RECOMMENDED FREE NEW PODCAST - RAW POST-SHOW WITH KELLER...
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app)
Author’s note: PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore is compiling a living database of Mattel’s WWE Elite action figures, the more popular, detailed line geared towards collectors and kids alike. The database will serve as the basis for several upcoming by-the-numbers articles exclusive to PWTorch.com
Mattel has made thousands upon thousands of different WWE action figures since 2010. Because of the sheer volume of WWE figures from Mattel, this database and accompanying articles are restricted just to Elite-style figures. Since there’s no one definitive checklist out there, this database is being put together by scouring sites like eBay, Amazon, FigureRealm.com, the WrestlingFigs.com forum and several Facebook groups, along with conversations with knowledgeable collectors.
The database is up to date as of October 30, 2018, with figures that have been released or are available for pre-order through sites like RingsideCollectibles.com. So far the database is made up of more than 720 Elite-style figures – this includes the first 64 series of Elite figures, along with other Mattel WWE toy lines, such as Defining Moments, Entrance Greats and figures exclusive to places like Target, Walmart, Walgreens, Toys R Us, GameStop, Ringside Collectibles and more.
Keep in mind that because there’s no definitive checklist available and that Mattel continues to crank out figures, this list is bound to be incomplete. If you come across any figures that have been left out of these articles, please feel free to contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or @MMooreWriter on Twitter.
Since launching its WWE toy line in January 2000, Mattel has made more than 720 different Elite action figures. How many of those do you suppose are action figures of women?
Keep going lower.
In the near nine-year history of Mattel’s WWE Elite action figures, the company has made just 26 different Elite-style figures of women, or right around 3.6 percent of the total number of figures. To put that in perspective, John Cena alone has at least 27 different Elite-style figures, about 3.7 percent of the total. Cena, Undertaker and Triple H make up nearly 10 percent of all Elite-style figures.
Women have been a part of Mattel’s much more expansive basic series from the beginning. Beth Phoenix was packaged with her onscreen beau Santino Marella in the first wave of Superstar Series two-packs in 2010, followed by Mickie James in the basic Superstar Series 3 later that same year.
The women of WWE were almost always the most popular figures when a new series hit store shelves, but the first Elite-style figure of a woman wasn’t released until Kelly Kelly in Elite Series 17 in late 2012. Kelly Kelly came with a glossy, painted toy version of the WWE Diva’s Championship belt and quickly became a favorite of collectors. Almost instantly collectors were willing to pay double or triple the suggested retail price of $19.99 on the secondary market.
Elite-style figures of the women of WWE were few and far between. Kelly Kelly was followed by Miss Elizabeth in Elite Series 19 and AJ Lee in Elite Series 21 in 2013. It wasn’t until WWE began placing a more serious emphasis on its women’s division in 2015 that Mattel upped its production of Elite-style figures of women. Prior to 2017, Mattel made just nine total Elite-style figures of women. In 2017 and 2018 alone, Mattel released at least 17.
Who they’ve Made …
So far Mattel has made 26 Elite-style figures of 17 different WWE women. Stephanie McMahon was the first woman to have two different Elite-style figures (of course), and she is also one of only two women to have three different Elite-style figures (of course!). Stephanie’s triumphant return to the ring at SummerSlam 2014 was captured in Elite Series 37, and her skull queen getup from WrestleMania 32 followed in Elite Series 50. Stephanie was also included in a recent Epic Moments box set with Kurt Angle that captured in famous “Milk-o-mania” skit from 2001.
Sasha Banks is the only other woman with three Elite-style figures. She made her debut in Elite Series 44, followed by a Walgreens-exclusive figure with the Raw Women’s Title belt. Many collectors were unhappy with the head sculpts used for these two figures, but a new face scan technology appears to have produced a better head sculpt for a forthcoming WrestleMania 35 Elite-style figure.
Women with two Elite-style figures include Asuka, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Miss Elizabeth and Trish Stratus. Mattel has so far released one Elite-style figure each of AJ Lee, Alexa Bliss, Alundra Blayze, Charlotte Flair, Ember Moon, Kelly Kelly, Lita, Maryse, Mickie James and Paige. Mattel has also released prototype images of new figures of many of those women, so look for more in the coming year.
Mattel has produced Elite figures of a few nostalgic women’s acts, including Miss Elizabeth, Trish Stratus, Lita and Alundra Blayze. The company also recently released a prototype image of a new Sherri Martel Elite figure.
… and Who they Haven’t
While most of the women on a WWE roster have had basic figures, there are quite a few tenured women who have yet to appear in an Elite series from Mattel. Some of the notable names missing include the Bella Twins, Natalya, Alicia Fox and Lana. Mattel has released prototype images of some upcoming Elite figures such as Nia Jax, Ronda Rousey and Naomi.
Last year Mattel introduced the Barbie Doll-esque WWE Superstars figures targeted toward girls, so many current female stars may appear in that product before showing up in an Elite series.
There are plenty of veteran women’s wrestlers still waiting for an Elite figure. Aside from an eraser back in 1985, Wendi Richter still doesn’t have a figure in her likeness. Also missing in action are figures of the Fabulous Moolah, Sunny, Chyna and Bull Nakano, but don’t get your hopes up for those. There are also plenty of women from the Attitude Era and early 2000s that Mattel could include, such as Sable, Ivory, Jacqueline, Victoria, Torrie Wilson, Stacy Keibler, Jazz and Molly Holly, just to name a few. WWE seems to be on good enough terms with most of those women, and with the company adding a token women’s spot to its Hall of Fame class every year, it seems like figures of many of these women could be possible.
WWE really started getting serious about its women’s division in 2016, when Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair headlined episodes of Raw and pay-per-view events. The addition of an established superstar like Ronda Rousey completely changed the structure of WWE, as Rousey quickly became WWE’s top mainstream attraction. With more of an emphasis on women, it seems natural that Mattel will continue to increase its focus on action figures of female wrestlers as well.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PRIOR COLUMN: COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: 2018 Topps WWE Women’s Division Product Review
PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.