Thursday, February 2, 2012

Killer Queen & The Red Rooster: Taylor-Made As Figures

"It's a great day in the barnyard," crowed The Red Rooster.

Recently a friend asked me if I thought that Terry Taylor could have had a better career than he did. After all, Taylor was saddled with "The Red Rooster" gimmick in his highest profile WWF run. Taylor himself, however, seems to harbor no ill-will about the character. Why would he? In the glory of the Hogan era he probably made some great money with the gimmick. Before he began strutting through the barnyard, Taylor was a top name in various territories and post-Rooster he worked behind the scenes for WCW, WWE, and TNA. All in all, I would say that the "Taylor Made Man" had a well-rounded, memorable, and fulfilled career in the world of professional wrestling.

After over thirty years in the business and runs with several companies that had toy deals, Terry Taylor finally comes to collections worldwide in action figure form. Joining him is another "action figure rookie," none other than the "Killer Queen" herself, Madison Rayne.

Although she's been in the business for under ten years, Madison has already had her share of in-ring monikers. Ashley Lane. Lexi Lane. Amber Lively. Madison Rayne. Shimmer. Wrestlicious. TNA. Blonde. Brunette. No matter how you know her, she has become one of the most popular and accomplished modern day women wrestlers in a very short time.

Behind the very entertaining heel "Killer Queen" persona, Madison is actually a very sweet young lady who deserves nothing but the best in her future. Now, like Terry Taylor, she has achieved the immortal status of having an action figure.

Madison is the fourth "Knockout" figure produced by Jakks for the TNA line. While this is the sixth series of single figures produced by Jakks, this is the first series to be labeled "Impact Wrestling" rather than "TNA." Madison joins her fellow former Beautiful People partners Velvet Sky and Angelina Love as well as Daffney.

The Jakks Knockouts figures won the 2011 J\/\/ Future Holy Grail Award for being items that I feel will be very collectible in the future. Although I still feel this way and I feel that this figure will be no different, I will say upfront that this figure is the weakest of the lot.

Whereas the previous three figures had amazing likenesses, Madison sadly falls short in this category. Comparing the figure to a picture of the Killer Queen shows that the facial likeness just doesn't match up. Her trademark blue eye shadow missing from the figure is likely the biggest culprit. Without it, it simply looks like another blonde.

What I will not take points away for is the fact that figure is grossly outdated as far as hair color. While Madison has rocked the brunette locks for a great amount of time, I prefer the blonde hair on the figure to fit in with the rest of The Beautiful People. The outfit and tattoos are nicely done as usual with these Knockout figures.

Terry Taylor is another great addition to the Legends of the Ring line. Taylor, as with all of the Legends of the Ring figures, fits right in with the WWE Classic Superstars figures. If one really wanted a Red Rooster bad enough, I can't imagine that a customization would be that big of a job.

I will admit that the figure suffers from the same problem that the Legends of the Ring Jeff Jarrett figure suffered from. To a kid, the figure would be rather boring to look at on the store shelves. To collectors, the figure is a dream come true. If I could have series after series of nothing but territory-era grapplers in basic tights and boots, I'd be a happy collector. I know I'm not the only one, and I really feel that an online exclusive line of classic wrestlers would serve both the collectors and the manufacturer well.

This series is available through TNA directly and has also shown up at K-Mart stores. The future of the Jakks-TNA license has been questioned more and more as of late and the distribution of these figures has only helped fuel the fire. Jakks had very little product hit in 2011 and thus far 2012 looks to be much of the same. Rumors abound that TNA will soon be the sole distributor of these figures. I have no issue with that at all as long as the move ensures that we will see more product.

Seeing as that the line could be in trouble, I can only encourage you to buy, buy, buy in this case. These are still my favorite wrestling figures currently on the market. It'd be a shame to see them simply disappear with so many great characters yet to be produced.

Sting, Kurt Angle, and Kaz join Rayne and Taylor in this series. Sting and Angle are nice new representations while Kaz is...Kaz. We all know that Kaz has already seen his best side in previous Jakks TNA releases.

Wait. You didn't know? Oh God, I killed kayfabe.


When you're out hunting for The Rooster and The Queen, be sure to check out these latest offerings from our friends at Kappa Publishing.

The latest issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated is their legendary year end issue featuring all the best photos, headlines, and of course, award winners for 2011. Next to it on any self-respecting newsstand is the latest double issue of Inside Wrestling/The Wrestler featuring articles on many up and coming stars and coverage from around the world. Be sure to check out the article on "The One Man Rock Band" Heath Slater penned by your favorite wrestling journalist--me!

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