There was so much to wrestling in the 1990s. Beyond the colorful scenes and the innovations, the era also featured amazing characters that found a way into children and adults’ memories. Popular wrestlers were often associated with sounds, celebrations, and favorite smackdown moves. Then, toys and video games later conserved the memories of these expressions.
The 1990s saw a wide surge in wrestling acceptance, making the 80’s kids have heroes in wrestling baby-faced and sometimes heels. Toy wrestling characters such as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Macho man, Iron Sheik, Shawn Michaels, and others were among fan favorites, and people even used them as birthday gifts and Christmas gifts. To Zack Ryder, a toy addict, as much as a wrestler himself, “acquiring toys is about the thrill of the hunt.” There is an extensive list of wrestler’s toys as the 1900s marked the golden age of wrestling. However, the list has some characters who had genuinely unique attributes that toy lovers and children would prefer.
Presenting the top 10 toys based on the wrestling stars of the 1980s to the 1990s!
10. Mattel’s WWE Legends The Iron Sheik (2010)
The Iron Sheik was an Iranian American professional wrestler who won the WWF World Heavyweight Championship in 1983. However, he was one of the greatest heels of all time. His vicious character climaxed in the ’80s WWF wrestling boom. And his rivalry with Hulk Hogan turned Hogan into one of the greatest television stars of the decade. As Hogan’s fame increased, Sheik’s fame grew too. It was only logical for kids to get The Iron Sheik toy just to rival their Hulk Hogan toy. Why not? The rivalry would always be fun, even if the owner controls it. In his turban and thick gowns, the Iron Sheik toy will be an asset.
In 2010, Mattel released Iron Sheik to their second series of WWE Legends line. The action figure came with a golden linked black cloak. With the articulation, detail, and likeness to the actual wrestler, this figure became a must-have toy for collectors.
9. Hasbro’s WWF Brutus Beefcake (1992)
Edward Harrison Leslie was an American professional wrestler, best known for his work in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) under the ring name Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. The tall, muscular blonde was a beautiful build for a toy collection. He was also specially built because of his involvement in all the popular feud during the ’80s and early ’90s. Brutus toy will be a fantastic addition to your toy collections with his very muscular figure, reminding you of the rivalry that characterized wrestling in the 1990s.
In 1992, Hasbro debuted Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake to their third series of the WWF line. While this figure displayed the wrestler in a deformed manner, it is still a collector’s piece.
8. Jakks Pacific’s WWE Classic Superstars Jesse “The Body” Ventura (2008)
Jesse “The Body” Ventura was a bullyish beach bodybuilder personality. As a wrestler, Ventura performed as a heel and often used the motto “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!” The huge character went as far as having himself a T-shirt made with the words printed on the front. He was the most controversial wrestler of the 80’s era, making him incredibly famous and his toy a must-have. You cannot afford to ignore such a character to your choice, a wrestler with a completely different value and intent to break the rules and get the victory.
Jakks Pacific introduced Jesse “The Body” Ventura in 2008 to the twenty-first series of their WWE Classic Superstars line. This articulated action figure boasted realistic detail to bring fans’ favorite wrestlers to their shelves.
7. LJN’s WWF Corporal Kirchner (1984)
Michael Kirchner was an American professional wrestler and former United States Army paratrooper. He was best known for his impacts with the World Wrestling Federation under Corporal Kirchner’s ring name in the mid-1980s. Corporal Kirchner often used a militaristic character, with several videos showing him exercising in a US army survival training camp. These drills help build his name as a patriotic American. Having a wrestler who is an American patriot was a no-brainer for an 80’s kid. Corporal Kirchner will make your collection more remarkable. More so, he could be the only character in your collection in a military shape.
In 1984, LJN released Corporal Kirchner to their third series of WWF toys. LJN was the first toy company to pair with a wrestling corporation to bring their stars to toy shelves. While this figure does not have the articulation of others, it still holds a special place in wrestling collections.
6. Mattel’s WWE Defining Moments Ric Flair (2016)
Richard Morgan Fliehr (often called Ric Flair) was an American professional wrestler. He was one of the best wrestlers of the ’80s, and some journalists would even consider him the greatest wrestler of all time. Ric flair is as colorful as any other character on this list, and he was a subject of many debates with so many great fights in his lengthy career. Ric Flair was famous for his ability to slap the chest of other wrestlers with the back of his hand while also making a loud noise. These gestures made him an immensely popular character among kids and having a Ric Flair toy makes you a cool kid. Ric Flair has everything kids want to see in their favorite character.
In 2016, Mattel produced two versions of Ric Flair in their WWE Defining Moments Line. One of these figures had a blue robe, while the other had a black robe. Fans of wrestling celebrated the release of one of their favorite wrestlers in this format.
5. Hasbro’s WWF Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (1991)
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat was an American professional wrestler. He was famous for his feud with superstar Ric Flair. Ricky Steamboat’s fights against “Macho Man” Randy Savage (1987) and Ric Flair (1989) were both awarded Match of the Year by Pro-Wrestling Illustrated and the Wrestling Observer. His dragon-themed outfit and fiery countenance make him a distinctive character both as a wrestler and a toy. Ricky may not be a phenomenally successful wrestler with his few belts, but he could put a tough show when facing some of the favorite characters of his time. Besides his dragon-themed outfit, Ricky was a very colorful character, a feature that makes a typical kid favorite.
Hasbro produced a figure of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat in 1991 to their WWF Series 3 line. This cartoonish figure is a classic and worthy addition to wrestling collections.
4. Hasbro’s WWF Andre The Giant (1990)
Andre the Giant stood around seven feet tall, resulting from gigantism caused by excess growth hormone. Just like him, his toys were usually big, ranging from 8 inches to 10 inches. Andre the Giant had a famous feud with Hulk Hogan that lasted for years. Before he feuded with Hulk Hogan, his winning streak was the story that dominated the scenes. Andre the Giant was not the biggest fan favorite, but he had a desirable physique. His match with Hulk Hogan attracted many fans from all over the world. Andre’s eye-catching height and unfamiliar physique make his toy highly desirable for people of different ages. Specifically, his toy was a fan favorite in the 1990s.
Andre the Giant was one of the first wrestling icons produced in Hasbro’s WWF line. Hasbro produced this figure in their first series of this classic toy line. No one denies the historic importance of this action figure.
3. Hasbro’s WWF Roddy “Rowdy” Piper (1991)
Roddy Piper became a bona fide pop-cultural icon with many appearances on television and cartoons. Rowdy was a unique character and often described as one of the best talents of the WWE though he never held the title. What Rowdy lacked in awards for his ability, he made up for it with his entertaining personality. The WWE star was colorful and dramatic. A respected and influential wrestler during his time. His fame among wrestling lovers made him a huge target for toy makers around the world, and his toys were never in short supplies.
Roddy “Rowdy” Piper joined Hasbro’s WWF line of figures in their second series. Hasbro produced this action figure in 1991. Thus, this figure has joined the ranks of collectible toys that any wrestling fan would love.
2. Mattel’s WWE Elite Collection 2019 SDCC Randy “Macho Man” Savage (Slim Jim)
ESPN’s Bill Simmons described Randy “Macho Man” Savage as “one of the greatest pro wrestlers who ever lived.” His distinctive deep voice, his flamboyant attires, his use of “Pomp and Circumstance” as entrance music, and his signature catchphrase, “Oooh yeah!” were everything that made Macho Man a fan favorite. He had a bond with the fans. His uniqueness and ease with the fans were simply astonishing. In the 1990s, he was the hero wrestling fans never wish should lose a match. His glaring characteristics were clear in his toys. They were colorful and magnificent to the eyes. A macho man toy dignifies your collection. More so, if you have watched him in the 1990s, you might be willing to conserve your memories of such a unique character.
While there have been multiple toy iterations of Randy “Macho Man” Savage, none are more iconic than the 2019 SDCC Exclusive that Hasbro produced. This action figure is part of Hasbro’s WWE Elite Collection but was only available at the San Diego Comic-Con, unlike the rest of the line. Even non-wrestling fans would recognize the Macho Man for his Slim Jim commercials. So, snap into a Slim Jim and jump for the excellence of this combination!
1. Hasbro’s WWF Hulk Hogan (1991)
“When it comes crashing down, and it hurts inside. You gotta take a stand. It doesn’t help to hide.” Hulk Hogan’s entrance song lyrics were the best of any wrestler in the 1990s. Kids and wrestling lovers would sing along as the face of WWE in the 1980s makes it to the stage. The memories were pleasurable, and the sight was beautiful.
There are very few reasons why you may not have Hulk Hogan in your collections. You do not like heroes, or you incline to always support a contrary opinion from an accepted one. Aside from this, you could easily acknowledge the fact that Hulk Hogan was a distinctive character. He was heavily renowned for his weirdly carved mustache, flashy yellow and red attire, and singing. Hulk Hogan was the biggest wrestling name of the ’80s, even to the early and mid-’90s. Hulk Hogan the superstar every kid wants to become. For every bad game, Hogan was not just the only victim; the kids and every wrestling fan felt his anguish. It does not matter whether you value toys but who would not want a Hogan toy as a kid. His presence was the most defining moment of the 1990s. Having a toy of Hulk Hogan is beyond adding to your collections. You may have to use them in storytelling or remind yourself of one of the best characters the world of sport rallied around.
Hulk Hogan appeared multiple times in Hasbro’s WWF toy line. His likeness appeared in series 1, 2, 3, and 5. However, the 2nd series, which Hasbro produced in 1991, had Hulk Hogan inception, with a Hulk Hogan wearing a Hulk Hogan shirt with a Hulk Hogan picture Thus, this variant is the most silly and fun out of the batch.
There is a lengthy list of wrestler toys from the 1900s, but this list contains characters who were outstanding entertainers, fans favorites, and other amazing characters that made wrestling one of the most viewed sports in the 1900s. Although not all these characters had a record of extremely successful spell in their careers, some of them could put up a unique show in certain matches. Others just found a way to place the fans on their feet. These characters were stand out performers who made their way through cartoons and toys.
Author: Chris Ingledue
Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!