Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wrestling MarketWatch: The 1990s

I would have never thought that I'd be nostalgic for the 1990's.  For me, the really fun times were in the previous decade.  Although I was born in 1982, I consider myself a full-fledged '80s kid.  Nonetheless, the passage of time and some rose-colored glasses have finally made me yearn for a dose of the '90s.  In amongst the neon colors, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Crystal Pepsi, there were some fun times in wrestling and plenty of memorabilia to reflect that.

It would be hard to collect wrestling memorabilia and not own something from the '90s.  Action figures, trading cards, magazines, programs, t-shirts, and videos dominated the market.  Because of the large amount of items and the beginning of a collectors consciousness to save, much of this merchandise can be obtained for about the original retail price.  Other items from the decade are still in high demand and, for various reasons, have risen in value.  We're about to take a look at a handful of these '90s wrestling treasures and their recent sale prices.

*The decade began with two wrestling action figure lines, WWF from Hasbro and WCW from Galoob.  The WWF line lasted until late 1994, while Galoob only made a single series in the United States.  A second series featuring several new wrestlers (as well as repaints from the first series) was released in the U.K.  Of these figures, one of the coolest was Michael P.S. Hayes.  The founding member of the Fabulous Freebirds was in a flashy "glam rock" period of his career and this figure reflects that.  A loose example of this figure, my favorite of Hayes, recently sold for $71.50.

*Figures weren't just released in small sizes.  Larger figures were also produced, often with a gimmick attached.  Multi Corp released several water-based WWF toys, including water pumper figures of The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk.Hogan.  Both figures have much more detail than water toys have any right to.  If they had been a few inches shorter, they would have fit right in with the Hasbro line considering the great likenesses.  Their only drawback was a rounded foot design that made them impossible to stand, but after all, they were just essentially water pistols.  A loose Ultimate Warrior recently sold for $10.

*Who said that the advent of WWE Network would kill VHS and DVD prices?  Not me!  For the most part, I've been right.  There will always been an uncertainty with streaming.  You don't have that with tangible media, and the demand is still there.  The 1990's WCW Turner Home Videos have always been popular, and titles like Beach Blast 1992 are still commanding $30 and more.  Is it the Ricky Steamboat-Rick Rude Iron Man Challenge Match or the Missy Hyatt-Madusa Bikini Contest that is still drawing fans?  You decide!

*One event that has yet to show up on WWE Network is the Slammy Awards.  Although they have been an annual part of Raw over the past few years, the ceremonies were irregularly held in the 1980's and 1990's. The 1996 and 1997 events were held in conjunction with WrestleMania in the slot that the Hall of Fame ceremony occupies today.  These 1990's Slammy ceremonies had programs given out at the event. Both programs have the Slammy Award design embossed on the cover.  Though rarely seen, one of each recently sold for a bargain price of $22.50 per program.

*Hasbro is probably the best remembered WWF licensee of the decade, but their products weren't solely limited to figures.  The company marketed a number of roleplaying items that enabled children to "become" their favorite WWF Superstars.  One such item that had a relatively short shelf-life was Jake Roberts' Snake toy.  Although it was marketed simply as Jake's snake, the toy was released around the transition between Damien and Lucifer.  The toy snake even included the famous drawstring bag that held Jake's reptilian friend. A boxed example recently sold for $56.

A variety of items from a decade that offered a variety of wrestling choices.  It would be my guess that demand for these items will only rise, as children of the era who let go of their items at some point are looking to get them back.  The rise in popularity of the Hasbro WWF toys is a big example of this.  As vast as the wrestling of the decade was, I'm sure that we'll revisit this time, and its merchandise, again for another edition of MarketWatch!


Anonymous said...

When you get a chance Josh I would love for you to feature that NWA Roos ad that you have behind Hayes in that pic.


J\/\/ said...

Will do!

Loneman1 said...

Yup, the 90's were an awesome time for wrestling fans.....the Hasbro/Galoob lines were great, close 2nd only to the old LJN figures IMO strictly based on nostalgia. Never had a chance to have the Ultimate Warrior LJN as a kid, so the Hasbro version really was awesome to finally have the Warrior wrestle in my battles instead of have to create my own with washable markers on my LJN guys!!