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Pre-Launch Interview with Mattel WWE Team – PJ Lewis and Derek Handy

The wait is nearly over.

It’s been over 22 long months since Mattel announced it had won the master toy license for the WWE from long-time holder JAKKS Pacific, and now we’re just ten days away from the official launch date. Even with the WWE team at Mattel completing their final prep for the launch, they were kind enough to answer our questions about the most anticipated toy line of 2010.

We spoke with PJ Lewis and Derek Handy from Mattel. PJ is the brand manager for the WWE toy lines, and Derek is on the design team.

AFP: Hi – thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. PJ, to start, can you introduce yourself?

PJ Lewis: Hello. My name is PJ Lewis and I am a Senior Brand Manager at Mattel. I’ve been at the company 4 years and had the opportunity to work on Speed Racer, DC Universe, Cartoon Network Brands, and more.

AFP: WWE is one of the most coveted licenses out there. How long has Mattel been targeting the license, and what were the key points that made acquiring the license possible?

PJ: There are so few brands in the action figure aisle that are true evergreen brands like WWE. Simply, when something like it comes available, you go after it. As for key points, we are a creative, passionate team with global reach unmatched in the industry. I’d like to think these all helped the license come our way.

AFP: Let’s talk about the toys, due to hit shelves January 1, 2010. First, can you tell us a bit about each line and who they’re targeted at? We know Flex Force is aimed at kids, but who’s the primary target for the Basic figures, Elite Collection, and Entrance Greats?

Basic Series 1:

WWE TRIPLE H Figure (Series 1).jpgWWE BATISTA Figure (Series 1).jpgWWE JOHN CENA Figure (Series 1).jpgWWE BIG SHOW Figure (Series 1).jpgWWE KOFI KINGSTON Figure (Series 1).jpgWWE EVAN BOURNE Figure (Series 1).jpg

Basic Series 2:

Kane_1.JPGRey Mysterio_1.jpgCM Punk_1.JPGMark Henry_1.JPGVladimir Kozlov_1.JPGJack Swagger 1.jpg

PJ: Basic Figures are the day in and day out replicas of the WWE roster. They average 15 points of articulation and capture the changing decos and new talent additions. The Elite Collection are designed for collectors and fans that want to take it to the next level. These feature 25+ points of articulation, authentic ring attire, and what we hope to be the best deco you have ever seen on a WWE figure.

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