Wrestling merchandise had existed long before Vince McMahon took over the WWF. However, there can be no denying WWE has paved the way for merchandising as one only needs look at their website to see scores of items bearing the WWE logo. The biggest has been in the toy field as WWE were the first to put out wrestling action figures. That’s continued today as the company continues to put out toys not just for kids but collectors alike. Many of them are fantastic recreations of huge stars and loved by fans.
However, most WWE toys produce cringe, not joy. Some of them are figures that are horribly designed to bear no resemblance to the real person. Others are toy lines that were bad ideas at the start and worse in execution. There are also other toys that are just confusing and pretty bad to look at. Here are 20 WWE toys that you can’t believe got made to show how hit and miss their work for kids can be.
20 Wrestling Superstars Andre The Giant
The early WWE toy line by LJN have become collector’s items today. True, the fixed poses made it harder for play but fans loved finally having versions of their favorite stars at home. Sadly, the figure for Andre the Giant was not the best of the bunch. It lacked Andre’s famous features, looking more like a generic worker. It also was far too thin and the same size as the other guys who Andre normally dominated. Given his legend, the “Eighth Wonder of the World” deserved a better figure figure than this.
19 Jeff Hardy Unmatched Fury
This is one of those action figures that may have looked good in the design phase, but ends up horrible when produced. Jeff Hardy is known for his high-flying “Swanton Bomb” finisher so having a figure capturing him in that mid-air pose is good. The bad part is that the figure is fixed with that weird pose and expression which means it can look pretty silly when put into certain situations. It may be too easy to mock Jeff but this figure hardly helps his reputation.
18 Thong Mark Henry
Mark Henry has managed to have a very long-lasting career in WWE. “The World’s Strongest Man” has had some bad gimmicks but also reigned as World Champion and won a lot of respect for working through injuries. You’d think WWE would honor him with a good action figure. Instead, this “Royal Rumble 2009” set appears to have mixed Henry’s outfit with Rikishi. The man is known for having nicer singlets, not a thong, and this is yet another embarrassment Henry has put up with in WWE.
17 Collector Sable
No one can deny that Rena “Sable” Mero was one of the hottest women in WWE in the late 1990s. Her knockout body helped give rise to the “Divas” of the time and even become Women’s champion. However, this figure does not help her at all. The proportions are inhuman and resemble Chyna more than Sable. The ridiculous silver armor also doesn’t look good on her. It combines into an atrocious doll.
16 Thumb Wrestlers
On paper, it’s a perfect idea. Folks love thumb wrestling so why not make mini-WWE rubber figures to fit on the thumbs? Yet the figures themselves just come off... well, creepy. You’re putting recreations of guys onto your thumbs to fight someone else, it’s just a disturbing image when you think about it. The fact some figures are actually looking like the real guy adds to it and showcases that a “thumb war” with WWE guys doesn’t always work.
15 Punjabi Prison Playset
It takes a lot to earn the name of “the worst gimmick match in WWE.” The Punjabi Prison sure qualifies. It’s basically two sets of huge bamboo fences set around the ring with the wrestler having to escape both. Every Punjabi match has been cited as one of the worst bouts ever seen. Yet WWE still put out a huge play set which had to be wrapped around a regular WWE toy ring (sold separately) and a pain to play with. You’d have to be a serious wrestling fan to want this.
14 Road Dogg Plush Bulldog
Jesse James spent years in one failed gimmick after another before latching onto the persona of the “Road Dogg.” He and Billy Gunn formed the New Age Outlaws who soon became one of the hottest teams in WWE. Known for his great mic skills, Road Dogg inspired several action figures. He also inspired this plush bulldog which, for some reason, was painted green. The color is just the icing on the cake of this toy that’s purely for the dogs.
13 CM Punk Garden Gnomes
Today, CM Punk and WWE are not on the best of terms (to put it mildly). However, Punk was a major star for the company for some time, especially when reigning as champion. This led to the baffling idea of putting out a set of garden gnomes based on Punk. You have what look like the rejects of the Seven Dwarves dress in Punk regalia to cheer him on. It boggles the mind who would even want this or why they chose the gnomes. No wonder Punk bad-mouths WWE a lot.
12 Wiseguyz DX
At the height of their fame in 1998, D-Generation X loved to play around in wacky costumes. For a WWE Magazine photoshoot, HHH, X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn dressed up like gangsters in zoot suits which was a fun bit for one issue. For some reason, WWE made an entire four-pack of the group in those outfits. When lined up, X-Pac looks the same size as the rest of the guys and the suits just look dumb. This is not a wise set by any means.
11 Flex ‘Em Kurt Angle
The “Flex ‘Em” line had WWE guys in outrageous sculpted poses which showed them with huge chests and elongated limbs. It shows some nutty figures like Rey Mysterio more muscular than the real guy has ever been. Kurt Angle also looks crazy with his huge hands that are larger than his head (with his mouth in a disturbing shape). The whole line was poor yet Angle deserved a better figure than this.
10 STOMP Ahmed Johnson
The STOMP line was an obvious take off of the hit military-themed action figure lines of the 80s and 90s. WWE stars were put into police like gear to take on street enemies. Some were crazy like Marc Mero in armor. But Ahmed Johnson was the worst. The thin figure doesn’t resemble the well-built muscleman at all and some of the accessories look like a farmer, not a soldier. This toy is better off being stomped on.
9 Shawn Michaels As Hulk Hogan
In 2005, Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan began a feud that became infamous. Both men are known for their huge egos and the clash was major thanks to Shawn overselling all of Hogan’s attacks to mock him. Before that, a skit had Shawn dressing up as Hogan to do a mocking promo of him. WWE put out a figure of this, but it’s truly bizarre, as if they poured the molds for the two stars together into a crazy mix. It’s not one for fans of either man.
8 Wrestlemania VI Roddy Piper
Roddy Piper is still regarded as one of the best stars in WWE history. He took pride in pushing the boundaries of the time in his promos. But many felt Piper crossed the line when he faced Bad News Brown at Wrestlemania VI. For some bizarre reason, Piper decided to dye half his body black which was not a great image for him. For an even more bizarre reason, WWE decided to put out an action figure based on that look. Replicating one of the more controversial moments in WrestleMania history may not have been a smart move.
7 Nitro Car Sprints
No, the “Nitro” is not a reference to WCW’s old weekly show. Instead, it’s part of a line of car-themed action figure toys. Cars based on wrestlers aren't a bad idea (Undertaker driving a hearse is perfect) but adding the figures themselves throws the whole concept off. The poses are goofy and the figures themselves poorly sculpted, so this doesn’t scream out being a fun set for either wrestling or car fans in general.
6 Maximum Sweat
Over the years, WWE has faced accusations of rampant steroid use. It’s forced them to institute policies against it but everyone knows it’s still used. So calling attention to how huge some wrestlers can get may not have been the best move. That didn’t stop WWE from putting out the “Maximum Sweat” line which enhanced their wrestlers to inhuman proportions. Guys as small as Road Dogg looked like the Hulk and a clear sign bigger is not always better.
5 WWE Mutants
With super-heroes all the rage, it’s no shock that WWE would try to hitch onto that bandwagon. The idea was that various superstars were somehow given superpowers which must have sounded good on paper. But the figures just looked absolutely ugly as hell. Sting as a scorpion made sense but the figure was seriously lacking. Meanwhile, Bray Wyatt as a gator was silly, John Cena with steel skin was laughable, and Brock Lesnar with extra arms made no sense. WWE guys were better off as in-ring heroes than with powers.
4 WWE Zombies
Yes, even WWE wasn’t immune to the zombie craze. Incredibly, they have put out several lines of figures featuring their biggest stars as the undead. Some of them can be truly wild like a Hulk Hogan who, instead of his shirt, is tearing his chest apart. Others like Steve Austin were mutated in bizarre ways that made them stand out more. That’s not to mention the sight of scantily clad women as zombies. WWE may have gone too far emulating The Walking Dead.
3 WWE And Scooby-Doo
One of the all-time nuttiest co-productions WWE did had to be an animated movie Scooby Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery. Yep, Scooby and the gang attending a WWE event and getting involved with a crazy mystery, the film had many superstars voicing themselves. Naturally, WWE had to put out a line of figures that were two-packs of a WWE star and a Scooby member. John Cena and Scooby were just silly and the rest of the packs (which included Sin Cara of all people) made this a mystery of a toy line.
2 Marc Mero And Sable Set
Granted, this was the first action figure set for either but that doesn’t excuse just how utterly horrific it looks. They took the “Wildman” nickname too far with Mero’s eyes bulging outward like a cartoon character. Sable goes the other way with eyes that barely look more than slits and her face totally unlike the real woman. Each would get better figures down the road yet it’s amazing how this got onto store shelves.
1 Superstar Shootout Table Hockey
In the early 1990s, Vince McMahon would love slapping the WWE theme onto just about anything he could. Yet a table hockey set is still pushing it. Sure enough, you had a standard table hockey setup with WWE guys as the players. The figures of Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and others already look silly. Even crazier is how they have their personalized sticks which range from Hacksaw Duggan’s 2X4 to (somehow) Jake Roberts’ python. That none of them look like hockey players at all never seemed to enter Vince’s mind.