Thursday, March 24, 2016

Mattel Gets Mouth-y

A few weeks ago, we brought you the one, the only, The Bunny. In that blog entry, taking a look at Mattel's figure release of the former Exotic Express member, I once again proclaimed my love for figures of non-wrestlers. It goes back to the LJN WWF Wrestling Superstars days with their "Managers" subset. The non-wrestlers are simply essential to recreating the wrestling world, or nowadays the WWE Universe, on your shelf. Now, Mattel brings us one of the men who was part of the LJN Managers collection three decades ago. That man is "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart.

He's seemingly done it all. Member of "The Gentrys," Memphis wrestling icon, manager of champions, "Colonel," theme composer, wrestling's virtual ambassador, and even a cast member of WWE Legends House. At the age of 72, "The Mouth" shows no signs of slowing down. And despite being one of the most villainous managers in professional wrestling history, it's hard to find someone who has a bad word to say about Jimmy.

I always like to point out when I feel that a wrestler was "made" to be an action figure just by looking at them. Jimmy Hart fits that bill. From his endless closet of colorful jackets to his sunglasses and signature megaphone, Jimmy is a sight. I wouldn't call him "the greatest walking advertisement for birth control ever" as Gorilla Monsoon so often did, but his "loud" look (not to mention his loud mouth) has helped make him the legend that he is. Not only is Jimmy a legend, but he is also a WWE Hall of Famer.

It's the Target exclusive WWE Hall of Fame figure series that gained us our first "Mouth" in the line. Three figures make up this third series, with "Macho King" Randy Savage and "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase also available. Jimmy is the only debut figure this time around and will likely be the most popular of the three. The packaging has changed yet again to match up with the regular 2016 "Elite" style boxes. It still follows the familiar WWE Hall of Fame motif of royal blue and gold and won't clash with previous entries to the line.

Jimmy comes decked out in his most familiar look, red hearts with a white background. I suppose he could be a tad shorter, but I'm not complaining. It works. What I will complain about is the plastic "bubble" inside of the package. Both the megaphone and cummerbund suffered in the packaging. The cummerbund is movable so I was able to turn it to a position where it looked normal, but the rim of the megaphone is still a bit warped. It's a problem that has plagued figure collectors for years. To Mattel's credit, I can't remember the last time that it's happened with a WWE figure that I've opened.

Thanks to the removable sunglasses, I believe Mattel may take the title for "Best Jimmy Hart Facial Likeness." It's seriously spot-on, and I don't think that any other Jimmy's have been quite this good. Some may not like the open mouth on the figure, but isn't that what you want in a Jimmy Hart? It works for Jimmy screaming into the megaphone, cackling during a promo, or screaming for his life when a heroic wrestler got hold of him, waiting to get revenge.

There are plenty of great pairings to pose Jimmy with, as some of his main charges are part of the Mattel line. The Honky Tonk Man, Jerry "The King" Lawler, King Kong Bundy, Kamala, Rick Rude, Terry Funk, Money Inc., and Earthquake are just a few men that followed the guidance of "The Mouth of the South." Later this year, another of Jimmy's tag teams, The Nasty Boys, will join their former manager. I still think that Jimmy was perfect while managing Greg Valentine, and a Mattel version of "The Hammer" would be very welcome. While I'm at it, Dino Bravo could sure use a figure too...

He's the Dick Clark of wrestling. A unique gimmick that was born in Memphis, but made it big throughout the world. Since he looks virtually the same today and still pops up all over the WWE Universe, this is one Hall of Fame figure that fits in any style of collection anywhere. Similar to Trish Stratus in the first series (and Yokozuna to a lesser extent in the second), this will be the one that people are going for. With Mattel's recent penchant for re-releases and peppering Legends throughout their line, who knows if we'll see Jimmy again. Keep in mind that it is a manager figure, which could hamper the possibility. I know that I'd love to see Jimmy decked out in his superhero costume down the line!

Next week, Mattel brings us yet another Hall of Famer, but in a brand-new line. This Hall of Famer is new to the honor, being of the Class of 2016. Stay tuned, Hard Times are yet to come...

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