Thursday, March 14, 2013

Holla Holla Holla!

Teddy Long aka Theodore R. Long aka "Peanuthead" has had quite a career.  From referee in Jim Crockett Promotions to manager to announcer then back to referee to manager and finally "General Manager," the resume of Mr. Long is quite impressive.  Now, he has joined the ranks of the popular Build-A-Figure series in Mattel's WWE action figure line.

An idea borrowed from action figure lines of other genres, Mattel began the WWE version around one year ago.  The concept is simple.  Mattel produces a series of four figures that are exclusive to Toys R Us.  Each of the figures come with specific parts of a fifth figure.  When all of the figures are collected, the parts combine to produce a brand new character to the line.  Thus far Mattel has used this route to release figures of non-wrestlers.  The company feels that these characters wouldn't sell well on their own, but still want to appease collectors that desire them.

Michael Cole, Ricardo Rodriguez, and John Laurinaitis were the first three figures to be released this way.  Those sets were comprised of four Elite style figures which are usually around $20 a piece.  This time Mattel has taken pity on our wallets and released the pieces of Teddy with four basic style figures thus being at a slightly lower price point.  Previous Toys R Us exclusive basic sets have included pieces of the interview set and announcers table to build but not a figure.

The four figures to collect this time are Brock Lesnar, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, and Randy Orton.  For those of you who have yet to pick up a Mattel-produced Lesnar, this is the perfect opportunity.  This appears to be the exact same figure that has been released about two or three times already this year.  If you're like me and held off buying any of those, it's a great time to go for the gold.  For those of you who, also like me, vowed to never pick up one of the boring, emaciated Randy Orton figures, this is the time to do that as well.

Mr. Long himself is a very nice figure.  Although this one held a bit less excitement for me since the previous three characters were never produced anywhere as a figure before, the great likeness makes up for it.  The height is perfect as is the long suit jacket.  Similar to the Long figures produced by Jakks, the removable eyeglasses don't do much for me.  They aren't bad, I just think that the face looks a lot better without them.

It isn't always the easiest thing to buy four figures just to get one that you really want, but so far it's worked.  For someone like me who usually holds off on most character repaints until something like this comes along, I'm fine with it every so often.  It's better than repeating Hasbro's blunder and not getting any non-wrestler figures released at all.

The next Build-A-Figure entry is said to be Paul Heyman.  I cannot think of a better option.  If Lesnar and Punk hadn't been in two of the previous sets, I would suggest that they be two of the four figures in the set.  Characters closely associated with the figure being built in the set isn't something that seems to be in Mattel's plans but would a no-brainer to me.  My votes for future Build-A-Figures?  How about Mike Chioda, Tony Chimel, Brad Maddox, and Zeb Colter?

Mattel has their work cut out for them, although I must say that I'm 100% more behind this line than I was just a few years ago.  There are still issues, especially regarding distribution and Legends.  While classic characters like Miss Elizabeth and Honky Tonk Man are being produced, the depth of legends that Jakks went into isn't going to be repeated by Mattel, bottom line.  Female figures are still being released in far fewer numbers as are "First Time In The Line" stars such as Antonio Cesaro and Ryback.  With multiple releases of both men in the coming months, two of WWE's biggest new stars will make their way into your hands without paying premium prices.

You betta believe that, playa!

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