Bend 'em like.... Shamrock???
When I launched Canadian Bulldog's World last month, I knew that I'd be rifling through random boxes in my garage to find wrestling memorbilia - some of which I knew I hadn't seen for years. But here's the first case where I honestly don't remember acquiring these items. Like, at all.
As it turns out, the action figures above are known as Bend 'Ems, a lesser-known line of figures produced by JusToys between 1994 and 2000. The wrestlers were about five inches tall and made of a bendable plastic with wires in their arms and legs so that you could twist their limbs ever so slightly.
An interesting concept, I suppose, but again.... I don't remember buying them!
Soooo..... in case you can't tell who some of these disproportionately-shaped people are, we have from left to right: Ken Shamrock, former UFC kingpin and current bodyguard for 50 Cent; TAKA Michinoku, former WWF Light Heavyweight Champion and currently.... well, I dunno.... that's actually a damn good trivia question; Brian Christopher, former and current member of the tag team Too Cool; and Kane, former monster and current corporate henchman/monster.
If you're thinking "Hey, this is the most random collection of wrestlers I've seen in my life!" you wouldn't be wrong. This only makes the question of how I acquired these toys more confusing. Nothing against any of these dudes, but I've seen the rest of the collection online... surely picking up a Stone Cold Steve Austin or Mankind figure would have been WAY more appealing?
Oh, and I also have this guy....
I will be honest - I had NO clue who the hell this was at first. My best educated guesses were:
(B) The Undertaker during his "biker" phase.
(C) Axl Rose
(E) Brian Lee, a/k/a Fake Undertaker and Chainz
As it turns out, I would be close in my final guess. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, as Mean Gene Okerlund is/was so fond of saying. Yeah, buddy with the long hair is actually supposed to be....
Crush, in his post-Kona, post-Randy Savage feud, post-jailbird, post-Nation Of Domination phase, a/k/a as a member of The Disciples of Apocalypse.
Don't get me wrong - it's not the worst depiction of a wrestling action figure ever (EVER!!!), especially for those of us who lived through the LJN era. But it's not great, either. In fact, the only way I knew for sure that it was Crush was because his signature was tattooed on his ass.
And no.... what you see above isn't Crush's ass (which HAS to be the first time that sentence has ever been uttered). It's a tattoo of TAKA Michinoku's signature on his back, followed by the English and Japanese words for "Japan".
I'm sure it must have seemed like a good idea late one Saturday night...
In fact, all of the figures seem to have their signature tattooed somewhere on their backside, because otherwise, you wouldn't know whether it was DOA Crush or Big Daddy Cool.
Here at the Bend 'Em Arena, the potential matchups and move sequences available to you is only limited by your imagination - and the fact that you only have five fairly mediocre wrestlers to choose from. How many of you have wondered what would happen if Brian Christopher and TAKA Michinoku matched up (they feuded, in fact over whom would become the first-ever Light Heavyweight Champion in the 90's)? Or what would happen if Grandmaster Sexay put Ken Shamrock in the figure-four leglock, for some reason? And what about reliving the classic moment where Shammie put Crush or possibly Chainz in a flying headscissors? Who wouldn't want to see Kane tombstoning TAKA (okay, that last one I'd want to see)?
Sure, these aren't the most articulated wrestling toys in history, but they serve their purpose (especially given I apparently discovered them for the first time last week). In fact, the only thing missing from my little tableau above (is that the right word? "Tableau"?) is having them stage some sort of wild, five-way mid-card sex orgy.
Mission accomplished, boys. Mission accomplished.