Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Four Horsemen Ride Into Mattel's WWE Hall Of Fame

The Mattel-Target relationship has popped up here on the blog more than once recently, but that's because it's brought us some great product so far. The best Mattel WWE store exclusives, as far as I'm concerned, have been from the Hall of Fame line. Of course, I'm a bit biased towards the legends to begin with, but you can't deny that Mattel's renewed interest in the old school stars is getting better and better. Target seems to be all in, complete with an endcap display in many stores. This special spot has included the individual Hall of Fame figures, the classic "blue bar" cage set, as well some modern day releases. The "Rolls Royce" of the lineup, however, features the greatest supergroup in wrestling history, The Four Horsemen.

Since this is the version of the Horsemen inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, included in the set are Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and Barry Windham. We simply aren't going to see a J.J. Dillon figure in a WWE lineup. Despite being inducted with the group, it was just a month ago that I heard the famous "Dillon was on Vince's 'not-to-be-made' list" rumor straight from the legendary manager's mouth. Unless another company picks up his rights, we aren't getting a J.J. Nonetheless, Mattel likes to focus on wrestlers and not managers, so here we are.

The box is, to put it simply, large. There won't be many in-store shenanigans as far as dishonest folk ripping these things open, as these boxes are sealed tight. You pretty much have to destroy one side of the box to get it open, so once you've let these guys out, they're out for good. The Hall of Fame 2012 backdrop is big and, with a little support added underneath, could be used as a display stage. The back of the box features the standard Mattel artists renderings of familiar photos of the four. The Flair photo used is from the mid '90s when "The Nature Boy" looked nothing like the figure included. Windham's image is from his brief 1989 WWF stint as "The Widowmaker."

As with the other Hall of Fame figures, each one is in the Mattel Elite style with extra articulation. The torso used for Flair is the same that was recently used for the Tito Santana and Hulk Hogan Hall of Fame figures. It still doesn't work for Hogan, but it's very believable for "Naitch." Clad in a black and red combo, Flair fits in very well with the rest of the lineup. This isn't the first Flair from Mattel, but it definitely holds up to other "classic" figures of "The Nature Boy" from other companies throughout the years. The facial likeness and "flow" of the famous long locks couldn't get any better.

This is the second Mattel release for "The Enforcer," and it very much reminds me of one of my all-time favorite figures, the Galoob WCW Arn Anderson. The body is just about right and the facial likeness carries the intensity of the rough grappler. Anderson is clad in red and white (just like the Galoob) with the famous "Double A" monogram on his tights. If I had any issue with the figure, it would be that the legs seem just a big too long and thin for Arn, but it's not a huge deal and might just be in my head.

It's hard to believe that we've gotten five Tully Blanchard figures in the past decade after a career completely devoid of them, but we have. This is the second Blanchard from Mattel, as he and Arn were both part of the final incarnation of the WWE Legends line. Those figures included the classic WWF Tag Team Championship belts, were clad in black, and soared in price following their "sell out" from the Mattel Collectors website. Thanks to Target you can pick up both Tully and Arn as well as the belts (now packaged with Yokozuna) for much more reasonable pricing. The Mattel Tully likeness reminds me of his WWF days while the Jakks effort looks more like his younger territorial days. Both are spot-on and I'm glad that Blanchard has received several great figures at this point.

Finally, we get to "The Lone Wolf" himself, Barry Windham. This is the figure from the set that is likely to be most in demand in the future, as I don't see Mattel likely producing him again. Despite being one of the greatest in-ring performers of the 1980's, this is likely the one and only shot. Again, this figure reminds me very much of the Galoob WCW release from 1990. It also reminds me of his stint as "The Widowmaker" that I mentioned above. BW's red and black cowboy boots look really cool, and Windham is the only one in the set to include entrance gear. The vest is removable and was not present when we saw the prototype. Opinions will differ, but Windham is the star of the set in my book.

This is an interesting set for many reasons. Scalpers scooped this up when early shipments hit Target. They likely won't be making more than a few bucks, if that, on each as the sets hit more and more stores. For whatever reason, my set even rang up $5 less than the advertised price at $44.99. I would imagine that sales will dictate whether or not we see more sets like this.

Will the sets sell well? It's four Elite figures with one accessory whereas most Elite figures are usually sold between $20-$22 each. In that sense, it's a good deal. What kept me from purchasing another one to get autographed down the line was the fact that only Windham is in entrance gear. While I love the figures, a set of the Horsemen with Flair in a robe and Arn and Tully in jackets would've been much more visually appealing in the box. If collectors want Windham or an affordable (and superior) release of The Brainbusters, picking the set up is a no-brainer...terrible wrestling pun not intended.

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