Despite recently being released from his WWE contract, former WWE star Matt Cardona (Zack Ryder) doesn't find his schedule easing up anytime soon. As ComicBook discussed with him during the first part of our interview, Cardona's gearing up for the next phase of his wrestling career, working out, and of course putting hours into continuing the growth of his Major Wrestling Figure Podcast (co-hosted alongside Brian Myers, former WWE star Curt Hawkins). Cardona's legendary action figure collecting habits also never slow down; he's always busy reorganizing and arranging his epic toy room.
ComicBook had the chance to speak with Cardona on Thursday on a variety of topics, and I had to include some wrestling figure talk. We started off with a big one: what's his favorite WWF Hasbro figure of all time?
Cardona paused before saying, "Whew. Let me see. Now, if you listen to the show, and I know you do, you know that we have the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast Hall of Fame. And this year, the inductee from the Hasbro line was the Macho Man series one. I would say that is my favorite, but let me get really nerdy with you. It doesn't have the wrist and hands taped but they're molded on, but not taped. So it loses points for that.
"So my pick will be the winner of the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast Hall of Fame Hasbro era from last year, the Hulk Hogan number (series) one. You close your eyes and you think of Hasbros, I think of that Hogan, like the body slam action. And that's a figure that like the die hard collectors had, the casual fan had. Everybody had that Hulk Hogan figure. And if you actually look at it, I think people don't really appreciate it because 'Oh, it's another Hulk Hogan.' But if you look at it, it might be the best Hulk Hogan figure of all time. Even the rips on the back of the shirt are so well done. I love it. That's just a great fig."
Speaking of WWF Hasbro figures, the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast will debut a new (video) podcast special on May 29th looking at the complete history of the Hasbro WWF toy line. We asked Cardona about the excitement behind that show.
"People think live podcasts and they think it's just us like sitting at a table with a microphone," he said. "No, it's a spectacle. It's a show. It's an extravaganza and we were supposed to have one WrestleMania weekend in Tampa, Live Five. Obviously, due to the pandemic, we had to cancel it. But we said, 'You know what? After this, we're going to do it on YouTube.' So we had everybody film things and we still did the storylines that we were going to do, and we put it together. We dropped it at a certain time where everyone could watch along and we had the hashtag. It was just so fun for us to sit there and live tweet and interact with the fans while everyone was watching it.
"So we said to ourselves, 'Well, what else can we do like this?' That's how the Hasbro episode popped in. Because we're going to film it and we're going to live tweet it and watch with everybody and get everyone's opinion as it's going on...we did an audio version (previously, on the history of the Hasbro line). But now, we're going to redo it. We're going to all be in our own homes and we're going to edit it together, and we're all going to be holding the figure as we talk about it. I own the figures mint on card and loose. So it's going to be a great conversation and it's going to be a lot of fun."
When it comes to the wrestling figure community, the WWF Hasbro line has been the hot seller on the market over the last few years. We asked Cardona what he sees becoming the next classic wrestling toy line that has a collector's craze similar to the Hasbro line over the last few years.
"Honestly, man, I don't know if it's going to happen," Cardona said. "Because once you get into the Jakks era, there's just too many and it's just too mass produced. The Attitude Era was such a booming time period where there's just so many figures out there. So what's fun about an LJN collection or Hasbro collection is that, there is an end, right? You make your checklist and you check this guy off, you check this guy off, and then you complete it. Something like the Jakks Bone Crunchers, for instance, that starts in like '96, ends in 2000. It's huge. It's just so elaborate and there's so many different variants and stuff like that. I don't know if something like that will ever pick up, because it's almost impossible to complete it. Because there is no checklist. There's not 90 guys. There's like 500, and every toy line since then has...There's just more figures and more things... There's just more and more figures. There's no real checklist.
"But something I have seen going up in value lately are the ECW San Francisco Toy Maker figures. Those have been going up in value. I don't know if it's because of what we talked about on the podcast. I definitely think the Dark Side Of The Ring with New Jack helped out. But if you check, those figures have been slowly creeping up and those I think are some of the most underrated figures of all time...Each figure, each character is a unique mold. No reusing of molds here, which is very rare in any toy industry that has plastic parts. Even the Hasbro's reuse parts and reuse molds. ECW figures, no one reused parts."
Make sure to check out the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast YouTube channel for their big YouTube special on May 29th focusing on the classic WWF Hasbro figures.