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Gobbledy Gooker

WWE Ultimate Edition
by yo go re

33 years ago today...

In the weeks leading up to Survivor Series 1990, a giant egg appeared at WWE [sic] events. Speculation ran rampant over what could be inside. Finally, at Survivor Series, the egg hatched and the WWE [sic] Universe was introduced to one of the most unforgettable characters in WWE [sic] history, the Gobbledy Gooker.

He can wear all the fancy suits he wants, but Vince McMahon is, at his heart, just a carny. He's a huckster, selling the idea of entertainment more than the entertainment itself. Like that bio says, the WWF hauled this giant egg around the country to every show it did, promising it would hatch at Survivor Series. And do note, that's all that was ever promised: that it would hatch. They didn't hint at anything that might be inside it, they just stated that 1) it existed, and 2) it would open at a predetermined time. Nothing else. It's possible Vince didn't even know what would be inside when the promos started! But that alone was enough to get fans interested in the egg, and to get some of them to buy the PPV just to find out. Hurry hurry hurry, step right up!

Mattel took over the WWE license in 2010, and immediately started off well, releasing good figures in various pricepoints. At San Diego Comic-Con the next year, they had a section of their booth dedicated to the wrestling figures, and hidden in among them was a figure of the Gobbledy Gooker, meant to gauge interest in such an oddball release. A dozen years later, the toy has finally become real! It's a Thanksgiving miracle!

The idea behind this gallinaceous monster was that it would be something of a mascot for the company - remember, the San Diego Chicken had been popular throughout the '80s, and wrestling is always a little slow to steal ideas from pop culture. Basically, he'd be there to entertain the kids, then would eventually do a little bit of wrestling, as well. Obviously this costume would have needed some work before it could be suitable for in-ring work: the man wearing it could barely see out the big plastic eyes, and feathers were already falling off it with just a few minor movements at Survivor Series. Unfortunately, a major Pay-Per-View is not a show with a large audience of children in attendance, so the big bird was mainly met with resounding boos.

All the feathers are done as soft PVC pieces fit over a plain body beneath - given the ease with which the arms pull out of the torso, it's presumably one of their Build-A-Figure bodies. There are three "feather" sections on each arm, and three on the torso. They're all molded in brown, then given white, black, blue, and orange accents to make the design look varied. The legs are orange, with black-on-yellow stripes (not painted all the way up, because they'll rarely be seen), and the feet are new, with yellow bird feet molded on top of black shoes. The skin of the head is shockingly blue, with a vibrant yellow beak and shaggy red hair and wattle.

Actually, make that "heads," plural. The set includes two of them, with similar colors but different shapes. In the tray, he has a head narrow enough that the eyes touch in the center, and his wattle falls down on one side of his beak; packaged next to him is a wider, rounder head with separate eyes, a taller, thicker comb on top of the head, and a wattle that looks more like a big red beard. The skinny head is a "first appearance" look, just how he came out of his shell, while the bigger one was used in later appearances. Yes, amazingly, Gobbledy Gooker had later appearances. For instance, in a Gimmick Battle Royal at Wrestlemania X-Seven. Or Survivor Series 2020, where he won the 24/7 title. That's right, the Gobbledy Gooker is officially a WWE champion.

The reason the feathers are divided into little sections is so the articulation is still useable. This release is technically part of the Ultimate Edition line (like Mr. T), so he has a barbell neck, swivel hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel ankles, and swivel/hinge feet. The right thigh on my figure is stuck fast, but otherwise everything moves fine. Ultimate Edition figures usually have pec hinges, but like we said, that's why we suspect this is at least partially a BAF mold. Sadly, Gooker does not come with a replica of his title belt, but we do get our choice of open or holding hands, with the gloves being yellow on the back and black on the palm. It's not like Gobbledy Gooker has any trademark moves, but you can make him dance with Mean Gene.

(Also, because the packaging matches the rest of the Ultimate Edition line, that means a couple funny gags, like treating "Goooker" as his last name, or including a memorable quote from the character hidden on the top flap - in this case, "Gobbledy!")

Technically this figure is part of a three-pack, with the individual toys each packaged by themselves, and the boxes bundled in a red and yellow box. Gooker may not have his title belt, but we do get the absolute #1 accessory he needs to have, his egg.

"Everybody has speculated as to what might be in the egg. Is it a dinosaur? Is it a rabbit? Balloons? Is it the Playmate of the Month? Heh, who knows? Well, the way it sounds to me right now, the speculating is all over! Oop, stand back! I think that egg is ready to blow!!"

So hey, you know how we compared GG to the San Diego Chicken a couple paragraphs ago? Well hey, fun fact: in a 1979 stunt, the San Diego Chicken debuted by hatching from a giant egg before a Padres game, drawing the approval of the crowd and even national news coverage. I wonder where Vince got his idea from.

The big mystery egg was on display at Survivor Series the entire time, meaning Hector Guerrero (the man playing the character) had to hide in the box beneath the egg for four full hours so no one would see him. They gave him a TV monitor so he could keep tabs on the show, some water and snacks so he didn't die, and left him to wait. The fact Hector could even stand up after that time, let alone go and do anything in the ring, is a testament to his athleticism!

The egg is done as three parts: two sides, and a lid. The sides are sculpted with the straw "nest" around the bottom, and there's enough room inside for the figure to burst up through the top. The egg is sold disassembled inside a mundane black box, rather than one matching the other figures in the set - but that's okay, the logos and question marks on the sides mean it doubles as the stand the real egg rested on!

It seems like Vince was legitimately surprised by how poorly Gobbledy Gooker went over with fans: the character had filmed a few vignettes with some of the company's faces (good guys) before his ignominious debut, suggesting the company meant to keep using him; but while those did air, that was the last he was seen for over a decade. There were plans to bring the turkey back for Survivor Series '91, possibly trying to turn it into a mascot for that yearly show if nothing else, but after the way the company had treated Hector in the aftermath (there was no official firing, they just quietly stopped paying him and scheduling him to appear), the wrestler did not accept the offer to return. And apparently no one else wanted to wear the seemingly cursed suit. Gobbledy Gooker is a very weird part of wrestling history, but I'm glad he finally gets a toy as part of this Amazon-exclusive box set.

-- 11/22/23

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(Oh, PS: the set also includes a first appearance figure of some other guy who debuted at the same Survivor Series, a Mister... "The Undertaker"? Whatever. Maybe we'll review him in the future. Hardly seems important.)

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