Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Signamania Signed Goody...And A Lesson!

As promised, a look at one of the pieces I had signed at Signamania IV. Arn enjoyed seeing and signing this figure, and even showed it off to Dean Malenko. He commented that they "got the right bodytype," which I took as a jab at the slightly over-buff Arn Anderson Classic Superstars figure which he had been signing throughout the day.

At first glance, this is like any other WCW Galoob figure released in the United States. As any collector worth his or her salt knows, in 1990 Galoob released a series of 12 WCW figures in the United States. The series included Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, Sid Vicious, Sting, Lex Luger, Ron Simmons, Butch Reed, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner, Brian Pillman, and Tom Zenk. The figures were also released in two-packs as seen below.

Later on, a second series was released in the United Kingdom only. This series included Big Josh (Matt Bourne--the Original Doink), El Gigante (Giant Gonzales), Dustin Rhodes, Michael PS Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, and Sting and Luger in entrance gear. Different colored variations of the United States released figures were also released in the U.K.

The lesser known variant on these figures was actually a part of the original United States release. Infact, the Arn Anderson figure above is a variant. Can you spot it?

In the lower right corner of the packaging, the card reads "Presents Superstars of the NWA" as opposed to the MUCH more common "Presents Superstars of the WCW."

This variation has been little-talked about over the years in discussions of this line among collectors. The printing of these cards had to have been relatively short, as every example I can remember seeing and opening back in the early '90s read "WCW."

On this carding, in theory, this is the ONLY NWA action figure line featuring a cast of the classic NWA wrestlers.

In this collectors opinion, the NWA carded figures are much more desirable then their later altered counterparts and will undoubtedly rise in popularity as the years go by.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Signamania IV Is In The Books

As I mentioned early on in the life of this blog, autographs have become a big part of my wrestling collection over the years. There are several (sane) ways to obtain these autographs, one of which is the recent trend of wrestling conventions/fanfests that have popped up along the east coast in the past decade or so.

This past weekend was the fourth offering from the fine folks at Signamania. Signamania is a convention held by George's Cards and Collectibles in Levittown, Pennsylvania. Starting in October of 2007, Signamania has quickly become one of the "Big Three" of sorts, in regards to wrestling fanfests. George Nahm and Marc Rapport have worked hard to build a reputation among not only the fans, but the wrestlers themselves. With names such as Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Mick Foley, Harley Race, Roddy Piper, and most recently Dusty Rhodes among many others appearing at Signamania, their hard work has obviously paid off.

This past Saturday was Signamania IV with Rhodes, Hart, Jim Neidhart, The Dudley Boyz, The New Age Outlaws, The Midnight Express, Matt Bourne, Bob Holly, Buff Bagwell, Scott Norton, Trevor Murdoch, and Colin Delaney all appearing as Superticket guests. In the world of conventions, a Superticket will usually get you an autograph and photo from each of the guests included. Vendor guests included Cowboy Bill Watts, Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko, Ron Simmons, Victoria, Sunny, The Rock n Roll Express, Jim Cornette, Jimmy Hart, and The Nasty Boys to name a few. Vendor guests are stars who are at the show separate from the main ticket, meaning there is a fee for autographs or photograph opportunities (also known as "photo ops"). Often, a "combo" is offered for each guest, offering an autograph and photo at a reduced price. Others, especially stars who attend the shows themselves without the middleman of a dealer or agent, will offer bulk prices on multiple autographs.

The above picture shows the items I had signed at the show. All but two (The Rock & Roll Express and Victoria figures) were items I had brought with me. While there are vendors selling photos and various other items to get signed, a lot of the more serious collectors already have items. I, personally, usually bring a variety of items ranging from action figures to promo photos to magazines and programs. In the coming weeks I will be highlighting some of these items in separate entries. In the meantime, please check out Signamania for information on Signamania V, which is scheduled for this Fall!

Last but not least, I present my personal favorite item that I had signed at the show...

The Bunkhouse Stampede '88 Program

Usually when I get a program signed, it's the beginning of a "project." A project consists of an item, usually a poster, magazine, program, book, or vhs/dvd cover or box, that you get signed by the stars who are featured on that particular item. When I purchased this program off of NWA Fanfest promoter Greg Price (more on his Fanfest weekends in a future post) a few years ago, I knew immediately there was only one signature I wanted on it--"The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.

In all, I had seven items signed by my all-time favorite wrestler, Rhodes, at Signamania, and this was by far my favorite. The fact that he signed it with a full signature and was in great spirits made it all the more special.

I leave you with what is, to me, the most special photo op in my hundreds of pictures with wrestlers. Myself, and The American Dream, recreating Dusty's famous "Million Dollar Smile."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Who Remembers...Mad Maxine?

As I promised early on, one of my goals is to showcase some of the rarest and obscure wrestling goodies that ever existed. When you're talking rare and obscure in the WWF, you definitely can't forget about Mad Maxine.

Or can you?

During the 1985 "Rock & Wrestling" era headlined by Hulk Hogan, Cyndi Lauper, Mr. T, and others, a greater emphasis was placed on women's wrestling. This was due, in part, to Lauper managing then-WWF Women's Champion Wendi Richter. For a few months, Richter's popularity was near that of Hogan's. The Fabulous Moolah and Leilani Kai were Richter's main opponents at this time, but for a few weeks there was yet another...

While she only had a handful of matches, Maxine was actually originally intended to appear in the Hulk Hogan's "Rock & Wrestling" cartoon. There are varying stories as to why she disappeared so quickly, but nonetheless she has been forgotten by many fans.

Above is the only piece of merchandise I've ever seen featuring Maxine. The photo itself, along with Moolah who managed her, was used in magazines, however I've never heard of or came across a promotional photo using it.

The item above is a vending machine "puffy" sticker. It's actually much smaller than it appears, but it was part of a small set that also included another individual devoid of merchandise--David Sammartino. This one is on its original backing, and seeing that it is so small, I doubt many still exist.

So, while many stars have action figures, magazine covers, and video game likenesses to immortalize their career...Maxine, wherever she is, has a puffy sticker.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

Easter always reminds me of the classic Hasbro WWF figure line. This could be because my collection of them began with Easter 1991. These are the four original figures I had, as well as my original ring. As evidenced by their condition, a lot of "events" were held with these toys, and rightfully so. Shortly after my Hasbro collection started, my WCW Galoob figure collection started. Seeing as that the figures were relatively similar in height, you could have dream matches such as Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair, Sting vs The Ultimate Warrior, and Dusty Rhodes vs Arn Anderson among others.

Good times from the Bunny...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My Personal Favorite WrestleMania Item

For WrestleMania Sunday--my personal favorite WrestleMania collectible. Being that WrestleMania VI is my favorite 'Mania, it's fitting that the item depicts "The Ultimate Challenge."

This is a promotional cardboard standee. Since it touts the show being on pay-per-view rather than ticket sales, I imagine this was something that stood in cable company offices...back in the days when you could go in to your "local cable company" (an antiquated idea) and pay your bill right then and there.

I acquired a number of items from my local cable provider back then, but this actually came to me only a few years ago. It's nicely die-cut, and not very large (I positioned it infront of some carded LJNs to give an idea of the size) so it's easy to display.

I've never seen another one, although I'm sure there are more out there, and you can't help but hear Vince McMahon's voice-over open to WrestleMania VI while staring at it...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

WWE Legends of WrestleMania--The Poster

I've never really cared much for my day job, but when I get cool stuff like this, it doesn't seem all that bad. This thing is huge, and I'd definitely consider it for at least a Jimmy Hart signature someday.