Wrestling companies make merchandise. It’s usually pretty bad, but sometimes, it’s terrible. Welcome to The Merch Table.
Every week, @tomblackett will look at some of the awful merch that someone expects you to buy. Up this week: COMMERCIALS SPECIAL.
Commercials for wrestling merchandise are often more interesting than the products they’re meant to be advertising, especially when the wrestlers are starring in them – when you get wrestlers doing anything but wrestle, you’re really rolling the dice.
Obviously, the undisputed king of shilling merch is and always will be Don West. I haven’t featured him in this column, if only because a) it’d make all the others look terrible in comparison and b) his merch-selling masterpieces tend to be, like, 12 minutes long. With that disclaimer out the way, LET’S GET STARTED.
WWF catalog commercial, starring Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire
This is the BEST. I could watch Dusty sell anything – anyone who’s not in the market for an ‘Ultimate Warrior SUHCK CUHP’ after watching this is DEAD inside.
His dynamic with Sapphire is also something that makes me laugh every time – he’s clearly frustrated by her being completely clueless, but he’s so locked into the happy-go-lucky Dusty character that it’s just bubbling under the surface.
WCW catalog commercial, starring Sting and Johnny B. Badd
“OFFICIAL WCW STUFF!” No real explanation of what it is, just a voiceover guy shouting about it over and over while Sting and Johnny tool around. They might as well be shouting ‘OFFICIAL WCW SHIT! JUST BUY IT!’
WWF action figures commercial, hosted by Roddy Piper
Watching three of these in a row is an experience, man. Having Piper host is probably not the best idea, since he sets a benchmark of crazy intensity that no-one else can top.
I think only the Macho King comes close to challenging Piper for his crazy toy shilling crown, especially when he has a mental breakdown while arguing with a sassy talking Hulkster doll:
Hulk Hogan doll: Hulkster rules, brother!
Macho King: NOT IN MY KINGDOM, HOGAN!
Hulk Hogan doll: Feel the power of Hulkamania!
Macho King: AHHHHHH!
WWF: The Music, Volume 2 commercial, starring Vader, Mankind, The Undertaker and Stone Cold
Vader on drums! Mankind on piano! Undertaker on cymbals! Stone Cold on lead guitar! THE ULTIMATE WRESTLING SUPERGROUP.
WCW 1994 merchandise commercial
Unlike all the other commercials, this one sadly doesn’t star a wrestler. HOWEVER, the kid they chose is still worth watching because he seems half-stoned while encouraging us to buy foam fingers, fan paks (?!?), tote bags, championship belts and ‘something for everyone’.
ECW figures commercial, starring Tommy Dreamer, Justin Credible, RVD, Lance Storm and Taz
IT’S TIME FOR TOY COMMERCIALS TO GET… EXTREME. And wow, action figure commercials really get super creepy when you don’t have a couple of kids being the ones actually playing with them.
Between Dreamer, Justin Credible, Lance Storm and RVD, it’s a very weird combination of guys. Taz is in there too, though it’s very telling that he’s kept by himself, probably because he’s not allowed to play with the others.
Awkward TNA Picture of the Week
The star of this week’s Awkward TNA Picture of the Week is…
…AJ STYLES, although it looks like they accidentally used Steve Blackman’s likeness for his new action figure (NOTE: I AM NOT COMPLAINING, WE LOVE STEVE BLACKMAN).
WWF Toys R Us commercial, starring Mean Gene and the Legion of Doom
The idea of Mean Gene curling up in an Ultimate Warrior slumber bag is delightful (and look, I have no idea how a ‘slumber bag’ is different to a sleeping bag, so please don’t ask).
I also don’t know what the Legion of Doom are doing wandering around Toys R Us, but they get pretty defensive when poor old Gene starts inadvertently referencing a bunch of their dastardly opponents. Don’t blame Gene for your word association, Road Warriors! Seek professional help and work on your psychological issues!
WCW Bashin’ Brawlers commercial, starring Kevin Nash, DDP, Sting and Goldberg
You might remember these guys from a previous Merch Table, but this is the first time I’ve seen them in action! And man, I had no idea they talked. It’s a kind of cool gimmick that they say different stuff depending on which part of them they’re punishing, though the delivery of “YOU’RE BREAKING MY leg” is a little off.
Also, that’s CLEARLY not Kevin Nash’s voice coming out of his doll. You can imagine the marketing team pitching it to Big Sexy and Nash just sauntering off laughing. Wolfpac f-f-f-f-for life.
ECW Hardcore Cafe shirt commercial, starring Stevie Richards, The Blue Meanie and intellectual property theft
It’s amazing that Paul Heyman paid for the rights to use ‘Here Comes the Hotstepper’ in a commercial for an ECW t-shirt! Sort of weird that they didn’t get the Public Enemy to be the ones advertising it, given it’s their theme music, but Stevie and Meanie… well, they do their best.
WCW blue denim Monday Nitro shirts commercial, starring Debra and Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael
Always save the best for last! Debra’s motto of “you can never have too much money or too many blue denim Monday Nitro shirts in your wardrobe” is incredible. $40 though, yikes. And that’s mid-90s money!
Want more Merch Table? You can check out our archive of past Merch Tables here. Tom is also the chairman of the WCW Comic Book Reading Club, if you want to read his thoughts on the greatest comic in the history of our sport.