A time ago, I was in love with the World Wrestling Federation - oh, those big sweaty tough men throwing each other around, breaking furniture over each other, it was great! Back in the good ole' days of Mankind and the Rock (when it was fully acknowledged that Rocky was, indeed, ridiculous) and before Stone Cold Steve Austin was known for his wifebeating, back when he was still the Rattlesnake, those were the days.
Another love affair from a time ago was my Shrek Wrestling Ring; the nifty little ring that was ideal for the 6" figures of the past to beat each other senseless in. Alas, times have changed! As figures get bigger and bigger, I've found myself wanting a bigger ring for more amusing wrestling action between my figures. Although the Shrek Ring is still plenty of fun, it's just not big enough or versatile enough to have Kurt Angle being beaten by the Violator. Fortunately, luck has been on my side, and I was blessed with a new ring!
The WWF Hardcore Action Ring sure has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? [Shocka has been beaten severely for that pun, as requested --ed.] As alluring as that sounds, the Hardcore Action ring is the same ring design as all of the WWF (now WWE) wrestling rings, the only change being the stickers you get in the box to decorate the ring with. (More on that later!)
It's a big hefty wrestling ring, with a base that's 14" by 14" by 3½" and with 5" ring posts on top of the ring mat at each corner. The general design of the ring very well done - using different types of plastic makes the small-scale ring more realistic. The base is made out of hard plastic, where the ring mat is made out of a slightly softer white plastic to simulate the canvas (it's still very stable, but slightly bouncy, just like on the WWE). It's sturdy but movable - a wise choice for this type of ring.
The ropes and ring posts are easy enough to put together, yet pose a few problems in play. The ropes are made out of a stretchy-elastic rope material, which is good enough - when it's all put together, it's great fun for play and adds some more realism to the toy - and the posts are made out of seemingly-solid black plastic, with nice little turnbuckle bits to hold the ropes and for Hulk to throw Booker T into.
Unfortunately, when it's all put together, the ropes become a little too tight and can bend the ring posts inward, distorting their shape and the general look of the ring. This isn't a deathly problem, however; faithful reader The BoB-Fish suggests you stretch the ropes for a while beforehand. I myself did something a little different - after having the posts bend inward, I threw them in some boiling water and straightened them out, then I bent them outward and put them in the freezer to set, before putting them back on the ring. The ropes bend the posts straight instead of inward, which solves the problem without too much of a hassle.
The ring has a few little points of interest, some pros and cons. I like the simple sculpt of the ring - the mat has sculpted edges just like the real canvas in the WWE, a nice little extra detail. There's a big space underneath the ring base to hold various wrestling weapons, like chairs or kitchen appliances for your toys to beat each other senseless with. The turnbuckles on the ring posts aren't really realistic - though customisers will have an easy job painting them to look better.
Speaking of customisation, the stickers included with the ring leave the design of the ring open to customisation - as mentioned, the ring is a generic, which means you can also pick up various other types of WWE rings that are all essentially the same, aside from stickers which you put in the centre of the ring mat and on the sides of the base - though anyone with a printer and some graphic design ability can make their own stickers and thus their own nifty little ring, which is very cool.
This is definitely a value-for-money toy - with so many different types of ring, you should be able to get the general generic WWF/WWE ring pretty cheap; myself, I picked this beast up at K-Mart on special with a free wrestling figure (Booker T - what a BEAST!) and it's served me well.
The wrestling ring is a toy that all action figure collectors should own - it's great fun to have that darstardly Gandalf take on Harry Potter and prove once and for all that The Lord of the Rings is the Lord of the Ring, mwahahaha! Much recommended. Get one, and have fights like my sweet match below, Booker T vs The Hulk!