JG's Columns JG's Ten Awful Pieces Of Official Wrestling Merchandise
By James Guttman
Feb 1, 2012 - 11:24 AM
I'm a John Cena snowman.
I am a weird, disturbing little abomination of both holidays and decency.
Hanging me on your Christmas tree would frighten Santa away and force him to rethink giving you gifts.
But guess what.
WWE made me.
Because you bought me.
Maybe not you, specifically, but you or other fans like you. It's more common than you think. Tell them more about it, Triple H Garden Gnome.
I am the Gnome!
My plans include holding this hammer and burying the Travelocity Garden Gnome.
I too was made because of eager fans with disposable income.
If the Cena Snowman on a String and I don't convince you that companies produce some insane products, then just take a look at this…
And that's not even one of the ones listed here.
With that, James Guttman takes over and presents Ten Awful Pieces of Official Wrestling Merchandise.
Around 1992, WWF came along with WWF Superstars Cereal.
I didn't remember the exact year myself, but rather gleaned it from the WrestleMania 8 ticket contest on the box.
You could win tickets to see WrestleMania!
The only catch?
You have to eat this horrid piece of crap cereal to get the chance.
In my lifetime, I've never had a worse cereal.
For those who remember Crispy Critters, that's what WWF Cereal was like.
For those that don’t, it's like Mr. T Cereal was.
If you don't know either one, just think of a puffier version of Alphabits.
If you don't know what Alphabits are, then I don't know what to tell you.
The biggest problem with this puffy nightmare was that if you put it in milk, it immediately turned into a wet cotton ball.
It barely retained its shape until you touched it with a spoon.
Then it would break apart into little gross pieces of saturated kibble.
It was awful.
Just like the demise of WWF New York and the Nitro Grill proved to the world that wrestling companies can't do dinner, WWF Cereal proved the same for breakfast.
Rule of thumb - unless it's ice cream, it's usually a good idea to skip the rasslin' themed munchies.
WWF LCD Games
Nowadays, people complain a lot about WWE's line of games from THQ.
WWE '12 is the latest installment of the console game series that has driven fans up a wall with reported glitches and problems.
Things are removed.
Modes are limited.
The graphics sometimes flash and blink.
However, the fans who complain the loudest are the ones who are too young to remember the god awful black and gray hospital-like beeping of WWF LCD games like this one.
For those lucky enough to not remember the era of these monstrosities let me fill you in.
The general principle was the same for all of them, but the idea was that you were Hulk Hogan and fighting Andre The Giant.
You could go three directions - up, down, or…uh, stay still.
So I guess that's not a direction.
I take it back.
You can only go in two directions.
Keeps getting better.
When you happened to pick the right spot (up, down, or middle) before Andre does, you get to hit him with a move.
That was the game.
There was no real programming to it.
It was just a series of pictures already mounted on the screen and the appropriate image would light up depending on what you chose.
If you pressed your finger on the screen itself, it would turn weird colors and reveal all the images.
It also broke your WWF LCD game because it was a piece of garbage.
Making things infinitely worse was the sound.
Gamers today moan about Michael Cole calling the wrong moves or Jerry Lawler repeating himself on the Xbox.
Well, something tells me they would tear their hair out with the great sound effects from these gems.
What sound effects?
This went on and on until you won or went insane.
As a kid, I remember playing my Hogan-Andre one while driving along in my Aunt's car.
She asked me if I could turn it off and then posed a question that, even as a child who hadn't yet seen how good video games would be in the new Millennium yet, made me wonder the same thing:
"Do they purposely try to make those games annoying?
Why didn't they just choose no sound at all instead of annoying beeping?"
She was right.
But the beeps remained a mainstay.
From the WCW one -
To the ones a decade later -
...to the wristwatches that had less to do with telling time and more about
booping Rick Rude.
"What I'd like to have right now is for all you fat, out of shape, wristwatch wearing warthogs...keep the noise down while I press these buttons and show your ladies what a real Bee-Boop looks like. Hit the bee-boops!"
The Four Horsemen had their own vitamins.
Some people actually bought them too.
Honestly, though, I'm guessing it was because they assumed, like everyone else did, that the vitmains were made from Cocaine.
Good assumption, though.
No one can fault you for that.
These things are the stuff that legends are made of.
The Four Horsemen - wheelin', dealin', kiss stealin', vitamin poppin', uh…floor moppin', sons of guns - were the big cash cow for Jim Crocket Promotions in the 1980s.
Because of that, they wanted to merchandise them on anything they could.
They had to find some sort of way to supplement the advertising income from Roos (shoes for your feet, pockets for your stuff).
The following video shows you both the commercial for these putrid pills with no Cocaine in them along with Arn Anderson and Ric Flair speaking about how dumb the idea was in hindsight.
If you notice, The Nature Boy even swallows some himself in an effort to show that the Horsemen do, in fact, take the vitamins.
Wrestling companies love foam.
I believe many 80s promoters secretly owned the foam industry and tried to find ways to charge upwards of $10 for a piece of crap that was nothing more than a cut up hospital pillow.
Fingers, thumbs, hands, and more all became foam staples in wrestling.
Whether you were telling Hulk Hogan he was #1 or showing the N.W.O. Wolfpac Sign with a giant hand, foam determined your alliances and showed the world where your allegiances lay.
It showed it in a big way.
Well, imagine your favorite wrestler, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, carries a giant piece of wood to the ring.
Just a piece of wood.
You could find it at any Home Depot, general building store, or on the street.
Prices could range from $3 to free.
For that price, you can have the exact thing he has.
Do you buy it?
You can make it yourself.
Hell, cut up a cardboard box and tape it into the shape of a long rectangle.
A fine upstanding 2x4 to wave in the air to show your support.
Do you do that instead?
You see, both those things would make sense.
You buy a piece of foam, shaped to look like a piece of wood, for $10 and hold its wilted shape in the air all hoping you get put on TV.
Let's really think about this for a
The guy carries wood to the ring.
Easy to find.
Easy to buy.
WWF, though, can't sell you wood.
Because kids would kill each other with it.
Not just dumb kids too.
I can't imagine WWF selling me the exact wooden beam Jim Duggan hits people with and me not smashing someone's head in with it during a fit of maniacal wrestling-fan rage.
So, luckily for any friends I had in 1990, WWF didn't give us wood.
They had to make it out of something else.
I get that.
So what did they choose?
The exact opposite of wood.
Unlike wood, you can't use it to hit people without looking like a douche as it flaps in the wind.
Also unlike wood, it can be easily ripped in half.
Anyone I knew who ever had one, had it in at least two pieces.
It didn't look like wood.
It didn't feel like wood.
When you held it in the air, it bent over.
You may be screaming out "HO!" while you hold it, but if a real one ever saw you all wilted over like that, she'd laugh at you.
In the end, enough fans loved Hacksaw to purchase this slap in the face to capitalism and, to the best of my knowledge, no kid killed anyone with one.
The most you could do is strangle someone with it and even that would take a lot of effort on your part.
The Sin Cara Penis T-Shirt
This one is really recent, but I couldn't not have it on the list.
I mean, how do you not include a t-shirt that has a picture of your newest masked star standing defiantly with his arms crossed while a clearly outlined wiener hangs stretched over his torso with, what appears to be, slime dripping down from his hips?
They made that shirt.
They put it on their website.
Then they took it down.
No one looked at this thing first?
It's not exactly a hidden image.
You don't stare at it for hours in order to see a pink elephant or whatever like those magic pictures that used to hang in my doctor's office and I could never see and it would be so frustrating that I'd scream, "WHERE IS IT?!
I JUST SEE LINES!"
until the nurse would threaten to call the police and then…
I'm getting off track.
What I'm saying is, it's right there!
Even Cara himself didn't say, "Uh, I'm not really on board with this"?
Maybe it's just me, but if the company I worked for sent me an image of a penis hanging over a slimed up picture of myself, I'd probably ask them to hold off on using it in any promotional material.
Of course, this is the company that thought it made good sense to put "Blow Me…" on the front of a Trish Stratus shirt.
With "…Into the Stratus-phere" on the back.
Chances are, most people just write you off as a sleazeball and walk away. Those who don't though - ah, those are the ones you take home to mom.
Dear Billy, This shirt doesn't have male genitals on it. Love, Sin Cara
Vibrating WCW Figures
Speaking of your mom, in 2007
, I interviewed Kevin Nash on ClubWWI.comand he left me with my favorite closing moment from any interview.
We were right around Christmas and Kevin mentioned all the dolls he had on sale for the holidays.
It became almost funny because he had so many out at the time.
So after he pitched them all, I told site members,
"Be sure you pick up all Kevin's dolls for the holidays.
And, if you have his vibrating WCW figure, uh…"
And without missing a beat, Nash goes,
"Give that one to mom!"
I mean, what else do you think of when I tell you WCW made vibrating action figures?
I don't mean they jumped around or vibrated when they did moves.
I meant they genuinely vibrated like a "shoulder massager" at a bridal shower.
It was sick.
For those really lonely times.
They sold this non-toy in toy stores too. It wasn't an "adult themed" item, although looking back years later, it definitely seems that way. The vibration didn't make the toys look like they were wrestling or interacting with each other. It looked like they were having seizures or imitating Beavis's,
Yeah WCW sold some really weird stuff. Smell this one…
WCW Nitro Cologne
This insanity really happened. I'd let you watch the commercial, but they took it down because, well...why not?
So, let me sum it up for you.
Madusa, fresh off of making the biggest little mistake of her career, comes out to angrily shill WCW Nitro cologne - a genuine product available for purchase through WCW.
When she does, she complains about not wanting to do it and then throws it on a screaming Bobby Heenan, who spends the segment telling you how bad it smells.
A part of me wants to just rewrite that entire paragraph because it takes a moment to really sink in.
Wrestling cologne is a punch line.
It's a joke.
It's bottled sweat and bronzer.
When I think of pro wrestling, I don't think of smelling nice.
In fact, everyone knows that were always some wrestlers that you watch sweating and huffing through a match when one of your friends says,
I bet he smells so bad.
I'd hate to wrestle him."
That's when you bust out your Nitro cologne and pour it on your head.
It becomes like a challenge on Fear Factor.
"You'd hate to wrestle him?!
I'M WEARING HIM, BITCH!"
AWA Steel Cage Playset
I have to admit, I didn't watch much AWA in the 1980s. I lived in New York and, although it aired on TV here, I think Vince McMahon built some sort of Lex Luthor-like radio wave scrambler that blocked it from my childhood memories. The few times I did get to see it was much later on in its existence
The only figures I got along with it that Christmas were The Road Warriors and Paul Ellering. So all I could do was make them fight each other. I had a ton of WWF figures but they were incompatible because they all towered over the AWA guys in what can only be seen as a crazy amount of 1980s action figure symbolism.
I should also correct something else.
I said they had to "fight" each other.
That's not true.
You didn't "fight" with the AWA Steel Cage Playset.
Here's what you did…
See those slats on the side of the cage up there?
They ones that are barely half an inch wide?
See that hook thing that's sort of laying up there on the cage?
It looks like a half-inch wide robot arm?
You got it already.
You put the figure on the hook and then stuck the hook through the hole.
The hole was just large enough to make you go side to side awkwardly.
The guys didn't really "fight".
They more or less, well, dry-humped.
But that's just nitpicking.
Of course, you could take the cage off and just play with it normally.
Did I say "of course, you COULD"?
I meant, of course, you can't.
You can't take the stupid cage off and when I tried to do it, I broke it.
I could never get passed the Robby The Robot arm.
For some reason, I keep thinking that if you use the vibrating WCW dolls with this robotic ring, you might be able to travel through time.
Anyone know the number for Mythbusters?
WWF Shoot Out Hockey
Around the early 90s, Vince McMahon had figured out that he could put wrestlers on anything and people would buy it.
They made LCD games where Mario was replaced by Hulk Hogan and Donkey Kong was replaced by Andre the Giant.
They made playing cards where suits were replaced by Superstars.
And they made a foosball-table hockey game where hockey players were replaced by wrestlers.
Are you familiar with toy hockey games?
Then we have nothing more to discuss. That's exactly what this was.
Well, there was one difference from normal hockey games.
Normal hockey games don't have a drawing on the box of Hulk Hogan electrocuting himself while playing a much better version of the game against a kid who must hit his head a lot.
WWF Squirt Heads
That says Squirt Head.
It sounds like something Eddie Haskell called the Beaver.
A WWF Squirt Head was a reshaped rubber duck that shot water out of a hole in its teeth.
That's all it was.
But, like Hockey Players, ducks were too replaced by the grimacing glare of WWF's early 90s Superstars.
Each one featured a big black hole in the middle of his bright white smile.
It made each Squirt Head look like a reject from the Little Rascals.
It was distracting.
When you put them all together, it's like a convention for people with gaps in their front teeth.
But the real fun comes from filling these heads with water and squeezing them into your crying friend's face.
You chase him around and prepare to smoosh the life out of Marty Jannetty head, fatally drenching your buddy with roughly two tablespoons of water!
It's getting intense.
Will he be covered and forced to wipe his forehead with the back of his sleeve?
The tension mounts as he cowers in the corner…
Well it's not.
Most kids already have squirt heads - their own.
If they want to drench their friends with water from their mouths, they just spit on them.
Childhood is a scary place.
Squirt Heads just make it scarier.