It’s long been known by dedicated wrestling fans that Matt Cardona (Formerly Zack Ryder in WWE) is one of the foremost collectors of wrestling action figures in the world. Alongside Brian Myers (Curt Hawkins), Cardona hosts ‘The Major Wrestling Figure’ podcast that details both his collecting journey and the wider history and culture of wrestling action figure collecting.
This week, Cardona was a guest on the ‘Keepin’ It 100′ podcast with Konnan and he went into some quite incredible details about some of his rules for collecting and one of his most audacious sales ever. The WWE veteran said:
“My rule in my psycho brain is I debuted in WWE in 2007, so that’s my cutoff. I don’t get current guys. I don’t get a Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose. Nothing against them, they just don’t make the cut off. If they make an Undertaker 2020 WrestleMania edition, I don’t get that. But, if they make an Undertaker that’s supposed to look like Survivor Series ‘91, then I have to get one. There are just too many. Do I have a K-Dog? Do I have a Disco? Of course, they are my WCW collection. Some of the stuff I have is worth a lot. I’m into pre production stuff that is really nerdy stuff like stuff that was in the magazine ads or commercials that were hand painted prototypes of what the figure would look like before it was mass-produced. I have a lot of stuff like that. I had this company from the ‘80s called LJN that made the WWF big figures in the ‘80s. Some of the sculptures there decided to make a naked Miss Elizabeth. I’m talking naked. No clothes, nipples, naked Miss Elizabeth. I was able to get my hands on it for a pretty decent price. I had it in my collection and I did a YouTube video talking about it but I blurred everything out. It was so weird that it would even be in the back of my display case. I was proud that I had it but I didn’t want to show it off. When I put it on this YouTube video, someone contacted me and said, how much for the naked Elizabeth? I said, dude, I didn’t really want to sell it, make me an offer I can’t refuse? He offered me $45,000. I sold it.”
He also opened up about some of his bigger purchases including the almost mythical ‘Moon Belly’ Kamala, something of a holy grail amongst collectors due to it’s scarcity:
“I probably have 10,000 figures. I have some things I need. It’s almost like a mental checklist. Of course, there are times that I can almost convince myself to buy something. Once you have one thing, it’s almost like a drug addiction, but a figure addiction. You have them all. Now what are you going to do? You’re not going to stop. You want more. I spent $11,000 on a ‘93 Kamala figure. There were only 24 of them in the world. It’s this preproduction one where it has a moon painted on his belly instead of a star.”
Cardona, alongside his tag team partner and podcast co-host Myers, was released from WWE on April 15th after a 15 year run with the company. Social media hints from various parties point to a potential signing with AEW in the near future.
Thank you to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription of the quotes.