Walking the streets of Mexico City, one will come across a wide variety of action figures. The quality of these figures is often quite crude, some looking like something a child might construct in art class. Many of these figures are unlicensed rip-offs of whatever happens to be popular in the U.S. Over the past few years you could find Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men or Power Rangers. But no matter what's hot up here, one type of figure you'll always find in Mexico are those portraying masked wrestlers. Some are high-quality licensed products, while some are unlicensed ripoffs.
Many of the unlicensed wrestler toys are extremely rough in design, made with low-quality materials, with few joints, and terrible paint jobs. That's not to say that they don't have a certain appeal. Many collectors do appreciate them, much as they'd appreciate a drawing by their 4-year old child. But for those who don't have a 4-year old, there are several high-quality series of masked wrestler action figures available. One of the most impressive is the "Magnificent Wrestler" series.
The Magnificent Wrestler action figure line consists of 18 nicely detailed, 8" Mego-style dolls. Each in this colorful series has an embossed vinyl head, a cloth outfit (including cape tights and wrist bands), vinyl boots and a championship belt around its middle. These wrestlers have been released in three 6-figure series. The first (and most difficult to locate) series consists of: El Mano Negro, Huracan Ramirez, Pierroth, Ultimo Dragon and two others. The second series is perhaps the most interesting for collectors. It contains Mil Mascaras, Rayo de Jalisco, Atlantis, Octagon, Blue Panther and Volador. The third and final group also happens to be the most colorful. Villano, Universo 2000 and Solar are among this sextet. There are three other attractive figures in this series but they are unfamiliar to me. The figures that might appeal most to the readers of Santo Street are those who have starred in films; Mil Mascaras, Huracan Ramirez and Rayo de Jalisco. But Octagon, Atlantis and Pierroth are also of interest as they have also appeared in recent masked wrestler movies.
There also exists, from Series 1, six nicely detailed, molded, hand-painted statues of the half dozen wrestlers. These statues are very fragile and difficult to find in mint condition. Huracan Ramirez is probably the nicest of these statues.
Another unusual item available in the Magnificent Wrestler line is the bubble wand/ballpoint pen combo, which has the heads of various wrestlers on top. The 12 characters represented in action figure Series 1 and 2 make up this set. These blister-pack toys also come with a mini clipboard stocked with a small quantity of stationary. The stationary is imprinted with a line-drawing of the wrestler who's head appears on the pen.
Two different Magnificent Wrestlers wrestling rings also were made. The larger one was made to be used with the 8" figures, but the wrestlers are not included. The smaller ones are actually much nicer. There are two different mini-ring sets. Each comes with four, nicely detailed 2" wrestlers. Set one contains: Pierroth, Blue Panther, Ultimo Dragon and another wrestler. Set 2 contains: Atlantis, Octagon, Rayo de Jalisco & Mil Mascaras.
The final item (to date) from the Magnificent Wrestler line is a set of a dozen vacu-formed play masks. The masks are similar to those that come in a child's boxed Halloween costume, with a piece of elastic to hold it on the little luchador's head. As in the bubble-wand pens, the 12 characters represented in action figure Series 1 and 2 make up this set.
In addition to the Magnificent Wrestler series of action figures, there are two major series of carded Mexican wrestler toy series; the AAA figures produced by the Kelian toy company and the CMLL figures made by the Original Toymakers of San Francisco. Both series are similar in size (around 6") and construction (single-piece, unjointed figures, molded in heavy plastic with lots of embossed detail). Each line was to contain 12 figures, but in the case of the CMLL series, there were apparently only six produced. (This is unfortunate as Blue Demon is listed on the back, but unavailable.)
Those that were produced in the CMLL line are Pierroth, Atlantis, Lizmark, Vampiro Canadiese, Rayo de Jalisco and Ultimo Dragon. The toughest one to locate seems to be Ultimo Dragon. This is a very attractive series with five of the six wrestlers of the masked variety. Even El Vampiro Canadiese, the lone unmasked figure, has his face painted, making him look sort of masked.
The AAA line features some harder-to-find figures. Like the CMLL figures, they are one-piece, non-jointed construction with great detail. Each figure also comes with a small AAA stand, which attaches to the bottom of their feet to help them stand. The only drawback with this series for masked wrestler fans is that five of the wrestlers in the set are of the unmasked variety. Included in the set are; Octagon, Blue Panther, Hijo del Santo, Fuerza Guerrera, Cien Caras, Konnan, La Parka, Mascara Sagrada, Psicosis, Heavy Metal, Rey Misterio Jr. and Perro Aguayo.
The Psicosis and La Parka figures are particularly nice, with the Rey Misterio probably the hardest to come by. Of course Hijo del Santo is the real star of this series as it's the same image as Santo Sr. and is the best figure available on "El Enmascarado de Plata."
One other series of figures bearing mention is perhaps, the best line of wrestlers available anywhere. These wrestlers come uncarded (in clear plastic bags) and are unmarked on the toys themselves, so who knows what their origin is. However, these are not the typical cheesy hand-made figures you find being sold by the street venders. These figures are roughly 5.5" with jointed arms, legs, head and torso and are very well detailed and painted. However, the best thing about these unmarked items is the variety available. I have over 50 different wrestlers, including all the biggies like; Santo, Blue Demon, Mil Mascaras, Tinieblas and Huracan Ramirez. But wait, there's even more. Many of these figures are also available in "street-clothes" versions. Yes, if you ever wanted a toy featuring Mil Mascaras in shirt and pants or Blue Demon in a sports jacket, here's your chance. Needless to say, this series is a must for both serious action figure collectors and masked wrestler collectors alike.