SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Thanks to the burgeoning U.S. independent scene, New Japan Pro Wrestling and a proliferation of wrestling podcasts, collectors are developing new interest in some wrestlers from the past. While superstars like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Steve Austin and Bret Hart will always have their fans, collectors are also starting to show love for several wrestlers who had smaller roles or worked for smaller promotions.
Many of the trading cards mentioned in this column can be found for just a couple bucks each at huskerhavswrestlingcards.com and comc.com. For other cards and action figures, your best bet is to check eBay, Amazon or wrestling memorabilia groups on Facebook.
Some veteran wrestlers seem to have discovered the fountain of youth. PCO may best be known as Pierre the Quebecer and Jean-Pierre Lafitte during his time in the WWF from 1993 to 1995, and he also had runs with WCW, ECW and TNA in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But at age 50 in 2018, PCO has been one of the standout stars of the U.S. independent scene.
PCO was featured on a few WWF trading cards in the 1990s, most prominently on card #21 in the 1994 Action Packed WWF set with fellow Quebecer Jacque Rougeau. The Quebecers can also be found on several stickers from the 1993 Merlin WWF sticker album. Jean-Pierre Lafitte was featured on card #51 from the August 1995 issue of WWF Magazine. Most of these items can be found for just a few bucks each.
Some of PCO’s best cards were produced after his WWF run. As Lafitte, he was included in a set of DWA Rock N Wrestling Night trading cards from 2008. However, these German cards were limited to 500 copies and are very tough to find. Pierre is also featured on a couple cards from the 2014-15 Golden Age of Quebec Wrestling set, which can usually be found for around $4 each. PCO will also be prominently featured in Brian Ubben’s PWG BOLA set, which will be released later this summer.
Somewhat surprisingly, there are no figures of PCO from any point in his career. His WWF run came as Hasbro was wrapping up its wrestling line, and neither Jakks Pacific nor Mattel ever produced figures of the Quebecers or Lafitte. Given PCO’s popularity, however, that could certainly change.
Legendary tough guy Haku recently found himself involved in a major angle at NJPW’s G1 Special in San Francisco. After wrestling earlier in the night, Haku joined is sons Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa in attacking Kenny Omega, Cody and the rest of Bullet Club.
Haku was included in several trading card sets from both WWF and WCW in the 1980s and 1990s. His most valuable card is a 1998 Topps WCW Autograph (as Meng), which usually sells in the $35-$50 range. More recently, he has appeared in WWE products from Topps, and Leaf Originals Wrestling and Leaf Buyback Wrestling from 2017. Many of his autographs from Leaf Originals can be found for under $10.
Haku has very few action figures, which can be quite tough to find. His elusive Jakks WWF Wrestling Superstars figure was released in 1989, first on a basic card and then on a black card. Loose figures typically sell for $150 to $250, depending on the condition. Carded figures are nearly impossible to find, and can sell for upwards of $1,000. King Haku was as also included in Jakks’ Classic WWE Superstars line and while it can be tough to track down, it’s certainly much more affordable: loose figures usually sell for $10-$15, while packaged figures usually sell for less than $40. There is also a Meng die-cast race car from Racing Champions’ WCW Nitro Streetrods series than can usually be found for less than $5.
Some other veteran wrestlers have found a new audience thanks to the variety of podcasts out there. Former ECW star Francine certainly has her fans, and Tony Schiavone’s fascination for her on his weekly podcast has helped. She has also appeared on several other podcasts recently, including Matt Koon’s “Why It Ended.”
Francine has appeared in several products from Leaf Trading Cards recently, including 2017 Leaf Wrestling Originals and 2016 Leaf Signature Series Wrestling. Her autographs can often be found in the $10-$15 range. Francine’s first action figure will be produced by Figures Toy Company as part of its Legends of Professional Wrestling line.
In the 1980s, Sean Royal and Chris Champion were a team on the rise as the New Breed. They have been mentioned several times over the last several weeks as a tale of what could have been on podcasts such as the Bruce Mitchell Audio Show and Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru. Both men were featured on several cards in the 1988 NWA trading card set from Wonderama, a set that is infamous for some pretty bad card backs, such as this gem: “The up and coming ‘New Breed’ is on the rise.” Most of these cards can be found for around $1 each. Champion also has a card in the scarce 1993 Mid-South Wrestling Cards from Unbeatables Inc. Only 1,000 sets were produced and the cards are next to impossible to locate.
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PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.