Thursday, January 5, 2012

All Points Lead To "A"...And "A" Is For "Alberto"

A new year and a fresh start. There are many reasons why this is the first blog entry of the year. It's a new beginning and if you're going by the alphabet, you start with the letter "A." "A" can be for Alberto Del Rio. The Royal Rumble is held in January and Alberto was the 2011 winner. Alberto also has a popular new action figure. As a result of the entry on the Von Erich action figures last month, this entry was delayed until now. That would be the actual reason you're getting this entry now, but that's not exciting. We'll go with "A" is for "Alberto."

Del Rio has become one of WWE's top heels over the past year and a half. A mixture of two styles of wrestling heel, those being the foreigner and rich man, it's almost a given that Del Rio would have success as a villain. Perhaps it's his heritage that gives him the push over the top.

Del Rio's father is Mexican wrestling legend Dos Caras while his uncle is 2012 WWE Hall of Fame inductee (and Bill Apter's favorite wrestler) Mil Mascaras. While both men have had remarkable in-ring careers, it is Mascaras who at one point was probably as big a name in the United States as Rey Mysterio Jr. is today. In addition to countless magazine cover appearances in the 1970's, Mascaras was a popular figure in the WWWF, especially in Madison Square Garden.

Although masked at one point, Del Rio differs from the rest of his family in that he has made his name largely without the mask. Since beginning with WWE in dark matches under his original ring name of Dos Caras Jr., Del Rio's looks have only helped his heel demeanor.

As with most new stars, their "rookie" action figures have the tendency to fly off of shelves. Del Rio had two "basic" style figures released almost simultaneously thus making him easier to find. Many collectors waited for the "Elite" figure which is our topic of discussion today.

Although at a higher price point, Mattel's "Elite" WWE figures include more articulation and accessories. In Del Rio's case, the scarf accessory has become as much of a trademark as his father and uncle's masks are. The scarf included with this figure is a full fabric accessory that drapes perfectly on the shoulders of the figure. Also included is a masked chihuahua dog which Del Rio used to mock Mysterio.

With the added articulation comes my personal most hated feature--the torso joint. I'll be honest when I say that this feature is starting to grow on me. While I'd prefer it not to be there, it's simply not bothering me as much as it originally did.

The face on Del Rio is perfect, capturing the heelish smirk and truly bringing the character to life. This is important on a figure such as Del Rio where the ring gear is rather bland. Truth be told, Del Rio lacks in colorful ring outfits where his uncle and father flourished. Two tattoos on Del Rio's shoulder blades complete the detail.

The scarf and dog add a lot to the figure. The "Basic" figures of Del Rio are fairly unexciting and have been sitting on shelves. This "Elite" figure seems to be more popular and is in a series that includes "Classic" Kane, Papa Shango, and Daniel Bryan among others. The price point on these figures averages around $15. It seems a bit steep, but certainly if there is a must-have character for you in the lineup, it's a price that you'll pay. In all honesty, you're paying for the additions of accessories.

This is probably the nicest representation of Del Rio that we'll get. There isn't too much more that you can do with him in future releases although I feel that a glaring omission is Ricardo Rodriguez. If Jakks were still producing the WWE line I have a feeling that Del Rio's debut would've been in a 2-pack with his long suffering ring announcer. Mattel is less than proactive on the production of side characters.

And thus begins 2012 on the blog! If last year was any indication, we're in for a fun ride. As always I'm looking for your feedback in any of the avenues that I've previously mentioned. Happy New Year!

1 comment:

Halpernia said...

How did AdR use the chihuahua to mock Rey, you ask? Since apparently wrestlers of a non-Caucasian ethnicity must either immediately feud or team together (there is no simple co-existence with each doing his own thing), AdR targeted Rey (to whom he referred as a "little chihuahua") and took him out of action for a bit via his armbar submission move (hence the cast). I can't recall if AdR actually ever put a mask (or a cast) on the dog, though. But I he did bring a dog out a few times.

And now you know...GI Joe.