LJN's Wrestling Superstars action figures are generally considered the first series of wrestling toys to be marketed to the mainstream internationally. And I'm lucky to have collected them all back in the 1980's! Each month, I'll look at one classic figure and explain what made them so special.
When I first began assembling the prestigious Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame four months ago, Corporal Kirchner was one of those names I just knew had to be included.
Why? Several reasons. For beginners, the good Corporal has a different look about him than many other LJN figures. If you're going into a streetfight against, say, Big John Studd, who are you going to want to take the battle? Some chump like Tito Santana in his tightie whities and no shirt, or someone who looks like fricking Rambo? The choice is obvious, my friends.
Second, the LJN line never really afforded us the ability to have Jobbers To The Stars on your roster. Sure, there was the aforementioned Tito, and somewhere along the line you could add, say, S.D. Jones or Jim Brunzell to create a midcard. But adding Corporal freaking Kirchner to the mix? Genius.
And third? Corporal Kirchner is a rarity, not only in the LJN wrestling figure universe, but in wrestling history period. He was with the World Wrestling Federation for, what, six months? Some guys with much more ring time and similar box office appeal from the era (Uncle Elmer, Sika, Butch Reed, Dino Bravo, Pedro Morales, Danny Spivey, Tony Atlas and The Rougeau Brothers come to mind) never even got the action figure treatment in that era!
The only thing I can fathom is that, since the World Wrestling Federation initially booked Kirchner as the second coming of Sergeant Slaughter, the folks at LJN figured they'd better follow suit.
I suppose it makes sense; he has the army fatigues, the dog tags, even the menacing black combat boots (Personally, I may have left off the beret, but I realize the figure was just being loyal to the character).
And seriously... who better to protect America from the forces of evil than Captain America himself, Corporal Effing Kirchner? Even though I'm technically Canadian, scenes like the one to my left make we want to stand up and shout "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! "
Because Corporal Kirchner wasn't around the WWF for very long (he later surfaced in Japan as Leatherface before landing in legal troubles), it's impossible to know how he would have fared when tested against some of the WWF's biggest and toughest hombres.
For example, fellow CBWLJNWFHOF'er King Kong Bundy. Would the 82nd Airborne Division veteran pick up a win over The Walking Condominium? Probably not, especially if his main offense consisted of some sort of elbowsmash to the head.
But just off the top of my head, I could see fresh matches against fellow LJN alumnae (and heels) The Hart Foundation, King Harley Race, Big John Studd, Cowboy Bob Orton, Magnificent Muraco, Randy Savage and Kamala - and those are just some of the guys who were around roughly the same time Kirchner was part of WWF's active roster.
Although I'm told LJN sold a variant of Corporal Kirchner where he had stubble on his face, this version did the trick for always getting the job done, America style. Welcome to the Hall, Corporal!