This post took longer to put together than just about any other in TCT history. First off, I wrote a whole thing about how I stumbled upon a WWF toy commercial after watching Rowdy Roddy Piper in They Live which made for a great theme this week. Then I did a UnitedMonkee search only to discover that I not only already posted this commercial (back in 2010!), but also wrote a very similar write-up. With that scrapped, I figured I’d look around for one about the pillow pal WWF guys which are actually called WWF Wrestling Buddies.
If you don’t remember, these were Tonka plush toys based on popular wrestlers of the day. This might seem like a strange mix, but actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. The whole idea of wrestling is performing crazy moves on your opponent, so what better way to let kids get in on the action than by giving them garish stuffed opponents to body slam all over their bedrooms?
And that’s exactly how these toys were played with if memory serves. Even though I wasn’t into the WWF two of my good friends in the neighborhood were and they had plenty of merchandise. Remember this was the late 80s/early 90s so you had lots to chose from. We would perform whole Royal Rumbles with these guys and it was a lot of fun. The commercial really captures that, though I don’t think we ever made his parents walls quiver and shake quite that bad.
Today’s Ad It Up is a double whammy! I saw this one in Silver Surfer #21 (1989) and it made me smile immediately. This comic is from before I read comics, but features not one, but two things that were a part of my childhood. I’ll start with the Quick Shot controllers first because this is a simpler story and boils down to the fact that I had one of these NES controllers (the one on the far right in the smaller picture). I didn’t use it a ton because it was a little awkward, but I actually still have it and it’s sitting in my living room as I type.
The WWF (as it was known when I was a youngin’), I had a more complex relationship with. My dad wrestled in college and always hated this fake stuff and didn’t want me watching it. I assume there was also an element of my parents not wanting me to watch the violent sport, but I bet legit wrestling pride was an equally strong, if not stronger motivator. As such, I thought the WWF was fake and lame and didn’t care about it. But I did like Hulk Hogan (what kid my age didn’t?) and watched the WWF cartoon and oddly enough became a fan of the video games. I remember playing the NES game advertised about at a friend’s house and it was fun. Later, when I was a teenager and regularly babysitting three boys, we spent many an hour playing one of the Sega versions (it had Doink the Clown if that helps). They’re just fun, beat em up games with colorful characters and big personalities, the same thing that drew me to comics, really. I’ve even thought of picking up the WWE Legends game for Xbox hoping it’s kind of in that same vein. Anyone played it? How does it stack up against games I played on occasion almost 20 years ago?
I wasn’t much of a wrestling fan as a kid. That probably stems from my dad actually wrestling in high school and decrying the professionals as actors at best and fakers at worst. I had friends who were really into wrestling and I’d see matches on TV every now and then, but it seemed like WWF was everywhere back then. There was Hulkamania, a cartoon (Hulk Hogan’s Rock N Wrestlers), all kinds of video games, those weird pillow wrestlers and, of course, the classic LJN figures. These guys had no articulation and could probably be used to inflict a serious amount of blunt force trauma to an adversary. I never had any, but my friends did so I’d go over to their houses and sometimes we’d play with them. This commercial is awesome and reminds me of how much fun wrestling at least seemed back then.