Go to any major retailer and you’d think WWE was the only game in town with no outlet for fans of Ring of Honor, PWG, Evolve among other independent promotions to get action figures of their favorite stars. Until now.
Figures Toy Company plans to revolutionize the way you buy wrestling action figures by personalizing the experience for both the collector and the wrestlers themselves. The Florida-based creator of 8″ Mego style figures rocked the wrestling collector world with the announcement of an ongoing line of ROH stars, never before made wrestling legends and current superstars tearing up the indy circuit.
FTC’s Chief Marketing Officer Chris Depetrillo was kind enough to discuss FTC’s long-term plans, how vital The Young Bucks were in making this line happen, why the 90s are the new nostalgia sweet spot, which Lucha Underground stars could be included and his frustration with the lack of a J.J. Dillon and Paul Ellering figure.
–How did this all come about with you all getting into wrestling figures?
We have had the license for ECW and WCW replica belts since 1998. I came aboard since 1999 after I graduated from high school so I’ve literally grown in the whole profession. We got the WWE license in 2000 and held it through 2013 when WWE decided to take it in-house. At that point, we were getting ready for life after wrestling and focusing more on our retro style DC Super Heroes.
We made some custom figures for the Young Bucks and posted it online and the reaction was great. These were just one-offs, but it kind of got me thinking of something beyond the big boys of WWE and TNA to an extent. I looked at what was going on.
I follow everything from WWE, TNA, PWG, Evolve and I thought about how ROH was on the upswing and getting more eyes on the product with their syndication deal. I had a conversation with the Young Bucks and they were really excited about it. They put us in touch with the ROH office and withing 48 hours, we had a contract for the first ever ROH action figures.
What’s the partnership with ROH been like?
They were very happy to jump on board. We’re developing the ROH brand with them and they approved head sculpts, colors, costume design and so forth. We start out with 6-8 guys we’d like in a series and narrow it down to the four that’s the best fit. We do have series 2 in production and we just confirmed lineups for series 3 and 4.
How was the response been so far?
Amazing. We got The Young Bucks signed and they are the hottest act in wrestling right now. To be able to get them was a big deal. I’ve met them. They’re great guys and have been a huge help for us in opening doors. They referred us to ROH and there’s such a genuine excitement about it.
How are you all deciding on the respective looks for the wrestlers?
The talent is very hands on. Everyone knows what to expect with their figures and everyone has been on the same wavelength. I’m very much into comic books so I want these figures to stand out a bit. I think about what Mattel does with its Elite line with the T-shirt and accessories and that’s what we’re looking to provide.
Is there a limit to the accessories?
The accessories depends on entrance gear. We’re looking at doing full cloth for the attire. So for a guy like Michael Elgin [no confirmation Elgin is coming, just an example] who has a robe and a singlet, we’ll be doing both of those. We don’t want to skimp on anything.
We’re going to be including official ROH belts and an ROH ring playset, which will come with an ROH barricade. The ring playset will have an exclusive figure included with that as well.
Does that mean we could see figures of commentators Kevin Kelly and King Corino?
It’s something we’re considering, but right now the main focus is the three major talents and a throwback talent in each wave. The season two throwback is one who has had a long-term and a current relationship with ROH. That’s as much as I can share now.