Thursday, June 8, 2023

Wrestling MarketWatch: The Return To WCW

It’s hard to believe that WCW has been gone for over two decades. It’s even harder to believe that the company itself, as World Championship Wrestling, really only lasted a little over one decade. It produced enough memories, and memorabilia, to conjure up classic wrestling excitement to this day. The product had its ups and downs and everyone has their favorite era, but one thing is for sure: WCW was the ‘90s in a nutshell. Bright, neon and maybe some bad music in the first half of the decade. Dark, faux-edgy and worse music in the second half. It sounds like I’m putting it down, but I’m not. Nevertheless, it’s been nearly a decade itself since WCW was the topic of one of our MarketWatch posts. That means that it’s time to “Return To WCW!” As always the recent selling prices quoted are for unsigned examples.

*As big of a Hulk Hogan fan as I am (oh, you missed that?), I never truly warmed up to his WCW run. I mean, it’s ok, and the nWo turn was a shocker, but it just never felt the same as the WWF-Hulkamania glory years did. That doesn’t keep me from Hogan WCW merchandise, of course. In fact some of the early WCW-Hulkster items rival those from the decade prior with “those other guys.” Some say Hogan’s arrival took WCW marketing and merchandising to the next level, but you and I both know that’s not true. I think an argument could be made that the nWo concept shot it through the roof, but WCW merch was great from its inception. The Hogan “bow and arrow” pose foam hand recently sold for $57.

*Think you have all of the Starrcade programs? Think again! There were two editions of Starrcade in 1991 and the first was held on March 21st at the Tokyo Dome. In the United States the show was touted as “WCW/New Japan Supershow,” but on the soil on which it was held, this was Starrcade. An oversized program was sold for the show similar to many other Japanese wrestling programs of the time and some produced over the last twenty years or so here in the states. Think large, glossy, lots of pictures and some bios. All of the ’91 WCW names are inside as well as NJPW stars and some killer photos. WCW merchandise is sprinkled throughout, too! The program recently sold for $90.

*Another great WCW event was Fall Brawl, often featuring the beloved Dusty Rhodes creation of “War Games: The Match Beyond.” One of the final pay-per-view events of the 1990s was the 1999 edition of Fall Brawl held at the Lawrence Joel Center in Winston-Salem, NC. With Sting, Hogan, Diamond Dallas Page and Goldberg among the headliners of the show, the past decade of the company was certainly represented. It may not have been signed “Keep That Ass Warm” by DDP like my personal one is, but the promotional seat cushion from the event recently sold for $160.

*Along with The Hulkster came “The Mouth Of The South” Jimmy Hart to WCW. Initially aligned with the red and yellow hero, Hart went on to manage The Dungeon of Doom and even a reprisal of his “First Family” stable of many years prior. Managers weren’t quite the focal point that they once were by the time that Hart came to WCW, but The Mouth was still part of many storylines and feuds during his run. He also returned to the recording studio to create theme music just as he did in the WWF. Of course the world remembers Jimmy for his ubiquitous megaphone and his merchandise has always reflected that. The WCW souvenir version of his megaphone recently sold for $34.

*By now everyone knows that the classic Galoob WCW figure line went a tad longer in the United Kingdom than it did here in the states. Characters like The Fabulous Freebirds, Dustin Rhodes, Big Josh and El Gigante were added to the lineup while old favorites were reimagined with new colors. Sting and Lex Luger even received entirely new “entrance gear” sculpts. You may remember a near copy of this figure for The Stinger in the mid-1990’s line by The Original San Francisco Toymakers. The original was indeed produced by Galoob and is one of the most striking figures of the line. The Man Called Sting has recently been selling for an average of $45.

Well, that was quite an assortment of goodies from “Where The Big Boys Play!” Even still, like with most of the topics on MarketWatch, there are countless more great items out there. Say what you want about the WWF marketing machine, WCW knew how to do it pretty well, too.

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