To start, what do you think makes an action figure good or great?
I think there are many factors that can contribute to making a figure good or great. After all, these are subject opinions. A figure that one person finds great or perfect, another person might not care for. For me, as a big fan of legends figures, nostalgia and sentimentality can be big players in shifting my opinion from good to great. I’ve also been very vocal on how I feel about what I refer to as “colors.” When I say this I don’t just mean the figure has numerous colors in its deco. I mean that the chosen paint colors used in the application are on point and make the figure POP! Another big factor for myself (and most collectors) is head scan quality. There have been many times where a figure is released with amazingly detailed attire, but the head scan just isn’t “it.”
How would you compare the Mattel WWE figures with the AEW Unrivaled series?
I’m very old school and as a kid I never mixed wrestling promotions when playing with figures, believe it or not. I never had WCW invade WWF or vice versa and this mainly equated to the fact that the separate figure lines didn’t look uniform to each other. However, in 2021 toy companies are trying to keep uniformity while also sprinkling in originality to help their own lines stand out.
I have a very unpopular opinion in that Jazwares AEW figures are my favorite to collect. This does not take away from how great Mattel’s WWE figures are. I think a lot of collectors are quick to trash AEW for one reason or another, but in reality the line isn’t even a year old. It’s still new, they’re still learning and quite frankly they’re improving at an incredible rate. We are 11 years into the Mattel license so it’s easy to forget some of their early botches.
I think both products are high quality but some of the things I like about AEW Unrivaled are the articulation, playability, packaging, and the teethed joints for easy poseability!
What do you think is the best pro wrestling action figure to have ever come out? And whether your answer is the same one or not, do you have a favorite figure in particular?
This is tough. I think this is another question where nostalgia plays a big role. For instance, someone who grew up in the 1980s might say LJN series 1 Hulk Hogan is the best. Someone who grew up in the 1990s might say Hasbro series 1 Macho Man is the best. For me, I am very biased in saying my favorite figure of all time is the Jakks BCA Stone Cold Steve Austin with the black 3:16 t-shirt. When this first dropped it was pandemonium!
If you can remember, what’s the first wrestling action figure you ever got?
I can’t remember the first figure I’ve ever gotten because I was literally a baby. My first toys were wrestling figures! While I can’t remember what character, I do know they were WWF Hasbros.
You put out The Ultimate Wrestling Figure Checklist, a 500-page book that features nearly every wrestling toy line from AEW, WWE, NJPW, CMLL, ECW, and more. What was the process like putting that together?
Oh man, the process was long and arduous! I’ve been building an all-inclusive checklist as a spreadsheet for the better part of 10 years, but 2 years ago I decided it was time to turn it into a book to share with collectors. I recognized its value once I got my collection insured and the insurance company needed an inventory record on file. I began transferring the spreadsheet to a new format (which took forever) and designing it as an easy use, easy to navigate book. What took the longest was every time I would finish a section, more figures would release or new companies would start producing the product. In that moment I recognized that this book could never be 100% complete because there’s just too much stuff coming out at all times. However, the checklist is very up-to-date, even including hundreds of items yet-to-be-released. Are there things that didn’t make the 2021 edition? Of course. In fact, since it went into printing, I have added 30 pages for next year’s edition. However, the most popular items are all in there and there’s plenty of obscure and forgotten lines as well. It’s a must-have for every collector!
Are there any action figures coming out that you’re particularly excited about?
So many! I’m very excited for Mattel WWE Retros to return to the fold. I’m also looking forward to AEW’s Unmatched line. I think more pegs at stores loaded with wrestling products is very exciting. We recently saw WWE Legends series 12 which features a Billy Gunn in camo from when DX invaded WCW. I’m looking forward to having all of DX in that gear!
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