In the early 2000s, Jakks began to produce a line of Classic Superstars as part of their figure collection.
Nowadays, classic figures are commonplace in collecting, but before then, WWE figures were released largely based on the current product.
Appearing on Adventures in Collecting, former Jakks executive and current Jazwares partner Jeremy Padawer discussed bringing the idea of Classic Figures to Vince McMahon.
"When I got to Jakks, one of the first things I did was say, 'We need to celebrate the legends.' I had a conversation with Vince McMahon and he gave me the green light to approach legends because the toy business was challenged. The Attitude Era was over and toy sales had plummeted because toys had been treated like toys and not collectibles. The challenge was signing these superstars because there was no real alumni roster. I had to figure out a deal mechanism where I would sign these individual athletes, or 'the estates of' and if WWE ever had an alumni program, they could take over the contracts, create a new contract and the athlete would get paid twice. We didn't care because we were going to make the figure. That gave them the flexibility to allow us to do a program," he said.
The first wave of classic figures included Bret Hart and Ultimate Warrior, both of whom were on the outs with WWE. Padawer stated that he was disappointed he couldn't do figures of Ricky Steamboat, Randy Savage, and Owen Hart due to licensing and estate issues.
Elsewhere during the interview, Padaware discussed some future plans for the AEW line. You can find his comments by clicking here.
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