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: HIGHSPOTS ULTIMATE NOVELTY ITEM GRAB-BAG SPECIAL.
As mentioned in a previous Merch Table, we love Highspots. It’s really easy to lose half an hour just clicking through their site and looking at all the wacky merch from days gone by but there’s always been one thing on their site that stands out above all the others – their ‘ultimate novelty item grab-bag‘.
After the fun I had with the TNA brown bag special, I was ready for another challenge to test my abilities as the Internet’s foremost merchologist. However, I really wasn’t prepared for the sheer volume of stuff Highspots would send – seriously, check it out:
How am I even meant to tackle that? It took a lot of thought, but ultimately, it seemed like the best way to hold onto my sanity was to follow the example of Dante and descend into my own personal Inferno. With that in mind, join me now as I take a journey through The Nine Circles of Merch. LET’S GET STARTED.
First Circle of Merch: VHS tapes
Okay, we’re off to a shaky start, since I have literally no way of watching this. As a result, it’ll remain suspended in its plastic wrapping for eternity (or at least until I offload it on an unsuspecting Goodwill store).
If I was going to really go with the whole Dante’s Inferno metaphor, then this’d make for the perfect ‘limbo’… but look, that’s too much work, so forget it. Just forget it.
Second Circle of Merch: Back-to-School supplies
Everything you’d need to cement yourself as ‘that creepy wrestling kid’ in the new school year, including:
A Stone Cold Steve Austin notepad with a wacky lenticular thing on the front so you can see Steve Austin’s face turn into a SPOOOOOOOKY SKULL YA DUMB SUMBITCH.
A Triple H folder, perfect for holding your notes on which guys aren’t ready, as well as a fifty page dissertation on how that one match with Randy Orton was actually a really worthy Wrestlemania main event.
Two nWo Wolfpac pencils, which could double as chopsticks, should you need to show your allegiance to the red and black while eating sushi. Spicy tuna rolls f-f-f-f-f-for life.
Third Circle of Merch: Action figure accessories
What am I supposed to do with a tiny action figure sized replica NWA Heavyweight Championship belt? Pit all my action figures in a massive battle royal for it, of course! It was a pretty brutal fight, but in the end, there could only be one victor:
ALL HAIL NWA CHAMPION SHREDDER. And… hold on, the new champ’s got something to say:
“Looking at this beautiful tiny action figure sized replica NWA Heavyweight Championship belt, I think back to all the former great competitors who held it… from the Raphaels, to the Michaelangelos… to the Donatellos, the Leonardos and the… Splinters…
…AND THEY CAN ALL KISS MY ASS.”
SON OF A BITCH HE THREW THE BELT DOWN. THIS WAS not IN THE SCRIPT. CUT THE MIC, SOMEBODY CUT THE DAMN MIC.
And honestly, the tiny action figure sized replica NWA Heavyweight Championship belt never really recovered after that incident. Sure, there were still a few champions worthy of the belt’s legacy, like Darkseid…
…and Judge Death…
…but it was never as big a deal as it used to be. In fact, the last I heard, Bowser-on-a-motorcycle won it from MODOK in a mid-card match on a New Japan show:
A sad end for a once prestigious title.
Fourth Circle of Merch: Cards and stickers
HOLY SHIT I GOT A LOT OF THESE. I ended up just giving away half the packs to friends and family for Christmas (SORRY GUYS), but I still ended up with some good ‘uns, including:
DDP, grabbing at his crotch like a disgusting pervert.
Mark Henry, looking EXTREMELY seductive.
Roddy Piper, also looking delicious.
The Bushwhackers, wearing some life preservers for no good reason.
Fifth Circle of Merch: Jewelry
Calling any of this ‘jewelry’ is giving it FAR too much credit, but man, I don’t know how else to classify it. I can’t just term it ‘useless shit’ because really, have you seen the rest of the stuff I got? It’d all end up falling into that category! Anyway, here we have:
A Rey Mysterio rubber bracelet. Remember when these were a thing? That was a weird time. Thanks a lot, Lance Armstrong.
A Carlito necklace. I like apples okay, but I don’t think they’re even close to being the coolest fruit. Not when you’ve got stuff like bananas and pineapples and mangoes and such.
The perfect way to show your appreciation for a man who got kicked out of the military, Randy Orton dog tags.
Sixth Circle of Merch: Ornaments
Imagine if Ric Flair came over on Christmas. He’d drink all your booze, stick his dick in the trifle and then start crying and bleeding everywhere. Nobody needs that, Ric! Especially not on Christmas.
Seventh Circle of Merch: Bumper stickers
THE RED AND BLACK IS BACK, BROTHER. I got doubles of each of these, so now I have six bumper stickers to put on the zero cars I own. As a result, I’m strongly considering just slapping them onto the cars of my neighbours and seeing how long they stay there. Would that count as vandalism or does the value of a car go up dramatically if it’s marked as under the protection of Goldberg?
Eighth Circle of Merch: Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash leers at you seductively from his perspex prison. “Why not come let me out, baby?” he asks, flipping his beautiful hair.
Gingerly, you approach. ‘Big Sexy’ smirks, turning around to show off his numbering. “I’m… collectible. Only one of 5,000.”
His eyes locked on yours as you move closer. He licks his lips.
Your soul is his.
Ninth Circle of Merch: CDs
WELL FUCK. For some reason, they sent me two copies of this masterpiece:
There is no reason for anyone to own one copy of ‘Hulk Rules’ by Hulk Hogan and the Wrestling Boot Band, let alone two. What the hell, Highspots?
The liner notes do make a compelling argument for physical media being superior to digital downloads though; just check out this adorable picture of Hulk holding a guitar on a motorbike:
But what about the songs? While other sites have already covered the wonder of ‘Hulk Rules’, I felt obliged to listen to it and give my own thoughts. Here’s the rub though – I’ve uploaded all the songs so HA HA FUCKER, NOW YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO THEM TOO.
1. Hulkster’s In The House
The title references being ‘in the house’ but it’s not a rap?!? Unacceptable. Also, he rhymes ‘room’ with ‘move’. A poor opener.
2. American Made
Remember when Abyss used a version of this as his theme? We love 2010 TNA. This is actually not too terrible (or at least when graded on the extremely steep curve that is ‘Hulk Rules’).
3. Hulkster’s Back
FINALLY, THIS ONE’S A RAP, YASSS. Hulk sounds like his mouth’s going to explode in a flurry of spit and moustache as he struggles to get all the rhymes out. A female voice (possibly Linda?) encourages us to ‘check out the pythons, baby’. No thanks!
4. Wrestling Boot Travelling Band
Weirdly relaxing elevator music, until Jimmy Hart starts crooning. Having said that, this is actually… kind of great? More Jimmy Hart singing, please.
5. Bad To The Bone
No, it’s sadly not Hulk screaming along to a cover of the more famous ‘Bad to the Bone’, it’s just Jimmy Hart going on about motorcycles. I take back all the nice things I just said about the ‘Mouth of the South’, this is a shiter.
6. I Want To Be A Hulkamaniac
More Hulk rapping. I got 40 seconds in before bailing, how about you?
7. Beach Patrol
THE STORY OF THE SONG: Hulk goes to the beach, listens to rap / heavy metal, makes out with ladies and gets into confrontations. Only worth listening to for Hulk saying ‘whoop there it is’.
8. Hulk’s The One
This is DEFINITELY Linda singing! You can see where Brooke got her unique musical ‘talent’ from. Just dreadful.
9. Hulkster In Heaven
Probably the most infamous song from the album! Hulk sings about how the death of one of his fans affected him in a super cringey way.
10. Hulk Rules
Another warning against messing with the Hulkster (if you do, he’ll ‘rearrange your teeth’, but PLEASE BE AWARE that Hogan is no longer a licensed orthodontist so you shouldn’t take him up on that offer).
Was it worth it?
For 10 dollars, I received a bag full of crap that I now have no idea what to do with. However, the experience of going through it all was incredibly fun – I can’t explain just how happy I was at opening up the pack of cards to see that picture of Mark Henry looking snappy in his suit.
So, to answer the question, yes, it was 100% worth it. Why not buy one for yourself and see what terrible stuff you end up getting? Though HEY, don’t blame me if you end up with two copies of ‘Hulk Rules’ as well. We’re all adults here and that’s just a risk you’ll have to take.
- @tomblackett WILL return with another new Merch Table next week. Until then, be sure to tweet him @tomblackett or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any terrible merch scoops. 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.