WWE action figures are poseable figures based upon wrestlers and personalities of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). They are currently manufactured by Mattel and have formerly been manufactured by Jakks and Hasbro. Currently, Mattel produce two separate series' of WWE action figures, marketed as "elite series" and "basic series". The basic series is generally at a lower price point with less (or no) accessories. The elite series generally comes with accessories such as shirts, weapons, and hats and have more points of joint manipulation.
While most commonly marketed as a toy, WWE action figures (as with other action figures) have gained widespread acceptance as collector items for adults. In such a case, the item may be produced and designed on the assumption it will be bought solely for display as a collectible and not to be played with like a child's toy
Main article: Wrestling Superstars
With the rise in popularity that the wrestling industry experienced during the 1980s, Titan Sports (the parent company of the WWF) contracted LJN to produce the first wrestling action figures in 1984. These figures were made of solid rubber and were very accurate in appearance to their real-life counterparts, however they did not have any articulation. The figures stood at 8" tall. In 1989 LJN closed its toy division, and the WWF contract was awarded to Hasbro.
Main article: WWF Hasbro action figures
Hasbro began producing the company's action figures in 1990. The toys were manufactured from plastic and although not fully articulated, had various spring-loaded action features such as punches and clotheslines, although they were not unique to each figure. For more info visit WWF Hasbro action figures.
Production of WWF/E toys by the Jakks Pacific corporation began in 1996, and ended in December 2009. Jakks started with the "Superstars" line. This continued until The Attitude Era where they began producing figures known as "WWF Titantron Live Figures" which contained a micro-chip that would trigger the specific Superstars entrance theme to play when used with "The Titantron" playset; they were also compatible with other products such as the "Trash Talkin' Stage." These figures continued production whilst the "R-3 Tech" line was introduced, figures in scale with one another, like WWE by Mattel. They continued this line until 2003. In 2003, Jakks started production of its most popular figure line, "Ruthless Aggression". These were a basic figure, often packaged with an accessory and featured 15 points of articulation. These figures went on to become the figures also featured in the "WWE Classic Superstars" line, showcasing the legends and alumni of WWE. This line contained 28 series, as well as numerous exclusives and limited edition figures. In 2006, Jakks began producing figures with 27 points of articulation, known as "WWE Deluxe Aggression". These even found their way into their own Classic Line, known as "WWE Classic Deluxe". There were 8 series of these figures, and were made right up until the end of Jakks Pacific's license expired with the WWE in December, 2009. Many different rings and playsets were also produced for the line. In September 2015, WWE announced a new partnership with Jakks Pacific to make new WWE-licensed products, with Mattel maintaining the master license for action figures.
Mattel took over production of WWE action figures. The new line-up was introduced on January 1, 2010 on wwe.com. The line included the "Basic" line, similar to the Jakks Pacific "Ruthless Aggression" line. These figures are available in single packs, or two-packs; the "Elite" line, similar to the Jakks Pacific "Deluxe Aggression" line, which features 26 points of articulation and is packaged with accessories such as masks, armbands, T-shirts, belts etc.; the "Flex Force" line, targeted at kids, which feature a Superstar-specific move such as a drop-kick or a clothesline. Mattel also released the "Entrance Greats" series of figures, which are Basic style figures, incredibly detailed with entrance gear worn by a superstar at a specific WrestleMania, such as Shawn Michaels in his entrance gear from WrestleMania XII. Mattel released various other lines such as the Superstar rings, available in either Raw, Smackdown or ECW designs; "Superstar Match-ups", a figure packaged with a wearable piece of attire for players such as Rey Mysterio and his mask; the "Flex-Force Breakdown Brawl Ring", a ring that has hot-spots for the Flex-Force series and has a collapsible ring mat. At Toyfair 2010, Mattel revealed the WWE Legends line. They are Elite style figures that also come with accessories. Series 1 includes Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat, Dusty Rhodes, Road Warrior Animal, Road Warrior Hawk, and Sgt. Slaughter. The Legends line produced 6 series' before its cancellation. Starting in 2012, new figures for this line were available on mattycollector.com with a release of one new figure every other month. The first figure in the line is André the Giant and the second is "Diamond" Dallas Page (DDP). The third figure in Mattel's legend series is King Kong Bundy. Fourth is Arn Anderson. The fifth is Tully Blanchard released in September 2012. The sixth was originally supposed to be Miss Elizabeth, but the company decided to release her in Mattel Elite Series 19 instead. The legend figures are now included in the Elite series line and are labeled as "Flashbacks". And more recently the Then Now Forever series was introduced which also features legend. Also the Epic Moments line was made which recalls epic moments as the name states shows epic moments that have happened in WWE. And the entrance greats have recently been changed to an elite form of figure.