Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Defining Moment For Mattel...Hulkamania Lives

 I can still remember the hype and hoopla surrounding Hulk Hogan's arrival to the Jakks Classic Superstars line.  Both "red and yellow" and nWo versions were planned, with the former being hyped as the best Classic Superstars figure in the line.  While my love for that line is well-documented, it's more for the guys and gals who had few or no figures before that time.  Although some great figures of "The Hulkster" would hit that line later on, those debut offerings didn't live up to the hype.  Now Hogan has made his debut in Mattel's WWE line.  Similarly to Jakks, Mattel has rolled out the red carpet.

It was just a few short months ago that Mattel restarted their WWE Defining Moments line.  The figures represent top stars as they appeared in some of their definitive career milestones.  Around four years ago the line was originally launched and included legends such as Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, and The Ultimate Warrior. Despite being a hit with collectors due to high detail and unique packaging, the line was dropped around the same time as Mattel's separate Legends line. Since then, select Legends have been included in Mattel's Elite line as "Flashback" figures.

One Defining Moments figure planned before the cancellation was Ric Flair.  In 2014, the line was relaunched starting with The Nature Boy himself.  This was Flair's Mattel debut, and following shortly thereafter was Hulk Hogan.  Hogan sticks out like a sore thumb on store shelves, but it in a good way.  The packaging is designed to look like one of Hogan's shirts.

It's been seemingly hard for manufacturers to nail down Hogan's physique, but Mattel does a very good job. He isn't overly pumped up, nor is he wimpy looking.  His unique style of wearing the famous yellow trunks is well captured here, too.  The facial likeness is good for the Hogan of the '80s, and the hairline matches perfectly. If the hairline on a Hogan figure does not match the era that it's supposed to represent, the likeness suffers greatly.  After all, Hogan's hair has long been a talking point, for better or worse.

This Hogan is based upon the icon's appearance at WrestleMania III where he famously slammed Andre the Giant inside of the Pontiac Silverdome.  Red and yellow were the colors of the day, and at that time Hogan was wearing his headbands with the extra material hanging down the side of his face.  Mattel loves to produce rubber shirts and other clothing.  The Hulkamania shirt here is no different and has a cut down the center where it can be "torn."  It doesn't really have anything to hold it closed, but it works.  The headband "clips" into the hairline and can easily be removed or replaced.

For their first foray into Hulkamania, Mattel brings us some never before included accessories.  The first is the belt that Hogan wore for much of the mid-1980's.  This design has never before been created in figure form.  It has the shiny finish and though it is not completely painted (the flags on the side are colorless), it is an amazing centerpiece for the figure.

A second brand-new Hogan accessory is his famous cross necklace. No fan will ever forget Andre ripping the shirt and crucifix from Hogan's chest on Piper's Pit.  Although it isn't clearly visible while the figure is in the.package, it is indeed included. I don't know that I'd recommend removing it too many times, as the chain has to be a very thin material in order for it to look right and has to be stretched a bit to make it around Hulk's mullet, but it's a very welcome addition.

Well folks, we have a winner here.  Even at brick and mortar stores, this figure is at a higher price point.  I think that, in part, caused the original demise of this series.  If the releases are limited to new-to-the-line names like Hogan and future planned stars like Razor Ramon and Sting, I think the Defining Moments could keep coming.  Now, if we could only get that Magnum T.A. figure released...

Don't forget about my new second blog, #JoshCulture!  This week I take a look at NXT and some of the stars featured on NXT TakeOver!  Have a taste of the "Culture" at:

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