TNA Wrestling

So last night was the debut of the “new” TNA, err Impact Wrestling and I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the changes, the things they did right and the things they did that were very wrong.

First let me preface this by saying I am a longtime TNA fan. Unlike most of the people who criticize the product, I’ve follwed TNA since day one. I ordered almost all of the early weekly pay-per-views and followed them from Fox Sports to Spike to Destination America to Pop. I’ve seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I actually believed for a time that Hulk Hogan was a good signing for the company (to be fair I lobbied for that about 5 years before it actually happened) and I’ve been in favor of some regime change.

Secondly, I’d like to say that TNA never gets a break. When Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels were putting on 5 star matches in TNA, the mainstream wrestling audience still crapped on everything. People will tell you now that they liked TNA back when it was “good” but the truth is even when TNA was consistently putting out the best wrestling product on television, they were disliked by whole groups of people. Wrestling needs a punching bag company and no matter how many times WWE puts Roman Reigns in the main event of Wrestlemania, has Randy Orton win the Royal Rumble or does an angle like Katie Vick, they will always get a pass. TNA became the new WCW from day one (insert your own joke there) because no matter what TNA did they became the punching bag of the wrestling community. TNA could literally put on the best match EVER in pro-wrestling and they’d still get slagged off for it.

That said, there has been some optimism and speculation how the new “reboot” would work. Dixie Carter has had a hand in TNA for the past decade and a half. In the beginning that wasn’t a bad thing, but eventually Carter did become a detriment to the company. Anthem bought her out and brought in a team on paper, that’s relatively good. Jeff Jarrett not only founded TNA, but has been exposed to more wrestling knowledge than few people on the planet. Dutch Mantell and Bruce Prichard have been around the block many times and in the case of Mantell, is one of the best minds in the business.

Along with them came some familiar faces in the production end and for the most part, I have to applaud Kevin Sullivan for his mostly excellent work on this reboot of Impact. The show looked new, sleek and clean, while still retaining a familiar feel. It was nice overall, though I thought some of the lower thirds weren’t as nice as they could have been.

Unfortunately, that was probably the highlight of the show. They did a nice video package talking up the history of the company and going on about how they “used” to be the place to be. The theme is to “Make Impact Wrestling Great (Again)” which is immediately a turn off. First, it’s an ignorant slogan even when Trump used it as it doesn’t really make sense but even if TNA was hoping to use the “trendy” factor, it sort of defeated the purpose when it’s connected to the world’s most unpopular politician. More than half the country absolutely LOATHE that saying, so it’s probably not a good idea to throw that albatross around your neck. The fact that they changed it to just “Make Impact Wrestling Great” is a nice attempt to distance yourself from Trump, but it’s sort of like putting a bandaid on a gunshot. They should have rebranded with an entirely new slogan.  Continue reading

WWE Elite – Series 10
7 Inch Scale
By: Mattel

What’s up? What’s up? What’s up? R-Truth is what’s up. Ron “The Truth” Killings is one of the few WWE superstars that actually made his name in TNA Wrestling. I actually recall seeing R-Truth in Memphis doing his K-Krush gimmick before eventually he did a brief and ultimately doomed stint as K-Kwik in WWF. Ron Killings fashions himself a rapper, which hasn’t always worked well in the world of wrestling.

He soon joined TNA, where he developed his “Truth” persona and went on to have a great deal of success as both a heel and a face. He even won the NWA World Championship, one of the few African Americans in history to do so. Eventually WWE came calling again and despite their best efforts, Killings, now dubbed R-Truth, got over huge, In fact I’d say there was a point where he was the second or third most over man on the entire roster. Of course, he was subsequently de-pushed and he’s back to being a midcard act now, but a couple years ago it looked like R-Truth was going to be WWE Champion.

The packaging is the standard Elite style with a double sided window box. This is one of the last packages that looked like this, as it changed in Elite Series 12. Truth was recently re-releases with slightly different attire and deco, in the newer cards.

The back of the package has the faux autograph and talks about his rapping stuff. No big surprise there. This figure actually came out as R-Truth was just turning heel, but it reflects his face persona. Back when he was trying to appeal to all the little Jimmys in the crowd.

This was the second Elite R-Truth figure from Mattel (and he’s since had another) and represents one of those mind boggling choices in a lot of ways. When this figure was slated for production, R-Truth was treading water and was essentially, a nobody. So why did he have two Elites? Who knows. It worked out for Mattel though, as R-Truth’s career took off like a rocket right around the time this figure hit, making it one of the harder to find figures in Series 10.

On the surface this looks a lot like the previous Elite R-Truth. He’s got a shirt, pants and he’s really dark. R-Truth is really dark in real life though. Seriously, the guy is so black that even the night thinks he’s dark.

But underneath is a new body mold. The previous figures had used the “Triple H/Batista” body mold which made R-Truth look way too pumped. R-Truth is muscular, but not THAT muscular. This is a great fit for him.

The head sculpt is also quite good, with no goofy grins or anything. Usually Mattel puts a really dopey head sculpt on the Elite figures, so that you have to buy a Basic figure to swap with. The nice thing here is that they included paint work for all of R-Truth’s piercings and such. It’s a nice job all around.

There’s a ton of detail work all over him with paint apps on his belt, his wrists, his pants and other places. It’s all sharp and clean and it’s not all tampos either. Although he has a fair share of them as well. He also has a nice little sculpted on necklace that could possibly be removed by removing his head, as well as fabric wrist bands that can be removed.

R-Truth has the usual Elite articulation. The complete breakdown is a ball neck, swivel-hinged shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel-hinged wrists, ab crunch, ball hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel boot tops, hinged ankles, and ankle rockers.

This will satisfy even the most annoying Little Jimmy. The legs work well enough that you can his axe kick.

The figure retains a great use of balance and can be posed easily and freely. There’s just no denying that the WWE Elites are Mattel’s best toys on the market right now. Those rocker ankles for example, really help them to stand while posing.

Elite figures have mixed results when it comes to accessories. They’re supposed to come with stuff, but sometimes the crap they come with isn’t all that interesting.

Truth comes with a microphone and a t-shirt. He also has the aforementioned necklace and wrist bands, though I consider that more of a key part of the figure, akin to a kneepad though. Since they’re removable, I guess they are technically accessories to some folks.

The microphone is essential for Truth, because without it, he couldn’t spread his paranoia. Later versions of this figure come with his bullet proof vest. That is a bit missed here.

The shirt looks great from the front, but a little clunky in the back. That’s okay though, I suppose. I prefer the fabric shirts to the plastic ones. Thankfully the Truth is so black that he doesn’t have to worry about any of the fabric ink getting onto his skin cause you wouldn’t be able to notice it anyway! The shirt is fastened with velcro in the back.

If you can get this guy for $15.99 or on sale, he’s a pretty darn good value these days. I think the price has since went up on Elites though. These figures are good, but not worth too much more than that. As they hover closer to the $20 range, you may be a bit more choosey on who you select. I’ve always found R-Truth to be pretty entertaining, especially his heel runs, so I’m glad to have him in the collection.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 8
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Microphone, Shirt
Value – 8
Overall – 8 out of 10

Another Mattel WWE Elite that comes away with a pretty good score. I have no real complaints about R-Truth. If he’d come with a couple more accessories, like a chair and maybe his vest, I’d have no problems pushing this guy up to a 9 or so. As is, he’s really one of the better WWE Elite figures out there. No goofy head sculpt, good posing, accurate outfit and body. It’s a great small version of the real like R-Truth.

You can get with this or you can get with that, but you better get with this cause this is where it’s at… What’s up?!

TNA Abyss, Deluxe Impact Series 4, Infinite Hollywood figure review
TNA Wrestling (Deluxe Impact Series 4)
7.5 Inch Scale
By: Jakks Pacific

Abyss is one of the best characters that TNA Wrestling has produced. The “monster” has been with TNA practically since the beginning and has continued to evolve through the years. At 6 foot 8 inches tall and over 300 pounds, he’s also one of the biggest men on the roster. For his size, he’s incredibly athletic and he has a penchant for getting involved in hardcore situations, adding another element to an already dangerous persona.

ECW's Sandman hits Abyss with a garbage can.

Whether it’s thumbtacks, barbwire or even fire, Abyss is ready to tear into his opponents and often due to his own tunnel vision, hurt himself in the process. Unlike most “big man” or “hardcore” wrestlers, Abyss is actually very technically sound and can have great matches without resorting to those tactics. Back in 2010, I reviewed the basic style of Ruthless Impact Abyss and today I’m taking a look at his first Deluxe version.

Is this monster a worthy addition to your collection or will you feel like you’ve been hit with a Black Hole Slam to your wallet if you buy him? You’ll have to read the full review to find out!

Originally Jakks had a clever six sided ring package, but when TNA dropped that ring, Jakks had to adjust to make it a four sided ring package. The red and silver coloring is a bit dark, but it does catch your eye to a degree. Jakks has since changed the packaging (yet again) to reflect the Impact Wrestling branding banner.

The back shows off the rest of the figures in Series 4. Nothing exciting or revolutionary going on here. Just the basics, but that’s okay.

Usually the Deluxe Impact style is thrown under the bus for being too big, muscled and bulbous. Scale is often wonky on these figures too. Thankfully, Jakks actually spent a little time on Abyss and have produced one of their finer figures as a result.

TNA Series 4 Abyss

The body is reasonably big and they’ve managed to capture the size of Abyss well. He’s not overly muscled, but he’s not a big fat guy either. He’s just a massive brute of a man. No wonder they call this guy a monster!

The detail is much better on things like the tattoos, compared to the rather cheap basic version. The body is just a much better fit too. Although Jakks has used some recycled parts here, it fits for Abyss really well.

Of course the big victory for this guy is the head sculpt. The previous version had this ridiculous cartoon screaming head scan, but this one has a much more sedated look. I prefer my figures to look neutral, so I like this. The details on the mask are impeccable as well. The yellow stitching and other small details just show that when Jakks wants to, it can be a major player in the toy aisle.

“Nice tattoos!”

All of Abyss’s tattoos are accurately represented as well. This is a drastic improvement over the basic version, as you might imagine.

There’s also a great attention to detail to give Abyss spots on his tattoos where they look “scratched out”. That’s because in real life his arm tattoos have several spots that look like that because of his various barbwire matches where he ended up with scarring there. He’s a hardcore dude. Unfortunately that gnarly gash on the arm is NOT supposed to be there and he came out of the package that way. I mentioned back in my Deluxe Impact Series 5 Rob Terry Review that the plastic felt cheaper on these toys. This appears to be a case of that.

It’s not the end of the world, because for Abyss is sort of fits into his character… But I shouldn’t have to make excuses for why my action figure has a big chunk of plastic taken out of it. It’s a real bummer, in general.

The rest of the details are good, including the full Abyss anarchy logo on the back of his shirt. This is the red and yellow version that he wore for a while when he was under the tutelage of Hulk Hogan… In an angle I’d rather forget.

The shirt is rubber and technically removable, but I didn’t take it off all the way because it looks like it might be a pain to get back on. Underneath is the same chunky body mold we’ve seen before in this line. The shirt may impede the articulation a bit, but in general I think it’s the best course of action. It’s soft and pliable enough, unlike the rock hard rubber clothing in Mattel’s WWE line.

His scale isn’t perfect to be used with WWE figures, but it’s workable, I think. Since Abyss is supposed to be huge.

The scale for the actual line that he’s supposed to fit in, the TNA Deluxe Impact line is… Decent. He’s bigger than most figures, but that can vary some. Basically, Abyss is the right size, it’s a lot of other guys who aren’t.

The Deluxe Impact style has a ton of articulation. Abyss is hindered some by his design though and the rubber shirt.

He can flex in a variety of ways and can do a fair amount of wrestling moves as a result. There is some minor hindrance in the ab crunch due to the shirt, but as I said before, it’s nothing too bad.

The legs are not super poseable, although he has double knees. The feet are restricted by his pants legs and his legs sort of want to go out to the side when lifting them up. However, he can do a decent big boot to smaller figures.

Abyss comes with absolutely nothing.

In a perfect world Jakks would have made a plastic version of Abyss’ old weapon of choice and his favorite girl, Janice… The 2×4 with nails in it. Although to be fair, I don’t think Abyss had started using Janice when this figure was first developed. Still, it’s something to think about for the future. He should come with SOME sort of weapon.

These weren’t terribly expensive when they came out, at about $9, which is cheaper than even Mattel WWE Basics. At the price, they’re hard to complain about. TNA’s website often runs sales on these figures and I was able to pick up Abyss for about $6. At that price, I can’t really complain that much, even with the limitations of the figure and the cheaper plastic.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 9
Articulation – 7
Accessories – N/A
Value – 7
Overall – 7.5 out of 10

I decided on a pretty high 7.5 out of 10 for this guy. Which is pretty amazing considering that he has a flaw and comes with no accessories. However, I based my decision on how much this figure looks and feels like Abyss. There’s no denying that this is a pretty darn good encapsulation of the character. If he didn’t have the gash in his arm, I’d probably go ahead and give him a full 8.

The TNA Deluxe Impact line is far from perfect, but there are some decent figures in there. At the price point of under $10 and often in sales for less than $8, it’s one of the more economic toy lines out there. For the value, it’s usually pretty good, if not great.

TNA Wrestling (Deluxe Impact Series 5)
Rob Terry
7.5 Inch Scale
By: Jakks Pacific

Rob Terry is a classic case of a “big guy” being pushed to the moon because of his size. Terry is a former bodybuilder who first debuted in TNA as part of the British Invasion stable. He worked mostly in a muscle bodyguard role, only occasionally wrestling in tag matches. He wasn’t a terrible worker, but he still clearly needed a few more years of seasoning.

But as if often the case, when a new creative team took over, they decided that Terry should be one of the guys the company should revolve around. To his credit, Terry tried hard to get over and did improve in the ring as best he could, but it was destined to fail. As Global Champion, Rob Terry was thrust upon the TNA fanbase during a tumultuous time when many were unhappy with the changes in creative (thanks to Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan) and they rebelled against Terry as a result.

As time has went on, Rob Terry was depushed and has slowly found his niche back in the big man bodyguard role. Rob Terry deserves some praise as he never developed an ego and continues to work on honing his craft in Ohio Valley Wrestling, while also working with TNA as Robbie T. Jakks TNA Deluxe Impact series 5 has the big man and the Global title in one package. After reviewing several WWE Mattel figures, does Terry have enough muscles to stack up?

Originally Jakks had a clever six sided ring package, but when TNA dropped that ring, Jakks had to adjust to make it a four sided ring package. It works okay, but some of the novelty is lost. The red and silver coloring is nice albeit a bit dark.

For the most part the package is just fine. Terry is displayed nicely and the belt is visible. Even though Impact doesn’t use the red color scheme anymore, TNA still does on pay-per-views and other events. Jakks has since updated their packaging to reflect the Impact Wrestling concept from TNA.

While some have critiqued the Deluxe Impact style for being too big, muscled and bulbous, it actually fits like a glove for Rob Terry. The man is built almost exactly like a Deluxe Impact figure. He’s a huge dude, so the figure reflects that well.

The likeness is pretty good too. I’m not a huge fan of screaming head scans, but this looks enough like Rob Terry that I don’t mind. At least he’s doing an angry or intense look, as opposed to smiling like the recent Big Show figure. The paint is quite good on the hair, although it does get a bit sloppy on the sides. Jakks seems to be able to do hair paint a lot better than Mattel for some reason.

The head sculpt might be a tad big, but it’s not as bad as some in the line like Hulk Hogan. My only complaint is that the head has a hard time sitting up straight on the neck. It can be done on mine, but it almost seems like there’s a bit of excess plastic flashing in there or something. I need to pop it off and check it out.

Which brings me to another point… This guy feels cheap. Not bootleg cheap, but cheaper than some of Jakks efforts. I noticed this on some of the last WWE figures from Jakks as well. They clearly have augmented their plastics a bit and as a result, some of this figure just feels cheaper overall. It’s also more prone to flashing and chipping. There is some good detail in the sculpt itself, though, with bulging veins and the like.

“He’s freaky!”

The body itself is really good for Rob Terry, as I said above. He looks just like him from several angles, including the back. Terry has one of those huge backs that you could play a movie on and it’s emulated well in this figure. He also has all of his details on his tights.

Terry wears unique boots as well and sure enough, Jakks has them. This has been something they’ve struggled with through the years, often using the wrong molds even when they have the rights ones on file. However Terry has the exact type of boots he actually wears in real life. It’s a great figure in that regard.

I actually think his scale is pretty good. He’s big, but not too big. He can even fit in with your Mattel figures, if you’re not super hardcore about scale. Terry is a big guy and the Deluxe Impact style fits him well.

The Deluxe Impact style has a ton of articulation. You can pose this guy quite freely. However, remember that cheap plastic I talked about in the sculpt section? Well it has an effect here as well. Terry’s arms are loose as a goose and it’s clear to me that the plastic is reason for it.

That doesn’t mean you can’t pose him, it just means that he won’t always hold that pose as well as he should. Mattel’s figures have been tighter for the most part overall and I was surprised that Terry was this loose, as I haven’t had this issue with other Jakks TNA figures. He also seems to have limited movement in his torso crunch, because of the cheaper plastic. It’s just odd.

The legs are a bit better, but not much. There just doesn’t seem to be anyone who can make a wrestling figure capable of a basic big boot. The Mattel Elites struggle to perform this simple move as well. C’est la vie.

One of the reasons I bought Rob Terry was for his title belt. He comes with the Global Title. Of course if you follow TNA now, you’ll note that the Global Title has been renamed the Television Title. It’s actually the third name change for the belt. Originally it was brought in by Booker T as an almost fictional belt, dubbed the “Legends” Title.

TNA always struggled with the fact that they really didn’t have a midcard title. The Legends Title worked at the time, because TNA had a decent little roster of older guys who could fight for it. Once most of those old guys were off the roster, TNA renamed the belt to be the Global Title. I liked that moniker, but someone at TNA didn’t, thinking it undercut the World Title and thus it was renamed to the TV Title.

Whatever the name, it’s a beautiful belt. Unfortunately Jakks seems to have made the strap PINK! The actual Global/TV title does have a reddish-pink hue to it, but Jakks seems to have taken it just a tad too far to the pink level. It’s annoying, as I really like the belt, but the strap color is bothersome. Trust me, I know in some photos the belt looks red. It’s not. It’s pink. There’s also no paint on the belt. There is some great detail to it, though and it even says the word “global” in very small font on the front.

These weren’t terribly expensive when they came out, at about $9, which is cheaper than even Mattel WWE Basics. At the price, they’re hard to complain about. TNA’s website is actually running a sale on these figures right now and you can purchase ol’ Rob Terry for $5.99! If you score him for that price, even with his flaws, he’s a good value.

If you pay a bit more, his value will go down a bit. The cheap plastic results in a couple of minor issues with the head and the articulation. The belt is also a little too pink for my liking. Which means he’s got a lot weighing against him, as Terry isn’t really a popular character. BUT, the style does fit him well and he’s a pretty solid entry overall. I wouldn’t want to pay $15 for this guy, but at $6-$9 he feels like a good purchase.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 8
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Global Title
Value – 7
Overall – 7 out of 10

I’m torn between a 7 and a 7.5 for this guy, but ultimately I’ve decided on a 7. Something about him just doesn’t feel that great, even though he’s a pretty good value. I appreciate that this guy can be had for under $10, though, even with a few flaws. There just aren’t many toys of this size that can be bought for such cheap prices. Jakks could improve their quality a bit, but overall Rob Terry is a decent, if not amazing figure.

TNA Wrestling (Genesis Style)
AJ Styles
5 Inch Scale
By: Jakks Pacific

AJ Styles is one of the most amazing wrestlers in the business today. His moniker, phenomenal, isn’t just a tag given to him to help market his character. In the case of Styles, it’s truly the only word that comes to mind. AJ isn’t just capable of death defying high risk maneuvers, but rather he’s one of the few wrestlers who can suck you in to almost any match and have you on the edge of your seat. Whether Styles is taking a beating or dishing it out, it’s his ability to get the viewer immersed in the action that make him, Phenomenal.

Jakks has had the TNA license for a while now, putting out a wide variety of product. Today we’re looking at a discount store figure, slightly different than the Ruthless Impact figures that I reviewed last year. Jakks produces these figures specifically for Dollar Stores, Big Lots, etc. When the WWE license was held by Jakks, these were called Havoc Unleashed.

Often when Jakks did the WWE line, the Havoc Unleashed figures had their own head sculpts and oddly, I often found that the head sculpts were better on that line than the actual Jakks WWE main line. However, for the first series of TNA figures in this scale, dubbed Genesis (after a TNA pay-per-view), the figures re-use the Deluxe Impact head sculpts… To mixed results.

The packaing here is bare bones. Obviously these figures are designed for economy and thus, so too is the package.

For what it’s worth, the front of the package is actually not bad. It has the TNA ring, the Genesis logo and doesn’t really seem all that cheap. The back however, is devoid of anything other than legal information. No bio, no advertisements for the other figures in the series… Nothing.

Jakks is known for reusing parts and the Havoc Unleashed line mostly used the same body style over and over. I think there might have been one or two different sets of legs, but for the most part all the figures had the same body with a different head. That’s the same deal here with the TNA Genesis figures.

And yet, there’s something on a very basic level that works for me. I’m sure someone will say I’m biased or whatever, but I actually like this figure. It works as a little wrestler. It’s not a great AJ Styles, exactly, but it works as a toy. I’m reminded of the old Remco AWA figures. I loved those back in the day.

AJ’s normal tights have a lot of logos on them, but the Genesis version, to be budget, simply has one logo plastered on the front of his crotch. This is pretty much true of all the Genesis figures. It helps add a little diversity to the figure, but let’s face it, this isn’t going for much in terms of authenticity.

Surprisngly, despite the fact that this figure is several inches smaller than the regular Deluxe Impact TNA line… The head sculpt fits well. It might be a tad big, but not much. The problem comes in other figures (like Samoa Joe) who already have an oversized head. Then it looks absolutely gargantuan on the smaller body. However, AJ makes out pretty good.

To help differentiate these from the main releases, the head sculpts received slightly different paint decos. Some are more drastic than others. In the case of AJ, he’s got a 5 o’clock shadow going on. It’s both sculpted and painted.

That works a little better in premise than execution, as most of the paint isn’t really where the stubble is sculpted. It looks okay to the naked eye, except in the front where my AJ is missing about half his moustache. I’m reminded of that time Big Bubba shaved John Tenta’s head and then Tenta shaved half his beard off to match.

These guys aren’t in scale with any of Jakks other stuff. They are a scale all their own. However, since the heads are all the same, you can use them for the other figures if you wanted to boil and pop them off. Also, as previously mentioned, these are in scale with the old WWE Havoc Unleashed figures.

The articulation here is very, very basic. Think Kenner. You get a swivel neck, arms, waist and legs. It’s not much, but I actually like basic articulation when it’s implemented well and surprisingly, this is.

You won’t be able to get AJ into a ton of moves, but he is sculpted in a way that you can make the most out of what you have here. The half bent elbows and knees, a Kenner staple, work just as well here as they did on most your figures in the 1980’s.

By no means am I saying this is a super poseable figure, but actually you are able to pose him better in some respects than you can the Ruthless Impact style figures. Because his body is sculpted in a more neutral position.


I picked AJ up on clearance for $3. At that price, it’s hard to complain about anything. That said, he actually retailed for $3.99, which in this day and age, also isn’t bad. However, the value becomes a bit subjective when you realize that the Deluxe Impact figures, which have a ton more articulation and paint, are only $9.99! I’ve seen these figures retail for as high as $5 in some stores and that’s just too much for what’s offered here.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 4
Sculpting – 5
Paint – 2
Articulation – 3
Accessories – Nothing
Value – 6
Overall – 5 out of 10

A lot of people are quick to dismiss these figures as garbage. I guess I’m old school, but I could totally see having a bunch of these and enjoying them as a kid. These are designed for, well let’s face it, poor kids. At $3 or $4, these make a decent toy for a kid who may not be able to afford the better stuff. AJ is far, far from perfect in this plastic incarnation, but he’s hardly garbage either. Your enjoyment of these style figures will be entirely dependant on your own cynicism.