Thursday, July 26, 2012
Hasbro Keeps On Keepin' On
As I've previously discussed, Hasbro is experiencing the same rediscovery period that the LJN WWF line went through about a decade ago. While the Remco AWA and Galoob WCW collections have their unabashed fans, I would argue that those lines have never reached quite the same heights in popularity due to a lack of scope. While they are great figures with an impressive array of names, Remco and Galoob's total of around 20-30 different characters is doubled by the lineups of LJN and Hasbro.
What has been interesting to watch is how secondary market values on many of the figures have changed. Figures like Andre the Giant and Dusty Rhodes were deemed "rare" even while the line was still in production. Carded examples of those figures still see high prices and have been joined by the likes of Ax, Smash, the second Brutus Beefcake (black, white, and red tights), the third Ultimate Warrior (purple), and more that were much more frequently found at retail than Andre and Rhodes yet still have climbed in demand.
Like with any toy line, collectors will often wonder, discuss, and debate just what could have been had the line lasted longer. I've previously visited the long-standing and controversial rumor of an "orange carded" series that would've followed the "green cards." Existing evidence validating that these figures were indeed in Hasbro's plans is talked about to this day but has yet to surface. Fans have also continually speculated about the "canal" under the ring ropes of the Hasbro WWF ring toy. Could this have been a future spot for a steel cage accessory?
With the trend of Hasbro collecting in full force, Mattel hinted last year about a new WWE line that would bring fans back to the days of past figures. This, of course, turned out to be Mattel's WWE Brawlin' Buddie line. The line, though heavily promoted by WWE, has been a disappointment to collectors due to being quite smaller than the real Tonka WWF Wrestling Buddies and because of wishful thinking for a new Hasbro-style line.
Will we ever see Hasbro-style WWE figures again? I'd wager against it, although most wrestling fans know to never say never. Just like in the actual wrestling business, nostalgia is usually delivered in small doses. After the success of Jakks Classic Superstars line, I have a feeling that we will frequently see the "Legends" in merchandising for years to come. To me, that is as comforting as it will get.
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