I’ve yet to be able to make it to one of the Mattel/WWE panels at any convention, but this is the one I was saddest to miss out on. Even though I don’t collect dolls or action figures anymore, I’ve always wanted to see the superstars get excited about the toys and collectibles made in their likeness. This year in San Diego I was especially sad to miss the panel, because it was focused on the women’s revolution of WWE. I have A LOT OF FEELINGS about the women’s revolution and women in wrestling, and watching the video of the panel from Ringside Collectibles (which I’ll embed at the end of the post), those feelings are coming straight out of my eyeballs.
The six women on the panel – Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Sasha Banks, and Bayley – were instrumental in changing the environment in the WWE for female wrestlers. From being called Divas to being called Superstars like the men, from having a belt with a damn bedazzled butterfly on it to having a belt that looks just the other belts, these women have done so much for female athletes who want to be in the WWE over the last few years, and the glass ceilings just keep breaking. Last weekend a seemingly small but important step was taken in merchandising when Mattel announced their new line of dolls and action figures.
Not only are the women getting a new line of action figures with some incredible detail, and a sweet backstage set, but they’re getting fashion dolls. Fully articulated fashion dolls with multiple outfits, including their in-ring outfits. This is MAJOR! I think back to my childhood, and what it would have meant to me to have female wrestlers with their own dolls I could actually play with, and it makes me massively weepy. Then to watch the women see their dolls for the first time – it’s like Charlotte says, I’m blown away.
I feel like (and this may be me just having too many emotions about this particular subject) these dolls are so representative of what these women are trying to do in the sport. They have their in-ring rivalries, and their storylines, and their personas, but backstage and in real life they’re nothing but super supportive of each other. They’ve created a culture amongst the female athletes that is so important for young women – and young men – to see, where competitiveness can be healthy and help everyone to succeed, where it’s not about backstabbing or going behind each others backs. Having dolls that can be played with the way Barbies are played with means that kids can act out matches or play house, or have a group of dolls be friends the way the ladies are in real life.
Plus the dolls look super awesome. I can’t wait to buy some for my niece and nephew. The presale (which went live on July 24th) is already sold out, which is pretty rad, but it looks like I’ll be trying to hunt these dolls down when they show up in stores in September. I hope they’re hot items, so we see more of them in the future.