Here are some of my wrestling records on vinyl (BACK)
Here is a picture gallery of a number of customs that I am working on…
Paul Ellering was the long time manager of The ROad Warriors, aka The Legion of Doom and followed them throughout their careers to many different promotions.
After their initial introduction to the WWF, LOD would return a short time later with their original manager, Paul Ellering. In the whole cartoonization of the company to make it more kid-friendly, Hawk & Animal were forced by writers to incorporate a ventriloquist dummy called “Rocco.”
Rocco was originally introduced as “Freckles” in front of a live crowd at a WWF TV Taping, but the segment bombed so bad that he never aired, under that name.
In the storyline, Rocco served as their “inspiration”, and to remind them of their past. However, this gimmick was very short-lived. Hawk left the company in complete disgust with the Rocco gimmick immediately after SummerSlam 1992, going AWOL in London after the event with John Nord and missing the flight back to the US. Animal stuck around, finishing the team’s contractual obligations tagging with former Demolition member Crush replacing Hawk on house shows.
If you do not remember the video of Rocco being found, here it is:
I am surprised that Jakks made a Shockmaster, Mattel made a George Steele Mine doll, but NOBODY has made a Rocco.
Here is my humble attempt at custom Paul Ellering & his beloved puppet friend, Rocco.
Rocco really is the man, being as he single-handedly destroyed the Legion of Doom. (Hawk quit the team and went AWOL on his WWF contract over this short-lived gimmick.) Therefore, Rocco really needed to be forever immortalized in plastic.
(Rocco was not made out of a Lego man, but something pretty close. Can you tell what it is?)
It always was, and still is, customary for the great Hulk Hogan to tear his t-shirt off before a match and throw it to a lucky fan in the audience. On September 13th, 1985, at a WWF “All Star Wrestling” taping, I was the lucky fan.
To the best of my knowledge, this particular “American Made” Hulk Hogan shirt came into existance (and into the Hulkster’s waredrobe rotation), somewhere in the summer of 1985 through late in 1987.
After almost thirty years and many wrestling shows later, it was difficult to remember exactly what had happened on the night that I caught Hogan’s shirt and details about the particular show, until last night, when I finally stumbled upon the results online.
Did you ever say smell something familiar in a certain setting and you were instantly transported back to an earlier time? …Maybe like smelling burnt toast outside of a diner and recalling something like a camping trip you had as a 10-year-old? After reading a simple list of matches, the full Hulkamania shirt-catching experience all came back to me. Here are the results I read of the wrestling event where I caught Hulk Hogan’s shirt at ringside:
WWF “All Star Wrestling” @ Providence, RI – Civic Center – September 13, 1985
1) Corporal Kirchner defeated Mr. X
2) Tony Atlas defeated Steve Lombardi
3) Jim Brunzell defeated Jim Neidhart
4) “WWF Tag Team Champion” Brutus Beefcake defeated Steve Gatorwolf
5) Pedro Morales defeated “WWF Tag Team Champion” Greg Valentine, via disqualification
6) Bret Hart defeated B. Brian Blair
7) The Missing Link defeated Ron Dee
8) Jesse Ventura defeated “WWF World Champion” Hulk Hogan, via disqualification
9) Cousin Junior won a 20-man battle royal
About fifteen years ago, I decided to give the shirt that had followed me since my youth some long-deserved respect, by having it professionally re-framed. However, at the time of the framing, it was difficult for me to remember which of the many ticket stubs I had saved over the years went with the shirt that I had been preserving for so long inside a cheap poster frame.
QUANDARY. There were no real records available yet on the early pages of the internet back then to help me recall the correct date. One of the problems was I had seen The Hulkster a number of times at Civic Center, and I had saved a bunch of my ticket stubs for all the shows. The World Wrestling Federation had ran 13 times alone at that venue, and my father took me to see many of them! (He really was a great dad for a wrestling fan to have!) I had, however, dwindled the ticket stub choice insertion down to two choices and figured the shirt was from either September 13th, 1985, or perhaps maybe the May 3rd, 1986 at The Saturday Night Main Event taping. Therefore, I guessed.
For a number of years, however, I honestly wasn’t sure if I had chosen the correct ticket stub to be framed with the shirt caught that night. Here is the reason why…
THE LUCK. Friends and family have always called me the lucky one. Maybe it’s the luck of the Irish, or maybe a guardian angel looks after me, but that Hulk Hogan shirt wasn’t the only one that I caught. I actually caught two. One was a full Hulk Hogan shirt (the shirt in the picture), and a second piece of a an identical shirt, eight months later in a mass fan tug-o-war at ringside. Both shirts were the same WWF White American Made T-shirt seen above, worn by Hogan on and off for about two years.
Having experienced catching two Hogan shirts, owning a shoebox full of ticket stubs, and having no card results in front of me at framing time, all made things a little bit sketchy as to which was the correct stub to insert along with a picture. (I also had purchased for framing, the only glossy autographed picture of Hogan I could find tearing the white shirt off, as a finishing touch.)
ABOUT THE SECOND SHIRT: Incidently, the second “American Made” shirt fragment I had secured was from a tug-o-war that occured in my ringseats with other crazed fans. That particular second shirt was really just a piece of white material; it had no print on it at all. Knowing that I already had en entire shirt in great condition at home, and that the fragment I caught was less than collectible to me, I gave up to a few fans at ringside at the end of the night. In case you are wondering, good karma exists. A few months later, “the luck” kicked in again and I caught Leapin’ Lanny Poffo’s frisbee, which I will post soon in another blog.
The match that I caught an unrecognizable and therefore (pretty much) an uncollectible little piece of an American Made shirt was also televised, but on network TV making it easy to access today. It was Hulk Hogan and The Junkyard Dog managed by The Haiti Kid taking on Dory and Terry Funk managed by “The Mouth of The South” Jimmy Hart. Though I had some confusion on which stub to insert in my framing due having saved many ticket stubs, after reading the records, I am now 100% sure I put the correct stub in with the shirt. After finding the results of the match on the web, it all made sense. After reading the finding, it was like I opened a closed closet in my head for the first time in almost thirty years.
THE CHEAP SEATS ABOVE. I did put the correct ticket stub with the shirt. The shirt was in fact from Hulk Hogan’s match with Jesse Ventura on September 13th, 1985, at The Providence Civic Center in Rhode Island. I am also sure of this because after reading the card results, I immediately remembered hiding my prize under my own shirt, and running up to my CHEAP SEATS to show my dad; something I hadn’t thought about in years. It couldn’t have been the Saturday Night Main Event taping, because that event took place after the Hogan vs Jesse match, and we had ringside seats for that one. There was no running up to the cheap seats with my prize for that show; an excited memory that I remember vividly. Also, I gave up the shirt fragment, knowing I had a better shirt at home.
My dad will attest to this… I predicted where I thought Hulk Hogan would throw the shirt that night, from my research of watching his matches at home. My plan was to run to ringside, down from the cheap seats, and be the winner of this collectible. And I did just that. The way he tells the story is I told him I was going down to catch the shirt. He told me not to be discouraged if it didn’t happen, but I told him it would. He didn’t see me catch it either, but was very surprised to see me return with it.
FUNNY STORY ABOUT THIS SHOW. On a side note, I remember on that card a couple of funny things that night, after looking at this card results again, online. I had brought an American flag which I gave to Tony Atlas, who came out to watch a match incogito out of a sealed off floor entrance way. Later on, my father and I teased an angry Jim The Anvil to no end, who was trying to watch his partner from the same sealed off area. When Bret Hart tok a reverse atomic drop from Brian Blair, our whole section threw gay jokes at the Anvil to the point wear we really thought he was going to attack us. Tony Atlas came out and calmed “The Anvil” down, holding him back from jumping into the audience. This little side show for us in the cheap seats was classic.
Anyhow, I want to thank the power of the internet. By simply providing a list of matches, the internet freed childhood memories surrounding the night that I snagged probably of one of my most prized wrestling collectibles in my collection.
Here is my custom of President Jack Tunney, made from various Rocky action figures from Jakks. The head is modified and repainted from referee LOU FILLIPO, and the body is a TONY GAZZO.
For those of you who do not remember Jack Tunney, he was a Canadian wrestling promoter who the WWF hired to act as the figure head of the company.
Back in the early summer of 1984, the WWF named Tunney its storyline “president.” This made Tunney known to WWF fans everywhere. WWF President Jack Tunney was part of many storylines including:
• Suspending Andre the Giant from competition in 1986, forcing him to compete as the masked “Giant Machine” of The Machines.
• Awarding trophies to Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant on Piper’s Pit.
• Suspending referee Danny Davis “for life” after officiating a series of controversial matches where he favored the heels.
• Indefinitely suspending The Islanders in 1997, for the kidnapping of the British Bulldog’s mascot Matilda.
• Stripping “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase of the WWF Heavyweight Championship, after buying the title from new champion Andre the Giant.
• Restricting Demolition to two active members following the 1990 Survivor Series.
• Distorting the “Real World” title belt of Ric Flair when he began performing for the WWF in the fall of 1991.
• Prohibiting Jake “the Snake” Roberts from bringing his snake to the ring after having a cobra bite Randy “Macho Man” Savage’s arm, while Savage was restrained in the ropes.
• Refusing to take action against Lex Luger over his controversial forearm smash finisher; a steel plate inside Luger’s arm.
• Declaring both Bret “the Hitman” Hart and Lex Luger winners, after they simultaneously eliminated each other, with two debating referees failing to agree on a winner.
• Facing an irate Bad News Brown who confronted Tunney on the set of “The Brother Love Show,” demanding a WWF title shot against then-champion Randy Savage.
In 1988, Steele began carrying a stuffed animal named “Mine” to the ring. These are very very very rare and were only sold at house shows.
You almost can’t ever find one on eBay. Very few were produced and the last one that showed up on eBay went for several hundred dollars.
Online, I read about a guy who brought his childhood Mine doll to a Wrestling Fanfest, where George Steele was brought in as a vendor’s guest to sign autographs and take pictures with fans. Steele himself offered this guy several hundred dollars right on the spot for it, but the collector said he was sorry and that he couldn’t part with it.
Mine, despite what anyone thinks about it and the cartoonification of 80′s wrestling, is now worth a goldMine.
I used a Classic Droz torso, a Hawk LOD 2000 set of legs, and who can guess what I used for the head? (The custom facepaint took forever to get right on this head!)
I had to sand off the original head’s mohawk in the back, because Droz had a small thin tail / dredlock thing and totally shaven back of the head. That part sucked, but it came out surprizingly smooth.
For those of you who don’t remember, Darren Drozdov, (aka Droz, aka Puke,) he was involved in a storyline becoming the new ROad Warrior, due to L.O.D. member Hawk’s alcoholism. In this confrontation, Hawk was seen by his partner Animal as unfit to wrestle, and Drozdov was tapped to take Hawk’s place in the tag team. The situation ended with accusations that Drozdov had been the “enabler” of Hawk’s problems and had drugged the L.O.D. member to take his place in the team for exposure.
ANYHOW – Here is his LOD 2000 custom figure!
Here is my Custom “Lil Naitch” Referee Charles Robinson figure!
WWE Custom Figure Torso Crack Transplant Q-ring – Custom Legion of Doom LOD Droz
From what a few have said, I may have created my own method of torso swapping for my first torso transplant attempt for my LOD Custom Droz. A few customizer friends told me that I absolutely HAD to share it with you all, because my method involved no body / torso cracking and no gluing, whatsoever.
The funny thing is, I never did a “torso crack” before, so I really didn’t know what to do, and therefore, just made up my own technique. What I wanted in the end was a Classic Droz torso with Hawk LOD 2000 legs. As you can see from the figure, my method is clean and looks as good as new, with no cracking or gluing involved, but what you can’t see is it is also fully articulate with a tight functioning pelvis.
WHAT DO YOU NEED? Well, the most important tool is TOENAIL CLIPPERS!
The two current methods of torso swapping usually include taking a screwdriver and prying open the pins, starting under the armpit and above the shoulder in the joint, then moving your way along the seams. Then reassembling everything and gluing. I attempted this for about 5 minutes in on Hawk and said, “SCREW THAT.”
I found “torso cracking” right off the bat wasn’t for me, when I saw the first stress mark on Hawk’s shoulder. I don’t have the patience. I like the guys from the movie Office Space, who take the fax machine out to a field and just totally destroy it when it doesn’t work how I want it to.
THE CASANOVA Q-RING TORSO TRANSPLANT METHOD
While this method may not be for the spendthrift cheapskate, it leaves a fully functional hip joint with complete articulation. The cost is, it takes two figures to make one, as one the remains of one figure will likely be unusuable.
STEP 1 – SECURE YOUR CLEAN TORSO – Wanting the Droz torso and the Hawk legs, I turned the Droz hips 90 degrees and snapped it, in half with my bare hands like a savage brute. (Much like you would break a branch to throw in a camp fire. If you dont have the strength, wrap it in a hand clothe and break it over the side of a table.)
The “Snapping Into a Slim Jim” method will leave you with a mint torso, but should leave you with legs with a broken O-ring. (Some people would maybe want to keep the plaid Droz pants for a future project, but glueing the legs to a torso sucks, because you lose articulation. Therefore, I say THROW THEM SUCKERS OUT!)
STEP 2 – SECURE YOUR CLEAN LEGS - Wanting just the legs of Hawk LOD 2000, I attempted a torso crack that sucked, and then I just cut off the torso with wire-clippers, so that the O-ring on the legs was clean, minty fresh and fully intact.
I was not going to bother to save the Hawk torso, as my goal was to just get Hawk’s legs. Theoretically, if you wanted to save the torso, you could attempt a legit torso crack with a screwdriver and later glue everything back together. However, if you are like me and hate cracking, then just destroy the torso to get to the legs you want and throw that bad boy in triz-zash.
STEP 3 – CREATE THE Q RING - The final step is to take toenail clippers and trim down the O-ring above the legs, so it the ring is less than half the size it was before. However, when trimming leave a tail where you do not cut down some of the original ring at all. While you are trimming down the O, you leave a tongue-shaped piece untouched, making it kind of now look like the capital letter “Q.”T his tail is essential to the articulation point of the hips.
WHat you are doing is creating a smaller O that can be forced into the hole underneath the torso.
STEP 4 – SNAP THE LEGS IN PLACE – Poke the tail in the hole in the bottom of the torso and snap the legs and torso together.
If it doesn’t snap together at first, you can soak the torso in hot water (like you would in a head or arm removal) to losen it up a little. If that doesn’t work, make the O-ring smaller with your toenail clipper. If you are still having some difficulty, you may want to slightly crack one side of the bottom of the torso’s seam near the hole, after soaking the torso in hot water.
In the end, it will work with a little tweaking, as it worked for me on my first try.
Hope it works out for you!
THE FUTURE OF MY LOD DROZ CUSTOM - Although current Droz Classic head is not accurate for the LOD gimmick, I do have a Jakks Chuck Liddell Series 1 head on the way that I plan on swapping out soon with a new paint job.
Here is a mock up of the face paint design on the Chuck Lidell head I will use.
LJN Wrestling Superstars was an action figure toyline based on the wrestlers of the WWF from 1984 to 1989. The toys were made of solid rubber, and did not move. They were, however, very accurate for their time in appearance to their real life counterparts. The original 8″ figures were the first and most successful series from the line and other versions soon followed, such as Thumb Wrestlers, Stretch Wrestlers, and Bendies.
LJN closed its toy division in 1989, cancelling the Wrestling Superstars series with it. The last 6 figures which were produced did manage to get released by Grand Toys of Canada, the distributor of the entire Wrestling Superstars series in Canada. The odd thing is, there was an Ax of Demolition, and a Warlord of The Powers of Pain. However, their tag team partners were sadly never released, as they were slated to be featured in the next line that never happened.