Saturday, January 9, 2021

The Return To Piper's Pit

Every so often you have to splurge on something that you normally wouldn't. "Frivolous" is my middle name, but there are some purchases that, after 35 years of collecting, I just see as normal. Others, like what we're about to look at here, are out of the ordinary. They're things that strike my eye and, while I know that the money could be put to more productive uses, I just can't pass them up. It was also a chance to return to Piper's Pit.

Although it doesn't seem to have been advertised with much fanfare, WWE opened a new branch of their online store at some point in 2020 with WWE Legends Shop. From their perspective it is the only place to purchase merchandise of your favorite (contracted) Superstars from the past. All the usual suspects are represented with a smattering of surprises, though the bulk of the merchandise surrounds the bigger stars. You and I both know that there is a huge untapped market for underrepresented legends, but WWE is just never going to see it that way. That being said, an item finally popped up to pique my interest and open my wallet.

There have been several "Collector's Boxes" released thus far. The ones that I know of have featured Macho Man Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior, Eddy Guerrero, The Undertaker and Paul Bearer, and Bray Wyatt. Each have contained a variety of novelties such as shirts and other commemorative items, but the one piece that has gotten some talk swirling around each box is a "mini PVC figure." These figures are unabashedly based on the other small figures from several subscription-based wrestling boxes that are currently on the market, most notably Micro Brawlers and Pint Size All Stars. These, in turn, are an indirect rip-off of Funko Mystery Minis. They can deny it, but it's true.

While I had passed on the other boxes thus far, the latest featuring Rowdy Roddy Piper intrigued me. Not only was Hot Rod one of my top five favorite wrestlers of all-time, but there were several cool items included. Even with the high price tag (over $60 after shipping), I decided that it was time to pay the Piper.

WWE recognizes that the box itself is a draw (we'll get to that) and therefore packages it in a separate shipping box which anyone ordering should greatly appreciate. Inside we see individually bagged (and hologrammed) items celebrating Hot Rod including a t-shirt, an art print, sunglasses, a coconut cup, a drawstring bag containing a metal belt buckle, a pin, the PVC figure, and cardboard cutouts. The latter are to pose inside of the box, as when positioned upright it is actually a very close replica of the original Piper's Pit set. It is so close in fact that many figure collectors are purchasing the box for use with Mattel or Jakks figures. It's that good.

The shirt is in the look of the classic "Hot Rod" tee with the logo replaced with the 1989/1990 studio shot of Piper and a selection of classic quotes from the man himself. The art print is nice but probably the least favorite of mine among the items as I don't generally go for those. The belt buckle and bag are cool, too, and will at least look nice on display, as will the sunglasses. I really like the coconut cup even if the sticker was applied a bit crooked. This is the item that actually makes me a bit sad as I could easily have seen myself taking it to an appearance for use in a photo op and to be signed.

Many of you are waiting to hear about the Micro Braw...I mean...PVC mini figure. It's a great looking figure and, like the pin, really bring back memories of Piper's look in the Rock 'n Wrestling cartoon. In fact, especially with the pin, I'm sure that's the look that they were going for. It should be noted that the figure is just ever so slightly bigger than the other crate company-produced wrestling mini figures. I'm sure he'd fit right in with them, but there is a size difference that I must mention. I have not seen any of the other WWE produced figures in person to say if they're all that way.

Overall, I really feel as if I've gotten what I paid for. You can easily piece everything out to justify the cost. Would many prefer that you could buy the mini fig separately? Of course, but it's not going to happen, at least at this point. WWE seems to be proudly limiting these boxes to 750 each. If you're like me, you pick and choose. If a Dusty Rhodes box is done in the future, I'm there. For others I would have to justify it based on the other items. Here there was definitely enough for me to warrant a purchase. The one time that I purchased one of the non-WWE branded boxes, I did not feel as if I got my money's worth at all and had a lot of trouble selling the items off. I will also say that I've had zero good customer service experiences with either of those companies. Meanwhile, WWE Legends Shop kept me posted at every turn. You all know that I'm no WWE shill. I simply give credit where it's due and damn those who have gone in the other direction.

Remember, you do not throw rocks at a man holding a machine gun.

1 comment:

Johngy said...

Great. Huge Piper fan!