From vintage souvenir fan club packages to the irresistible charm of 1950s board games, unwrap the joy of nostalgia with these twelve timeless classic wrestling Christmas gifts of years past. Each item will transport you back to the golden era of wrestling home entertainment and evoke cherished memories of Christmas mornings past!
1 – The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express Fan Club Package
“On the first day of Christmas…” During the height of their popularity, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and Jim Crockett Promotions offered fans a chance to get a souvenir package from the popular tag team. For many fans, this was received as a special Christmas gift.
Included in this prize pack was a bandana, a life-sized poster of the Express, and a copy of Ricky Morton’s ‘hit’ record, Boogie Woogie Dance Hall, among other items.
2 – WCW/nWo Revenge
WCW/nWo Revenge was released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 game console and features AKI’s revolutionary grappling system as well as improved graphics.
The game was quite a popular stocking stuffer. According to a 1999 article by IGN, Revenge was the best-selling wrestling game for the N64 console and, at the time, the top-selling third-party Nintendo game ever.
Revenge was the last AKI-developed WCW game for the Nintendo 64. The game is still popular as a ‘retro brand’ and is considered a ground-breaker of modern pro wrestling titles. Many fans consider this among the best WCW video games of all time.
3 – Verne Gagne Wrestling Game
Verne Gagne Wrestling is one of six games that were included in a grouping of games from the Gardner Company. All games came in the same box under the title of Big 6 Sports Games.
This is a simple spin and find-the-results game. Also included in the box with this game was Mickey Mantle’s Big League Baseball, All Star Football, Gardner’s Championship Golf, All Star Basketball, and Gardner’s Stock Car Race.
Released in 1956, Verne Gagne Wrestling was a popular birthday and Christmas gift and is possibly the oldest wrestling game and one of the earliest examples of merchandising in pro wrestling.
Today, the Gagne game is somewhat scarce, and a copy with all of the pieces in good condition typically sells in the $75-100 range.
4 – WWF Rage in the Cage
WWF Rage in the Cage was released just in time for Christmas on December 21, 1993, and it was the first WWF game to feature actual video footage.
This arcade-style classic, developed by Sculptured Software and published by Arena Entertainment, was available for the Sega CD gaming system.
Featuring 20 wrestlers, the 16-bit game included standard matches, no-holds-barred matches, tournament mode, and steel cage matches.
Although there were no tag team modes available, the 20-wrestler roster remained the biggest in a game for six years. The title became one of the company’s most popular video game releases, helping usher in the next era of wrestling gaming.
5 – Bret “The Hitman” Hart Sunglasses
When Bret Hart entered the WWF in the mid-’80s, he didn’t have a lot of experience cutting intricate promos. During this time, Hart began wearing his signature mirrored sunglasses, initially to conceal his nervousness when on the microphone.
Little did he know that just a few years later, they would be part of his look as the WWF World Champion.
As Hart elevated to singles success, one of his trademarks became those unique sets of shades, which were sort of a ‘mirrored visor’ style. Within time, one of his gimmicks would be to give the pair he was wearing to a young fan at ringside.
The trend eventually sparked the sunglasses being made a part of the company’s merchandising machine, fast becoming a popular Christmas item for fans. In fact, these vintage shades are still a popular gift item today!
6 – The Spinner Belt
John Cena unveiled the ‘spinner’ version of the WWE belt on April 11th, 2005, on SmackDown. While it was originally scoffed at by longtime observers of the sport, it gained favorable reviews from an important sector of the audience: children.
Capitalizing on Cena’s rising popularity and mass appeal, the company introduced the Spinner Belt for sale by Christmas of that same year. It was incredibly successful; the belt began popping up all over arenas as Cena became wrestling’s biggest star. Several versions of the toy replica remain popular WWE merchandise items today.
A form of the actual title lasted for about eight years, with other champions adding their own personalized touches, and the title eventually becoming ‘un-spinnable.”
It was replaced on February 18th, 2013, in LaFayette, Louisiana. The Rock would unveil the new belt and stated (perhaps ironically) that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship “should never look like a toy.”
7 – WWF LGN Bendies
Originally released in 1986, The WWF Bendies line was a miniature duplicate of the original 8″ series of action figures. They featured the same using the same paint scheme and pose as their taller version.
The difference was that they were much smaller and had metal wire inside, allowing the toys to bend. There were 18 figures with unique molds plus one major and several minor variations. The only major variant is the Hulk Hogan, which has blue knee pads instead of red and is taller than the rest of the line.
8 – WWF Attitude Cologne
WWF Attitude Cologne, released during the boom of The Monday Night Wars Era, was marketed by the World Wrestling Federation around the same time that rival WCW was branding a fragrance of their own.
A television ad featuring the eau de toilette promised that it would give the wearer a shot of “Attitude!”
9 – WCW ‘Nitro for Men’ Cologne
Wrestling fans and smells? Perhaps wrestling companies at the time were onto something!
“This robust and hearty fragrance brings to mind the manly scents of elderwood and cold-pressed steel. Its rich aroma assails the olfactory glands with the force of a perfectly executed pile-driver.” — Original marketing for WCW ‘Nitro for Men.
Nitro for Men was a men’s fragrance by WCW launched in 2000.
This eau de toilette was aimed toward the 18-30-year-old male and came in a light turquoise packaging featuring the company’s logo.
A 3.4 oz bottle cost approximately 20 dollars upon its release. Today, the remaining bottles of WCW Nitro for Men are regularly listed online for over 200 dollars, depending on condition.
10 – WWF Wrestling Buddies
Time Magazine once placed WWF Wrestling Buddies in their All-Time 100 Greatest Toys list. For good reason, too. Almost every fan had them, and they made the perfect Christmas gift, too!
Introduced in the 1980s, WWF Wrestling Buddies showcased the softer, more cuddly aspect of professional wrestling. Catering to wrestling’s younger audience, these Buddies provided parents with a welcome alternative, allowing kids to express their enthusiasm for wrestling without the concern of actual violence, as these plush toys were designed in the likeness of elite pro wrestling personalities, such as Ultimate Warrior, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, and more.
The trend even extended to superheroes like Spider-Man, enabling iconic figures such as Spidey and Hulk Hogan to form an unlikely alliance!
11 – AWA Remco Action Figures
The AWA Remco Action Figure line was produced from 1985 to 1986. The toys were made of a solid plastic pose with moveable waists, legs, arms, and heads. Most came with accessories, from outfits to championship belts.
While it’s often a misconception that the WWF started the wrestling ‘toy craze,’ this was actually the first line of wrestling figures for sale in the United States.
This set was released in packages containing 2 or 3 figures, as opposed to the standard one in a pack. The only figures available in single-figure packs were part of the final series, the highly sought-after Mat Mania set.
12 – The VCR WrestleMania Game
Originally released in 1988, this game used the good, old Video Cassette Recorder (VHR) to play along with your favorite stars and had Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan prominently featured on the cover.
The WrestleMania Game was part of the VCR Game series by Acclaim, which also included Hockey, Basketball, Golf, and Quarterbacks. The video consisted of over one hundred clips of matches, each clip lasting around a minute in length.
Players would advance on spaces and draw cards that either push them forward or back on the board – based on various wrestling moves. With one trip around the board, you win one fall. 2 out of 3 falls win the game. Players could also lose a match by going all the way backward, which is the game’s version of being ‘counted out.’
Whether it was Verne Gagne’s Wrestling Game from 1956 or the iconic WWF Wrestling Buddies introduced in the 1980s, these timeless treasures serve as more than mere artifacts. These classic wrestling gifts not only whisk you back in time but also gently stir cherished memories of Christmas mornings past.
Unwrapping the joy of nostalgia, these gifts stand as enduring symbols of the passion and excitement that wrestling has infused into fans’ lives over the years.
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