It’s been an odd year for the Jazwares AEW action figure line. The year’s highs — the release of a premium Supreme action figure line and the releases of the first AEW figures of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Malakai Black and more — have given way to speculation about the future of the line.
As many wrestling figure influencers/YouTubers/Instagram accounts questioned whether the line would continue and tried to provide some perspective, the Jazwares AEW team remained silent about its future.
Until this afternoon.
Jazwares’ chief brand officer Jeremy Padawer finally released a statement via Twitter saying, “AEW and ROH action figure news soon… What do you want to see next?!”
The comment was similar to past posts from Padawer. At launch, he’d often ask the question to fans and collectors and respond.
Padawer also made the announcement of each successive wave an event, releasing images over the course of a couple of hours on social media.
However, something changed this year. The release announcement events came to a halt. Jazwares still made splashes during AEW pay-per-view fan fests, but the interactivity between Padawer and the wrestling figure community ground to a halt.
Padawer pulling back wasn’t the only red flag leading to speculation. Pre-orders beyond Unrivaled 11 and Unmatched 5 never materialized.
Unmatched 5 went up for pre-order at Ringside on July 20, while Unrivaled 11 went up on September 3. Both of those waves were in collectors’ hands by the end of September and early October, respectively. In between, there were several Ringside exclusives: Tony Schiavone, Excalibur, CM Punk and Thunder Rosa. And AEW Supreme Collection 2 in November.
Yet, the lack of pre-orders for figure waves that we saw during the September AEW All Out Fan Fest only raised questions. What followed too was a glut of figures on big box retailers’ shelves and the figures pulled altogether at other stores, heavy discounts at Ringside (although not odd given the time of year), and a glut of quality control issues and inconsistent quality and part choices from wave to wave.
As a fan of the line, I want to see it succeed and thrive. All of the speculation about the line’s future could have easily been avoided had Jazwares communicated along the way. Were the issues related to COVID-19 lockdowns in China? Changes in factories? Miscalculations on supply and demand leading to overproduction? We may never know.
Now that Padawer has, I guess we should prepare for pre-orders sooner than later.
We already know the Unrivaled lineups through wave 15, the Unmatched lineups through 10 and Supreme through 5.
Still, something still feels different. Hopefully Jazwares can recapture the spirit and excitement that we all felt when the line launched.