Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Christian...Christian...Alas, You May Never Be On Your Own...

If you're a "Marty Jannetty," chances are that I'm a fan of yours. I like Marty himself, but I'm talking about anyone who's been the less successful partner in a tag team. The fact is that although most wrestlers who fall under this category have had very successful careers in their right, they've just not been as spectacular as their partners.

Christian could be considered a "Marty Jannetty." Taking nothing away from the recently ended career of Edge, I've always felt Christian seemed to be the better of the two. "The Look" is perhaps the only thing that Edge had over Christian, something that Vince McMahon himself is said to think as well.

Either way you look at it, both superstars define the late '90s through 2000's in professional wrestling. From tag team, to mid-card, to main eventing WrestleMania, Edge sampled every level of stardom that WWE has to offer. His look, style, and ability to morph his persona appealed to several different eras of WWF/WWE fan.

Christian visited those same plateaus on a bit lesser level. While Captain Charisma spent less time as a main event star, for a considerable amount of time he was an Internet darling and, at one point, was thought to be the free agent who would take TNA to the top. Although Christian gained two NWA Championship reigns during his TNA run, the somewhat grassroots following of the star fizzled when he was lost in the TNA shuffle.

Now that Christian has had a steady return run in WWE and Edge has unexpectedly retired, it's uncertain what the future holds for the Brood "brothers." What is certain is that Christian's fans are as vocal as ever. His recent one-night title reign was met with great displeasure which was loudly voiced to WWE management.

One place that Christian's fans should certainly be satisfied is in the merchandising department. Like most of the top stars of the "Attitude Era," both Edge and Christian received top treatment. Mattel, WWE's current toy licensee, has released several figures of both stars.

Christian's latest figure is available in a two-pack just like his figures of over a decade ago. This time the partner isn't Edge. Based upon the rookie-mentor scenario in the first season of WWE NXT comes Christian-Slater. No, not the actor. Christian is paired with current Corre member Heath Slater in this recent release.

The Heath Slater figure marks the first release of an NXT or Nexus figure. The figure has the familiar "N" armband signifying his allegiance to Nexus. Although figure releases have always been months after characters and story lines are fresh on television, this figure is particularly jarring. When the NXT Rookies initially became The Nexus last summer, the storyline was so interesting that even I deviated from writing about merchandise to express my excitement over the developments. Just a few months later the potentially company-changing storyline merged into just another stable. Nevertheless, it's nice to finally see figures of these new stars.

Mattel seems to be adapting their manufacturing practices with these figures both positively and negatively. The joints of the figures seem much less stiff than offerings of last year. Detail remains excellent and the facial likenesses are improving to Jakks level.

Although my ever-hated torso joints are not present here, I did notice something that may upset some collectors. Mattel had planned a commitment to making individual torso sculpts for each figure. I did not notice a change in this until now. Both figures in this pack use the same torso. While this is not a big deal to me (especially living through the days of the AWA Remco line where EVERY figure had one of two torsos), some collectors are sure to be bothered.

It's scary to think that Edge has already had a "Hall of Fame career" and is retired. It's similarly frightening to think back to Survivor Series 1996 when Rocky was but a rookie. Time truly waits for no man. One comforting notion about being a wrestling fan is that no matter your feelings on the product currently being presented, there is always more past material out there to keep you coming back. Covering such material is what, hopefully, keeps you coming back here.

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