In addition to his duties as a writer and journalist, Nicholas Grooms also owns and operates Badguywrestler Toys & Pro-Wrestling Collectibles. He has been a pro-wrestling toy and memorabilia collector for over 25 years and in that span of time has become a revered expert and appraiser with a knack for locating and identifying hard to find or extremely rare wrestling items. He has bought and sold to collectors, museums, promotions and sponsored/appeared at a range of events and boasts such superstars as Hulk Hogan, “Wildman” Marc Mero & Kassius Ohno (Chris Hero) as past buyers.
“Foreign Objects” will be a regular column focusing on Pro-Wrestling Collectibles, memorabilia and the people who collect and create these items in an effort to educate, enthuse and help collectors network with one another no matter how amateur or advanced they are in understanding. Got a cool item you want to show off or have something worthy of being shared in this column? Be sure you follow @NicholasGrooms on Twitter and share your collections! Please enjoy this installment of “Foreign Objects.”
As a thirty-two year old man, I find hard to navigate through the budding trends of the world. I have lived through Myspace and MSN Messenger, long before both were considered abandoned internet ghost towns. I have watched “Vine” live and die in short six second intervals, repeatedly on a loop. I still own and use the same “Iphone 4” I purchased four years ago, and despite my lack of maintenance to the IOS updates, it is still going strong all these years later. Nowhere on my phone will you find an application outside of Instagram or Ebay; and that is because I require both to function in a professional sense, being as my father so wisely put it all those years ago “it is a phone, I am supposed to call people with it, why would I need this installed”. These are seemingly words I live by as I curtail around social media installations to avoid seeing my bulky face in a Snapchat filter by any means necessary.
Technology hasn’t been the only beast I have avoided through the years. My heart just can’t seem to find the passion for toys and collectibles the way it used to as the quality lessens, yet the price still rises in most cases; leaving us with sloppily painted action figures, cheap posters and an overall lack of heart and effort put forth into providing fans with quality products at a price that doesn’t greatly offend.
With that in mind, one other trend I have curtailed around with a vengeance are the endless amounts of subscription boxes and services being offered by any site at any given time. From “Nerd Block” to “1 Up” everyone seems to be enamored with overpaying for boxes of cheaply mass produced crap with the high point of the transaction being that you no longer have to go any further than the mail box to receive “impulse” buy items, you now merely subscribe, pay money, and from $9.99 and up you can choose your box size the way you would choose a drink size at a restaurant. This was my skewed prospective and belief in the beginning…until I learned that all subscription boxes are NOT created equal.
In a recent transaction, I acquired a few figures from a friend and tucked into the side of the box was a small figure with a note that read “Got this in a wrestling box, don’t know who it is, thought you might like it”. As I peeled the note away I realized the figure was a small, cartoony version of Colt Cabana and immediately hit the roof with excitement. “What in the world is this thing?!” I thought to myself. At first appearance it was a figure that landed somewhere between WWE’s amazing Mini Pop Vinyl line and the horrid disaster that was the WWE “Rumblers” toy line that existed for way too long and was too “kiddie” for a grown man who is as sophisticated as a toy collecting 32-year-old can be. The similarities between the two ended there. The Micro Brawler product was of higher quality and seemed as if extreme care was taken in an effort to get the correct likeness on each figure, making it more appealing and worthy of spending a little extra in acquiring them individually. The way these figures were created makes them cartoony enough for children, yet attractive enough for adult collectors the same. From the moment I removed the tiny Colt Cabana from his package, it goes without saying that I was hooked.
After a fair amount of research, I quickly learned that my favorite wrestling t-shirt site on the web, “Pro-Wrestling Tees” was in the subscription box game and was quickly torn on whether I should abandon everything I know and understand to join the legions of many who are already subscribed. Somehow I managed to stop myself for a while longer until days later when I re-met eyes with a tiny Colt Cabana, flexing from his lonely spot on the shelf, drawing me into the murky depths of Micro Brawlers and my new-found passion to own any of them that existed.
“The real Colt Cabana lost CM Punk as a friend” I thought, “I shall replace his one friend with many” I said to myself as I drifted around a plethora of auction sites looking for any and all available “brawlers” I could acquire in that spontaneous moment.
In my child like excitement, I used the “Buy it Now” option to acquire both the Young Bucks and Taz on Ebay. I quickly found that a little more research on my part could have yielded me in spending too much as I overpaid significantly on a couple of brawlers I could’ve acquired directly from the wrestlers for about half the price. Regardless, my Micro Brawler army was started with a few clicks.
I began researching other products available in the Pro-Wrestling Crate and found myself impulse buying other items from past boxes to the tune of $37 more dollars and realized that maybe the true sucker isn’t the man who spends a small amount for a box of wrestling stuff he didn’t know he needed, but is instead the man who spent 5 times that amount to get a few items he could’ve acquired if he hadn’t been so stubborn and gave it a try in the first place.
I must give a big shout out to Pro-Wrestling Tees and Pro Wrestling Crate for providing so many unique inclusions into these subscription boxes. Whether it is an enamel pin or a micro brawler figure, the items provided in the PWC version of these subscription boxes are far from the budget junk I have seen collectors try to unsuccessfully move across the hoard of other “box junk” polluting the internet. Instead, these products are more revered and often moved and traded amongst collectors who like myself, cannot seem to get enough of the unique items.
At press time, the “Micro Brawlers” figures are commanding almost twice their value on sites like Ebay, with PWC enamel pins moving in the same direction, usually selling between $15-$35 dollars each in online situations. Personally, I beg you to visit the online merch stores of wrestlers like the Young Bucks or Colt Cabana before hitting ebay, as you can often snag these figures for far less while directly supporting the wrestlers in the process. You can also purchase many of the enamel pins directly from the Pro-Wrestling Tee’s site, which can save you the days of agony in waiting for an online auction to go your way. This is win-win for everyone, all around.
I will chalk up this particular situation as a lesson learned. The “Micro Brawler” fiasco has been pivotal in teaching me that not all new things are scary and taboo but can be included alongside the wrestling relics and pieces of history I so enjoy. Most notably, I must once again commend Pro-Wrestling Tees for being such a fantastic platform and service to both wrestlers and wrestling fans alike. I should have known they wouldn’t steer me wrong. Never have, never will. Everything I have ever purchased or had gifted to me from PWT has been of the highest quality.
As I stare off at the shelf full of Micro Brawlers looking for a way to conclude this article, I can’t help but wonder if it will take a blizzard in hell or the raining of fire to get me to drop my fickle attitude towards other “new” things I openly detest such as Snapchat. As far as I can tell, I am safe until they add a Colt Cabana snapchat filter. If that is ever a possibility, I may give it a fair shake as well.
Until next time collectors!!!!
Be sure you visit Prowrestlingtees.com to see how you can subscribe to Pro-Wrestling Crate and be sure you follow me @NicholasGrooms twitter for more stories, articles or to talk all things professional wrestling!!!
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