Wrestling companies make merchandise. It’s usually pretty bad, but sometimes, it’s terrible. Welcome to The Merch Table.
Every week, @TomBlargh will look at some of the awful merch that someone expects you to buy. Up this week: PLUSH TOYS SPECIAL.
Plush interpretations of wrestlers have always been a bit troubling. These are big sweaty dudes who typically aren’t particularly cuddly or cute, so they’re generally not the best candidates to be made into plush forms (PLEASE NOTE, THERE ARE ALWAYS EXCEPTIONS).
However, kids need merch so wrestling companies found a way to make plush toys, regardless of how unsuitable and horrific they are! LET’S GET STARTED.
Val Venis teddy bear
OH NO, VAL VENIS MERCH. As far as I can tell, the bear isn’t meant to be Val Venis, he’s just a wrestling bear who happens to be the number one Val fan. Also, he’s a champion of some description (UNSURE WHICH ONE BECAUSE THE FRONT OF THE BELT HAS RUBBED OFF, PLEASE DON’T ASK ME HOW IT RUBBED OFF, DON’T REALLY WANNA THINK ABOUT THAT).
Anyway, long story short, this is why you never ever ever make Val Venis merchandise for kids:
Triple H Burger King plush toy
I like that the plush version of Triple H has let himself go to the point that he’s reduced to wrestling in a t-shirt to hide that big ol’ belly. The other explanation is that the Burger King and WWE execs had a back-and-forth about whether or not they wanted to feature male nipples on their kids toys, which is pretty wonderful to imagine.
Scotty 2 Hotty plush worm
“Hey, what expression should we give this plush worm representation of Scotty 2 Hotty?”
“How about ‘angry scream’?”
“FUCK IT, THAT’LL DO.”
Undertaker plush toy
Uh oh, it’s our first half plush / half plastic mutant hybrid toy! I guess the rationale is that they wanted the huggable qualities of plush and the capacity for intricate detail that only plastic can provide, but when you look up close at this one…
…well, maybe they shouldn’t have bothered.
As far as I can tell, the major selling point of ‘Bangers’ is that all the wrestlers are made to look completely deranged or otherwise out of character. So, you’ve got such treats as…
Stone Cold Steve Austin, with a big happy psychotic grin!
Loveable, huggable Kane!
‘Bashful’ Billy Gunn!
Triple H, as played here by William Regal!
Road Dogg, looking… I mean, I can’t really tell, but his dreads look like big tasty sausages, and that’s enough to get featured.
Awkward TNA Picture of the Week
The star of this week’s Awkward TNA Picture of the Week is…
…the now-departed Mr. Anderson, sporting a black eye. The subtext here is that if you wear a Mr. Anderson shirt, you can expect to be have random acts of violence inflicted upon you. Stay safe, kids.
Rey Mysterio plush toy
When you first look at this, you’d probably make the assumption that this was produced by WCW during that awkward period where they unmasked Rey:
However, you’re wrong! It’s a WWE product, so it came with a mask that must have been stitched in, but the kid just ripped it off to solve the mystery of what unmasked Rey Mysterio looks like. The answer?
PUT THE MASK BACK ON.
Triple H plush bear
“Hey, how can we make bondage Conan-esque Triple H more unsettling?”
“Hmm… well, we could put him in teddy bear form?”
“PERFECT, I LOVE IT.”
Goldberg plush toy
Another weird one. For some reason, they decided to make Bill’s top half out of plastic BUT they made his waist and legs plush. I have literally no idea why. Maybe Goldberg had a clause in his contract saying that all toy representations of him had to properly capture how deliciously firm his torso was, but he forgot to add in anything covering his legs? I dunno.
Anyway, have fun hugging Goldberg’s legs, kids! YOU PERVERTS.
Sting plush toy
Yo Stinger, where your nipples at, man? Where your nipples? WHERE THE FUCK YOUR NIPPLES AT, STING? WHERE ARE THEY? WHERE ARE YOUR NIPPLES?
Crisis on Infinite Hulksters
HULK HOGAN HAS HAD A SHIT LOAD OF PLUSH TOYS MADE OF HIM. Here’s a fun retrospective of some of the worst ones:
THE CLASSIC. Nothing wrong with this. Perfectly huggable, the bandana covers up Hulk’s receding hairline so kids aren’t forced to question the passage of time and their own mortality and his face is relatively sane:
…look, I said ‘relatively’. It’s a sliding scale, y’know?
Jumping forward, we have nWo-era ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan. Not quite as delightful as the wrestling buddy version, but it’s still mostly fine (aside from the weedy arms):
The face is also as smug and five-o’-clock-shadowy as you’d hope for:
HEY GUYS, imagine if Hulk Hogan was a dog! what do you think he’d look like?
Sure, probably a bit like that.
AND NOW THINGS GET WEIRD.
ATTENTION: PSYCHOTIC PLUSH HOGAN MUST BE KEPT BEHIND PLASTIC AT ALL TIMES.
ALERT, ALERT, PSYCHOTIC PLUSH HOGAN HAS ESCAPED FROM HIS PLASTIC CONTAINMENT FACILITY. HE’S COMING RIGHT FOR YOU!
Still, that’s nothing on our final version of the Hulkster. I think it’s technically a tie-in to Hogan’s performance as ‘Thunderlips’ in Rocky III, but it’s too bewildering not to include:
Jesus. Fucking. Christ. I have literally no idea where to start with this. From his passive, horrifically detailed face to his tiny-baby hands and lack of any discernible feet, it’s maybe the ultimate example of why wrestlers shouldn’t be put into plush form.
Anyway! That’s it. Enjoy your nightmares, and I’ll see you next week.
– @TomBlargh WILL return with another new Merch Table next week. Until then, be sure to tweet him @TomBlargh 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.