Story and photos (lots, and lots of photos below) by Roy Lucier
Everyone who is an aficionado of Lucha Libre likes to collect different things. The biggest one primarily being masks, and understandably so. However, personally I was more into another line of collectibles, the action figures! And there are two lines of action figures that anyone who is both a collector and a Lucha Libre fan needs to be aware of.
Back in 1992, CMLL came out with lines of action figures. It is often said online and certain websites reviewing the figures that this set was released in 1994. This is not true. There are people who I’ve spoken to who clearly remember seeing these in pharmacies and toy stores in late 1992 in Mexico, plus the back of the figure does state a 1992 copyright date on the figure. This set was made by San Francisco Toymakers, and had six figures in this set. Those six are Lizmark, Rayo de Jalisco Jr, Ultimo Dragon, Atlantis, Pierroth Jr., and Vampiro Canadiense. A side note about the Vampiro figure, there is two different variants of the backing of the card, one where Vampiro has face paint shaped like a bat and another where he has less face paint. Both are equally as available and are not considered rare in any way. Out of the six figures, the Ultimo Dragon is the most desired figure of the lot, but it’s not really fair to say any of the six figures are super rare or hard to find. An interesting note on the back of the figures, is that they listed six more figures that never got released, those being Brazo De Oro, Blue Demon, Brazo De Plata, El Brazo, Sangre Chicana, and Satanico. The figures are about six inches in height, and there was also a CMLL ring that did exist for the figures, but that is an extremely rare item in itself.
If you are looking to buy the figures mint on card (or MOC for short), expect to pay around $15-20 for the five figures other than Ultimo, and maybe a little more for the Ultimo ($40-60). A search online pulls up several of them still in the package on eBay for auction or buy it now pricing, extremely reasonable, and also Eric Moran at Santo Street has a handful of them available on his website.
Not to be outdone, about a year and a half later in 1994, AAA released their own line of action figures as well with the help of Kelian. In this series is twelve figures, El Hijo Del Santo, Cien Caras, Konnan, La Parka, Blue Panther, Perro Aguayo, Fuerza Guerrera, Octagon, Heavy Metal, Psicosis, Mascara Sagrada, and Rey Misterio Jr. Something of major note here, is that the last three figures listed here (Rey, Mascara, Psicosis) were only released in certain areas of northern Mexico and were not easy to come across. The other eight listed were actually commonly available for awhile at almost any toy store in Mexico, and also AAA would bring those nine figures along when they came to Los Angeles in 1994 and 1995 and sell them at the concession stand for $6 apiece. There is a video showing this on YouTube, as it is a video of AAA “When Worlds Collide” fancam footage, which shows the concession stand a few seconds into the video (and boy do I wish I had a time machine to get some of these!) The detail on these was actually really good, a lot of people say, and they all come with an AAA stand that went underneath the figure to keep it standing.
Now an interesting note about both lines of figures, is according to every single person that I have talked to in regards to them, it seems neither company paid any of the boys for their likeness on the figures. There has even been stories about some of the AAA talent who was asked to sign the figures and refused to do it, upset over AAA not giving them any royalties for them, although it’s said those same people have calmed down over the matter and if you bring them a AAA Kelian to sign, they will not have an issue autographing them.
As far as the value of the AAA Kelian’s, that’s completely up for debate. Apparently in 2008, there was a warehouse find somewhere in which hundreds of AAA Kelian’s were located. The ones located were the “common eight” (ones beside Rey Jr, Fuerza, Psicosis, and Mascara Sagrada), hence seeing an influx of them on the market at the time, in which they were going for approximately $30 each. Nowadays, the value for those 8, depending on the condition of the packaging, have gone on eBay from anywhere from $50 to $150 over the past year. As far as the “big 4”, that’s honestly completely up for debate, because there’s no recent auctions to compare them to. Plus considering the large amount of children who would have gotten these figures and obviously opened them. To even speculate a number would be unfair to the thousands of collectors out there who desire these figures, especially if this article pulls up when you do an internet search trying to get a value for the mentioned figures. If you are a collector of the figures loose, I have great news for you. A few searches have basically pulled up every figure of the 12 loose, including the hard to find four. On these, expect to pay around $25-120 depending on rarity and condition.
There were two rings as well that were made for the figures, obviously a CMLL ring and an AAA ring. Seriously, if you thought the figures themselves were extremely tough to find, good luck finding those rings inside the box. I’ve seen pictures of the CMLL ring (as shown in this article) but have never seen the AAA ring, but have been assured it does exist. The CMLL ring shows Ultimo, Pierroth, and Vampiro in the ring and has “Arena Mexico” blasted across the front of it!
If anyone out there would like to contribute to this, please feel free to contact me. Honestly these 18 figures don’t get enough press out there. Since 1992-1994, there have been a handful of attempts by Lucha companies to make new figures, but to the afecionados out there who want something a little rare and different with some serious historical value as well, these 18 can’t be ignored.
(Editor’s note: While not quite the “full size” toys that Kelians were, if you haven’t seen the officially licensed Legends of Lucha Libre x Super7 M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, check them out here!)