Overthrowing the King & Production Disruption:
The Infamous Black Card LJN Series
While this final batch of series 6 figures were being made Haku was the King of the World Wrestling Federation, during the production process "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan captured the fancy purple robe, golden scepter and, of course, the magnificent crown. So, what is this picture of you ask?
In the middle you have the advert in the January 1990 WWF Magazine announcing that the new line of LJN action figures. The accessories have arrived. They are ready to be ordered. While the LJN figures were awesome for their time, okay, they're pretty awesome still to this day. Ideas did not always go to plan when it came to making and releasing the highly sought after toys.
I blew up the picture of his figure just to make it easier to read the text. Just underneath him the disclaimer states that no crown would be included with the figure. Pictured on the left hand side is the poster that came with Haku in the 6th, and final, series of the LJN-WWF figures. It's nice to have the poster of him as King Haku, but a shame they did not have enough time to get a new one created in my opinion. Mainly because it comes across as a mix-match of times in his career.
On the right hand side you can see the boxed figure that actually made it to the shelves or was received via mail order. They did not lie. Indeed there was no crown included, however, the fact he came sans cape, with an entirely different coloring on his tights resembling an earlier part of his career was not mentioned at all. If I had ordered that figure I feel like I would have felt cheated, plus somewhat perplexed as to why it was so different, yet the poster was the same. I can not help but wonder if they received any complaints or anything from mail order customers.
Either way being that Haku was not just a heel, but an associate of Bobby "he Weas... *Ahem* "the Brain" Heenan's from the WWF's point of view, it wasn't going to be a big money loss his figure not being up to date when looked at in relation to the Ultimate Warrior's figure or Jake "the Snake" Robert's. From what other wrestlers have said, wrestlers who were heels when their toys were released, the LJN figures made a difference in their paychecks regardless of whether they were good or bad. So, it is probably a relief from Haku's point of view, or rather his wallets that they at least updated his tights, with a similar design to what he wore for a period during his time with Andre the Giant and into his solo stint afterward.
As for the other wrestling figures pictured in this advert they came pretty much as seen other than pictures are a little darker then they should be. Here is a quick run down of those pictured and some other figures that were not featured in this WWF Magazine advertisement.
His figure is pretty much accurate, but the colors are lighter on the actual figure. It is actually his orange outfit.
Big Boss Man
This one again other than being a darker shade of the reality it is spot on. It is also a mirror image of the actual figure. Plus he came with a nightstick.
"Ravishing" Rick Rude
The pose and upper body was as appears. The bottom half actually had pink boots with different shades of purple on his tights in solid bands around his legs.
How could they go wrong with this one? They couldn't. They didn't. The makeup around his eyes also contained light blue.
Andre the Giant
The eighth wonder of the world is the only one labelled as new with big red letters. Like Warlord how could they go wrong? Well, bizarrely in the picture they gave him dark blue boots. Of course they were actually black.
Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake
There is nothing to fault with this one whatsoever.
The only other wrestler labelled as new, albeit in smaller black letters. Only thing to note here is that the trunks were a bright red. I'm not entirely sure why this one had "new" next to it as it was released the prior year in series 5.
The series 6, black card releases were a mix-match of new releases (the above figures, except one) and re-releases from former series's, I would guess that these are the figures which had not sold so well the first time around. Here is a list of those additional black card releases. Starting with Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake who was the "except one," it was originally part of series 2.
Big John Studd
White tights and red boots. Originally part of series 1.
Black jacket and normal Demolition gear with red face paint. Originally from series 5.
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
Sadly he was not re-released with the crowns Haku no longer needed. He had on the dark blue or black tights that became available with series 2. He did have his trusty 2x4 though.
Honky Tonk Man
The blue jump suit with red detail, red neck quill, red belt and his trusty guitar were brought back from series 5.
Jake "the Snake" Roberts
Damian and his master first hit the shelves as part of series 4. He comes with the green snake, purple boots and purple snakes on his green based tights.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage
It's quite rare that an attire has it's own legacy, but this series 3 re-release came with probably the most famous of all of Randy's outfits since it was worn by CM Punk in recent years to pay tribute to another former King. It's got the yellow band, pink knee pads and tights with white stars, plus the yellow boots.
"The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase
Always flaunting his cash about, but apparently it did not come from the sales of his LJN figures as he was also repackaged as part of the black card roster. He came fully suited and booted with a purple bowtie, belt and lapels which worked as a backdrop for two big silver dollar signs.
On the back of the series sixers it featured a list of all the wrestlers available. Elizabeth - no "Miss" included - is one of them. It has been speculated that it was going to be a re-release of one of, or both of, her variations originally in the fourth series. However, the only picture proof I have ever seen of this was actually a custom made figure. So, maybe there was to be a new Elizabeth figure made, although I doubt it.
Speaking of new figures to be made if the back of the box is telling the truth then Brother Love, Bad News Brown, Luke and Butch the Bushwhackers, Demolition Smash, and Barbarian figures were all in the planning stages at least. Unfortunately none of them ever saw the light of day and to the best of my knowledge no prototypes, sketches or anything have ever been seen.
Lastly, the black cards that were not actually black cards at all. Well, they were released on a card that was black in color, but they were not actually apart of serie número seis. They actually made their way to your local shop inbetween five and six under the guise of the "Hulk Hogan Collector Edition" series. Which is basically fancy talk for these didn't sell earlier so we're making them collectors items in the hopes that they sell this time. Unless they were Hulk Hogan and then they even got a new lick of paint, but from the pose you could tell they were the same figures from before.
Blue eyeshadow on his right eye and pink trunks, boots and kneepads. Originally from series 4.
White tank-top with red writing and white trunks with red detail work, white kneepads and boots. Series 5 figure.
Red tank-top with yellow writing. Yellow trunks and boots and red kneepads. Series 5 figure.
And that is your lot. All of the official black card series releases. Beware of custom made LJN figures being passed off as the real deal.
By Jimmy Wheeler
As unique content strictly for the Professional Wrestling Historical Society