW Galoob version of the Steiners. While the WCW Rick had a more realistic likeness, I actually kind of prefer this Rick Steiner over his Galoob cousin.
Picked this guy up on eBay for $18.50. Turns out it’s kind of hard to find a Rick Steiner without a broken arm in 2018, but I managed.
Rounding out the Steiner Brothers tag team is Scott Steiner. Scott has totally different colored gear from his brother Rick, but both are favoring that bright 90’s attire.
One of my favorite things about the WWF Hasbro figures is their decidedly cartoony take on the wrestlers they represent. It’s endearing. It’s why I gave The Dog Faced Gremlin an A even though he kind of resembles an actual dog.
That said, I think Hasbro lost the plot a little on Scott Steiner. Something about his eyes or his blown out hair. It just doesn’t look like Scott Steiner as much as it looks like a background character on American Dad. Then again, Scott Steiner has changed his look a few times throughout his career – maybe I’m misremembering the man?
Scott’s action is the Steiner Suplex, which is the same as Mr. Perfect‘s Perfect Plex. It’s one of my favorite poses in the Hasbro line and I’m way happier to see that make a comeback than any kind of handleback.
I picked up Scott on eBay for just seven bucks. It was a good deal. I think a like the Galoob Scott a little better though.
HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN
HOOOO! Another Series Nine WWE Hall of Famer? Well sure!
Hack is back, making his second Hasbro appearance and his first since Series Two. As a kid, I vividly remember watching “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan getting his guts squished out by like a dozen Yokozuna banzai drops. That was in early 1993. Hacksaw did come back from that horrific smashing, but he’d be WCW bound by Summerslam of that year. So again, another figure hitting shelves for a wrestler who was long gone.
Unlike the revamped S9 Million Dollar Man, S9 Hacksaw is just a repaint of the S2 original. Luckily, it’s a pretty spiffy repaint. S2 Hacksaw was content to have all blue knee pads and trunks. S9 Hacksaw has American flag knee pads and a blue singlet with a stars and stripes pattern on the back. While I would say the plain trunks are the more “classic” Hacksaw look, this gear trumps the plain blue in every conceivable way.
Like S9 Ted DiBiase, Hacksaw also suffers from a weird blonde dye job. Was Jim Duggan’s hair ever even blonde? Were we conserving the brown paint? What’s going on here?
The hair color definitely knocks Duggan down a notch, but Hasbro made up for it with an accessory. Since S2 Hacksaw came with his trusty 2×4, Series Nine Hack takes the only other logical option – Old Glory! HOOOO!
The flag accessory looks a lot like the ring flag, but it’s much cheaper and on a shorter black pole. It’s also very hard to find a loose Hacksaw with a flag, and I did not pay to get a carded version.
Due to our strict “we don’t buy wrestlers we already have figures of” rule, I didn’t pick up this version of Hacksaw back in the day. I was able to score the figure pictured from “The Legend” Danny Cage over at Hasbromaniacs.
DOINK THE CLOWN
The shining star of Series Nine is, without a doubt, Doink the Freaking Clown. Who would’ve thought?
Doink made his debut in the WWF in early 1993, an evil clown character who terrorized fans and opponents with pranks. It sounds silly, but it’s one of the better remembered gimmicks from the period. Doink faced Bret Hart on PPV – Doink was a big deal.
By 1994, Doink had turned face and started teaming with his midget doppleganger Dink. At this point Hasbro said, SEND IN THE CLOWNS!
Doink is a great figure for a lot of reasons. First off is his bright colors, befitting of a circus clown. Second is that hair! Not only does Doink get a totally new body mold, he’s the first and only Hasbro figure with a fluffy clown afro. Unbelievably, it still holds up after 24 years. Just look at the picture!
You can say what you want about Doink The Clown’s WWF run, but you cannot hate on having a somewhat menacing clown toy. For wrestling, for Ninja Turtles, for Dick Tracy to chase. I love this Doink The Clown figure.
Because Doink came around toward the end of the MBWF’s run, I don’t remember him ever ascending to the MBWF Title. I do remember him dropping plenty of whoopee cushions and Big Top Clobberers though.
If this Tatanka looks familiar, it’s because it’s literally the exact same Tatanka from Series Six. Identical. They didn’t even update his biocard. Why?
Rumor has it that a third Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake was scheduled to round out Series Nine. This Brutus would have appeared in his Mega Maniacs gear, just like at Wrestlemania IX. Unfortunately, not long after Mania, Brutus jumped ship with Hulk Hogan to WCW. The rumor is that WWF/Hasbro decided to pull the plug on Brutus late in the game and just substituted with the old Tatanka figure.
I know the S9 Brutus appeared in print ads, so there’s definitely something that went on. But “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan followed Hogan out the door on pretty much the same timeline – why was his figure not pulled?
At any rate, I think Hasbro was simply looking to fill out their shipments with this Tatanka figure. I’d love to have seen a Tatanka repaint, or maybe even a headdress accessory. Tatanka was a hot commodity in 1994 WWF, so he’d be worth the investment. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen.
Unlike S3 Macho Man, where Hasbro cheaply changed the wording on the back of S2 Macho King‘s trunks, S9 Tatanka doesn’t feel like a lazy cash grab. In fact, if the series hadn’t started being issued on different colored cards, I doubt anyone would know today that there was a Series Six and Series Nine Tatanka.
SERIES NINE GRADE: B+
In case you’re wondering, I didn’t hold the repeat Tatanka figure against the series grade.
Series Nine gets a high mark, but in the end, just leaves me feeling let down. Maybe it’s because only one of the wrestlers was really new to toy land, or maybe it’s just because WWF as a whole kind of sucked in 1994. Sure, Million Dollar Man and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan were great, but did we really need second and third versions of them?
Doink is easily the highlight of the otherwise dull series, with Rick Steiner coming in as the dark horse. Hard to decide which is worse – Scott Steiner or Ted DiBiase, so let’s just say they both kind of suck.
I don’t know, I also have very little connection to these toys. I only owned one of them as a kid, and it’s not like Doink rocked my world. Maybe I was just too old to play with toys in 1994. Maybe my brother will have fonder Doink memories.
That wraps up our Series Nine review, but I’ll be back soon enough with a look at the even bigger Series Ten!