Thursday, August 25, 2016

WCW & Dusty Rhodes Return To The Toy Shelves

You may have heard about it. You may have seen it. You may have even purchased it. Still, it should be no surprise that it's showing up here. A new Dusty Rhodes action figure in 2016? Yes, please. As well as Mattel has been doing as of late as far as legends are concerned, The Dream has been overlooked. He had not seen a figure since the two releases of the "polka dot" era figure at the beginning of the Mattel run. Not even his passing brought us a new figure...until now.

Exclusively at Target, Dusty Rhodes returns to the toy shelf...and the ring. Dusty is packaged along with the first Mattel-produced World Championship Wrestling ring. To top off the deal, Dusty includes the "Big Gold" belt as an accessory. Sure, if you look closely it has the WWE logo on it, but did you really expect them to totally remold the thing? This is truly one of those sets that no one would have seen coming. It's definitely directed towards more of a niche market than Mattel is usually comfortable with. For that, and some facts that I'm about to get to, I thank them.

The ring is a reuse of the Mattel spring ring. The ring is small, but actually isn't that much smaller than what I consider to be the standard ring for this scale of figure, that being the ring that was originally marketed as the Jakks WWF Hardcore Ring. Sure, bigger rings have been released since, but to me they just look too big. That good ol' Jakks classic was an ideal size. These Mattel rings could be a tad bigger, but considering that WCW rings were usually smaller in real-life, it works here. It's big enough to host a battle royal, and that should be good enough for anyone.

I like the color scheme and the fact that Mattel took the time to get the  WCW colors right. You get two large ring apron WCW stickers that are a perfect reproduction of what really appeared back then. Personally, I always choose to only apply one of these stickers as that's all you really need if you're going to display. That way you have a backup or you can turn the ring around if you just want it to represent a generic, vintage-looking ring. Everything here is easy to assemble right out of the box. The posts snap in snugly and the ropes are pretty much good to go.

Dusty comes in his own little case just inside the window box. Mattel didn't scrimp here, either. This is a figure that easily could have seen release all by itself. An all-new facial likeness direct from a classic Dusty-as-NWA-Champion photo is utilized here, and I've heard nothing but praise for it. This is Dusty Rhodes. If you have one of the Mattel classic Ric Flair releases then you're all set. From the facial expression to the boots to the splotch, it's almost as if my all-time favorite wrestler has returned to life in all of his 1980's glory.

There have been some criticisms of the price. This is a $40 item. When you break it down, it isn't any higher in price than if the ring and figure had been released separately. These rings usually retail for around $20 and I don't have to tell you that the Elite-style figures, which this Dusty is, can go for that price or more depending on the retailer. The key here also is that Mattel went all out. They included detail on the ring, released what is essentially a brand new figure, and threw in an accessory. This isn't one of those "dull" figure-sized belt releases, either. This belt has the full paint, to boot.

Where else are you going to get a new WCW ring in 2016? Supporting this  exclusive could very well open doors to similar items. I could definitely see Mattel trying out a Nitro ring at retail level, possibly with a figure from the nWo. How about ECW? Deep down I'd love to believe that an AWA ring could even be possible. A few years ago I would've scoffed at the idea thanks to Mattel's track record. As we now see, that is very quickly turning around. It's a total "dream" to have this new Dusty figure and new WCW product, so go out and support it!

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