Not too long ago I wrote an article about some of the worst G. I. Joe action figures ever made. The comments section, being the delicate and nurturing place that it is, was quick to point out that some of the toys in my list are some of the most expensive and sought-after bits of memorabilia to collectors, and that I was a worthless person. With those kind suggestions in mind, I should state that there is no actual metric to judge what makes something the worst, sometimes I choose a toy because it is ugly, sometimes I choose a toy because it is unfun, other times because it will clearly makes it hard to sleep at night. The thing that makes a toy valuable to a collector is not the same thing that will make a toy fun for a child to play with. It can’t be said enough that when I made this list, I am saying my own opinion about these toys because, again, there is no scientific or accurate way to claim a toy is the worst.
Wrestling is a weird sport, especially the way it is portrayed on television. For the most part, professional wrestling entertainment is just a soap opera that involves a lot of grappling, which is a combination of two incredible things. So what happens when you take an already weird concept and then make a sub-par toy out of that insanity? You get article writing gold. So let’s take a look through the bargain bin of the local thrift shop and find some of the worst wrestling toys ever made.
30 Straw Hat Included
I can’t even begin to describe what is wrong with this toy. Apparently, this is supposed to be Ahmed Johnson, but I see nothing that even resembles the man displayed here. That face looks more like something that Bruce Campbell would have to fight, and would you look at that, it already came equipped with a chainsaw. Isn’t that handy? It also came equipped with a club, which seems like a step backward from chainsaw, but whatever.
Who thought a straw hat was a good idea?
I defy you to find me one instance of Ahmed ever wearing a straw hat. Or better yet, find me one instance of someone wearing a straw hat and it being fun or cool. For whatever reason, the S.T.O.M.P. series thought it would be a fun idea to make Ahmed Johnson into some sort of irate farmer, who is also reduced to using caveman clubs.
29 Sweat Pumping Action
I’m going to be honest with you; I was tempted to fill this entire article with the Maximum Sweat line of wrestling toys. The entire premise is insane from the start: toys that sweat, and also don’t look human. Nobody has ever looked at their toy and thought, “I wish this thing was sweating.” As Doctor Ian Malcolm once put it, they were so preoccupied with whether they could do it, they never stopped to think if they should.
Sweat is gross, whether it’s from people or toys.
What makes the Gangrel version of this kind of toy so much worse is that they really doubled down on his whole vampire persona, giving him fangs and a goblet, presumably for him to drink blood out of. In the endeavor to make him seem like the undead, they managed to make him look monstrous, and not in the good way. He more looks like a victim of radiation poisoning.
28 Size Matters
I have fond memories of some of my dollar store toys from when I was a kid. Non-specific heroes like Lizard Man or Bee Man were welcome additions to my roster of characters. Still, objectively, you can look at some of these bootleg toys and laugh at how easily amused children must be. For example, these are toys of wrestlers who are so generic is borders on insulting. Not to mention, their limbs and torsos are so wildly disproportionate, if you saw this person walking down the street you’d grab a pitchfork.
And then you see the chairs.
The folding chairs are almost the entire size of the people. I love when wrestlers bust out the folding chairs to start knocking the snot out of each other, but if I saw someone pull out a novelty chair that was clearly never meant to be sat on, I would pack up my things and go home. Look at that crutch! It’s taller than the two guys standing next to it!
The Ultimate Warrior was a little before my time, but I was still keenly aware of him before I wrote this article. He always kind of rubbed me the wrong way, I don’t know what it is. The face paint is super dumb, in a sport that prides itself on being super dumb. And he has ribbons coming off of his biceps, which always made me think that he looked like a bicycle. You know when really unpopular kids tied stuff to the handlebars? That’s what I thought Ultimate Warrior looked like.
I originally wasn’t going to include this toy, since on first glance there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. Idiot hair, dumb face, stupid paint, silly ribbons. Everything seemed to be in place for this toy. Then I noticed his tights, which definitely seem to have been stolen from a small child. That isn’t a pattern a grown man wears, let alone an Ultimate Warrior.
26 A Forgotten Time
Up until I wrote this article, I had completely forgotten that Dennis Rodman had ever been a professional wrestler. Maybe my mind purposely blocked it out to protect me from the stupidity, or maybe I simply forgot because it wasn’t all that memorable. Keep in mind that I was still painfully aware of his acting career, with such hit films as Simon Sez and Double Team still taking up space in my brain.
This is actually a really well-made toy, putting an insane level of detail into both Rodman’s facial features and tattoos. What actually puts this toy on the list is that it’s just way too over the top, with the silver jacket and pink hat. Yes, I know Dennis actually wore stuff like that, and that was his whole style really, but I just don’t think it translates well into toy form. Also, I have no idea what “back flippin’ backboard action” even means, but it sounds dumb.
25 Poorly Suited
It’s hard to think of him as anything other than Drax the Destroyer at this point, but Dave Bautista has actually had a pretty impressive wrestling career. He’s won a bunch of championships, some of them tag team, and he has headlined a Royal Rumble event. And he isn’t just a wrestler for performance; he actually dabbles in mixed martial arts as well. He has an insanely ripped body that he has parlayed into an incredible career.
So, of course, the toy has him in a suit.
And not even a nice suit, but the kind of embarrassing suit your dad wears to a grade eight graduation. Why you would have Bautista in this and not, you know, shirtless, is an insane decision. I mean, I’m pretty sure Dave has spent most of his life shirtless. Heck, Drax is almost always running around bare-chested. This is easily the least fun depiction of Bautista you could go with.
24 Not Rowdy Enough
Rowdy Roddy Piper has a special place in my heart, mostly because he was in They Live, which is one of the coolest movies ever made. Any film that has Keith David attacking someone in an alley because he doesn’t want to wear sunglasses deserves all the Oscars. Part of the whole charm of that movie is seeing Piper have a cool demeanor despite being caught up in events so much larger than him. Piper’s whole career was built around seeming unflappable, with a smooth, bad boy charm that made him a crowd favorite.
His action figure makes him seem like the smuggest man alive.
Not once can I recall Roddy ever having a look on his face that even closely resembles what these toymakers are portraying. This looks like someone who just ate dog food and thinks nobody can smell his breath. Sure, Piper’s whole gimmick was to be a heel, but he was never such a heel that you wanted to punch him in the face simply for existing.
23 Very Un-Sable
Sable was one of the first divas of wrestling. She was tough, beautiful, and ready to fight. Obviously, the makes of her toy only globbed on to one of the aspects of her persona, and decided she was simply there for her looks. And thus, we have the Sable action figure, which reduces a strong female down to her most basic assets.
Honestly, she looks like a plastic doll. The whole figure looks like someone who is afraid of women, especially powerful ones, designed it. I genuinely can not tap into the mindset of whoever designed this toy. Did they hate Sable? Did they hate children? I’m sure that we will never know.
What really irks me off is that some kid out there may have been a huge Sable fan, and when they went to the toy store, all they got was some sad persons pathetic interpretation of their hero.
22 A Giant Failure
Andre the Giant is one of my favorite all-time wrestlers. I don’t even think it’s because of his wrestling career, I think it is probably because of all the insane stories that surround the man. Like the time he alleged drank 156 drinks in one sitting, which is impossible to recreate, I tried. Or that he could just walk into a restaurant and eat 12 steaks. Also, he was the bomb in The Princess Bride.
Anybody want a peanut?
Because I love him so much, when I see his toy do him such a disservice, I take it personally. This toy looks nothing like him. He looks like he is about to seduce a lonely housewife, not throw Hulk Hogan around the ring. This looks like every flute enthusiast ever, not the first ever inductee into the Wrestling Hall of Fame. This is the face of a dude that makes you get off the subway for reasons you can’t explain, not the inspiration for Hugo Andore from Street Fighter.
21 A Little Too Wild
When making a toy for someone known as “Wildman” Marc Mero, you expect that he’s going to look a little insane. How else will the people buying the action figure going to know how wild he really is unless you put a look of mania all over his face. I get that, Mero’s whole persona was that of an unbridled crazy person. But there has to be a limit, guys.
You can’t just slap this level of crazy eyes on a toy and expect people to be fine with it. Those are cartoonishly crazy eyes, like the final scene in Roger Rabbit when Christopher Lloyd turned out to be a toon, that’s the kind of stupidly, over the top wacky these eyes are. These are like anime eyes that just happen to be on an otherwise normal looking man. I can’t believe we’ve gotten to the point where I have to be the voice of reason and tell a toy to dial back on the wildness.
For those of you not in the know, Jim Ross is known mostly as a commentator in the wrestling world. This means he is a presence more heard than seen, but die-hard wrestling fans definitely know what he looks like. Sometimes, the script calls for him to get involved in the actions, so he’s been in front of the camera on more than one occasion, so I guess it makes sense that you would make a toy of him.
Why you would make this toy, however, is beyond me.
Jim has never been in the greatest of shape, which isn’t a big deal, but it becomes a small problem when you make a toy out of someone. This toy seems to be obsessed with Jim’s slight pudginess, making him look like a full-blown fat guy. Honestly, I can’t be the only person who thinks that this figure looks just like Otho from Beetlejuice.
19 The Snake
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was a cool but mundane character when it comes to wrestling. He never achieved huge fame like his colleagues, but he still left a pretty big impression on his fans. I mean he was handsome enough, and he carried around a big snake. That has all the makings of a cool character in my book.
Unfortunately for Jake, and all of our eyes, the whole snake thing is harder to pull off than you would think. What ended up happening with this particular figure is that the snake ended up looking like some sort of green fluid that landed on his shoulders. And a very gross fluid, like party vomit or baby poop. Something viscous yet runny. Anyways, this toy is awful, whoever thought of it is awful, and if you ever happened to own one, I’m sorry that your life was ever so awful. He’s gross.
18 A Circus Of Awful
The WCW Ringmasters line of toys was a bit of an oddity in itself. For the most part, it made wrestling legends seem more like the persona or namesake. For example, it made Bret “The Hitman” Hart look like an actual hitman for the mob, which makes sense. For Chris “Lionheart” Jericho, it turned him into a lion tamer, which doesn’t work for so many reasons.
Look how comically undersized that lion is.
The funniest part of the whole thing is that there were no other Chris Jericho toys out there at the time. That means, if you were a huge Jericho fan and desperately needed the toy, all you got was he as a lion tamer. A lion tamer who looks like a goofball, and tames minuscule lions. The whole toy is insulting, both to the buyer and to Chris Jericho himself. This is the man who gave us the Walls of Jericho!
17 A Tall Order
For this toy, I needed to include an image of Hornswoggle in the packaging, because he is almost always sold as part of a set. For those of you who are unfamiliar with who Hornswoggle is, he’s a little person who routinely dresses up as a leprechaun. That’s not the part that I’m focusing on, although it does seem totally inappropriate. No, the reason I’m singling this toy out is because it has no regard for relative proportions.
This toy makes it seem like Hornswoggle is almost as tall as John Cena, whom you might remember is a giant beef golem with an awesome song. To imply that Hornswoggle and Cena are even close in height is an insult to physics. They could’ve maybe gotten away with it if they had just sold these toys separately, but for some reason, they decided to box them together, so the glaring discrepancy is right there, laughing in your face.
16 It's All In The Face
A large chunk of this article is going to be focused on how poorly toy makers managed to capture the face of actual human beings. I’m guessing the process of putting an actual human emotion onto a hunk of plastic is actually a lot harder than it sounds, but come on. The moment this toy got out of the end of the assembly line, someone should have done a comical double take and then shut the whole factory down.
This isn’t the face of an actual human being.
This looks like a comical take on a constipated face. I understand that “determined grimace” is a hard look to nail down when you are making a toy, but there are ways of making someone look ready to fight that doesn’t rely on making people look like they are possessed. Tito looks like he just accidentally swallowed a claw hammer, which is also something that most people never do.
15 Unmatched Is Right
In case you are as confused as I was when I first saw that figure, let me tell you what is happening. That is wrestling legend Jeff Hardy doing a backflip off of the top turnbuckle, presumably to slam into an opponent who is lying down on the mat. That’s all well and good; it is a cool move that definitely deserves to be immortalized with an action figure.
The problem is that he is locked into that pose.
The thing about capturing someone perpetually in mid-air is that they look odd when put into any other position. If you just simply laid this toy down on the ground, Jeff no longer looks like he is doing a flip and instead looks like he is actually in the middle of a demonic possession. This is a toy that can’t be played with, and is instead simply to be looked at, which you'll notice is the exact opposite of fun.
14 Over The Top
This toy line is known as “Over Top Man” and I’m hoping you can tell what is wrong with these toys just from the picture. In case you are wonderfully naïve (bless your little heart) every single toy is centered on a stereotype. I mean, I can’t even put some of the names in this article, because I don’t want to get flagged. That’s how rough some of them are.
I’m not even going to tell you to look them up yourself, because I don’t think you need that kind of darkness in your search history. I’d like to say that these toys were a product of a different time and that people back then didn’t know better, but that’s a lie. These were made in the 90s and they definitely knew they were making offensive and inappropriate toys. I’m certain they were actually banking on that fact as part of the appeal.
The whole point of the “Flex ‘Em” toy line was to have exaggerated proportions for famous wrestlers, which I do not have a problem with. The only reason I include this particular toy, that of Rey Mysterio Jr., is because of the controversy surrounding that particular wrestler. After a serious injury put Mysterio out of the limelight for a while, he came back bigger and stronger than ever. Many people accused Rey of using substances to gain back his almost unnatural bulk in such a short time.
You can see why this would be problematic.
When people picture athlete who use substances to get better, they picture someone with puffy proportions, especially around the bicep and chest area. When you have a wrestler who has been accused of juicing in a toy where he clearly looks like he’s swollen in the upper body, it almost looks like you are positively promoting the use of the performance enhancing substances.
12 Disproportionately Bad
I genuinely laughed pretty hard when I first got a glimpse of this horrendous toy. This is supposed to be capturing the essence of Ricky “Dragon” Steamboat, but for whatever reason, they seemed to have run out of materials when it came time to make his legs. I assure you, the actual Ricky Steamboat had normal legs, and was not incredibly top heavy.
I’m guessing the logic that goes behind a toy like this is that kids will be holding the toy by the legs, so you make it easier to grip. Which has a kind of sense to it, I suppose, if all you are doing is making your toys monologue at each other. Unfortunately, the end result is that poor Ricky looks like an unholy union between a muscular man dressed as a dragon, and a tornado. He seriously looks like some sort of sentient triangle, or at least a dude who has skipped leg day for the past eight years.
11 Space In-Vader
This is Big Van Vader, most of the time simply known as Vader, not to be confused with Darth. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight wrestlers of all time, and has shown that despite his size, he can pull of incredibly aerial maneuvers, such as the Vadersault. He also regularly wears a mask while in the ring, which is a cool gimmick. And yes, he is known for snarling right at the camera, which the toy seems to be trying to capture.
But that face is hilarious.
I honestly can’t break down why I find it so funny, but it definitely tickles my funny bone. Maybe it’s that he’s slightly wall-eyed, or maybe it’s that his head looks the wrong shape. I’m sorry, as a writer I should be able to find the right words to describe why this is hilarious, but some things just can’t be described.
10 It Will Sting Your Eyes
Sting was already a weird character. He always wore corpse paint, which added a bit of mystery, sure. But it also dated him hugely. Nobody in this day and age could get away with just running around looking like a huge ICP fan. But the 90s were a different time, and it bred different heroes. Here we can see how desperate toy makers were to cash in on the whole “gross-out” factor of a lot of more popular shows.
They did not succeed.
In this case, they tried to show us all what was behind the mysterious Sting mask, by showing us his skull. What ended up happening is that it looks like a combination of The Mask and the classic Batman villain Black Mask. Whatever happened in the design process, it’s clear that they didn’t mean to birth this abomination. Estranged parents who didn’t know what their child enjoyed only bought this toy.
9 The Face Of Fear
Despite what this toy would have you believe, Rob Van Dam is not known for making an expression of complete fear. In fact, I’m not sure that whoever made this toy has ever seen a human face before. This is not an expression anyone has ever made, except maybe the guy from Edvard Munch’s The Scream. I’m next to certain they didn’t mean to capture the emotion of fear and were actually going for a primordial scream of pure bravado, but they missed that mark.
RVD looks like he’s been trapped in The Phantom Zone.
This is the kind of expression you would expect from someone who just had all of their organs replaced with fire ants, not someone flexing some muscle. As far as I can tell, that’s the pained expression of someone who has legitimately been trapped inside the body of a toy.
8 Chainsaws Make Everything Better
I’ll admit I am being a little unfair by including this toy in this article. I say that because I find it awesome and incredible and nobody will ever convince me otherwise. I put it here because of the guts it takes to include a chainsaw in a wrestling toy. And not only did the Extreme Fighting Action Playset pull this move once, it gave multiple characters chainsaws.
What wrestling matches has this toymaker been to? Do you know how crazy it would be if Doink the Clown just pulled out a chainsaw and started chasing people around the ring? That’s some Thunderdome level insanity right there. I also love how understated all the other accessories are; it goes from ladder, to folding chair, to portable fence, to chainsaw. That’s such a pointlessly overpowered jump in escalation. It sucks that wrestling is ruined for me forever because I’ll always watch it, waiting for someone to use a chainsaw.
7 Missing The Best Parts
Melina was a wrestling diva known for two things; she always had an ample smile, and an ample chest. The toy thought it best if she had neither of these qualities, which seems like an odd choice. Almost none of the toys I can find of her show her smiling, yet any footage I find of her is either her having a huge grin or stomping another lady into a meat pile. Why they decided to get rid of that quality is baffling.
And usually, with toys like this, you’ll find that women’s proportions tend to exaggerate their bathing suit area, but Melina’s toy tends to do the exact opposite. They really try to underplay how ample she was, which is another decision I just don’t understand. Why exaggerate it with everyone else, but understate it with this one women’s figure alone? Or maybe my memory if Melina’s proportions is all wrong.
6 Driving In The Wrong Direction
It can be difficult for toy making executives to put themselves inside the mind of a child. Their own childhood is decades behind them, so all they can do is guess as to what kids will enjoy. Kids love wrestling, and kids love toys, so why not mash those two things together and make a super enjoyable toy? And thus we have the WWE Nitro Machines line of toys, which sees some of your favorite wrestling superstars in delightfully small cars.
Already I have a problem with the whole concept, because you took wrestlers and took away their ability to wrestler. I’ve singled out the Dean Ambrose version of the toy because, for whatever reason, he is swinging his own steering wheel around wildly, which means he has lost all ability to drive his car. And his car seems to be a combination of an ambulance and a fire truck. Just because.
5 No Definition
The late, great Eddie Guerrero was a huge wrestling star, and was always seen as in tremendous shape. This toy, on the other hand, coming out of the Classic Superstars line, has next to zero muscle mass. I might be able to forgive the plastic’s inability to capture the awesome six-pack that Guerrero was usually rocking, but they kind of missed a basic part of human anatomy with this toy.
He has no belly button.
The lack of a naval makes the whole toy have a weird vibe, like this is a wrestler that was made in a lab or grown in a vat. His whole torso is so underdeveloped it makes it seem like he doesn’t even have robs, which definitely has to be a hindrance in the ring, I’m thinking. He’s just so smooth, he looks more like a surfboard than a professional wrestler. My condolences to any kid who got this toy.
4 Four Arms, Zero Fun
Another insanely weird toy line was the WWE Mutants series, which turned famous wrestling stars and turned them into mutations. Sometimes it made sense, like when it merged Finn Balor with a demon, since that was part of his persona. Other times it really missed the mark, like when it made John Cena look like Colossus from the X-Men. Which, now that I type it out, seems like the perfect casting, and filmmakers are stupid to not capitalize on that gold.
Other times, we get the above toy, which sees Brock Lesnar with four arms, for whatever reason. As if that wasn’t stupid and pointless enough, they also gave him weird, two-toed feet. Come to think of it, this whole toy is just Goro from Mortal Kombat but with Lesnar’s head slapped on it. Actually, now that I give it some thought, Lesnar would make a great Goro. Man, I’m good at this. I should quit writing articles and become a casting director.
3 All Wrapped Up
The reason I find this toy so insulting is that Vicki Guerrero is not fat. Even if she were, that would be fine, but she isn’t, she has almost always seemed to be incredibly fit. She may be a little thicker than other girls, but from what I can tell, it was mostly muscle, which seems appropriate for a wrestling league. So in order to capture the fact that Vickie is of a larger frame than some other stick figure thin girls, they simply added layers to her.
Yes, instead of giving her a personalized mold, like they do for literally everyone else, they simply put Vickie’s head on another figure's body, then added layers and layers of fabric around the body to simulate thickness. This somewhat reinforces that there is a preferred body type for women, and the world only caters to model shaped girls. Anything else is a deviation from the normal, apparently.
2 The Name Says It All
These types of toys are known as Munico Patones, and they aren’t actually bad toys, per se. They are just generic luchador toys that are very popular down in Mexico, and they seem to be actually better quality than a lot of other toys on this list. Just because they don’t have the instantly recognizable names of some of wrestling’s superstars doesn’t mean that the toy can’t be fun in itself.
The name literally translates to “doll with big feet.”
That’s, uh, that’s actually incredibly accurate. I applaud these toys for being so no-nonsense about naming their line. I think we need more honesty like this when we name things, like sandals could be known as “window shoes” and frozen yogurt could be known as “sad ice cream.” At least then people would know what they are actually in for. Let’s all strive to be more like Munico Patones.
1 A Little Too Rowdy
Way back in the day, Rowdy Roddy Piper had a match against Bad News Brown. That’s about all the background information I can give you, because I have no idea how to justify why Piper thought it necessary to paint himself half black in all the promotional videos leading up to the match. The whole thing was bizarre to see when it happened live, so why someone would want to capture it for all eternity with a toy is something I can not fathom.
Here we have a hunk of plastic that refuses to let us ever forget how low wrestling sinks, showing us a bizarre gimmick that nobody enjoyed. I guarantee that no kids ever asked their parents for this toy, because it is both stupid and ugly to look at. I know I earlier labeled myself as a Roddy Piper fan, but moments like this make me want to retract that statement.