Promoters learned years ago that there is money in wrestling beyond ticket sales and pay-per-views. The profit earned from t-shirts, toys and miscellaneous merchandise has also attracted capitalism's scavengers: the bootleggers.
These underhanded business folk slap together fake WWE toys that are embarrassing imitations.
Copyright laws and quality control standards are no obstacle for those hungry to cash in on pro wrestling's popularity.
In their world, Kane is yellow, Andre the Giant's face is a logo and the Ultimate Warrior's likeness isn't intellectual property, it's community property.
At first glance, these dinky WWE toy championship belts look decently designed. The details reveal otherwise.
The Intercontinental Championship on the very bottom appears to have an extra letter or two in the word 'intercontinental.' The WWE Championships look cheap and done in a hurry.
There's no subtle ripping off here with the WWE logo pasted clearly on them.
These second-rate title belts would be perfect for outfitting the knockoff action figures featured on many of the following slides.
Lucha Libre sensation Mistico falls victim to the bootleggers here.
The figure is quite stunning looking actually. For the most part, the mask matches what he wore in the ring. His build looks great as well.
It's the accessory they chose that makes this a head scratcher.
Either as Sin Cara or Mistico, when has he ever been associated with a chainsaw? Though not famous for swinging chairs, that would have been a far more appropriate choice.
The same kind of thinking went into selecting a blue boot and a crutch for the Rey Mysterio figure.
Wanting to support Bret Hart after the Montreal Screwjob is understandable. Designing a shirt to show that support makes perfect sense.
It's the choice of color scheme that tanks this unofficial tee.
Bret did of course wear pink in the ring, but that doesn't make him look less like a ghost in this photo. It's hard to even tell who this.
He looks like he's sporting a big, white beard.
This may have been drawn up on Microsoft Paint which is tough software to create great art with. The degree of difficulty doesn't save this shirt from being awful.
WWE probably didn't even bother trying to confiscate them.
This dollar store Kane rip-off is called the Big Yellow Machine.
They copied Kane’s old one-sleeve style and the slanted stripes on his chest, but failed rather miserably with the head. Instead of a mask, they’ve opted to just paint over his face.
With the hairstyle they chose, they’ve managed to make the Devil’s Favorite Demon look like an ugly woman.
His white teeth shining through his black make-up, Kane—I mean Big Yellow Machine—looks like he’s ready to invade the enemy in the jungle.
Here is the perfect T-shirt for Andre the Giant marks who also love the music of De La Soul.
That logo plus some flower has two worlds mashed together for a discomforting effect.
Forcing the big man's mug into the De La Soul 3 Feet and Rising cover art is only funny to a select few. Not a lot of those people are likely to wear this shirt though.
Bright, happy flowers next to Andre are just too odd a combination.
Collegeville made Halloween costumes for decades. Many of these were perfectly legit while some were clear knockoffs.
If this were an actual WWE-approved costume, you'd think Collegeville would have put the Ultimate Warrior's name on the front somewhere.
Instead, the Ultimate Warrior was available in costume form in all his tasseled glory without a pesky official license. Judging by how hard WWE fought Warrior over the legal rights to his wrestling name, you'd have to think they would not be pleased to discover this.
The Wrestling Figures company had the guts to make an imitation Dude Love action figure and not even alter his name.
Apparently the toy makers haven't ever actually seen Mick Foley or his alter ego. Foley has never been this shape. Not only is this figure not nearly round enough, but I don't believe his arms have ever been that long.
They also forget to tie-dye any of his clothing.
Perhaps they were going for such an unconvincing fake to avoid being sued by the WWE.
The figure on the left is named, "The Jock." The red-mouthed man on his right goes by Scott Austin.
Not the most subtle rip-off you'll ever see.
You have to give these bootleggers props for having the guts to not even try to hide their intentions.
The Rock copy isn't horrible, especially when he's paired with the complete debacle that is this Stone Cold knockoff. When did Austin get a cheap-looking, green tribal tattoo?
Did I miss that episode of Raw?
Hulk Hogan was been many things, but never squat.
This ripoff of the Hulkster has been circulating for a while. The difference in skin tones leads one to believe that a Hogan-type head was just stuck on a generic wrestler body.
That's not an unbelievable thing coming from an obvious bootleg. The face is pretty accurate, but there is little else right with the figure.
His legs do not bend. His proportions do not match.
The bad English is the first clue that this is a bootleg.
I don't think WWE has ever sold a "Best Play Set" or has ever encouraged anyone to "Collect The All!" Notice the text under Rey Mysterio as well.
It reads, "New Type of Puzzle." Either this company doesn't know what a puzzle is or there is a jigsaw shoved into the package behind the figures and three identical title belts.
Kudos to them for getting Mysterio right even though he is missing all of his tattoos. Who the fellows are to the right of him are a bit of a mystery.
The twins are wearing Triple H's Celtic cross trunks, but look a lot more like the actor Rip Torn than any known wrestler.
Redbubble.com sells some incredibly hip wrestling shirts. The baby wrestler series is not included in that group.
Baby versions of everyone from the Undertaker to Zack Ryder have their own shirts and onesies. While they are designed well and look like accurate cute mini-versions of famous WWE stars, the question is why would you make these?
Who is the intended audience?
You'd have to be pretty dang self confident to strut around with Baby Sheamus on your chest.
The figure on the right could be an attempt at the Ultimate Warrior just as easily as it could be a buff Comanche dude.
To his left is a far more outright copy that is horrendously done.
Bret Hart's enlarged head is forced onto another figure's body to create a disturbing Frankenstein-like effect. The Hitman's trademark pink and black tights are gone, but his trusty shades remain.
While recognizable as Bret, the difference in color and size of his face make him a lot like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre as well.
The plan was to cash in on Scott Hall's popularity. I get that part.
Why this was allowed to leave the factory is the part I don't understand.
Hall's facial hair is the color of wet cement while his hair is purple. His twisted face makes it look like the Joker attacked him with some kind of nerve gas.
A cross between a Simpsons character and a Salvador Dali painting, this rendition of Scott Hall is simply atrocious.