WWE Classic Superstars
Dusty Rhodes
7 Inch Scale
By: Jakks Pacific

Now that Mattel has gained the license to produce WWE figures, many fans have immediately dismissed all the old Jakks figures as garbage. It’s an interesting claim since the Jakks figures dominated the toy aisles for decades. They had to be doing something right, right? Let’s take a look at perhaps Jakks best offerings, the Classic Series, with none other than the Dream, if you will.

The son of a plumber, The bull of the woods, the 3 Time NWA Heavyweight World Champion. A man who has wined and dined with kings and queens and slept in alleys eatin’ pork and beans. He truly is the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes.

You can’t beat Dusty Rhodes. Dusty was an unlikely wrestler by today’s standards, with a fair amount of girth, a bizarre accent and a penchant for saying some of the strangest things known to man. However the world was a different place in the 70’s and 80’s before the internet and massive cable TV expansions. Areas were still regions, everyone on TV wasn’t plastic surgery thin and a good ol’ country boy with charisma, talent and a common man appeal would unite fans across racial boundaries and reach for what would become his namesake, the American Dream.

I’m not quite sure what to call the package presented here by Jakks, it’s one part window box, one part standard bubble card. One of the interesting things they did here is that the cardboard wraps around the front and covers up the bubble, making it into a box of sorts.

The box isn’t particularly impressive, but it does display Dusty nicely on the inside. You also get a decent look at the accessories and yet the figure is also well protected inside. These are all strong points. It’s not a very exciting design, despite a picture of the figure and his name on the side.

The back of the card shows off the other figures in the series, a close up of Dusty’s face as well as revealing key stats like Rhodes debut date, weight, height, finisher and titles he held. It’s pretty cool even if it doesn’t give a bio. A bio would be cooler, but chances are if you’re buying Dusty you already know who he is. Kids that were buying him, likely didn’t care.

When Jakks got into the wrestling business their first few series of figures weren’t very good, yet were considerably better than pretty much any company that had tried before. Prior to Jakks, wrestling figures were either large rubber statues like the WWF LJN and WCW Galoob figures or they were action feature plastic statues like the old WWF Hasbro line. It’s easy to criticize the Jakks toys now that Mattel has taken the formula and ran with it, but let’s not forget not only did Jakks build the genre up from nothing, they made some pretty darn good toys along the way.

This figure is an odd mishmash of styles here, as it clearly intends to be a younger Dusty. Perhaps from his Texas Outlaws days with Dick Murdoch.

Dusty has never exactly been an in shape man, but in those younger days he definitely had a body closer to this one. I can’t say he’s ever had a six pack, but he was at one point more barrel chested than rotund. Regardless of the fact that this Dusty might be a tad bit too “buff”, I sort of like my wrestling figures this way.

I don’t think the Dusty figure should be slim and trim, but I get the idea of taking all the wrestlers and sort of ballooning them up to Greek god proportions. Jakks already made a “fat” Dusty figure anyway and it certainly looked much closer to the NWA World Champion Dusty.

So while I totally get that this is supposed to be a younger Star Dust, he almost definitively has that later NWA American Dream jerry curl going on. So it’s a hybrid of sorts. Setting that aside, let’s look at what we do have here.

Dusty has a distinctive “birth mark” on his stomach as well as a scar on his stomach. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what the hell that thing is. My friends and I used to refer to it as Dusty’s coffee stain and I’ve heard it simply called the “splotch”, but whatever the case it’s pretty cool that Jakks included it here. It’s a shame this isn’t on the other fat Rhodes figure.

The head sculpt is good, but doesn’t look exactly like Dusty. The older, fat Dusty sculpt looked better, but I give Jakks credit for making a new face sculpt for a younger Rhodes. He still has several scars on his head, but not nearly as bad as he would look by the 1980’s.

His eyebrows might be throwing things off. Dusty had brown eyebrows and here he has blonde ones. It’s strange that a little thing like that could make such a difference, but on the back of the package he’s shown with brown eyebrows and it immediately looks more recognizable as Rhodes.

The rest of the outfit looks pretty good with DR on his trunks, stars on his boots and white wrist tape. The old school wrestlers are easier to replicate because they didn’t have all the fancy designs on their tights. I love this look and they even gave him cowboy boots, so they’ve done a pretty fair job reproducing a classic Dusty outfit.

When Mattel took over the WWE line, they added articulation to some figures but not all. In fact the basic Mattel WWE line has the exact same articulation as the basic Jakks line. The articulation here is surprisingly good, especially when compared to stuff like the old Hasbro and LJN figures.

Dusty has a ball jointed neck with a decent movement, ball shoulders, swivel biceps, swivel and hinge wrists, hinge elbows, swivel waist, hinge knees, hinge ankles and hinge legs. The legs don’t go up as far as they should, in my opinion and I think that’s probably my biggest complaint.

For a guy like Dusty, you can hit plenty of Bionic Elbows, which is key. Unfortunately most of these Jakks figures have legs that are so beefy that you can’t put a head between them. That’s a shame because a piledriver is a necessity with these old school wrestlers. You can kind of fudge one, but the ability to swivel out the legs would have been excellent.

Some of the later Jakks and the elite Mattels include a chest hinge, but I’m not really a fan. It doesn’t add a lot of motion and it breaks up the chest sculpt too much in my opinion. You can hide that torso joint in the MOTUC figures and the DCUCs, but bare chested guys it looks more awkward on. Sadly the legs don’t allow you to do any of Dusty’s famous figure four leglocks, but you can get by with the version I used as a kid, which was just entangling their legs.

You can’t get to the pay window without some accessories. Just ask the Dream himself.

Thankfully Dusty comes with a couple of decent ones. First his elbow and knee pads are removable. Something I hear that the Mattel figures are having some trouble with. The elbow pad is a little loose, but it works well enough.

Dusty also gets a trademark white cowboy hat. It’s a tad oversized, but it does fit on Dusty’s huge afro melon, so it’s a plus in my book.

Finally he has a soft rubber vest. It does fit on the figure, but it’s a little more hassle to get on and off than I’d probably like so I opted not to put it on. I don’t want Dusty displayed with it, so I didn’t take any pictures of him with it on, but yes it does fit.

Sadly the awesome replica NWA Championship belt did not come with Dusty. It came with my Toy Biz TNA Jeff Jarrett figure. If you want your Dusty to look complete, go get that Jarrett figure so he can have the belt.

These dudes retailed for about $12-$13, but sometimes you could find them a little closer to $10. The value isn’t stupendous, but considering that these are figures of characters in many cases long since gone, it’s considerable. You can still find some of these guys in stores now, but they’re starting to disappear. Online can make them cheaper or more expensive depending on where you buy.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Kneepads, Elbow Pad, Vest, Hat
Value – 8
Overall – 7.5 out of 10

What the world of wrestling needs right now is another Dusty Rhodes. Right now would be the perfect time for a blue collar character fighting for the American Dream. It’d be much better if they were a little fat, a little different, just like Dusty. The wrestlers of today are so mass produced, they all look and act the same. However, if you’re a fan of the old school, you’ll love this Dusty. Enjoy the Dream at work:

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