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Celebrity Collector: Why WWE Superstar Zack Ryder is the Michael Jordan of Wrestling Figure Collecting

Wrestling fans not only know Zack Ryder as one half of the RAW Tag Team Champions but as a world-class toy collector. He’s earned nicknames like the “Thousand Dollar Broski,” he is legendary for owning a large collection of toys, specifically wrestling action figures, and has several YouTube shows and a podcast where he talks about toy collecting. In fact, he possesses, arguably, one of the largest collection of wrestling prototypes.

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Ryder’s love for wrestling and action figures began as a kid. But his toy collecting really took off when he made his first eBay purchase of a WWF 123 Kid Hasbro Action Figure. To this day, the wrestler still considers it his favorite, and why not? It was the start of an action figure kingdom over which he is the ruler.

Zack Ryder joined the WWE main roster in 2007 and was teamed up with Superstar Curt Hawkins (formerly Bryan Major). The team won the WWE Tag Team Championship at The Great American Bash. Ryder has also been an Intercontinental Champion, United States Champion, and the one-and-only Internet Champion. More recently he has reunited with Hawkins and has won the RAW Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 35.

Ryder began to embrace social media when dissatisfied with the time he was getting on WWE television after ECW was canceled, he created his first YouTube series, Z! True Long Island Story, which consisted mostly of his comments on wrestling and pop culture. His use of social media led to increased WWE TV appearances and made him what he is now: a social media star! His other YouTube shows include Unboxed and Figure it Out (the last one he stars in with Curt Hawkins), in which he explores the world of action figures, goes on tours of toy stores, and looks at figures both retro and yet to be released. The two wrestling stars’ podcast series The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast started on August 23, 2018, and has been a success ever since. On the show, the two wrestlers talk about wrestling figure history, new release information, and answer collector questions from their fans.

WWE/Aaron Richter

Zack Ryder’s collection is massive, and so is his passion for toy collecting. It takes up an entire room of his house (much to the dismay of his new fiancé, congrats sir!) and is more than happy to give fans a YouTube tour. It’s very impressive.

Among his thousands of collectibles, he is proud to own a variety of LJN, Hasbro, and Mattel wrestling action figures. His collection even includes Hasbro drawings and proof sheets. But what Ryder calls his “crown jewels” are his “Mail-Away” figures, which are comprised of wrestlers Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, and the Undertaker, but also feature three wrestling prototypes that were never released: Green Trunks Macho Man, Rhythm and Blues Greg the Hammer Valentine, and Mega Maniac Brutus.

His collection goes beyond just wrestling figures and accessories, though. He has also collected Rocky Balboa and Arnold Schwarzenegger in some of his various roles, including the original Terminator. And displayed in his room is an impressive Ghostbusters collection that features not only the Ghostbuster themselves, Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Raymond Stanz, Dr. Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore, but he owns many other related figures and accessories, including a working proton pack (well, it makes noise, anyway), a close to life-size Slimer, and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Other parts of his collection include many figures and related items from Home Alone, Back to the Future, Star Wars, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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And there’s more, of course. Ryder has a special love for Funko Pop! figures and owns literally hundreds of them. In fact, his Funko Pop! the collection is so impressive that Zack Ryder was featured in a Netflix documentary about the popular toy line called Making Fun: The Story of Funko. It is currently available for viewing on the streaming service.

When asked what he considers his personal top ten favorites from his collection, Ryder, of course, mentions his Hasbro WWF 123 Kid Action Figure. Meanwhile, his nine other favorites include: Razor Ramon with “bone-crunching action,” 16-inch Hulk Hogan, Royal Rumble Wrestling Ring, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan (R3 Tech), Zack Ryder (Mattel Elite Series 17), The Ultimate Warrior (Wrestling Buddies), Jake “the Snake” Robbers’ Snake, and Sting (U.K. Exclusive).

Ryder has been unwilling to state just how much his collection is worth. But he did reveal in an interview on E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness podcast that he was outbid for a Lex Luxer prototype, which went for over $8,000. But it does go to show how high Ryder is willing to go to compile the best collection he can.

Whether you follow him for his work in the ring, his contagious love of toy collecting, or his entertaining YouTube show and podcasts (or all three for that matter), one thing is clear: Zack Ryder is as unique as they come.

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