No, the Ultimate Warrior doesn't hold quite the amount of respect among fans that our last subject, Randy Savage, does. That said, if you ask someone between the ages of 25 and 35 to name some wrestlers from their childhood, chances are quite good that the Warrior will be among those names.
Say what you want about him, the Ultimate Warrior made an impact. He had the look, the charisma, and could have a great match under the right conditions. Look no further than WrestleMania VI and VII for evidence of the latter.
24 years after the debut of the character, fans are STILL abuzz over new Ultimate Warrior merchandise. Despite having a huge presence in the Jakks WWE Classic Superstars line, the announcement that Mattel had signed the Warrior for use in their WWE Legends line garnered near as much attention as the Savage signing.
Although there will be an upcoming Defining Moments Ultimate Warrior figure to match up with the Savage figure reviewed in our last entry, the first Mattel Warrior is just beginning to hit stores. Mattel's WWE Legends Series 4 features the Warrior, George Steele (with Mine!), Paul Orndorff, Hillbilly Jim, and Ax and Smash of Demolition.
Something I've enjoyed since the announcement of Mattel's first wave of legends are the designs chosen for the figures. Whenever possible, Mattel seems to be choosing attires not used on Jakks versions of the same characters. When that hasn't been possible, the inclusion of an accessory omitted by Jakks has been provided. All in all, Mattel has made it very tempting for Jakks fans to continue their collections of vintage stars.
The Ultimate Warrior figure is no different. While Jakks versions all seemed to be from 1990-on, this Mattel Warrior figure looks to be based around the time of his first Intercontinental Title win in 1988. Darker hair, less neon, and the Intercontinental belt itself all lend to this theory.
The packaging continues to be standard for these legends. While the stand/name card so prevalent in the early Mattel releases is now gone (aside from the Defining Moments figures), the Warrior is still featured in an awesome SummerSlam '88-esque victory pose.
This is the second Mattel figure to feature the classic Intercontinental belt (the first being Series 3 Mr. Perfect) and it is my first time holding a Mattel figure-sized belt in person. The main plate is painted while the strap uses the "peg & hole" method to stay on the figure. The belt fits but is not quite as snug as it could be. Nearly all figure-sized belts seem just a bit bigger than scale to the figure. It's something collectors have learned to live with over the years, but this example, like most others, fit the purpose as well as can be.
As I previously mentioned, the figure is based on a design not used by Jakks. In fact, this particular design has never before been used on any Ultimate Warrior figure. Taking into consideration the upcoming WrestleMania VII Defining Moments figure, the only other truly different Warrior costume that will remain unmade would be the blue and white WrestleMania IV motif.
While it's sometimes easy for manufacturers to cop out on the face sculpts of face painted wrestlers, that doesn't seem to be the case here. The face certainly looks like that of Jim Hellwig, or as close as anyone would want to get. The torso looks like his as well, despite that "wonderful" torso joint I bring up every so often. When posed downward, the arms look just a bit too small for the Warrior.
This will no doubt be the hottest figure of the fourth series. I believe it was wise for Mattel to start with this design. Longtime fans will want this "new" Warrior to add to their collection while those who are starting out with Mattel will be happy to have any Warrior.
With at least one more Warrior on the horizon and many great examples already available from Jakks, this is not a must-buy. For those who just want an '80s-style Warrior that won't set you back $75-$100 (at least) for a loose LJN version, get ready to "feel the power" of Mattel.