INDUCTION: Eight Amazing Pieces of (Mostly) Early 90’s WCW Merch Even WE Didn’t Know Existed!

18 Submitted by on Thu, 24 September 2020, 20:00

WCW, Early 1990’s

You may have not noticed, but WrestleCrap is often late to the party when it comes to capitalizing on internet trends.  While we were once a trailblazer on the world wide interwebs, we have largely done the same thing we’ve always done since day one over twenty years ago: find something stupid in pro wrestling, then do screen grabs, make GIFs, throw in a sound file here or there, and write a thousand or two words about it.  

I’ve never looked at stats on the site, and Google Analytics sounds like an evil company in an apocalyptic film from 1992.  Hard pass on that.  

As I browse other sites these days, though, I’ve noticed a trend.  I believe it is called click…bait?  Generally this is some ridiculous headline such as “The Wrestlers Who WWE Will NEVER Hire Back!”  One click later, you are given a slide show, and after another 25 or so extra clicks from there, you realize that Billy Jack Haynes won’t be coming back because a) he’s slightly crazy and b) he’s approximately 98 years old.  It’s all silly and a bit pointless.

So of course we’re jumping aboard!  Without any further adieu, let’s take a look at 10 Amazing Pieces of (Mostly) Early 90’s WCW Merch Even WE Didn’t Know Existed!

(And a million thanks to the Bradley C for sharing from his incredible personal collection!)

WCW WORLD IN JAPAN MAGAZINE

Absolutely true confession: the only word in Japanese I know is “Ichiban.”  It means “number one.”  And how do I know that?  Because I learned it from the Super Machine in a promo like 35 years ago.  

This one, in fact:

But I may need to start taking some night courses, if for no other reason that to be able to read the contents of WCW WORLD IN JAPAN.  That is an INCREDIBLE cover.  If “Super Exciting Battle Live!” doesn’t entice you to join me to become bilingual, maybe the vision of cutesy pie versions of Jerry Saggs and Brian Knobbs will.

OH!  Mrs. Deal just told me that type of drawing would be known as KAWAII.

Look at me!  It took almost a half decade, but I know TWO Japanese words!

JOHNNY B. BADD BUCK

And you thought guys like The Young Bucks pioneered shooting dollars into the crowd.  Not so – behold this Johnny B. Add $1,000 bill!  If you remember Marc Mero in his wacky pre-WWF run, he would come out as Little Richard impersonator, being as effeminate as possible to rile up crowds.  He would also carry a glitter gun of sorts to fire at the fans which he dubbed the Badd Blaster.  I’ve been told that these bills would sometimes fly out of said device.  

No idea if that’s true or not.  And honestly, not sure I care – I just like that above his catch phrase of “The Kiss That Don’t Miss!”, we get not one, but TWO WCW logos.  Why on earth would that possibly be?

Yeah, I don’t know either dude.

(Note to self: you really should have found a WCW guy shrugging his shoulders for this article.  Man Mountain Rock being Maxx Payne in WCW a couple years earlier doesn’t count.)

SOUND SLAMMIN’ ACTION RING

I have never been a huge action figure guy.  Considering the first well known wrestling figures were hitting the scene when I was nearly in college, I guess that kinda makes sense at some level.  With that said, had I seen this thing in the early 1990s, I can guarantee I would have made an exception.  Screw the promise of “4 Superstar Wrestling Sounds!” and “Flying Spring-board Steps.”  Ignore Ric Flair and Sting squaring off in the top right corner of the box.  Instead, focus you gaze on the action taking place in the center of the ring: it’s Dustin Rhodes going into battle with BIG JOSH (!!!) and flying off the top of the cage appears to be none other than EL GIGANTE.

I know the term “license to print money” is thrown around liberally in these parts, but if you ever needed a definition of that phrase, you are looking at it.

PUFFY VINYL STICKERS

Not sure if they still make these or not, but in the 1980s, puffy vinyl stickers were quite a phenomenon.  No matter what the license was, I promise if you walked into a Super X or Gold Circle or any other now defunct retail chain that 99.3% of you have never end heard of, you’d have found whatever tickled your fancy.  So it’s honestly not that absurd that WCW’s top stars would have made an appearance.

Small and slightly inflated, they would have made for great pillows for all those action figures I never owned…if I wanted them to have nightmares about Sting and Lex Luger in vaguely compromising positions.

I mean, it can’t be just me that looks at that and thinks it’s somewhat lewd, right?

RIC FLAIR BIG GULP CUP

I remember about a decade ago an old friend of mine asked me if I could hit the 7-11s in town to see if I could find a Rey Mysterio cup so he could complete his collection, as down in Cincinnati there were none to be found. Not gonna lie, I never even bothered to go look.  What a jerk I am.  No wonder he stopped sending me Christmas cards.

As you can see here, though, wrestlers on convenient store cups aren’t a new thing by any stretch.  Check out this one featuring Ric Flair.

A very BLUE Ric Flair.

You may look at this and think, “Well, yeah – it’s old and the inks have faded.”  As someone who has worked in the printing industry for thirty years, let me tell you, there would be no combination of ink that would fade to cause Flair to turn that shade.  If you lost magenta (and you can see there is plenty of red still on the cup), Flair would be purple.  If you lost yellow…well, there’s yellow on his wrist bands, so THAT isn’t the explanation either.  Which can mean only one thing:

Ric Flair is part Gamilon.

It’s called Star Blazers, kids – look it up.

TURNER NETWORKS PLAYING CARDS

When Bradley sent me pictures of this next item, I didn’t think things were that far out of the ordinary.  To be honest, I was probably not even going to include it in this induction.  What stopped me in my tracks however, was the fact that these don’t appear to be WCW playing cards…they appear to be Turner Networks playing cards!

I’d love to think as the dealer shuffled the deck, you might get Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves as the king of diamonds sitting next to a 4 of spades featuring Annabelle Gurwitch of Dinner and a Movie.  Aunt Bea would definitely make an appearance as well, or maybe we’d get Barney Fife as a joker.  Rest assured, The Andy Griffith Show would be very well represented as it was a cornerstone of WTBS programming.

Oh, and for the wrestling tie in?

The Seiners being TWO OF CLUBS may be the most on the nose thing to ever come out of WCW.

STING TWISTABLERE STING

I’ve always found Toy Story to be somewhat overrated, as I like it more as a concept than a movie I’d actually watch over and over.  I found the second one better than the first, but the third one was depressing at a level I don’t know I could ever go back and view it again.  I think I went through an entire box of Kleenex just trying to get through it once.  

All that said, one thing I liked is that the various toys of different genres would interact with each other in different ways.  That hit home with me, as I remember doing the same as a kid.

I picture this Sting being part of a hold up where Sheriff Woody comes and saves the day.

WCW PUBLICITY PHOTO SIGNED BY WCW STAR JASON HERVEY

Ok, ignore the totally douchebag look on Jason’s face here.

No, wait, I can’t do that.  I know I make jokes about how Sammy Guevara has a punchable face, but he’s got NOTHING on Wayne Arnold in this photo. Between the hair, the shirt, and the finger on his lips, my hand is balling into a fist as I type.  So if I misspell anything the rest of this article, blame it on that.

What’s amazing though is this isn’t just a stock promo photo – it’s a WCW labeled one.  I’ve pretty much blocked out everything from his tenure in wrestling, outside the fact that I remember he was dating Missy Hyatt and I was totally jealous.

I know I can’t be the only one.

WCW HORSE RACE PROGRAM

This is another one where you might just pass by without giving it a second glance, but look closer and you’ll wonder what on earth was happening here.  It’s a program, it features WCW wrestlers…but it’s not a wrestling program. 

It’s from a HORSE TRACK!

I have zero idea what is going on here, but had I been anywhere near the Buffalo Raceway on June 10, 1998, I’d have made a bee line to be there.  No idea if any of the people featured on this cover were actually there or not.  For some reason, I can totally see DDP there, not sure why.  But the person I would have most wanted to see there would have been Bobby Heenan.

One of my favorite gags when he and Gorilla Monsoon would do Prime Time Wrestling is when they’d go “on location” to various places, such as Busch Gardens or Tony Packo’s Hot Dog Emporium.  Around WrestleMania IV and V, they ventured to the casinos at Trump Plaza.  Inevitably, there would be a time when someone (a bellhop for instance) would be looking for a gratuity.  “The Brain” once said, “You want a tip? Don’t bet on the ponies.”

It’s really strange – as I get older, I seem to remember less and less from years gone by.  Pretty sure, though, that sage wisdom from Bobby will hang with me until my last breath.

Well, that an Ichiban.

It means number one.


Thanks for reading another WrestleCrap induction!  We hope you enjoyed it.  If you did, we’d encourage you to help us out on Patreon or visit or sister Etsy site, Coasty Marshmallow!

 

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Yeah, you know...the WrestleCrap guy. Been here since before day 1, I have. You can hang out with me on Facebook. (I'm on there quite a bit) or follow my exploits on Twitter (I'm on there not quite so often). Thanks, and Keep on Crappin'!
18 Responses to "INDUCTION: Eight Amazing Pieces of (Mostly) Early 90’s WCW Merch Even WE Didn’t Know Existed!"
  1. C Boz says:

    I actually have a Ric Flair Big Gulp cup! A friend gave it to me as a gift after I bleached my hair blonde in honor of the Nature Boy for a costume party. Note I said bleached not dyed. Burned the heck out of my scalp but worth it for the applause and attention I got that Saturday night. Not so worth it when I had to go into the office on Monday morning with the bleached frocks because I needed a few days of recovery before I could dye it back brown again (and then I had to use a special shampoo to avoid stripping the fake brown color until my natural hair color came back thru natural growth). Didn’t succeed in attracting the ladies like Slick Ric did with his blonde mane. But I got that Big Gulp cup. So… some success?

  2. Thomas Mossman says:

    I love how Bobby Heenan looks so caught off-guard washing dishes.

  3. Christopher Haydu says:

    The WCW ring and steel cage was pretty cool. I didn’t bother to look this up, but I’m pretty sure I had a similar ring and cage setup, only it had ring steps instead of those blue spring launchers or whatever they are. That ring was a big deal because it was the only wrestling ring that came with a steel cage. WWF rings didn’t come with cages. It’s hard to imagine that other young WWF fans at the time wouldn’t have thought the same. So, except for the humor of having Big Josh on the box, that ring definitely wasn’t WrestleCrap.

    • The Doctor of Style says:

      Sounds like you had the same ring as my friend! I think he figured out you could thread the cage panels through the WWF ring ropes to make a pseudo cage match.

      Big Josh… Wow, so Doink was *not* Matt Borne’s first action figure…

  4. Piperskargo says:

    The wrestling ring is the UK version bc the three figures featured were UK only. And now they fetch a pretty penny. Especially if you can find Big Josh with his Ax handle. Also why is Bobby Heenan washing dishes?

  5. Sean says:

    STill better than Herb Abrahams’ UWF merch.

  6. The Doctor of Style says:

    Most of the race program photos look like they came out of PWI. And why has Heenan been put on kitchen duty?

  7. Justin Tym says:

    RD was a fan of Star Blazers? I knew there was a reason I liked him!

  8. Larry says:

    I’m pretty sure Ric Flair looked more like a Morlock from “The Time Machine” on that cup.

  9. jerm says:

    It’s fascinating that that WCW in Japan book utilizes the same art style as past Wrestling Dontaku shows by New Japan.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=wrestling+dontaku+poster&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwjKjsWly4TsAhVH96wKHQ4HBhoQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=wrestling+dontaku+poster&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQAzoECAAQHjoGCAAQBRAeOgQIABAYUPg0WKM5YN45aABwAHgAgAFoiAHeA5IBAzUuMZgBAKABAaoBC2d3cy13aXotaW1nwAEB&sclient=img&ei=NAhuX8qkF8fuswWOjpjQAQ&bih=969&biw=1920

  10. Al Boondy says:

    “So if I misspell anything the rest of this article”

    Plenty of typos before that line, Mister Deal … 😉

  11. El Atomico says:

    I had that twistable Sting, and my dog found it and made it a chew toy!

  12. Nicholas Nutter says:

    I think I still have twisty Sting somewhere. First thing to go were the hands, as he was poseable via the metal wires that made up his frame. If you used the hands too much, the wires would stab through the palms.

  13. Bob says:

    The double wcw logo was on Badd Bucks so they were harder to counterfeit

  14. DarthPitch says:

    With Hervey having a mug like that, you can’t really blame Paul E. for walloping him with the ol’ cell phone.

  15. Nick Kotarski says:

    That race program was from the day before the first wrestling show I ever attended (WCW Thunder at Buffalo’s Marine Midland Arena [now known as KeyBank Center])

  16. Bubba says:

    You were jealous of Missy Hyatt for being with Jason Hervey?? That’s too much info, RD!

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