THE SPECIALISTS COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: The History of Foam Hands in Pro Wrestling
Oct 1, 2015 - 3:21:29 PM
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By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles specialist
If you've ever attended a wrestling event, football game, rock concert, or just about any other live event, you've probably seen your share of foam hands. Dating back to the 1970s, foam hands come in all shapes and sizes: the standard "number 1" finger, thumbs down, the "I Love You" sign, the extended middle finger, Hook 'em Horns, and more.
Foam hands have been a big part of wrestling merchandise since at least the mid-1980s. The WWF sold yellow Hulkamania foam fingers at live events and through WWF merchandise catalogues during Hulk Hogan's peak years. Before long the WWF was selling foam fingers for Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, and the Ultimate Warrior, followed by foam 2x4s for Hacksaw Duggan and foam urns for The Undertaker. Foam fingers are still popular today, and fans wave them wildly to show their support for everybody from John Cena to the Bullet Club.
Here's a look at ten unique and creative wrestling foam fingers and other items from the last 30 years. While some of these foam fingers can sell for $50, $100, or $200, keep in mind that these items are very easy to make, so replicas and fakes abound. Bogus copyright dates are often screen printed on, so be careful before forking over money for any of these.
(1) Hulk Hogan 1980s WWF foam finger. The WWF, WCW, and TNA have made dozens of Hogan-themed objects over the years: fingers, torsos and a hand cupped to an ear. One of the most iconic pieces of wrestling merchandise from from the 1980s is this yellow Hulkamania finger.
(2) Roddy Piper 1980s WWF foam finger. Something weird happened in 1986: the WWF's top villain surpassed the company's top hero to become the most popular wrestler in North America. Piper's merchandise always had a very simple coolness to it, including this yellow and green foam finger. Be very cautious before buying one of these; authentic foam fingers can fetch $200, but there are fakes all over the Internet.
(3) Hacksaw Duggan 1980s WWF foam hand and 2x4. The WWF branched out from the usual "number one" fingers with these items. The hand gave a big thumbs up, and kids could safely whack one another with foam 2x4s.
(4) The Undertaker 1990s WWF foam urn. The big bad dead man straight out of the monster movies because a babyface in 1992, and the WWF was quick to market everything Undertaker. Back then, ‘Taker drew his power from an urn carried around by Paul Bearer, so the WWF sold this foam urn for fans to hold up at live events.
(5) Randy Savage 1990s WCW foam cowboy hat. From about 1992 to 1996, Savage became well known for his wacky tights, jackets and matching cowboy hats. When he jumped to WCW in late 1994, the company began selling these neon green monstrosities.
(6) Steve Austin 1990s WWF foam middle finger. “Stone Cold” merchandise was everywhere from about 1997 to 2001. The WWF marketing folks got creative with these foam fingers, replacing the traditional “number 1” with Austin’s middle finger salute.
(7) Jeff Jarrett 2000 WCW foam "Slap Nuts" guitar. Before Jarrett was selling $200 replica guitars as an incentive for fans to get backstage at TNA house shows, WCW was selling these foam guitars for $5.
(8) Rob Van Dam 2000s WWE foam hands. RVD developed the thumb pointing routine in ECW. The WWF took it to the next level and began selling pairs of foam hands so fans could point at themselves.
(9) Roman Reigns 2015 WWE foam hand. Reigns is the latest WWE wrestler to get his own foam hand, which seems like a natural fit given his penchant for throwing lots of punches before hitting his big Superman punch. Unfortunately for Reigns and WWE, there usually aren’t too many of these in the crowd.
(10) Bullet Club 2015 Powerbomb foam "Too Sweet" hand. Upstart company Powerbomb has created a foam hand that is just too sweet. The black and white hand is shaped like the NWO/Bullet Club wolf’s head hand sign. The back says “Too Sweet Me” and “Biz Cliz 4 Life.” These are available at Powerbomb.net.
PWTorch Collectibles specialist Michael Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.
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