The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Since the mid-1980s, when sports-entertainment ensnared the imaginations of children everywhere with such colorful personas as Hulk Hogan and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, WWE action figures have dominated toyboxes when compared to G.I. Joe, Batman and those sewer-dwelling reptiles dressed like Aldo Montoya.

From the earliest rubbery renditions of our favorite ’80s icons to Mattel’s current crop of hyper-realistic WWE action figures, there have been countless plastic ring warriors to collect. But which figures have earned a spot at the front of our toy shelves? WWE Classics counts down the 30 greatest WWE action figures of all time. Just don’t call them dolls. 


Cactus Jack (1998)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

In the days before toy companies could scan a Superstar’s head to create amazingly photo-realistic action figures, artists painstakingly sculpted faces and hair in an attempt to capture the essence of what made the WWE Universe scream when they saw them.

The Cactus Jack figure that came in this 1998 KB Toys-exclusive 3-pack with Dude Love and Mankind eerily mimics the hardcore insanity that the madman from Truth or Consequences, N.M., brought to the ring every week.

The figure’s face perfectly recreates Cactus Jack’s wild-eyed stare and toothless grin. A plastic ring warrior clad in The Hardcore Legend’s infamous “Wanted” shirt made it a must-have for collectors. 


Jimmy Hart (1986)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

“The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart found his way into WWE action figure collections in the 1980s, and it’s not because we had an affinity for bright red megaphones (okay, maybe we did). But regardless, this figure of the celebrated manager and 2005 WWE Hall of Famer was essential, dressed in an outfit as shrill as his trademark, high-pitched voice, including a pink tie paired with a crimson shirt and a white jacket covered in oversized musical notes.

Posed with that aforementioned megaphone molded onto his right hand, this unarticulated Hart figure also featured his left index finger perpetually pointed to his side — ideal for chatting up his clients during playtime interviews … or mouthing off to referees in the midst of living-room rug championship bouts.  


Jake "The Snake" Roberts (1990)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

A sizeable portion of the WWE Universe grew up on the early-1990s WWE action figures. Though they were much smaller than their hard-rubber counterparts from the ’80s, these were the first poseable Superstar toys. Each figure even had its own signature moves, allowing for supercharged headbutts and powerful bodyslams.

One of the line’s standouts is the Jake “The Snake” Roberts figure from the first series. With a rubber Damien replica wrapped around his slimy neck, the Roberts figure slithered into toy rings in 1990.

While Roberts was known for his signature DDT, his plastic counterpart packs a different maneuver. “The Snake’s” spring-loaded punch sent plenty of action-figure foes crashing to the canvas. 


Kurt Angle (2002)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

The truth about the Superstars Uncovered Kurt Angle is that the figure itself is not one of the best likenesses of him ever created. The small head and oversized hands are questionable at best, but looking at the product as a whole, it’s one of the coolest ever, thanks to the packaging.

For collectors who don’t like to take their toys out of the package, this Kurt Angle figure is a must-have. Capturing the 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist’s iconic WWE Magazine cover from July 2000, the box itself is a re-creation of that cover complete with “Integrities” logo and a photo of Angle with the same goofy grin as the figure. Coming complete with a gold medal and, for some reason, a fire hydrant, this figure continues to serve as a great addition to any collection. 


Captain Lou Albano (1986)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

A key figure during the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection” that propelled WWE into mainstream pop culture during the 1980s, Captain Lou Albano was an equally key figure in WWE’s inaugural toy line.

Striking a managerial pose and featuring his trademark rubber bands tied to his face, this larger-than-life figure is dressed in his instantly recognizable T-shirt featuring his own caricature — a remarkable re-creation, considering the time period. Even though it lacks the near-superheroic physiques of the more muscle-bound characters in the series, this figural representation of the WWE Hall of Famer nevertheless captures the fun of one of WWE’s most unforgettable eras. 


CM Punk (2011)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Mattel’s WWE Elite Series 11 CM Punk was hardly the first likeness of Punk put out by the toy company. However, the figure was released shortly after the infamous “pipe bomb” that launched The Straight Edge Superstar’s popularity to new heights. As a result, the first action figure to feature CM Punk’s shorter haircut and most contemporary look was extremely hard to find for quite some time after its release.

When the toy was released, Punk was the leader of The New Nexus – thus, the figure comes complete with Nexus shirt and armband. However, the likeness of The Straight Edge Superstar perfectly captures his attitude and his love for his hometown – the figure’s trunks are in the colors of the Chicago flag. Though there have been CM Punk figures since, none have captured the same excitement and collectability as Elite Series 11.


The Bushwhackers (1991)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

In the early 1990s, many of WWE’s most colorful and unorthodox tag teams were immortalized as action figures, making Auckland, New Zealand’s Bushwhackers a fun addition to any WWE toy collection. Butch and Luke stomped into toy stores in 1991, armed with the uniquely named “Down and Out Blaster” and the “Down Under Pounder,” respectively. 

Although the toys fortunately do not include any armpit-licking action features, Luke & Butch earn major authenticity points with intensely accurate face-sculpts that expertly bring to mind the duo’s savage nature — an impressive feat, given the cartoony nature of most toys at the time.  


Kevin Nash (2006)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

While Kevin Nash had plenty of action figures made in his likeness during his WCW run, his WWE alter ego, Diesel, never really got the same chance. That was, until WWE revisited its past heroes in the Classic Superstar line.

Big Daddy Cool got a figure worthy of his illustrious career in the 11th wave of the series. Capturing every detail to a T, from his gloved hand to his flowing mane of black hair, this figure is Diesel. Packed in with the “winged eagle” WWE Championship, the figure captures, in plastic, one of the high points of Kevin Nash’s tremendous career.


The Road Warriors (2004)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Few WWE Superstars looked more like walking, talking action figures than Hawk and Animal, so it’s only appropriate that The Road Warriors have growled their way onto this list in the form of this 2004 Classic Superstars two-pack. Clad in red shoulder pads complete with menacing black spikes, these figures could intimidate even the most monstrous toys in your collection.

The figures are among the most visually striking in the expansive Classic Superstars lineup, but perhaps the most eye-catching attribute of this two-pack is Hawk’s face-sculpt, complete with gnarly protruding tongue. Miley Cyrus, eat your heart out. 


The Fabulous Freebirds (2005)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Despite their status as one of the most revered factions in wrestling history, The Fabulous Freebirds hit it big in sports-entertainment before action figures became commonplace in the industry. Plastic versions of Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts were included in AWA’s minimalistic line of toys, and the new Freebirds of Hayes and Jimmy Garvin had likenesses in a UK-exclusive line of WCW figures.

Old-school Freebird fans were left in the lurch until 2005, when the WWE’s Classic Superstars line immortalized the terrible trio as toylovers had imagined. Hayes’s figure captures his charismatic essence, and even comes clad in a replica of one of his glittering robes.

The Terry Gordy figure is a perfect recreation of “Bam Bam’s” unadulterated fury, while Buddy Roberts’s likeness makes the perfect punching bag for the heroic figures in fans’ toy boxes — just like the real deal. After years of waiting, The Freebirds finally got their plastic due.


The Iron Sheik (1984)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

The first Iron Sheik figure is memorable for two reasons: First, it offers an uncanny likeness of the incomparable “Sheikie baby” for an action figure of this particular era; and, second, this was the Iron Sheik figure available during the birth of Hulkamania — making recreations of that famous moment the norm.

Impeccably capturing the WWE Hall of Famer’s moustache and ring attire, the figure’s body-sculpt was also a near-perfect representation of the Iranian-born Superstar’s physique. Today, it’s difficult to find one of these figures in pristine form. The combination of time and endless legdrops have worn away the paint, and added scuff-marks that represent all those priceless memories.


Daniel Bryan (2012)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Hitting store shelves as Daniel Bryan began his meteoric rise to prominence as one of WWE’s most popular modern Superstars, this Elite Series 19 Mattel action figure boasts an uncanny likeness of the bearded grappler, marking the point at which his facial hair was just beginning to overtake his head.

The figure is equipped with authentic gear and Elite articulation, along with a miniaturized version of Bryan’s “Yes! Yes! Yes!” shirt, which helped fuel a sports-entertainment revolution in 2012. It’s one thing to “Respect the Beard,” it’s quite another to add it to your collection, which explains why this figure is so sought after by Mattel fans. 


Brock Lesnar (2013)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Brock Lesnar’s return to WWE in 2012 shocked the WWE Universe and put the entire locker room on notice. The Anomaly’s re-emergence also sent toy collectors into a genuine frenzy, anxiously awaiting his first WWE action figure in more than five years.

Soon enough, Mattel delivered The Beast in plastic form as part of Elite Series 19. What has always been unique about Mattel’s line is the way they produce the WWE action figures to scale – thus, Lesnar’s likeness is proportional and huge when compared to other toys. Its sole accessory is its T-shirt; however, the recreation of Lesnar’s tattoos, monstrous facial expression, and modern ring gear are so accurate that adding the figure to any WWE collection is an absolute necessity.


Shawn Michaels as Hulk Hogan (2006)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

One of the most memorable matches of the summer of 2005 was the SummerSlam collision between WWE Hall of Famers Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels. HBK wanted to know if he could go toe-to-toe with The Immortal One — and in the weeks leading up to the contest, Michaels did an interview dressed as Hogan with a faux Larry King. Donning Hulkamania gear, a blond wig and a fake moustache, The Showstopper unleashed his true feelings about Hogan.

The memorable interview was captured in action-figure form – and it is both hilarious and epic. Sporting the cut-off Hulkamania T-shirt Michaels wore, the likeness also features Shawn Michaels’s familiar head … but with bleach blond hair, a painted-on moustache and an ill-fitting Hulkamania bandana. The figure is one of the coolest ever, simply for how it immortalized one of the funniest moments in HBK’s career.


The Ultimate Warrior (1991)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

The first Ultimate Warrior in the early 1990s WWE action figure line features the ability to push down on its back and spring into action. However, the second likeness of The Warrior became the more popular of the two, as it not only captures the physique and intensity of the Warrior, but it also features a Gorilla Press Slam motion.

The figure wears white trunks with different colored Warrior logos and face paint to match. However, the Gorilla Press Slam feature is the real highlight here. Instead of the simple springing action that ultimately limits the playability of the figure, the second version is much more able to execute shoulder blocks, a slam and a big splash. Additionally, this Warrior has become iconic of the WWE toys available during this era.


Vince McMahon (1987)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

WWE’s first line of action figures in the 1980s saw anyone near the main roster recreated in hard rubber. Superstars from Hulk Hogan to S.D. Jones had toys on store shelves around the world. Even “Mean” Gene Okerlund got a figure.

But one of the most treasured of this line of toys is Mr. McMahon’s very first action figure. Before the world knew him as the evil Chairman of WWE, he was one of the leading play-by-play voices for the company. This figure perfectly captured that version of Mr. McMahon.

Clad in one of his trademark red blazers, the Mr. McMahon figure features the warm smile that greeted WWE viewers throughout the 1980s. It also has a WWE microphone in hand, ready to interview any Superstar figure after their bout. Perhaps, in a nod to the businessman behind the mic, the figure has its index finger in the air, showing what he knew WWE would be: No. 1 in sports-entertainment.


Trish Stratus (2009)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Toward the end of the 2000s, the Classic Superstars line paid tribute to the very first WWE action figures. Yes, those hard rubber toys you hurled at your little brother’s head made a return to shelves. The retro toys featured Superstars and Legends at the peak of their careers, with a cartoony twist.

The Trish Stratus figure freezes the WWE Hall of Famer in her signature entrance pose, letting the WWE Universe know that she was THE top Diva. Clad in a tank top proudly proclaiming the bombshell as “100% Babe,” the toymakers successfully translated Trish Stratus’s beauty from real life into one of the most unique action figures ever released.


John Cena (2013)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Mattel is constantly revamping John Cena in their collector-oriented Elite line, but the toymaker topped all of their previous efforts in 2013 with this updated version, featuring a T-shirt that celebrates the 10-year anniversary of his WWE debut. The figure also boasts an all-smiles head-sculpt of the 13-time World Champion — arguably Mattel’s most detailed rendition of Cena’s face to date.

The heavily articulated figure is clad in tan cargo shorts (sorry, jorts aficionados), and recreates Cena’s look when he outlasted 29 other Superstars in the 2013 Royal Rumble Match — a victory that paved the way for his redemptive Show of Shows WWE Championship victory at WrestleMania. 

John Cena Elite Series 23 action figure courtesy of



“Stone Cold” Steve Austin (2011)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Arguably one of the greatest moments of the Attitude Era occurred when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin drove a beer truck to Raw and proceeded to douse Mr. McMahon, Shane McMahon and The Rock in a bath of The Texas Rattlesnake’s favorite beverage.

In the fourth series of Mattel’s “Defining Moments,” the toy company captures the WWE Hall of Famer as he appeared during that infamous night in 1999. Wearing his hunting jacket, hat and trademark “Austin 3:16” T-shirt, Mattel successfully produced one of the finest “Stone Cold” Steve Austin figures sans ring attire. Adding to the accuracy of The Texas Rattlesnake’s likeness was a plastic version of the thick gold chain draped around his neck. For recreating WWE history in action figure form, the Defining Moments “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is a must-have.


“Macho Man” Randy Savage (1993)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

If there was ever an action figure that screams “1993,” it’s this multi-colored “Macho Man” Randy Savage figure, which boasts a jacket with neon-yellow tassels and ring gear that shares the color scheme of your favorite Trapper Keeper binder. The figure is phenomenal, and judging by the repeated use of Savage’s catchphrase on its body — “Oh yeah!” is printed twice on the jacket — this miniature “Macho Man” knows it.

Not only does this toy portray Savage at his most outrageous, it also features a “Savage Slam” action feature that allows kids (and editors) to propel the “Macho Man” off turnbuckles and onto his opponents. Dig it! 


Bret Hart (1987)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Let’s face it, an action figure in pink pants probably wasn’t what kids were begging for in the ’80s. That all changed when Bret “Hit Man” Hart came along. Hart strode to the ring with an understated swagger that made it cool to wear pink.

Hart’s first action figure from 1987 captured that cool confidence: Clad in the trademark pink-and-black ring gear, this toy was ready to twist anyone into a pretzel. While Bret Hart had many other action figures released over the years, the first still remains a favorite among his loyal followers.


King Sheamus (2011)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Though this period of Sheamus’s career was fairly short-lived, it resulted in one of the coolest WWE action figures created by Mattel. After winning the 2010 King of the Ring Tournament, The Celtic Warrior adopted regal garb for his ring entrance, like many of his predecessors. Unlike them, however, Sheamus fashioned himself after Ireland’s high kings of old.

Mattel recreated this royal brawler in Series 13 of their Elite Collection. The detail that went into the figure is remarkable. Aside from Sheamus’ green and gold ring gear, the accessories that come with the toy are stunning.

A flowing green robe with royal golden trim hangs from the plastic Sheamus’ shoulders. If you like, a black and gold shillelagh-like scepter can be placed in his kingly hands. Atop King Sheamus’s head sits a golden crown that is extremely ornate for something so tiny. The figure truly captures Sheamus’ kingly side, as well as the fighter beneath the cape and crown.


The Ultimate Warrior (2013)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Mattel has produced a number of Warrior figures, but there is one in particular that expertly captures the intensity of The Master of Destrucity in simple, definitive form. The Basic-style Ultimate Warrior from the Mattel World Champions line is the perfect likeness of The Ultimate One’s signature look.

Sporting The Warrior’s familiar green trunks, the action figure’s color combination of green, orange and pink complete with molded tassels captures the WWE Superstar in his most recognizable form. Adding to the overall feel, the figure’s face features an expression that can easily be the snarl, growl or intense yell of The Warrior. 

This version of The Ultimate Warrior is so accurate that has made it the official mascot of their Facebook page.


Jesse Ventura (2009)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

During his career as both a competitor and commentator, Jesse “The Body” Ventura’s fashion sense was always outlandish, and often obnoxious. However, “The Body’s” style was unique and offered the perfect counter to Mr. McMahon’s trademark suit and bowtie.

The Classic Superstars series saw the release of two Ventura figures – one that is fairly tame and features him in his ring gear, and a second that’s completely awesome, capturing his wild ringside wardrobe. The second Classic Superstars likeness of the Superstar who would become the Governor of Minnesota features an uncanny head sculpt that perfectly captures “The Body’s” attitude and hairstyle. However, it is the combination of the sport coat and T-shirt with electric guitar-playing duck, zebra-print pants and cheetah-skin boots that make this figure truly epic. Topping the figure off – literally – is a golden wig that brings the entire package together. 


Miss Elizabeth (2013)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Miss Elizabeth’s demure personality and exquisite beauty made her stand out from the gruff Superstars she found herself surrounded by, most notably “Macho Man” Randy Savage. That made her extremely popular with the WWE Universe, and her action figures unique additions to any collection.

With only three toys made of her during her illustrious career, Miss Elizabeth’s Mattel Elite Collection figure stands out from the pack. More elegant than any Barbie doll in her white dress, The First Lady of WWE toy classes up any brutal bout between Superstars in a WWE action figure ring.


Bam Bam Bigelow (2011)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

There have only been a handful of Bam Bam Bigelow action figures over the years, but none have featured the stunning detail of Mattel’s WWE Legends version of the behemoth, which was released in 2011 as part of the toymakers’ WWE Legends line.

Featuring an elaborate outfit covered in sculpted flame designs and astonishingly intricate tattoos on its skull, this figure represents the quintessential toy translation of the no-nonsense 400-pounder, paying fitting tribute to one of the most agile and intimidating super-heavyweights in the history of the ring. 


Kamala (2010)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

While collectors might empty their bank accounts the second they see The Ugandan Giant’s 1993 variant figure with the moon painted on his belly, thinks one of the more recent Kamala figures gives you more bang for your buck.

While the figure from Mattel’s WWE Legends collection might seem slightly more muscular than its real-life counterpart, we’re willing to overlook that. The attention to detail in this toy is astounding: The head-sculpt flawlessly captures the bewildered look Kamala often had on his face.

A cloth leopard-print skirt is wrapped around the miniature Kamala’s massive waist. Packed in with the action figure are spot-on replicas of his frightening mask and trusty shield. And, if you’re unwilling to drop several hundred dollars on the old-school figure, Mattel’s version comes standard with the moon belly paint.


“American Made” Hulk Hogan (2006)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Whether it’s a classic likeness, an nWo version or a standard red and yellow – Hulk Hogan action figures are often easy to find. However, there is one figure of The Hulkster that is not only very rare and expensive to purchase on a secondary market but also a fantastic representation of Hulk Hogan shortly after the birth of Hulkamania.

If a collector accumulated enough WrestleMania tickets from the Classic Superstars line, they could mail them in and receive the limited edition Hulk Hogan. The figure features The Hulkster in blue tights with a Hulkamania bandana, weight belt and his classic “American Made” T-shirt. What also was truly unique about this figure was the edition of extra ring attire to create The Hulk Machine – Hogan’s masked persona before the red-and-yellow ran wild. In order to acquire this figure today, collectors have to pay upwards of $100 – making it a very cool addition to any collection.


“Macho Man” Randy Savage (2010)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

Commemorating a turning point in the career of “Macho Man” Randy Savage, this figure from Mattel’s “Defining Moments” series depicts the colorful Superstar as he appeared at WrestleMania VII, moments before squaring off with The Ultimate Warrior.

Facing retirement should he fall to the unruly Superstar from Parts Unknown, Savage strode onto The Grandest Stage of Them All in style, and this action figure recreates the unmatched extravagance of Savage like no toy before it. From the signature tassels on the figure’s jacket to the purple-and-white shades over his eyes, this Elite-style “Macho Man” serves as a remarkable reminder of the night Savage — in defeat — reunited with Ms. Elizabeth and rekindled his relationship with the entire WWE Universe. 


The Undertaker (2013)

The 30 greatest WWE action figures ever!

There has been no shortage of Undertaker action figures over the last two decades, but one that became an immediate fan favorite when it debuted at San Diego’s Comic-Con International 2013 was Mattel’s Flashback version of The Phenom, part of the toymakers’ Elite Series 23.

Recreating The Phenom’s ominous attire from WrestleMania XII, the figure features an icy stare, The Undertaker’s signature purple gloves, a wide-brimmed hat and a cloth striped tie. If there’s anyone that can make neckwear terrifying, it’s The Demon from Death Valley.

As if The Undertaker’s authentic Show of Shows gear wasn’t impressive enough, Mattel’s retro Phenom also includes his eerie Phantom of the Opera-esque mask that covered The Deadman’s face when he returned from injury at Survivor Series 1995. 

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