Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mattel & Target Make Another (Banzai) Splash

The amount of new WWE product from Mattel has been staggering as of late. Basics, Elites, and Battle Packs of WWE Superstars, Divas, Legends, and even the stars of NXT have been popping up in great numbers with no end in sight. In addition, Target has continued their popular exclusive WWE Hall of Fame series. This time around Eddie Guerrero, Yokozuna, Tito Santana, and "The Immortal" Hulk Hogan join the blue-boxed line. It's the latter three that we'll be looking at today.

Like most fans, I miss Eddie Guerrero, I just didn't feel the need for another figure of the late star. So far, he seems to be selling the least well of the new foursome. This is Tito Santana's first figure released by Mattel and Yokozuna's second. All four figures are again boxed in attractive blue packaging with the WWE Hall of Fame "screen" in the background. All have accessories and none suffer from the "floating" issue where some Mattel figures appear overwhelmed by the packaging.

I passed up on the original Mattel Yokozuna because it did not seem to offer much different from previous figures of the former champion. This version is clad in black and white and includes the classic WWF Tag Team Championship belts. These belts were only previously included with the single WWE Legends releases of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. It's good to see these belts re-released since the Blanchard and Anderson figures have been driven up in price. Yokozuna has excellent articulation to demonstrate what an agile "big man" wrestler he was. With the beard and hair braid, this figure clearly represents 1995-1996 Yoko.

Hulk Hogan looks to be based on his 1993 return. The removable bandana is a welcome addition, considering several of his Mattel releases have not featured this. This is an all new headsculpt for Hulk, and it is fairly faithful to the legend. My gripe with the figure is that it feels just a bit too skinny. Hogan had lost a lot of weight for the return on which this figure is based, but no Hogan figure should ever share a torso with Tito Santana. This one does.

Speaking of Tito, I think that this figure is my favorite of the set. This is the very first figure of, in my mind, the quintessential Tito Santana image: the longish hair, white trunks, white boots. LJN re-released their Tito in white trunks after it had originally been in purple, but it had short hair. Considering that the Hasbro card picture featured this Tito, I will always be convinced that a figure of this appearance was in the works, but it was "El Matador" at release. Jakks released two Santana figures in this image, but one had a molded shirt and the other a molded jacket. After all of these years, we finally have a perfect Tito in the familiar 1987-1991 image. The classic red Tito Santana shirt is included as a soft goods accessory.

I was pleased and surprised with this second series. I never would have thought that Santana would be produced by Mattel. His inclusion leaves the door open for more "mid-card" Hall of Famers to be produced. If any of these four appeal to you, grabbing them at first sight would be your best bet. I cannot picture the "main event"-minded Mattel producing another Santana. Yokozuna is probably done after two figures as well. Hogan and Eddie will likely see more releases down the line.

I hope that this Hall of Fame line continues. I've said it before, but Lita would be a great choice here. An NWA style Dusty Rhodes would be another perfect fit, especially since Mattel already has the tooling from their earlier figure of "The American Dream." I have a feeling that Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels will both find their way in, although they would both be personal passes. I want variation, I want old school...

Bring in 'da Race, bring in 'da Funk?

1 comment:

Daniel Camarillo said...

I just bought a Eddie Guerrero hall of fame figure from Target... it seems that the figure I got and the one I see online are different. My Eddie has short hair, white hand wraps and black pants. I see a long hair Eddie in the online photos of the toy I bought. Did I get bambozzled and buy buy a Renault Eddie in a Hall of Fame package from Target?