Friday, January 3, 2014

#365 WRESTLING CHAMPIONS – BLACK CYCLONE and C.G. (Around 1987 and 1992)




Every successful toyline is followed by one or several similar toylines that want to profit from the concept created by the first company. In the case of action figures, one of the most "copied" was the Masters of the Universe, maybe because it was the most popular toyline in the "golden" age of action figures (which would decay with the arrival of videogames).


In this case, the bootlegs are not (only) Masters of the Universe bootlegs, but WCW/WWF bootlegs. The proximity in time of MOTU (1982-1987) and those lines, made that many of the MOTU bootlegs were "adapted" to look like wrestlers. The figures are in many cases old characters attached with a wrestling belt, so you can easily identify them as wrestlers. However, some new heads were casted, especially one similar to Hulk Hogan (which is probably the most "bootlegged" character of all times).

If you´re familiar with Masters of the Universe, you can probably recognise the cast of a Galaxy Fighter in the body of the black wrestler. That bent knees, big head, curved arms... are easily identifiable. These casts had already arrived in China (from Hong Kong), and they were ready to use them in new toylines. By the year 1990, Masters of the Universe was not selling at all, so these Chinese companies needed another concept for their new products.



These pictures appears courtesy of Pablo G. del Río

The copyright below the figure indicates (c) 1986 NISSO S.A., PANAMA - Made in Hong Kong, but no trace of information could be found about this company. Was it really located in Panama? or it is just its name?

This character is based on Apollo Creed, but still reminds me of the actor Richard Pryor.
Arternative Packaging - Pic: knockoffcollector.tumblr.com
The name of the toy line is “Wrestling Champions” although in some countries it was released simply as “Wrestler”. In this case, the character is Black Cyclone. This toyline  gained some popularity in the early 90s, but it was considered to be “2nd class”. It was rare to find them in toy-stores. It was more a cheap toy for press kiosks or pound shops. The relative success of this line came mainly because of the low prices. This first figure is made in Hong Kong, so it must necessarily be older than…




Alternative Package - Pic: Terrible Tony in actionfiguresca.proboards.com
The fake Hulk Hogan figure comes actually from the same toyline, but it seems to have been released some years later, since the body is completely different. The legs are not bent, and the torso and arms are different, actually very similar to other bootleg figures, like the bootleg ninjas shown here. This second type was sold in single or double blister packs, I am not sure if the first version was too. This figure is made in China, so I think there must be at least 4 o 5 years difference between the manufacture of both figures, this one and the previous.




As you can notice from the pictures in this entry, these figures, despite their low quality, have an enormous playability, much higher than Hasbro´s WWF and Galoob´s WCW. Figures are more poseable (with 6 points of articulation) than both those two toylines. They do not perform any action feature.

These are not the only wrestler bootlegs, but only two samples. In future entries, I will show more wrestlers from different manufacturers.



 

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: BLACK CYCLONE and C.G.
  • Toy Line: WRESTLING CHAMPIONS a.k.a. WRESTLER
  • Year: Around 1987 and 1992
  • Company: Unknown (Hong Kong/ China)
  • Size of the figures: Around 11 cm

4 comments:

  1. C.G. (aka Hulk Hogan) did exist in the style of Black Cyclone (aka Apollo Creed from the Rocky III movie, played by Carl Weathers), but with fixed legs.

    "Fixed legs" C.G. exists on three types of cards: blue "Wrestling Champs" card, the above shown "Wrestler" card packed together with one of the 5 others shown on the back of the wrestler-card, or single packed on the shown "Wrestling Champions" card.

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    1. Hi, Many thanks for your comment, I have never studied thoroughly all variants from these figures, I think there are dozens of figures based on Hulk Hogan like the one above, or the others you mention. Do you know any website with pictures of all these "Wrestling Champs" with or without package?

      I guess you already did it, but you can read my next article #366 that deals with more "Wrestling Champions":

      http://toysfromthepast.blogspot.com/2014/01/366-wrestling-champions-three-unknown.html

      Delete
  2. I had these. Except the Apollo lookalike was white. I also agree that these had more playability than the licensed wwf wcw toys of the early 90s. Allowed for tons of creativity as well since you could make your own characters from them. The eyepatch one was my top heel and there was one that kind of resembled dudley moore that became my top face.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment and your memories!

      I also like these figures quite a lot, because they are a mixture of my two of my favorite lines (Masters of the Universe and WWF), and they had nice castings with these unique details you mention, like and eyepatch, pointed ears, a mexican-style mask and so on. Many people played wrestling with Masters.

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