1990’s WWF Hasbro Figures: Then vs Now
The Hasbro line of WWF (now WWE) figures is often regarding as one of the best toy lines ever created and has a huge collector following, perhaps more than ever, to this day. Let’s take a look back at these plastic superstars, check out some items from our vault, and see where the line has come to today.
At the start of 1990 WWF was on fire. Their ratings, fan base, and global expansion was in full swing. Packed with a strong roster of memorable characters, the WWF toy licenses were doing quite well. Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Legion of Doom, Brutus the Barber Beefcake – the list goes on and on. Sales were up and it was time for new action figures after the previous LJN figure lines had done well in sales.
The first series came out in 1990 and was a big success with stars such as Andre the Giant, Macho Man, Hulk Hogan making it hard to keep on the shelves. WWF’s younger fan base at the time could not get enough of these figures which each had a signature move – a far departure from the LJN figures that were solid and had zero articulation. Marketing behind the line was in full swing with WWF using all of its channels to push these figures, much of which resulted in ads that collectors still love to view/watch to this day.
Though at the time I was living in the US, I do remember visiting Pakistan in the early 90’s and seeing some of these figures for sale in stores, showing their global popularity. (if only I had stocked up then!) Some of the figures came with foreign variants such as French & Spanish cards which have also become highly collectible, and can fetch $1000+ for certain MOC figures (mint on card).
With the success of series 1, WWF launched the second series in March of 1991 and brought along some familiar faces from the first series including Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, Ultimate Warrior, and more. Along with the single figure packs, WWF was smart to release dual pack tag-teams for sale as well. These included some of the hottest tag teams of that era such as The Bushwackers, The Rockers, and Demolition.
I can still remember visiting toy stores in the early 90’s and seeing walls and walls of these figures packing the shelves at popular retailers of the time KB Toys & Toy’s R Us. It was a WWF fans dream come true.
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With the toys selling well it only made sense for WWF to release accessories as well, the most popular being the coveted 1992 Hasbro blue wrestling ring. Today, you can find mint in box rings selling for over $1000+. The ring allowed you to take your matches to the next level with ropes you could jump off of and even a WWF Championship Belt placed on the outside of the ring. The large WWF logo sticker that was placed in the center of the ring instantly brings back memories of what a wonderful time period that was for just being a kid who loved wrestling.
Over the next several years WWF continued to ride the sales wave and released at total of 11 series, with 86 carded single figures, 5 tag team 2-packs, and 3 mail away bagged figures – with the bagged mail away set being the rarest and often most expensive to obtain now of the bunch.
From memerobiliaguy.com: “Silver Vision was a UK video partner (young readers might have to Google VHS). Silver Vision ran several promotions during the partnership that allowed UK only customers to receive the figures off the card, instead they came in a little polythene bag. Strange to think that these unsealed bags are more valuable than the more delicate mint on card. Due to the fact very few fans kept them in the bag they have become so rare and valuable. This toy ,if found, can go for thousands of dollars. The most collectable of these mail-aways is Undertaker. There is reported to be a couple of little detail changes in the mail-away version, particularly in the face and eyes. Lets face it the guy is a legend, and again all of his toys are really collectable from the Hasbro range.”
To this day wrestling collectors’ young and old have driven up the market for these figures with prices skyrocketing in the last year. Mint on card figures selling for hundreds of dollars, loose figures in good shape demanding high prices, and have become a staple in any true wrestling collectors want list. Like with many toy lines of the past, the previous success led the now WWE to release a retro series remakes of figures which resemble the classic Hasbro’s.
Following a similar card style pattern and figure with signature moves, these remakes have become popular with collectors and only time will tell if they achieve the same success as their predecessors.
It’s time to open up the Vault and share some of our personal collection pics with you all showcasing classic Hasbro figures as well as a comparison with the originals vs the retro series. If they look a bit beat up, that’s because they are! These are from my original collection I had as a kid in the 90’s.
Pictures from the Action Pak’d Vault:
WWE Retro Remakes vs classic Hasbro: Here are some of the remakes we have in our collection compared to the classics. You’ll notice that many of them even have the exact same “signature moves” While the remakes are a nice bit of nostalgia, nothing will replace the original Hasbro line.
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