WWE

Undertaker
For the past few weeks, WWE has used their various social media outlets to tease hints about an upcoming promotion. It’s been pretty obvious that this involved the Undertaker in some way, but most were speculating that this had something to do with Taker returning to wrestling. However, today it was revealed that the viral campaign is instead to hype up the debut Todd McFarlane WWE statue, which will feature the Deadman himself.

The WWE ICON Series will include both current WWE Superstars and Legends, though no names other than the Undertaker have been announced. The debut statue, just in time for Halloween, is nearly 18 inches tall and includes the Undertaker’s infamous “symbol” that he once crucified Steve Austin on. The statues will have no articulation, just like all Todd McFarlane action figures. (*rimshot*)

The Undertaker statue is limited to only 850 pieces, and each one is individually and sequentially numbered. Each one has a special base that includes LED spotlights, a plaque highlighting some of The Undertaker’s historic accomplishments and will feature a piece of the ring skirt from The Undertaker’s Inferno match against Kane from the February 22, 1999 edition of RAW. As an added bonus, each statue will include a Certificate of Authenticity hand-signed by the creator of McFarlane Toys, Todd McFarlane.

The Taker statue will go on sale in McFarlane’s store and the WWE shop on December 6th and retail for $295, or approximately $294 than it’s worth. WWE is once again proving that they’re on the cutting edge of collectibles, by partnering with McFarlane who is the industry leader in poorly painted Starting Lineup figures.

Orton
We all know that I’ve chronicled how Randy Orton figures just don’t sell very well for Mattel. I’ve seen it in plenty of Tales From The Toy Aisle trips, but apparently Mattel has figured out a solution to this problem. While cases featuring 2 or 3 Ortons tend to clog pegs, Matty has decided that perhaps it’ll sell better if they ship ENTIRE cases of Randy Orton figures.

Seriously, this is not a joke. The new Walmart exclusive series, called Superstar Entrances, features WWE wrestlers wearing a t-shirt. That in itself is nothing new, as Jakks made plenty of figures like this. However, this is the first time that Mattel has really done this and they’ve made an entire series of repaints in this fashion exclusive for Walmart. The concept itself isn’t bad, but why on Earth did they ship an entire case of Ortons? Who knows, but if your Walmart is unlucky enough to get one of the Orton cases, expect to see them until the end of time.

Oddly enough, there are regular case packs as well. It seems that only some Walmarts are getting the Orton cases. Who knows why they chose to make who cases of Randy Orton, but I know it’s going to suck if he starts filling the pegs. Of course, I don’t really collect WWE Basics, so I shouldn’t have too much to worry about. Not like my stores stock Mattel WWE figures anyway, but a few K-marts around here are still choking to death on Ortons from cases where he wasn’t the only figure.

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WWE Elite – Series 18 “Flashback”
Jerry “The King” Lawler
7 Inch Scale
By: Mattel
$15.99 $19.99

Jerry Lawler has lived a pretty incredible life. From appearing in major motion pictures to feuding with stand-up comedians, he’s hung out with Batman, wrestled Frankenstein and nearly died on national television. Lawler’s life has been outrageous and his life story is worthy of an entire series of books. Through it all, The King has managed to remain pretty level headed and aside from an affinity for young women, he’s remained mostly scandal-free.

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I would imagine most people today know Lawler from the WWE, where he’s been the voice of Monday Night Raw for the past 20 years. By the time Lawler first stepped foot into a WWE (then WWF) ring, I had been watching him for decades. Lawer was the King of Memphis wrestling, which was, without a doubt, the hottest wrestling territory of all time. Other areas may have drawn bigger crowds or made more money, but Memphis was consistent. Memphis was the last territory to die, falling apart during the Monday Night Wars, whereas every other territory died in the 80’s. Hell, Memphis might still be around today if it weren’t for some bad business deals.

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And a huge part of that was Jerry Lawler. He was Memphis’ top draw and even today, Lawler can still draw a crowd in Memphis like few others. While I didn’t grow up in Memphis, I grew up in one of the surrounding areas that fell under their territory. That meant that Jerry Lawler was in my town once or twice a week and on my television screen just as much. He was as much of a local celebrity (like a weatherman or something) than he was a bona fide TV star. Lawler remained the top Memphis star for decades and as a result holds the world record for amount of championships held. Nobody else is even close.

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Jakks made by my count, six versions of the King during their run with the WWE license. Perhaps even more. For some reason though, Mattel really dragged their feet on getting around to Lawler. I suppose the story is that kids might have a hard time relating to buying a figure of an “old man” but Lawler has mostly seemed eternally young. Likewise, he spent the better part of 2011 competing for the WWE Championship. In fact, the WWE was within a cat’s whisker of putting the belt on the King. Even a few months ago Lawler was giving CM Punk a run for his money, before having a heart attack, that is. I was starting to wonder if Mattel wasn’t going to make a “Superstar” Bill Dundee figure before they got around to Lawler. Thankfully Mattel finally got a King out into the stores. But is he worth the wait?

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WWE Basic Survivor Series Heritage
Big Show
7 Inch Scale
By: Mattel
$10

I’ve already written at length about the Big Show, so I’ll spare you a recap. Instead I’ll point out that Mattel started doing something rather clever with their WWE basics line by offering up “Heritage” series in which they can offer up classic versions of wrestlers they already have signed to contracts.


It’s a really novel idea, although Mattel hasn’t really used this to the best of their ability. Some of the figures they have made aren’t of characters that old. Sometimes it seems like a waste. Especially if it’s going to yet another John Cena figure. This Survivor Series Heritage Big Show is an interesting choice as well. While he does look significantly different than the most recent Big Show, I’m not sure if this is what I’d consider a classic Big Show.


If I had been Mattel, I would have made a Big Show from earlier in his WWE career, back when he was feuding with Austin. On a side note, that should have been an awesome feud. It’s a shame the WWE weren’t willing to do more with Big Show back then. Regardless, he’s a classic throwback basic figure.

Packaging:
The packaging here is pretty bland if I’m to be honest. It does feature a nice shot of the Big Show from the era on it. The light blue tones are decent and do help it stand out from the other more current offerings on the shelf, but it’s not a visually stunning or eye catching package.


The back of the package shows off the other figures in the series and has a bigger classic picture of the Big Show, along with a facsimile of an autograph.

Sculpt/Paint:
This is not the first Big Show to use this body sculpt, but it actually hasn’t been on shelves in some time. The very first Big Show figure from Mattel had this body, but subsequent ones used the “two strap” singlet mold that Show changed to shortly after Mattel took over the license. In a way that makes this figure feel a bit fresher, even though it is a reuse.


Of course the draw here is the classic head. This is from 2005, which really doesn’t seem like that long ago, but I guess it is. It seems like Big Show has been bald forever, but back in ’05 he still had a fair amount of hair. He was also rocking a bit of an Amish guy beard, which this figure reflects.


The face sculpt is nice and pretty fitting for the era and match this is supposed to be. Although he is missing some wrist tape and an elbow pad. I could skip the wrist tape as Big Show rarely wore that even if he did at Survivor Series, but the elbow pad would have been nice.


Show has all his tattoos and believe it or not, since more skin is exposed, he has more tattoo applications than his most recent Elite figure.


He even has his original tattoo, which was the first one I ever recall seeing on him, even back in the WCW Giant days. It’s a TKE or Tau Kappa Epsilon tattoo. Nice attention to detail from Mattel.


Big Show has a lot of tattoos. It’s also interesting that they gave him all his tats, but didn’t give him chest hair. It’s kind of odd who gets chest hair paint applications and who doesn’t.


The detail on these things is superb. I was checking this tattoo out up close. It’s this cool image of a cat lady with a big tiger. Big Show must like tigers or something. I bet he eats them.


The tattoos have slightly less color than the Elite version, but I can’t actually see color missing. It just looks more faded.


I actually think the faded ones look a bit more realistic, as in real life his tattoos look lighter than the Elite figure probably has them. Another nice thing is that these figures are scaled the same as the Elites. Unlike Jakks who had two different scales for their better articulated figures. This means you can mix and match with all the figures and not have any scale issues.

Articulation:
Basic figures emulate the old WWE Jakks Ruthless Aggression style of articulation. They do have an additional ankle swivel, but it’s not much to make you notice that much of a difference.


The range of motion in the arms is the exact same as it was in the Elite figure. The head does seem to have less motion, but that’s due to the head sculpt, not the body style. You don’t have the chest articulation from the Elite.


Nor do you have the ball jointed legs, thigh swivels, double jointed knees or the rocker ankles. It’s pretty basic articulation, but given that Big Show is no acrobat, he doesn’t feel as stiff as some of the other offerings in the Basic lineup.

Accessories:
You get nothing.


It sucks when you’re paying $10 (and up to $12 in some locations!) for a figure that doesn’t come with a single accessory. Mattel has been very stingy with the accessories.

Value:
These are some of the cheaper figures on the market these days, but that still doesn’t mean their value is great. Some folks prefer the “Basic” style and others prefer the “Elites”. I’m definitely in the latter camp, but the nice thing is that both types of figures are scaled with one another so you can mix and match if you’re a kid or if they don’t offer your favorite superstar in a particular style. The lack of accessories and weaker articulation make this an okay buy, but not a great value.


Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 8
Articulation – 6
Accessories – N/A
Value – 7
Overall – 6.5 out of 10


“Okay, who has to go to the bathroom, raise your hand?”

This is a pretty neat figure, but he’s mostly just a new head sculpt and some good tattoo tampos. As such I can’t give him a super high rating, especially when he is missing a few attention to detail elements like an elbow pad. It’s nice to have a Big Show figure with some hair, though.


“WEELLLLL… It’s a Gaggle of Big Shows!”


I don’t know if it’s the changing of the times or the fact that Jimmy Hart has become a close personal associate of Hulk Hogan, but it’s a bit odd to read that Hart wants “to lick” on the WWF Superstars. Classic Comic Ads can always point those things out, though. At the time when this was printed in WWF Magazines and comics, it didn’t seem perverted at all.

WWF Ice Cream bars by Good Humor were one of those things that completely slipped out of the conscience of most wrestling fans. At least until earlier this year when CM Punk brought them up in a promo. Punk spearheaded a short and unsuccessful campaign to get a new version of the bars made. It just goes to show you how wrestling has a different stigma attached to it now.

This old school ad has all the elements of a classic. I particularly like the packaging for the bars, which features only two wrestlers: Hulk Hogan and the Junkyard Dog. A lot of fans today don’t realize just how popular JYD was, but his inclusion next to Hogan should give you some idea. Another interesting twist is that the bars were officially named “WWF Superstars of Wrestling” bars. The WWE now no longer is allowed to call itself the WWF or use the phrase “Superstars of Wrestling”.

And you have to love the little quote at the bottom: Take it from the mouth, “Once you lick ’em, you’ll love ’em!” Yeah… That sounds perverted.