Monday, December 9, 2019

Wrestling MarketWatch: Hidden Gems

Just when all seemed pretty okay in "the new world of wrestling," our window into seeing new content from the past just may have closed. At least a bit. It seems that the WWE Network's weekly additions to their Hidden Gems section are coming to an end. Whether this is a permanent end has yet to be determined, but many of us have consistently looked forward to the weekly release of something either rarely viewed or downright never-before-seen. It was just a few weeks ago that one of my top requests suddenly popped up.

How do the Hidden Gems tie into memorabilia? Let's take a look at recent selling prices of items related to some of the stars who've been featured in the Hidden Gems section. As always in MarketWatch, prices listed are for unsigned examples.

*So just what was that top-requested Hidden Gem of mine? I don't know that it was my most-wanted, but it was certainly something that I'd always wanted to see. When WWE Network decided to post Survivor Series Showdown 1992, they didn't just leave us with the original show as broadcast on USA Network. They also included many dark matches that occurred at the same taping. What I was most interested in seeing was a never-aired platform interview conducted by Mean Gene Okerlund. His interview subject? Jimmy Garvin. In an obvious tryout for an announcer or manager role, Garvin plays heel while reviewing the then-upcoming Survivor Series card. A fun fact learned upon viewing is that a sound byte of Garvin from this interview was used for the "Are you ready for the Survivor Series?" line that comes at the beginning of the 1993 WrestleMania song. Garvin had just come off of his WCW run as part of the Fabulous Freebirds. The U.K. exclusive Galoob figure produced from that run has recently sold in loose condition for prices ranging from $20 to $80.

*WCW itself was featured in one of the longest Hidden Gems. World Championship Wrestling produced two "All-Nighter" specials in 1994 and 1995, respectively, featuring matches spanning the run of the company to that point. Only the 1995 version has made WWE Network as of yet, but it would be nice for the first version to show up eventually to "complete the set." After his arrival in '94, Hulk Hogan dominated merchandise for the company. Around this time, a cool toy race car convoy set based on The Hulkster was produced by Matchbox. The set recently sold for around $40.

*A major treat with Hidden Gems is getting to see many of the legends from the territorial area in matches and situations that we haven't seen before. One of those stars is "Dirty" Dick Murdoch. Not only is the Texas outlaw featured in several full show uploads, but also with his most famous tag team partner, Dusty Rhodes. In the most recent Hidden Gem featuring Murdoch, the Waxahachie-born grappler is shown battling Harley Race in a match uploaded to memorialize the recent death of the latter. Murdoch's only figure, a "Big Head" from Japan, recently sold for $12.

*Answering the wishes of many fans, full shows from various companies have been included as Hidden Gems. Many of these shows were even thought not to exist. Among these shows were several complete Great American Bash cards from various years. While a match here and there may have been featured on NWA television or even a home video release, it's likely that the full events had not been seen aside from those who bought a ticket to attend. A show from the 1988 Bash tour was uploaded and the corresponding program recently sold for around $40.

*While a variety of promotions have been featured, World Class Championship Wrestling featuring The Von Erich family may have topped the rest in terms of frequency. David, Kerry, and Kevin Von Erich have all appeared in rarely seen matches against foes both foreign and frequent. While WCCW and the boys produced a variety of merchandise, it's the board game that often gets the most talk. Produced at a time when generally only the WWF was churning out such merchandise, the WCCW board game recently sold for $125.

I can't see Hidden Gems going away for good. I certainly hope not, anyway. If what has been uploaded already is any indication, more exists on tape than we ever thought possible. And if the company has Garvin's infamous "tryout" interview, you know those pay-per-view dark matches exist...

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