Thursday, April 30, 2015
Such was the case in a recent jaunt through Target. Near the trading card section was a peghook full of an interesting new bagged WWE product. The bag, illustrated with John Cena, The Big Show, and The Rock proclaimed that inside was a WWE Eraseez Collectible Puzzle Eraser. Nine different WWE Superstars were depicted on the back. The price, $3.99, seemed a bit steep for what appeared to be a disassembled eraser, but I had to see what these things looked like. Nowhere on the outer package is a description truly given.
Apparently I'm late to the party, but a quick Google search reveals that Eraseez puzzle erasers from Bulls-i-toy (sound it out) are made for licenses ranging from Angry Birds to My Little Pony. It's not shocking that WWE got in on such a collectible during a prime era for kids to be watching. Nonetheless, the kid in me was thrilled as soon as I caught a glimpse of these figures and realized, once again, that it was essentially a "Two For $4" type deal in each package.
Will the WWE Eraseez reach that level of collectibility? Most likely not, but you never know. Should sales prove to be poor and the line ends up fading into obscurity, collectors may be paying big bucks for that elusive "unscuffed" Daniel Bryan eraser somewhere down the line. If not, it's no biggie. We have a line of nine WWE Superstars Eraseez to add to the ever-growing lineup of figural wrestlers. No matter the size or intended use, they're fun pieces of wrestling memorabilia, through and through.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
By the time that I was getting into wrestling, Harley was in the WWF as "The King." Though this was the beginning of the end of his career, I knew that Harley Race was something special. He may have looked a tad older than the average WWF superstar of the time, but he could take it to Junkyard Dog, Randy Savage, and Hulk Hogan without missing a beat. As Harley himself will tell you, he felt "The King" moniker was a very worthy gimmick for a man as accomplished as himself. I would have to agree. Harley wasn't taking the title at this point, but he would instead be honored for his years of championships and accomplishments all the while taking then-champion Hogan to the limit.
Whether it be the famous blue and red robe, the royal purple "King" attire, or simply a championship belt, Race made for a great photo or trading card, as well. Thanks to his WWE Legends deal, he is frequently featured in modern day Topps WWE releases alongside fellow Hall of Famers such as Bruno Sammartino and Bret Hart. Classic cards of him include appearances in the Wrestling All-Stars, 1987 Topps WWF, Wrestling Legends, and the 1995 WCW Main Event series. The latter card features Race in another successful facet of his career, managing. Before injuries sustained in an automobile accident forced him to retire, Race was an effective manager to such stars as Big Van Vader and Lex Luger among others.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
This year, Mattel revived their WWE Hall of Fame figure line as a Target exclusive series. Several years ago some Hall of Fame labeled figures were released through K-Mart, but were essentially repackaged Mattel Legends figures. This new series features four WWE Hall of Famers in new outfits and designs. Our lady of the hour, Trish Stratus, joins Sgt. Slaughter, The Ultimate Warrior, and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the first series. Stratus and Slaughter have proven to be the most popular.
The attire is based on her WrestleMania XXVII appearance. Her presence was one bright point on a rather abysmal show. Sadly, she was also saddled with Snooki. Who? Anyway, if you lift up the back of her long locks, you'll see that Mattel went the extra mile and applied her "Brunette Mafia" logo to the back of her shirt. Shortly after the figure was released, Trish herself commented on Twitter about the "cuteness" of detail on the figure, "especially the butt." Awww, Trish...
Included is the WWE Women's Championship accessory. Trish is the only figure to have included this belt so far, as it debuted with the first Mattel figure of her. It would have been nice had a small plaque been included with this figures as was with Bruno Sammartino, but I understand budgetary measures. Trust me, it's nice to have a Hall of Fame line at all.
The choice of attire makes this Trish figure a bit more flexible than the first. Her initial figure was based upon the almost bellbottom-esque pants that she wore around ten years ago. The more shape-hugging attire here allows Trish to perform the "Chick Kick" and other maneuvers with ease. I really like the gloved hands, as well. Trish looks a lot tougher here while maintaining her trademark sexiness. Look out, Ronda!
The Hall of Fame Trish gets a big thumbs up from me, but you may have to take to the secondary market if you haven't already found one. Plenty were produced, but Trish and Slaughter were very popular. Series 2 featuring Hulk Hogan, Eddy Guerrero, Yokozuna, and Tito Santana as well as a Four Horsemen set are on the way. Even though the idea of a "First Time In The Line" Diva figure in a store exclusive set is insanity, I'd love to see Trish's "Team Bestie" pal Lita in a future set. The Hall of Fame line might also be a good way to get some managers like Jimmy Hart and Bobby Heenan out, not to mention Paul Bearer who has only seen the Mattel light of day overseas.
In the meantime, we now have two different flavors of "Sweet Stratusfaction!"
Thursday, April 9, 2015
It's interesting that the biggest promotional crossover of the 1980's involving wrestling took place without the endorsement of the WWF, just as the company was branching out into similar avenues. Indeed, Sgt. Slaughter becoming the face of Hasbro's G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toy line is the stuff that Madison Avenue dreams are made of. Although other real life names such as William "The Refrigerator" Perry and Rowdy Roddy Piper have become G.I. Joe figures since, Sgt. Slaughter is still the icon of the line. Many stories have gone around as to why Slaughter left the WWF as the deal was being done, but the one regarding a conflict of interest does make sense. Hasbro owned G.I. Joe while LJN produced the WWF figure line. Some LJN WWF figures made it into an ad for the mail-away 8 inch Sgt. Slaughter figure, but that was the extent of any crossover.
Stanback Headache Powders earlier in the decade. Life-sized cardboard Dusty's made their way to stores, and it's hard to forget "The Dream" and his "million-dollar smile" in the tv commercial for the promotion.
NWA endorsements didn't end when "The Dream" departed the organization and Ted Turner took over. You may remember Jim Ross endlessly mentioning Roos Shoes on NWA programming, and the company name even appearing on ring posts. Although the shoes may be long out of style, some of the promotional materials are still very cool. Roos obviously took the endorsement of the NWA stars very seriously and got their moneys worth by plastering the likenesses of Ric Flair, Sting, Lex Luger, and The Road Warriors in shoe stores nationwide. A variety of posters and cardboard standees came out of the promotion, featuring a WWF-level of stardom for the NWA wrestling stars.
With John Cena and Fruity Pebbles and WWE's new partnership with TapouT, these deals continue to fill advertisers pockets, store shelves, and our consciousness today and far into the future. Did you save that very first Cena cereal box? I did. It's a great reminder that the stars and faces of our favorite pastime can continue to place right up there with celebrities of other genres. Who knows what a wrestler will endorse next? In the meantime...wash those Pebbles down with some Mello Yello, slip on your old Roos, snap into a Slim Jim, and tune into an old G.I. Joe cartoon. Maybe Andre the Giant singing about Honey Comb will come on during a commercial break. Then all would be right in the (wrestling) world.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Sting's return has likely garnered many new fans for the legend. Those who are new to the party are scrambling alongside old "Little Stingers" to grab items from the long list of Sting merchandise. WCW, TNA, and now WWE have all produced items featuring the various incarnations of Sting. I would venture to say that, in one of their rare moments of being number one at something, TNA may have produced the most Sting merchandise during his times there. WWE has already integrated him into video games, trading cards, and wearable merchandise such as new masks and shirts. In a few months, the first WWE-produced figure of Sting will be making its debut on store shelves as well as on this very blog. In the meantime, let's take a look at some past Sting items and their recent selling prices.
*While the public awaits the Mattel "Defining Moments" Sting figure, some of the older efforts are selling briskly. Due to not signing with WWE until 2014, Sting was an unfortunate omission from the legendary Jakks WWE Classic Superstars line. When Jakks took over the TNA license, several Sting figures were on tap. My two favorites are in the "Ruthless Aggression" style body that was used for most of the Classic Superstars. While the packaging may have been different, the figures themselves were able to blend right in with Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and the various other legends who did make it into Classic Superstars. Both classic "surfer" and later "crow" Sting variations were made. All have remained popular, but one Sting with his black and white paint was in a set exclusive to Walgreens. The figures were dubbed "Ruthless Impact" by collectors, and did not last long on shelves. The Sting from this set recently sold for $40 in package, with loose examples going for well over $20.
*The early '90s were filled with colorful eye-catching neon, and Sting's look definitely lent itself to this trend. It also stuck out in the crowd at wrestling events, the perfect way for "Little Stingers" to cheer on their favorite star. Foam fingers and hands, still sold at WWE events today, date back to the early 1980's in pro wrestling and probably even longer in other sports ventures. WCW caught onto this around the time of their other merchandising endeavors, and Sting was at the top of the heap. The orange Sting foam finger recently sold for $28.99.
*8x10 promotional photos are always an interesting collectible as far as monetary value. Some will sell for hundreds, others for pennies. Is it better to be signed or left unmarked? Personally, I feel a promo photo is one item that always looks better signed. Sting has had plenty of promo shots over the years, but one very interesting 8x10 was released by TNA in 2012. This is an "in your face" depiction of Sting's famous painted mug. This promotional photo, with autograph, recently sold at auction for $42.
"The Stinger." "The Man Called Sting." "The Vigilante." No matter what you call him, he's a Hall of Famer in any argument and is indeed the face of WCW. He evolved the character throughout his career and, while many of us prefer the "surfer" look of old, he's proven to be entertaining in-ring from the '80s to the present. May Bo Dallas not be the final victim to feel the Scorpion Death Drop, for Sting still has more of a story to be told.