Referees, commentators and ring announcers exist in the gray area of pro wrestling industry professionals who aren’t “the office” or “the boys.” Although “on screen” talent, they don’t get to capitalize on the benefits of merchandise tie ins. Despite this Jeffrey Scott has thrived in both selling merch and as a ring announcer for Impact!. But not in the ways most would think.
As a child Jeff’s wrestling fandom and collecting converged. “We were poor growing up and while my friends were all collecting Transformers, GI Joe and Star Wars, I was only allowed to collect what I really liked: Masters of the Universe and WWF.” To this day Jeff’s Masters of the Universe and WWF collecting persists.
Jeff’s parent’s foresight would also extend to his education. “In Grade 4 my Dad signed me up for computer classes. He thought the industry would be big. I was the only kid in a class of adults.”
He used that to develop a program to generate random matches for his LJN collection. “In 2020 it doesn’t sound like much but by Grade 8 my program could generate a whole random card for my LJNs with heels and faces and tag matches and cage matches.”
Jeff’s most cherished memories date back to collecting WWF LJN figures as a child. He took pride in his complete collection, including the poster inserts. “I got my mom to iron them flat and I put the sticker with the wrestler’s name from the cardback onto each one, then hung them on my wall.” This would plant the seed of Jeff’s collector mentality. He still has all the posters, some of which now sell in excess of $400.
But fun came before collecting. “I’d play with the ring right out on my front lawn with a pile of all my LJNs. All the kids in the neighborhood riding on their bikes would stop to watch me put on WrestleMania in my homemade cage.”
He maintains vivid memories about receiving each and every LJN figure. With no internet spoilers, the circumstances of discovering new figures were always unique and memorable. The advent of Series 3 would bring upon what remains the single greatest day in Jeff’s life.
“Back then stores weren’t open on Sundays, but as I was walking past BiWay near my house I peeked through the window at the toys. I could see Jesse Ventura hanging there and the whole new set. The epiphany of new match-ups hit me but I had to wait until Monday. I rushed home and asked my Mom if I could go to BiWay on my walk to school in the morning. She said okay, but my brother had to go too. She gave us each five bucks to buy one. He didn’t even like wrestling. We got to BiWay at 7:45 and while we sat on the curb holding our bills waiting for it to open, all the sudden a $20 bill blows by. We were going nuts and walked out with all five figures they had on the rack.”
In 1989 the LJN line came to an end. Hasbro took over the WWE license. “Hasbros were too different from LJNs, and playing WrestleMania on your lawn in grade school is way different than being seen doing it in high school.” This put Jeff’s wrestling figure collecting on hold.
His interest turned to sports cards. The innovation of inserts like game-worn jersey swatches in basketball cards hooked him. Pursuing this would lead Jeff back to wrestling figures.
“I would go to flea markets in the U.S. for sports cards. I saw a vendor with figures marked up that I remember seeing on shelves at Zellers. I asked how he figured out the worth. He showed me magazines with figure rarity and previews.” Jeff used those magazines to flip rarer figures of all ilks to buy something else he saw turning up at the flea markets — new WWF wrestling figures by Jakks.
Figures came back to Jeff as business, and so too would pro wrestling.
“I was one of the first people to have Internet in 1994, but that’s another story. As it became popular I helped develop rec.sport.prowrestling and wfigs.proboards.com the first wrestling figure message board.” He would use his handle “Dr. Colossus” (a Simpsons reference) on many boards. His fandom went to the next level upon seeing an article in his hometown newspaper in Windsor, Ontario.
“Chuck Fader’s name was quoted so I looked him up in the phone book and asked to be involved. He told me about Can-Am Wrestling school opening and 50 body-slams and a broken nose later I knew wrestling wasn’t for me. He offered me to help set up a BCW event with him and Scott D’Amore. Instead of wrestling, D’Amore suggested refereeing and Jeff excelled at it.
But he was still a collector-minded entrepreneur “Refs have no merch, so I’d bring figures to sell at shows. Wrestling shows almost became secondary to going to Walmart in Fort Wayne Indiana. It was like walking into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. So different and mysterious.”
As a journalism student he also took the opportunity to create programs for BCW. “Scott and Chuck were wearing too many hats and everyone has 10 jobs so you start to take on anything you can to help.” Twenty seven years later, he’s promoting bigger events and pay-per-views for Impact and BCW.
At one time, Jeff possessed every “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and Jakks Classic Superstars figure. But the release of extremely rare exclusive figures caused him to abandon these collections. “If I can’t have them all, I want none. No one piece in the set is more important.”
This gestalt philosophy is something that holds true in his Pringles collection as well.
“I helped Joe E Legend move to Windsor. While unpacking I saw Paprika Pringles and was intrigued. He told me that he got them in Germany where they didn’t have BBQ flavour, hence paprika.” Today his collection is up to nearly 400 different flavours of Pringles Potato Chips from countries all over the world.
Collecting went hand-in-hand with putting on events. “Promoting wrestling events gave me the connections and skills to start promoting some Funko POP shows.”
Upon their 2010 debut Jeff had no interest in the “dead eyes” of “weird and creepy, knockoff looking” Funko POP vinyl figures. But upon receiving a Ric Flair POP as a housewarming gift in 2015, a domino effect triggered in his collector brain. Now, five years later, he has over 300 POPs and estimates he has conservatively sold in excess of 10,000.