Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Wrestling Classic Figure Review--Mattel WWE Michelle McCool

I never thought that I'd see the day that Michelle McCool would have an entry on this blog dedicated to her, much less a segment of "The Wrestling Classic Figure Review." I don't have anything against her, she just didn't really stick out to me. As far as merchandising, her Jakks figure was very boring. It was actually at the tail end of her wrestling career that I began to enjoy her work, and that's part of the reason why I do like Mattel's 2010 representation of her. It also filled a noticeable void in my own collection.

The Diva who was "lovin' life" was produced by Mattel way back in Basic Series 7. The cards were still that dreadful red, and one aspect of the early Mattel WWE line, which we'll get to in a bit, was still in play. When the figure was first released, I was not completely sold on the line. I was still stuck on Jakks and resisted change. The fact that some of Mattel's early WWE work wasn't the best, not to mention that the WWE product of the time was extremely hit-or-miss, meant that I passed on a lot of the early figures. In fact, at that point I was generally only buying the stars who had never seen a figure before. My first Mattel WWE purchase? Carlito and Primo, since the latter had not previously been produced.

As I grew to love Mattel, like many collectors I had to go back and find figures that I had previously passed by. For many of these figures that saw only one or two releases, prices generally went up. Still, a sharp collector will wait until the price is right. As with the rest, that finally happened with Michelle McCool. She was the last Diva that I did not have a Mattel-produced version of in my collection. Finding a carded example that was priced not much higher than retail made it all the sweeter. And of course, for the sake of reviewing (well, that and the fact that she isn't a figure that I necessarily needed to keep carded), she was released from her plastic prison.

Just as with her Laycool partner Layla, Mattel did a good job on Michelle. The facial likeness is perfect, and the detail on the outfit matches her look at the time. In addition to her change in character, her almost feathered-hair look during her heel run further sold me on Michelle. Apparently the look also worked on a certain legendary WWE star who decided to make Michelle into "Mrs. Deadman." Regardless, the figure looks great with Layla, holding the WWE Women's Championship, or terrorizing poor Mickie James.

As alluded to above, this is also when Mattel still included a plastic figure stand and cardboard name placard with each figure. Allegedly cut for cost reasons, it was a nice addition but didn't end up being a deal breaker for anyone that I know of. Some might consider a loose example to be incomplete if these accessories are missing, but I wouldn't. Judging by the secondary market prices for many of these figures that are missing the stand, I'm not alone.

If you're like me and are now collecting "backwards" trying to get these early Mattel figures, this entry comes with a great lesson: don't overpay. Patience will yield these figures for your collection. Judging by the popularity of an early-2016 blog entry that I did highlighting five of these early, "forgotten" Mattel figures, there's plenty of interest. Keep in mind, especially if you're a loose collector, that many of these figures are well over five years old now. That means that some who bought these early on are no longer interested and/or have "outgrown" (ha!) action figures. Do you know what that means for you? The hunt begins!

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