It's kind of depressing to review these Classic Superstars figures. I only buy the ones I remember from my days watching wrestling, and that was ages ago - enough time for their lives to go to hell in the interim. Drug problems, arrest records, dibilitating medical problems... the life of an ex-wrestler is not a thing of glory. The real bummer is when you find out that one of those guys you loved to watch every week as a kid has died. The name Michael Hegstrand might not mean much to a lot of people, but the name Hawk definitely holds a place in the hearts of fans.
Hawk was one half of the most dominant tag teams in wrestling history. Whether they were going by the Road Warriors, the Legion of Doom, LOD 2000 or any other name, there was no mistaking Hawk and Animal. They may have been the first monster faces in wrestling, squashing their opponents in remarkably short matches and earning multiple Tag Team Championships in every major wrestling promotion of their day.
Hawk and Animal have both seen release a few times before in the Classic Superstars line, beginning with a TRU-exclusive two-pack that sells on the secondary market in the $200 range. Prices like that make you appreciate Jakks' policy of re-releasing older figures - even if this isn't your absolute favorite version of Hawk, at least you don't have to drop a Franklin to pick him up.
The odd thing about this series is that while we got new releases of both Hawk and Animal, they're not wearing matching costumes. Hawk, here, is wearing the old-school AWA uniform. Apparently. Damn thing looks like everything else he wore over the years: black pants, no shirt, wristbands and a dog collar. Okay, that's not standard equipment in the later years, but it's removable, so that doesn't really matter. If they really wanted it to be an AWA-specific look, they should have given him the studded gloves. Basically this can be Hawk from whenever you want it to be.
One thing that is noticably different is his face paint. The Road Warriors were the first guys to popularize heavy make-up in the ring,
so if not for them, guys like Sting and the Ultimate Warrior would get recognized when they walk down the street. Hawk's classic design was a big black spike over one eye and a red triangle under the other. However, in the early AWA days (and again at the end of their WWF run), he painted himself up in a black mask with a yellow stripe, and that's what this figure gives us. He's got the crazy hair - that reverse mohawk thing - and his tongue is hanging out. You can almost hear him bellowing "Oooooooh, wwwwhat a rush!"
Hawk's only real accessory is a chair, which is a bit of a disappointment. It just doesn't make sense to offer a figure of him without his trademark shoulderpads - it's an indelible part of the character. Yes, I'm sure there are plenty of reasons why they chose that, related to the time period of his costume and whatnot, but who cares? Every Batman should have a batarang, and every Road Warrior should have spikes. The figure is 7 1/8" tall and move at the same 18 points as all the other Jakks figures. His left hand is open, and his right is molded to allow him to hold his chair.
Beginning with Classic Superstars 9, all the figures come with a reproduction WrestleMania ticket - collect them all and you can send away for an exclusive figure. The Road Warriors were present for several WrestleManias, but not the one included here. Hawk has a ticket to WMIV, the one best known for the big tournament held to award the Heavyweight Championship, which had been vacated a few weeks before.
Sadly, Hawk's career with the WWF ended pretty badly, when the storyline turned him from a deep dish Chicago-style badass into a stumbling cartoon drunk. All of a sudden he was less Marshall Field and more W.C. Fields. He'd had drug and alcohol problems in real life, so the angle was tasteless to say the least. It ended with him "falling" off the top of the Titan Tron, and pretty much disappearing.
He joined Ted DiBiase's religious Power Wrestling Alliance, and the Road Warriors reunited for one final WWF match against the tag team of Kane and Rob Van Dam. They lost, but went out in true Road Warriors style: Hawk no-sold RVD's big finishing move. Five months later, on October 18, 2003, he told his wife he felt tired, and laid down for a nap. When she went to check on him later, he was dead - an apparent heart attack while he slept. But really, better that than some of the alternatives. He'd beaten his addictions and even had one last chance to remind the fans why they loved the Road Warriors in the first place. OOOOooh, what a rush!
What's your favorite tag team? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.