WWE Entrance Greats – Series 5
7 Inch Scale
Yesterday in the 31 Days of Halloween we looked at wrestling Mummies and today, we look at the most famous wrestling zombie to date… The Undertaker! What’s scarier than this guy? Let me tell you, not much.
When the Undertaker debuted in the WWF in 1990, he was a sight to behold. On the surface, the idea was absurd. Undertaker was a “zombie” who could not be hurt. They never officially said he was dead, but that’s how he acted. WWF was able to restrain themselves and not make the gimmick over the top or cartoony. It might not have worked had they not rushed Undertaker into a feud with Hulk Hogan (who was unstoppable at this point) and had Undertaker defeat Hogan for the title.
Oddly enough, Mark Calaway had been wrestling for several years but never got over prior to appearing in the WWF. You see, Mark was big, but a bit awkward, not a very good talker and he didn’t look particularly fierce. He also sucked at selling. He had been brought in by Hulk Hogan to appear in Suburban Commando (underrated movie in my mind) and Hogan insisted that Vince McMahon hire him. Vince took Undertaker’s weaknesses in talking and selling and turned them into a genius gimmick. He wouldn’t really talk (his creepy manager Paul Bearer would do that work) and he wouldn’t sell much because he was a “monster”.
Add to that a relatively obscure version of the piledriver, that just happened to be named the Tombstone and you’ve got a success. It all clicked and Undertaker became an ominious force, which he remains today. Mattel decided to use their Entrance Greats line to show off this debut version of the Undertaker. Is it worth adding to your collection? Let’s head on down to the Funeral Parlor and find out!
Entrance Greats got their own packaging. These were not Legends figures (even though some were Legends) and aren’t part of the Basic or Deluxe lines in terms of packagin, either. Instead you have a interesting window box that’s more window than box.
The figure is clearly displayed in the front, with a nice graphic saying Entrance Greats. This figure could probably look okay on the shelf in it’s package. The back has a photo of the Undertaker, a bit about his debut and his autograph (not signed just a reprint) to show him off. Oddly the photo shows Undertaker in this exact outfit, but I believe this is actually a later photo that’s been slightly modified so that his colors match the outfit. Undertaker only wore black gloves for a very short time and this picture looks like it’s from the gray glove era.
The only downside to this package is the big “TRY ME” open side, which allows kids to put their grubby little mitts all over the figure to play his entrance theme. The display stand with the entrance music is one of the key features of the Entrance Greats.
Using the basic body parts, Mattel was able to whip up a pretty decent Undertaker. The Deadman has some parts reuse, but all the pieces have been chosen wisely. Some of the parts in particular are really well done.
Undertaker comes all suited up with hat, trenchcoat, shirt and tie. The trench isn’t accurate to the era at all. Undertaker wore a fabric trenchcoat and Mattel has made fabric trenchcoats in their Elite line… So I don’t know why this one is faux leather. The good news is that it doesn’t look terrible and also works great with modern Undertaker figures.
Underneath the removable coat and tie is another removable item, his shirt. Undertaker wrestled in this slightly tattered shirt, so technically this should never be taken off. I’m not sure why Mattel didn’t sculpt this on. Because it’s removable, let’s see what’s under it.
The body has not a single tattoo. It’s sort of strange to look at the Undertaker without any tattoos, however it is accurate for the era. He does have molded on gloves, but they’re in black. This is a pretty bizarre choice for Mattel as everyone remembers the Undertaker in his gray gloves and then later, purple ones. The black gloves never looked particularly good with the rest of his gray gear. It’s accurate, but essentially another bad attire choice.
The head sculpt is absolutely fantastic, though. It’s one of the best head sculpts Mattel has done and easily the best of their Undertaker sculpts. Mattel’s head sculpts seem to be a bit softer than Jakks and perhaps that’s why this younger Undertaker looks better. The softer sculpt helps make him look young. Of course, his rocking mullet helps too. The hair is a little brown, as Undertaker was more of a redhead at this point in his career, but it’s close enough.
The rest of the figure is pretty nicely done, with a cool glove mold that doesn’t lose any of the posing ability. That’s because the gloves are two pieces, regular hands and a rubber “gauntlet” deal. Sometimes they come apart a bit, but the effect is generally pretty awesome.
Mattel sculpted a new piece in the form of rubber spats. These are removable (which is nice) and are the right gray color. If you wanted a really good Taker from this era, you could simply paint the gloves a matching gray.
Right out the gate, this is a “basic” Mattel WWE figure. This means that this guy does not have the superior articulation of the Legends/Elite line. It’s a curious choice, because these figures retailed at the $20-$25 range. It’s also a pretty good reason as to why the line was cancelled and replaced by “Defining Moments” which have all the entrance gear and the added articulation…
Of course those don’t have the display stands that play music, so they’re basically just Legends/Elite figures with an extra accessory or two and a $5 increase in price. Man, my head is starting to hurt.
For the most part, though, you won’t miss the extra articulation. Why? Because this is vintage Undertaker, which means he’s supposed to lumber around like a stiff. Undertaker also did this creepy thing where he would sit up, like straight up when he was knocked down. An Elite style figure can’t do that because of their ab crunch, so the Basic figure is actually better to do that.
You can execute a fair amount of poses and the Mattel Basics really aren’t bad figures. I wasn’t a huge fan of them at first, but there are some advantages that have grown on me. Sure this entire Entrance Greats line SHOULD have been built around Elites, but I don’t feel as though I need to upgrade this particular guy as an example.
The only thing he can’t do, that he probably could if he was an Elite, is cross the arms of his victims when he pins them. This is about as close as he can get. Too bad really. On the plus side, the Mattel arms are long enough that the hands can hook together, allowing him to properly hit the Tombstone on opponents.
Entrance Greats were odd in the fact that they got entrance attire, but not a lot of other things. At the high price point, you’d expect a couple of other accessories too. Undertaker does pretty good though, overall.
The Deadman has his aforementioned not accurate coat, his hat, a tie and a stand which plays a snippet of his original entrance theme. Undertaker’s theme has changed a few times through the years, but this sounds like the original version or at least one of the early versions of the funeral march.
The stand has the vintage Survivor Series logo on it, which is about the only cool thing here. The stand itself is completely different than all the previous regular stands, because it plays music. It’s also a piece of crap, not only because it only plays like a minute of the theme, but also because mine stopped working after about a week. That might not seem like a big deal, but my Mars Attacks figures from 1996 STILL work. On a scary side note, those guys are buried in boxes down in my basement and are constantly making noises and yelling “Take me to your leader” in the middle of the night… Kind of creepy.
“No respect I tell ya, no respect.”
The included hat is almost perfect, but just a tad oversized and doesn’t quite fit Undertaker’s head as nicely as it should. It’s close, though. Hats are always difficult at this scale. The coolest accessory is probably the tie. It has a band on it to make it fit around his neck. The only down side is that it gets a bit poofy once on the attire. If you keep one of the clear rubber bands that come with the figure you can hold it down.
Most of these Entrance Greats figures lingered on shelves forever. There’s probably still a Ted Dibiase or Roddy Piper at your local Target. As a result, the Undertaker wave barely made it out. From what I’ve seen, Undertaker sold like gangbusters, even at the $20 price tag. However, by no means is he worth that much. This is a $15 figure, tops. He’s nicely done but not perfect and the music playing stand isn’t worth another $5.
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 9
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Hat, Tie, Coat, Stand with Music
Value – 7
Overall – 8 out of 10
The Undertaker in the early 90’s was a downright creepy character. He makes a great addition to any Halloween shelf and of course, he’s a great addition to your wrestling collection. This Entrance Greats figure was originally overpriced and is by no means perfect, but he’s still a solid recommendation because of his decent accessories and his near perfect head sculpt. Rest…. In… PEACE!