WWE Legends Series 5
7 Inch Scale
Mattel has made some odd choices in their WWE Legends line and while wave 5 is arguably the best wave to date, it does have some questionable elements to it as well. Akeem makes for a very interesting figure, but how popular he is could be debated. Mattel has the unenviable task of trying to decide between popular old faces and nostalgic one shots.
Akeem is an odd inclusion, because as “Akeem” he wasn’t really at his peak. This should for most intents and purposes, really be a figure of the One Man Gang. One assumption is that Mattel was planning a tag team pack with Akeem and the Big Boss Man (The Twin Towers) which would have been awesome. However no protos of Boss Man have shown up, nor has his name been mentioned on any lists. Seriously where’s our Boss Man?
Anyway, back to Akeem… I’ve gotten some flack for being too negative about the WWF/WWE at times, but I’m sorry, it’s justified. See Akeem was for the majority of his career known as the One Man Gang. I mean, what else would you call a 6 foot 9, 457 monster? The Gang was a complete bad ass, terrorizing every wrestling territory across the globe until he landed in the WWF.
He wrestled as the Gang for a while and then one day, Vince McMahon told George Gray (Gang’s real name) that they were going to make him a black man. Gray was hesitant, but McMahon told him that he had a spot on his roster for Akeem, but not for the One Man Gang.
And thus, Akeem was born. Only the WWE could see money in taking a bloody brawler and turning them into a bizarre racist stereotype/cartoon character. See Also: The Bushwhackers. The character was also a shot at Dusty Rhodes, who as an on and off rival of McMahon, was the subject of constant pointless jabs that only insiders could comprehend. To his credit, Gray embraced Akeem and turned him into a combination of comedy gold and a surprisingly fierce tag team wrestler.
Sadly because Akeem often asked for vacation time so he could see his family (his words not mine), he eventually lost his push. Gray lost most of his desire for the wrestling business after working for the WWF and Akeem was never seen again. One Man Gang resurfaced in WCW and ECW a few times throughout the 90’s and now he works as a prison guard in Georgia. Perhaps as a tribute to his late partner.
The Legends packaging is pretty much the same as always, with a stylized photo of Akeem on the front and back. The back of the package lists his WCW US Title run and mentions the segment in which One Man Gang became Akeem. Even the back of the package struggles to explain why a bad ass biker would become a dancing “African”.
Honestly I don’t think the package does justice to just how utterly absurd the change to Akeem was. So why not let the actual video help us?
Mattel clearly had a lot of fun with Akeem. For a character such as his, it’s quite fitting. He’s bright, colorful and basically a walking caricature.
Your attention will likely be immediately drawn to his unibrow. I have never seen Akeem with a unibrow and as best I can tell it’s just something Mattel made up to make him look even “funnier”. Although maybe one day Akeem’s eyebrows got long and that was the one photo Mattel used for reference. I don’t know…
Despite the bonus unibrow, the head sculpt is actually quite good. It’s even superior to the Jakks head sculpt of Akeem, which is something that isn’t often the case. This definitely looks like Akeem and I have no complaints about it. Even the unibrow, albeit probably inaccurate, works.
Mattel’s paint work on this figure is vastly superior to Jakks’ version. The inclusion of the map of Africa with the word AKEEM is particularly important. Although Akeem did have tights without that at times, he is most famous for those. The colors are brighter as well.
The body is also superior to the Jakks version, which used their “all fat guys look alike” mold. Mattel’s Akeem is fat, but also muscled. It works much better for Akeem, who never looked sloppy fat.
The sculpt reuses a lot of Dusty Rhodes’ parts, including his boots. However, they are largely accurate for Akeem. There appears to be a new leg piece or something, which gives him a bit more height. He’s probably not as big as he should be, but he’s still pretty sizeable.
There’s really little to complain about with the sculpt and paint on Akeem. After the disastrous stains on Rick Martel, this is a great relief. Akeem is a fun figure to look at and really stands out on the shelf in that wacky 80’s WWF way.
Akeem has the standard Legends/Elite articulation with double knees, ball neck, torso hinge and the ball hinge legs. There are the normal assortment of hinges and swivels as well in the arms, wrists and legs. Because Akeem is a big man, his leg articulation is a bit more limited by the sculpt, but for the most part he is quite poseable.
Whether it’s dishing out punishment…
Or cuttin’ a rug, Akeem can do it.
Often these WWE figures from Mattel can feel a bit weak in the accessory department. Especially at the $15+ price point. Akeem has a few things going for him.
His dashiki is made of a harder fabric than most WWE clothing and his 10 gallon kufi hat is made of soft rubber.
Some of the paint on my Akeem’s kufi hat was smudged off out of the package and it’s a little misaligned, but at this point so long as the figure isn’t covered in fabric stains I’m not too upset.
This is pretty much everything you could want for an Akeem… Well except maybe a Build-A-Slickster!
The real question is whether or not Akeem is a name that will drive you to spend $15 or so on him? Personally I would have much preferred a One Man Gang figure and I’ll definitely buy OMG if they ever release him. However, it’s hard to knock this figure too much as Mattel did a pretty solid job on him.
In essence, he’s no jive turkey!
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 7
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Dashiki, Kufi Hat
Value – 8
Overall – 8 out of 10
Air Africa 747!
George Gray is one the nicest, most down to Earth wrestlers to come out of the 1980’s. It’s great to see him in figure form and it’s nice to see that Mattel did such a fine job on him. I love having an Akeem on my shelf, even if the very idea of the character is absolutely asinine. It’s so crazy that it works.