When Zack Ryder woke up on Saturday morning on Long Island, he and the rest of the northeast must’ve thought, “Are you serious, snow?” But a freak snowstorm didn’t do much more than soggy the shoes of Long Island Iced Z and fellow red-hot Superstars CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, who all crashed into New York City for Ringside Fest 2011. (EXCLUSIVE EVENT PHOTOS)
Hosted by Ringside Collectibles, the eighth annual WWE action figure gala drew together the WWE Universe with key designers at Mattel and, of course, the Superstars themselves. The world champion toymakers proudly displayed all-new, never-before-seen products featuring the squared circle’s biggest and most legendary names – sometimes paired up.
“I’m completely floored by this,” explained The Straight Edge Superstar as he, for the first time, beheld both Randy Savage and Punk figures in near-matching attire. “I certainly didn’t wear the Macho Man gear to get a figure out of it. It was my homage to him after he passed away. I think we have to remember and celebrate our past.”
Examining his own miniature plastic replica in pink tights with white stars, Punk expressed his humble emotions after seeing the two-piece set, which will be available in stores everywhere in 2012.
“I wore this outfit one time on Raw and it’s immortalized forever. It’s pretty gangster,” added a pipe bomb-free Punk. “My Evil Zod widow’s peak is dead-on. The tattoos, especially the chest piece, are uncanny. Mattel’s doing a kickass job making some awesome figures.”
Equally impressed by the freshly revealed figure line-up, Daniel Bryan favored Mattel’s rendition of Triple H in WrestleMania XXVII skull and metal chainmail entrance gear. Even with the revelation of new Mattel figures of Big Boss Man and King Booker, Zack Ryder was woo-woo-wooed by The Rockers two-pack, available later this month, exclusively on MattyCollector.com.
“They have the tassels and the T-shirts. I’ll probably pick up that [Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty] set,” the Internet Champion excitedly detailed. “I collected wrestling action figures my whole life. When I first discovered the internet in 1997, Ringside Collectibles was one of the first sites I found. I ordered from them for years and now that I’m actually here doing Ringside Fest, it’s pretty cool.”
On the opposite side of the table from WWE fans much like himself, Ryder smiles wide for photo after photo with “broskis” bearing everything from sunglasses to shareable, hand-cut paper titles.
“One kid brought me an Internet Tag Team Championship. He kept one and I kept one,” Long Island Iced-Z said. “It was kind of like ‘Home Alone 2’ with the doves and the bird lady. They were friends forever.”
Then there were the custom-designed Nike Air Max ’90s in Ryder’s signature colors, styled by self-professed “shoe-head” Nick Baptista, 20, from Washington D.C.
“I just started following the Ryder Revolution and I got the new broski shirt and I thought, ‘Wow, I really want something to go with that,” Baptista said. “I put the black, purple, blue and orange with the white. I’ve got the ‘Woo Woo Woo’ on the right shoe and ‘You Know It’ on the left. Zack liked them, so there’s no better thing to get signed than these.”
Local NYC youths Logan Geritano and Josh Fersko left their sneakers on their feet, which anxiously shuffled past the likes of Bryan and Ryder, who squiggled their namesakes for the two.
“I’m excited because Daniel Bryan is my favorite Superstar. He has all good moves,” Geritano explained. “I thought he’d be very nice and I was right.”
Fersko similarly stated, “[Ryder and Bryan] are two of the best Superstars in WWE. Daniel Bryan is going to cash in and become World Heavyweight Champion until he retires. I’m Josh and I’m awwwwesssome!”
In the middle of an icy Times Square, Mattel lead designer Bill Miekina and design director Bill Kerner hosted a Q&A session, unveiling sneak peeks at some stellar prototypes of Sin Cara and the “fattest figure Mattel has ever done, former WWE Champion Yokozuna.
“[Ringside Fest] is a great way for us to get direct feedback about the figures,” Miekina explained, “including what people want to see in the future, what we could do better, as well as things we haven’t even thought of.
“Sometimes the best idea can come from a nine-year old kid that you would’ve never considered on your own,” added the action figure artist and three-time Fest attendee.
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