Thursday, July 23, 2015

That's Not Sting, That's A WWE Figure Of Sting...

As one of the last possible "surprise" moments involving a wrestler from the '80s and '90s, Sting showing up in WWE delivered. Sure, "The Franchise" of WCW may not have won his debut WWE match, but it certainly created a true "WrestleMania Moment" that will be remembered for years to come. As of press time, rumor and insider talk indicate that we have not seen the end of Sting in WWE, and that's no surprise to me. The man still has a great presence and something to offer. Plus, he needs to win at least one WWE match.

Fans always wondered how the WWE marketing machine would treat Sting. So far, it's exactly how we imagined. To be honest, WCW and TNA used the Sting persona correctly as well when it came to merchandising. Masks, shirts, and baseball bats have long been available in the image of "The Man Called Sting." Nevertheless, it's still a bit odd, even after WrestleMania, to see Sting associated with the WWE logo. Now, thanks to Mattel, we're seeing a grand roll-out for the first figure of The Stinger to be released under the WWE banner.

Since resurrecting the popular Defining Moments series last year we've seen new figures of Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and Razor Ramon. The ornate packaging (which I recently noticed is slightly smaller beginning with Flair) casts a grand light on the figure and almost justifies the heftier price of around $25 each. Seeing as how these figures have been very easy to find in stores, no one should be paying online or secondary market prices. In addition, the line is available at every major retailer including Toys "R" Us, Target, Wal Mart, and K-Mart. I recently encountered several rows of Sting at one particular store.

This first WWE-released Sting is based on "The Icon's" appearance at Starrcade 1997. That was the first match that Sting actually wrestled in his "Crow" look. For a year prior, Sting would appear brooding after, usually, dropping from the ceiling. The picture used behind the figure inside of the box is the recent Sting "sneer" face used on a t-shirt release. The combination of styles used really proves that the man has changed very little over the years, another reason why there's no reason for his WWE career to end after just one match and a handful of appearances.

The figure includes his trench coat and baseball bat as accessories. The coat is a soft goods material and not rubber as some Mattel clothing accessories have turned out. This is fortunate, as most collectors will want to pose this figure with the coat on, something that the rubber accessories do not allow. The recent WrestleMania XXX figure of The Undertaker was a sad example of this, as the infamous "lights on" pose is completely negated by this design flaw. On the contrary, Sting's coat is made of a thin material that permits many menacing poses for "The Vigilante." The baseball bat is also well designed and doesn't suffer from low-quality plastic bending as many long and thin accessories have over the years. Actual molding of the "wood grain" on the bat is also a nice touch.

The facial likeness is well done here. I've often said that even with face-painted stars, you still need a good likeness underneath. This is clearly Sting, and a morose one at that. Remember, Sting felt scorned by all sides at that point. He was not a happy camper due to the rise of the nWo and the "rumors" that he had joined the outlaw faction. The wrestling outfit itself is well done, too, and my often-lamented torso joint is barely visible. I really like the heavy-looking boots used for the figure, and Sting is even wearing the necklace that he wore at the time. While Sting is still in amazing shape at his current age, I see no reason why he still isn't wearing an outfit like this one. With how little he has changed, the figure honestly doesn't look at all out of place with those of more modern stars.

I usually find something to critique in any figure, but this one is a toughy. Perhaps he could have used a third accessory, but what? The "Big Gold" belt looks great on the figure, but I'm not sure that I would have wanted one in the package. The black and white motif is perfect and striking in the package, and most loose figure collectors likely have the belt already hanging around anyway. The higher price point is never pleasing, but when you get a figure of this effort and quality, the purchase remains satisfying. Indeed, this is one of Mattel's greatest WWE releases to date.

The Defining Moments Sting is in fact my current pick for "Figure of the Year." Although I did not review it here on the blog, the Elite release of Rusev had been my previous choice. Will something come along to blow Sting out of the water? Time will tell, but it's going to be an awfully big challenge.

Two further Mattel releases of Sting have been announced. Another "Crow" Sting will be in the Basic line and an Elite release of the 1990 Great American Bash Sting is also in the works. The Basic version looked a bit underwhelming, but the Bash entry could be promising. I'm interested to see just how many different Sting looks Mattel will end up giving us. I would not object to multiple Basic releases of Sting's many "surfer" styles as they've done with The Ultimate Warrior. It's very wishful thinking to even entertain the thought of a Blade Runners two-pack, but I'd hope that it would at least be considered for an exclusive of some sort. Two huge names in a style that's never before been done in figure form for either man. But, we are dealing with Mattel here...

"Think of the children!"


BRochester8 said...

Love this figure. I picked it up Friday at Toys R Us. My favorite mattel figure yet. great blog.

J\/\/ said...

It really is a great figure. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Wish that figure would make an appearance at Australian stores