COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Looking at Mattel’s Top 5 Defining Moments Figures

By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles Specialist


When Mattel launched its new WWE toy line in January 2010, the company unveiled toys of varying price points. Basic figures typically sold for around $10, Elite figures were priced at $20 and, for the most hardcore collectors, Defining Moments carried a $25 per-figure price tag.

Released in 2010, the Defining Moments figures were the most detailed of all Mattel WWE figures. They were displayed in special packaging, had points of articulation similar to an Elite-style figure and had more accessories than any other. More than anything, they were meant to capture a wrestler during a particular moment in his career.

While Defining Moments figures were a hit with collectors, they didn’t do so well in retail stores. Asking kids and parents to pay $25 and up for on wrestling figure was a bit much, and before long stores like Walmart and Target had them in their clearance aisles for heavily discounted prices. After just five series, Mattel scrapped the Defining Moments line before bringing them back in a more limited basis in 2014.

The original Defining Moments figures have since become the most popular – and valuable – of all Mattel figures. Many of the original 10 figures from the first five series regularly sell for around $100 each, with some approaching $200.

This column takes a look at the top five Mattel WWE Defining Moments figures based on completed eBay sales over the past three months. To be included in this list, completed listings had to meet certain criteria:

  • Figures were still in package (not taking the condition of the package into consideration).
  • One figure per auction. Multi-figure listings were not included.
  • At least five completed listings in the last three months. There were a few examples of Defining Moments figures of Triple H, the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin selling for up to $200. However, there were only three completed listings or fewer for each figure, and plenty of active listings at much lower prices.

 

Top 5 Mattel WWE Defining Moments Action Figures

  1. Bret Hart Defining Moments Series 5 – WWF Canadian Stampede pay-per-view. Total completed listings: 17. Average sale price: $146.13. High sale price: $200.00. Low sale price: $85.99.
    Many wrestling fans still cite the summer of 1997 as one of their favorite times in wrestling. The Monday Night War was going strong, WCW and the New World Order were at their zenith, and things were changing in the WWF. The WWF’s programming was taking on an edgier theme, Steve Austin was becoming the biggest star in the history of the business, and Bret Hart was a reviled villain in the U.S. but a beloved hero everywhere else, especially his native Canada. The WWF’s peak moment of that summer was a little off-brand In Your House called Canadian Stampede, which featured one of the loudest and most passionate crowds ever seen on a WWF event.
    No star shone brighter than Bret Hart, and Mattel perfectly captured that moment with this figure: black wrestling gear with pink highlights, a winged eagle WWF Title belt, removable black leather jacket, mirror shades and a Canadian flag. This figure has been a fan favorite since it was released, and has only increased in value since. There were more completed listings for this figure than any other Defining Moments toy over the last 90 days.
  2. Shawn Michaels Defining Moments Series 1 – WrestleMania 25. Total completed listings: 7. Average sale price: $152.46. High sale price: $200.00. Low sale price: $110.00.
    Shawn Michaels had more high quality matches at WrestleMania than any other wrestler in WWE history. His two encounters with the Undertaker in WrestleMania 24 and 25 were not only two of the best matches in Mania history, but also set the tone for all Undertaker matches for several years. Shawn made his entrance in white gear designed to look just like Undertaker’s, including a hat, coat and vest. This figure actually had a slightly higher average sale price than the Bret Hart figure ($152.46 to $146.13), but nowhere near as many sales (seven to 17).
  3. The Undertaker Defining Moments Series 4 – 1996 Survivor Series. Total completed listings: 8. Average sale price: $98.83. High sale price: $135.00. Low sale price: $75.00. The Undertaker has some of the coolest wrestling figures ever made, in part because of how often he freshened up his look so often throughout his career. After being buried alive by Mankind and Terry Gordy’s Executioner a month earlier, Undertaker returned at the 1996 Survivor Series by descending from the rafters and sporting gigantic vampire bat wings. This figure nails every detail of that return, including the wings and the teardrop tattoo beneath Undertaker’s right eye. Undertaker also has a more recent Defining Moments figure that captures his Ministry of Darkness persona, but the Survivor Series ’96 figure is much scarcer and more valuable.
  4. The Ultimate Warrior Series 2 – WrestleMania 7. Total completed listings: 8. Average sale price: $80.75. High sale price: $99.00. Low sale price: $60.00.
  5. “Macho Man” Randy Savage Series 1 – WrestleMania 7. Total completed listings: 7. Average sale price: $65.85. High sale price: $85.00. Low sale price: $58.00.
    Although they weren’t released in the same series, the Warrior and Savage figures go hand in hand. Mattel perfectly captured their epic WrestleMania 7 encounter, which concluded with Warrior victorious and Savage reunited with Miss Elizabeth and (temporarily) retired. The level of detail on the Warrior figure is especially impressive: Mattel perfectly reproduced every intricate detail on Warrior’s jacket and trunks, and the kneepads have an uncanny illustration of Warrior and Savage. The “Macho Man” figure is presented in the regal purple and white gear he wore in that famous match, including removable fringe jacket, sunglasses and hat.

PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at michaelmoorewriter@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.

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