Bill Kerner, Director of Design for Mattel’s WWE toy line, spoke with Slam Wrestling at last week’s 2011 Toy Fair in New York City. Here are some highlights of what Kerner spoke about:
What WWE’s Youth Movement Means To Mattel:
“It’s important to get the young guys. The ideal thing would be to have on Tuesday morning the hottest thing from Monday night. That’s the Holy Grail. The Nexus for example, and we will do most of the Nexus guys in their original outfits with their bands and stuff, the shame is that it will be after the fact. They’ll be doing different things. The challenge for us is to be able to react to that quickly and be able to get them in a reasonable amount of time. We’re always trying to institute new characters quicker. We’re working on getting things into the system in maybe 90 to a 100 days. And I know that may sound like a lot of time, but it isn’t for a toy company. It normally takes 60 to 70 weeks.”
WWE Keeping Them Informed About Future Storylines:
“We’re working with the WWE on that. They’re giving us more up-front information which is very difficult for them to do because sometimes they don’t know until the night it happens.”
Will We See A Michael Cole Action Figure?
“It’s funny you mention Michael. We’ve had a lot of discussions about him. We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to work announcers and referees in. It’s harder to justify those one-use characters. But I think we have some really good opportunities to work those guys into the line. “
WWE Legends They Will Work With:
“We’ve done a deal with Bret Hart so we’re going to be doing Bret. We’re trying to go back even further; we’ve been talking to Gorgeous George’s estate. Andre (the Giant) is on the list, he’s coming. You may see him in September of 2011. “
Will We Ever See A WWE Bruno Sammartino Action Figure?
“I want to do Bruno. Him and Mr. McMahon haven’t always been on the best of terms. We’ll bring him up and he’ll say, “No, no, not yet. Come back to me in a couple of months.” But we are talking to him (Bruno) and I think we will see him sometime in 2012. Cause you’ve got to do Bruno.
Some guys we’re going to bring out and do because they have to be done. I’m a designer, we need to keep the vision alive.”
“We have to show the collector world that we’re serious about this, and we’re going to do all the key people that should be done. We’ll get Bruno done and I think there are a lot of other guys that the fans are going to be surprised that we’re going to go after in 2011 and 2012.”
Their Experiences Working With Randy Savage & Ultimate Warrior
“Macho Man and Warrior … you have to nurture those guys. But, we’ve really established good relationships with them, they like working with us. Macho Man has been terrific. We were so worried about him because he was kind of jaded when he came out of the business. He was a little afraid to get back into it. And, he’s been great. I think he’s going to be doing more stuff. I think you might even see him more out there in the WWE world. I’m not going to speak for him, but he seems to be getting back into it a little bit.”
* WARRIOR & SAVAAGE In The New WWE All Stars Game (Pictures)