THE SPECIALISTS COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: How Much Would It Cost To Reconstruct the Elimination Chamber, Mattel Style?
Feb 15, 2013 - 4:26:41 PM
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By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles specialist
In Brief: How much would it cost to build your own version of this year's Elimination Chamber match using Mattel's toys?
Olga was a little old German widow who loved professional wrestling. In the 1980s, she would watch whatever wrestling she could find on television – WWF, AWA, Jim Crockett Promotions, World Class Championship Wrestling, or whatever other indy promotions may have made its way onto cable that week. When the WWF started coming to Colorado Springs in 1987, she was always seated in the front row.
Her living room looked like any other in the neighborhood, except for one major difference. Sitting on the coffee table where a bouquet of flowers might usually be was an LJN WWF Wrestling Superstars toy ring. When WWF Superstars of Wrestling would air on Saturday mornings, she would place toys of whichever wrestlers were competing on the television in her own little ring. I vividly remember her setting up toys of Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff with a smile on her face prior to a big Saturday Night’s Main Event showdown in the fall of 1986.
While a lot of wrestling fans may look at that type of enthusiasm with confusion or even utter contempt, it’s something wrestling fans of all ages have been doing for decades. Kids get ready for a big event by simulating the upcoming contest with their toys; teenage and adult collectors may sub toys in and out of a display on their desk or shelf to fit what’s going on at that time in wrestling.
This Sunday, six wrestlers will climb into one massive structure to do battle for a shot at the World Title at WrestleMania. So what would it take to recreate this year’s elimination chamber main event using Mattel action figures?
There are two options: basic figures, which are less expensive and easier on the budget for parents buying them for their kids; and Elite figures, which come with variety of accessories but also carry a hefty price tag. All of the competitors in this year’s Elimination Chamber match have basic and deluxe figures available, but some may be harder to find and more expensive than others.
This particular column was put together using secondary market values instead of suggested retail prices (SRPs). While you may be able to find many of these figures at your local retail store, others will be harder (and more expensive) to find.
Basic figures - Total cost = $157.93
The biggest chunk of this investment is going to come from the Elimination Chamber playset itself. This was sold exclusively at Toys R Us stores in late 2010. You may be able to find one at your local Toys R Us store; if not, be ready to spend at least $100 (plus shipping) online.
Most of the wrestlers in the Elimination Chamber match have very recent (and inexpensive) basic figures. The lone exception might be Kane. Mattel produced plenty of unmasked Kane toys from 2010 to 2012, but just started releasing the masked Kane in late 2012.
There have been three basic masked Kane figures released to date. The coolest is a new Kmart exclusive WWE Champions toy, which comes with a World Title belt. Mattel rarely includes toy belts with single basic figures, so if you can’t find this figure at your local Kmart for the $8.99 SRP, you’ll have to spend about $15 online.
Most toys of Mark Henry, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, and Jack Swagger are very similar to one another, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding one. The only significant difference among all of the basic Daniel Bryan toys is that the newer toys have a slightly bigger beard than those that were first released in 2011.
Elite figures - Total cost = $261.93
Because of the different looks and accessories of Elite figures, you’ve got more options to customize your Elimination Chamber match. For example, the Elite Series 19 Daniel Bryan toy comes with a “Yes! Yes! Yes!” t-shirt, while an older Elite figure came with the U.S. Title.
Elite figures carry a $16.99 SRP but can cost considerably more at some retail stores and online. Some older figures have risen in value and can’t be found in retail stores; this is the case with the Jack Swagger Elite Series 5 figure, which came with a removable cloth singlet and now sells for around $40 on the secondary market.
Bryan and Kane were included in series 19, which is just beginning to hit retail stores in many markets. The Kane figure can be tough to find; collectors have been especially fond of it because of its removable welding mask. However, if you can’t find a Kane at your local store, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one for under $25 online.
Jericho is included in Series 20, complete with a removable black and silver jacket. This wave is just now starting to be released. Collectors in many markets won’t find this toy for a couple months, and online sales are high right now because so few are live. If you can’t wait to find this new Y2J toy in your local store, be ready to spend about $40 for it online.
Orton (Series 16) and Henry (Series 15) are still recent enough figures that you may be able to find them at your local store. Mattel has made so many Orton toys that it’s easy to walk into just about any retail store and find one. Henry may be a little more difficult; his toy has been a favorite with collectors because of the shiny World Title belt accessory. And with Henry returning to TV with a monster push, this figure could get hot in a hurry.
Not everyone is interested in owning a toy of their favorite wrestler, and even fewer are likely to invest the time and money into assembling such a large collection. But, many fans still get excited by a big wrestling show and can’t wait to set up a toy ring with the wrestlers who are about to do battle – just like Olga did nearly 30 years ago.
PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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