Lots of people in wrestling have wrestled for the championship title. But how many can say they held that distinction before they ever stepped inside the squared circle? That's a much more exclusive club. One of the members is the Dogface Gremlin, Rick Steiner.
Born Robert Rechsteiner, Rick wrestled for the University of Michigan and placed fourth in the NCAA championship. While he was there, he was noticed by George "The Animal" Steele, and he went pro immediately after graduation. He worked in the AWA and in Canada, before finally settling into the NWA just before it evolved into the WCW. During the majority of that time, he was a tag team wrestler, and most of that was with his brother Scott.
This is the first Rick Steiner figure we've gotten since ToyBiz was making WCW fiugres, and he's looking pretty good. It's the classic look, from way back in the day when brother Scott still had long hair and hadn't started hitting the juice yet. Rick's wearing a pink singlet with upside down numbers printed in black. What was that about, anyway? He's got his Dogface Gremlin tattoo on his right shoulder, but I could have sworn he had ink on his left arm, too.
People complain about Marvel Legends reusing bodies all the time, but even they can't compare to the interchangability Jakks gives its wrestling figures. Rick Steiner uses the same chest and arms we've just seen with Papa Shango and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, and the same legs as Animal. No point in naming everyone who's used these same boots, since they're the most standard piece of all. Though keeping stock bodyparts is a good money-saving measure, it does present some problems: Rick Steiner is 5'11", but this 7 1/4" figure is bigger than both the Road Warriors, and they both topped out over 6' in real life.
Another problem? The articulation. It, like the sculpt, is always the same. Steiner moves at the ankles, knees, hips, waist, wrists (one pin, one peg for each), elbows, biceps, shoulders and neck. It's almost enough to get the Dogface Gremlin into the "hands and knees" pose he'd often take in the ring, but not quite - the head is balljointed, but like Big Al said, this dog can't look up.
The face is great.
They captured Steiner's big, bushy moustache and his brow wrinkles nicely below his short haircut. He's wearing his wrestling headgear, which always confused me as a kid. That, combined with the upsidedown numbers on his clothes and his tendency to act like a dog, made me think that he was supposed to be playing a retard. It's a shame they didn't give him a dog collar, like he often wore to the ring - of course, you can always give him the one that came with Hawk.
Rick's got two accessories, though licensing rights mean that it isn't quite perfect. First is a tag title belt. It's fine. But back in their heyday, the Steiner Brothers came to the ring in their varsity letter jackets, a holdover from one of Rick's earlier gimmicks. The figure comes with an appropriate coat - a blue body with white sleeves - but it's lacking the big yellow M on the left breast. Probably because there was no way on earth that Jakks could afford to produce officially licensed University of Michigan jackets. Go Wolverines! The jacket closes with velcro, and fits nicely. And you could probably make your own M.
This figure is part of Classic Superstars Series 11, and includes a reproduction WrestleMania ticket. Collect them all and you can send away for an exclusive never-before-seen figure. It's some version of Hulk Hogan. They know what side their bread is buttered on. Rick has a ticket to WM17, which went by the supremely idiotic name of WrestleMania X-Seven. Not XVII, not X-7, X-Seven. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Good thing he's got that ticket, too, since it's the only way he's getting to WM17 - the Steiner Brothers saw action at WrestleMania IX, defeating the Headshrinkers.
Some folks might find it odd that Rick has seen release, but his brother Scott hasn't. Part of that might be the rights, but part of it might be some debate over whether to release the classic "face" Scott Steiner or the heel "Big Poppa Pump" version first. Whichever they choose, you can almost be assured that eventually Rick, here, will end up in a two-pack with his baby bro. So if you want to wait, don't worry: the Dogface Gremlin will be back.
Why didn't Rick ever get over as a solo star? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.