In amongst my self esteem taking the kind of battering by life that most punching bags would deem excessive I have to admit that finding the wherewithal to try and make jokes at wrestling toys harder than usual, but in an effort to take my frustration and make something good out of it and thanks to a generous donation by Lee Cunningham it’s time once again to delve into the toy store of yesteryear and emerge with another example of terrible toy manufacturing (and possibly, a social disease).
It recently occurred to me that there might be a sizeable section of the new generation of wrestling fandom that know Rey Mysterio solely as a masked wrestler but I must now shatter some illusions and allow daylight to shine in on some magic with a little history lesson. Of course if you know all this the toy stuff starts a few paragraphs from now.
A long time ago in a wrestling company far away, Vice president of WCW Eric Bischoff had in his employ a stable of highly colourful, masked Luchadors from down Mexico way, each with vibrant outfits and easily marketable gimmicks. Uncle Eric however had a better plan, force as many of these wrestlers to ditch the masks and show their faces to the world with complete disregard to Mexican Wrestling traditions, that’ll make them much more marketable he thought. He was wrong of course but among the wrestlers forced to unmask was Rey Mysterio Jr who remained maskless and showing his babyish face until WCW folded in 2001. Sitting out the invasion until 2002, Rey would again flout Lucha Libre tradition by donning the mask once more and thus become a huge star with copious merchandise sales. Go figure.
This all brings me to Rey Mysterio Jr’s plastic representations down the years. While in WWE Mysterio’s cavalcade of colourful attire gave toy manufacturers a licence to print money and new figures with frightening regularity but just how many figures did the “highly marketable” unmasked Rey receive in WCW? One. Yes, one and as you can probably ascertain from the accompanying photos, a pretty horrendous one at that.
Dear god this might be the worst figure I’ve seen so far. This is doubly depressing given that it’s supposed to be an official figure and not some hackneyed bootleg. Let’s start with the face with its look of painful constipation and bulbous proportion. Then let’s move on to the weird hunched over posture the designers saw fit to give ReyRey here that make him even smaller than he already is and finally let’s take a good long look at the most ridiculous part of a most ridiculous figure, the legs.
Whilst it’s admirable that the figure has a set of real cloth baggy cargo pants which were Rey’s gear at the time, in order not to nake them too big and bulky Rey’s waist and legs have been slimmed down such to a ludicrous degree he ends up completely out of proportion and looking like he’s constantly being viewed from above.
That isn’t the most baffling aspect of Rey’s lower extremities either as what may be a particularly good bit of clairvoyance, Rey’s knees and ankles are completely mechanical and spring loaded, for what purpose I’m unsure as try as I might, I cannot make Rey do anything constructive with his gimmicked joints.
What these springy bits do excellently though is make it near impossible for Rey to stand up under his own power as no real posing potential exists with the springs hampering his movement.
What a metaphor for latter period WCW and what a fabulous point to end on.
Thanks for reading.
Martin Dixon (@BunnySuicida)
Check out Lee’s excellent retro wrestling podcast Raw is Nitro on twitter here @RawisNitropod
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