Thursday, January 2, 2014
The Bruno Sammartino/WWE Relationship Continues...With A Figure
It was quite the thrill for me that I was able to see so much of this reunion play out before my very eyes. The stars somehow aligned and I was able to be present for Sammartino's Hall of Fame induction, return to WrestleMania, and Monday Night Raw debut. Now, thanks to Mattel, we have a new figure of "The Living Legend" as a sort of icing on the cake.
The figure is part of Mattel's WWE Elite Series 25. This is the first series to feature brand new packaging and hit various retail stores just in time for the holidays. Just when I'd gotten used to the old design, Mattel decides to switch it up. I really like the elegant look, with a pleasant regal blue chosen as the key color. A large artists rendering of the wrestler is on the left side, while the figure itself is presented on the right. Bruno is a bulky figure with a large accessory, so he utilizes all of the space inside of the window. It will be interesting to see if this new packaging fares any better with the female figures than the last design did. The smaller Diva figures tended to appear to be "floating" in the previous style.
The facial likeness is very good. I'd hesitate to say that it's perfect, but it definitely captures the Bruno of the era. The best Bruno figure likeness that we've gotten would be with his very first incarnation by LJN back in the 1980s. That version was definitely aided by the size of the figure itself. Generally, as long as Bruno's chin and nose are captured, a company will be well on their way to a great likeness of the champ.
The body is bulky, has plenty of points of articulation as the Elite figures are known for, and definitely works for Bruno despite using recycled parts. The body hair paint app is good, but not as perfect as the Jakks version from their Classic Superstars line. Blue trunks are chosen and are fitting, considering that is the color that Bruno is most remembered wearing. The best part is that kneepads are not erroneously included as they were with the Jakks figure.
I do hope that the success of this figure causes Mattel to rethink their policies on Legends figures. The Legends releases inside of Elite series are working, and I don't want to see them limited to upcoming Attitude Era characters like Rikishi and the New Age Outlaws. At this point, Mattel collectors really only have two other figures that can be used or displayed accurately with Bruno, those being George Steele and Nikolai Volkoff. I personally have no problem displaying this Bruno with figures from the Jakks Classic Superstars line, but if Mattel ever wants to grasp the title of "Greatest Wrestling Figure Line," they're going to have to bump up the production of Legends just a bit more. The fans and collectors are out there.