THE SPECIALISTS COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: How the "WWE Rumblers" set has attracted a wider audience than anticipated; Top 10 Rumbler Sets
Sep 14, 2012 - 2:20:47 PM
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By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles specialist
In Brief: Mattel's WWE Rumblers were designed for young wrestling fans, but have attracted a much wider audience.
Toy companies have been producing miniature wrestling figures for more than three decades. LJN and Remco both offered thumb wrestler toys in the mid-1980s, and Remco also produced a series of AWA Mini Mashers that were similar to the popular M.U.S.C.L.E. toys of that era. Jakks-Pacific experimented with a variety of mini figures over the years before settling on Micro Aggression line of WWE toys that eventually grew to include micro TNA and UFC figures.
Mattel’s WWE Rumblers is the latest series of miniature wrestling figures. The small toys are cartoonish versions of the actual wrestlers, similar to the artwork seen in WWE Kids magazine. They are typically sold in multi-packs, usually two per package, along with several playsets.
The Rumblers were first released in 2010, designed for young wrestling fans. Their small size and unique look has made them popular with collectors of all ages; while many fans may not set out to collect the whole line of figures, there are a lot of adults who will buy one Rumbler of their favorite wrestler to sit on their office desk.
This can be seen in the secondary market sales of individual loose figures. A two-pack of Rumblers usually retails for $6.99 to $8.99, depending on the store, and loose individual figures often sell for just as much – if not more than – the sealed two-packs. Loose figures of Shawn Michaels, Santino Marella, Goldust, and Great Khali have each sold in the $15-20 range in recent weeks.
The two-packs usually contain two rivals, such as John Cena and The Rock, Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio, and Kane and The Undertaker. The two-packs will sometimes feature a tag team or two associates, such as Alberto Del Rio and Brodus Clay.
Mattel has made Rumblers playsets of all sizes, from traditional wrestling rings and entrance stages to caskets, ambulances and trucks. The largest and most popular playset is Blast and Bash Battle Ring Steel Cage, which includes a ring and cage with several action features. The playset came with six figures, including an exclusive Rey Mysterio in a yellow outfit, and a tiny WWE Championship belt, the only title belt that Mattel has made for the Rumblers so far.
The Blast and Bash Battle Ring Steel Cage was sold exclusively at Target beginning in 2011. The original retail price was $39.99, and earlier this year many stores heavily discounted rings that hadn’t sold. Some stores marked them down as low as $15. Today, most of the playsets sell online for about $45-65.
Some collectors have used existing Rumblers to create custom figures. Custom figures of Randy Savage, Sting, and Rob Van Damn have all sold on eBay within the last month.
Rumblers can usually be found at your local retail store. They don’t have nearly as large of a fan base as basic Mattel figures, so most are pretty easy to find. If you’re looking for an older figure, you’ll have to look at wrestling or toy specialty websites, or check eBay. Be aware that there is quite a demand for WWE toys from fans outside of the U.S., so it isn’t uncommon for a bidding war to ensue over an item.
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