COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Remembering the Road Warriors
For kids of the 1980s, the Road Warriors were so much more than muscular wrestlers with really cool face paint. Hawk and Animal were part of a fantasy world that included He-Man, Luke Skywalker, Snake Eyes, Conan the Barbarian, the Thundercats and so many more.
The Road Warriors’ Remco AWA action figures are two of the most recognizable and iconic wrestling toys of all time. Even moreso, they were the gateway into professional wrestling for a lot of kids who had never seen it before. While taking a stroll through the action figure aisle at their local Lionel Playworld, Toys R Us or KB Toys, kids would find the toys of Hawk and Animal sitting right next to some of the most popular toy lines of that era, including Masters of the Universe, GI Joe, MASK and so many more.
Much of Remco’s advertising of the fledgling AWA toy line was built around the Road Warriors, and it’s easy to see why. Kids unfamiliar with pro wrestling might not look twice at toys of Greg Gagne or Larry Zbyszko, but the Road Warriors looked just like the comic book superheroes hanging a few pegs over. Remco included figures of the Road Warriors in two different series, and also packaged them in a Battle Royal Playset with seven figures. There were even little thumb wrestlers that featured Hawk against Greg Gagne and Animal against Rick Martel.
The packaging and advertising showed the Road Warriors tangling with Stan Lane and Steve Keirn, the Fabulous Ones. A lot of kids found it hard to believe that the Fabs were supposed to be the good guys in that battle. After all, who were kids going to cheer for: the guys with mohawks, face paint, leather and spikes, or the two guys with blonde hair and dark beards who were wearing bow ties and suspenders?
The Road Warriors likenesses have been used to sell everything from magazines, DVDs and T-shirts to wrestling figures, trading cards and stickers. Here’s a look at five Road Warriors Collectibles from the last four decades.
- Remco AWA Series 2 Action Figures. The Remco figures of Hawk and Animal were plentiful and loose figures can still be found today for a few bucks each. The second series of AWA figures featured three-packs, and Hawk and Animal were paired with longtime manager Paul Ellering, who even had a really cool removable cloth Road Warriors T-shirt. A packaged set of the three figures sold on September 23 for $315. The three loose figures together range from $40 to $150, depending on the condition and if they have all of their accessories.
- 1985 WMMC AWA Prizm Stickers. These stickers were sold in vending machines for a quarter each beginning in 1985. According to WrestlingTradingCards.com, there were 15 total stickers in all. The Road Warriors appeared on two stickers. One has them pictured against a desert wasteland wearing two gold belts. The other sticker has them pictured with Paul Ellering against a red background, with “Legion of Doom” in block letters at the bottom. These stickers are tough to come by, and usually sell for $25 to $30 each.
- World Championship Wrestling Nintendo Video Game. WCW’s first video game was released in the U.S. in the spring of 1990 and featured Hawk and Animal on the cover – even though they were just about to leave for the WWF. The WCW game is a sentimental favorite among people who played it as kids. A used, working cartridge sells for around $10 to $12. Copies with the original box and instruction booklet are tough to find, and sell anywhere from $25 to $50, depending on the condition.
- Hasbro WWF Series 4 Tag Teams Action Figures. Hawk and Animal jumped ship to the WWF in 1990 and found their likenesses on merchandise galore: coloring books, stickers, T-shirts, marbles and, of course, action figures. Rebranded the Legion of Doom, Hawk and Animal got new red and black shoulder pads with spikes that didn’t look quite as threatening as they had before. Hasbro released an LOD two-pack in 1992 which perfectly captured the team’s WWF look. The LOD figures remain very popular today; a loose pair typically sells around $50 to $65, while a mint-on-card set sells for around $250 to $300.
- Mattel WWE Legends Series 1 Action Figures. From 1997 to 2009, Jakks Pacific made a plethora of LOD action figures that captured their various looks throughout the years. But it didn’t take Mattel long to Trump those figures. In 2010, Mattel included Hawk and Animal in its first wave of WWE Legends action figures. The especially cool thing about these figures is that they capture Hawk and Animal in their pre-WWF days, with older face paint and much more aggressive-looking black and silver spiked shoulder pads. These figures are incredibly popular today, with packaged figures selling for as much as $200 each. Loose figures with all their accessories can command up to $100 apiece.
PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PRIOR COLUMN: COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Where to Find Items of the Armstrong Family
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