Between the years of 2005 and 2007, some of the most underrated wrestling figures of all time were being sold in toy stores everywhere. Leveraging their prime time spot on Spike TV, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling was able to create some incredible figures through Marvel, a/k/a ToyBiz, last seen in the squared circle creating innovative and fun wrestling collectibles for WCW in their heyday.
While TNA's Marvel figures never were as popular as WCW's were, there's a lot of meat on the bone here. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
Let's start with the incredible articulation in some of these figures. In addition to the usual limb articulation we take for granted in modern WWE and AEW figures, the TNA line also had hands and feet that could be posed. This may seem like a small thing, but in an age where everyone fancies themselves as figure photographers, it can make a huge difference if you're able to manipulate fingers or an ankle to create certain poses.
The line of characters was also a welcome addition to what Jakks Pacific was offering at the time in its WWE line. Sure, you weren't going to get John Cena or The Undertaker, but these were the first figures for the likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Christopher Daniels. On top of that, you had much more obscure characters such as Petey Williams, Shark Boy and Monty Brown getting their debuts.
And even the established stars who may have received an action figure treatment previously looked good through the TNA-Marvel partnership. Sting, Raven and Jeff Hardy turned out great and I'd argue that the Christian Cage pictured above is one of the best all-time renders of Captain Charisma.
This is not to say these figures were perfect. Scale is a factor sometimes, with the likes of Samoa Joe and Abyss looking absolutely massive (and sure, they are larger than many of their opponents but not THAT MUCH larger). And while some of the body styles are unique and realistic, others (e.g. AJ Styles and Raven) are a little chunkier by comparison, which doesn't necessarily line up with how they looked in real life.
Eventually, Jakks Pacific would take over the TNA line once WWE moved to Mattel around 2010 or thereabouts. And while the TNA Jakks figures were okay for what they were... the Marvel line still stands out for the uniqueness and innovation they put together for a short period of time in the mid-to-late 2000s.