Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mattel says..."Bang, Bang!"

Let's face it, in the late 1990's everyone was a fan of Mick Foley. No matter which character was your favorite, the wild Cactus Jack, the maniacal Mankind, or the hip Dude Love, Foley knew how to hit a chord with each and every wrestling fan. No one was a bigger fan of all three characters than me. The fact that I saw his infamous King of the Ring "Hell in a Cell" match with my own eyes was something that I wore as a badge of wrestling fandom pride. Eventually, I would go on to meet the self-professed "world's friendliest wrestler" on a few occasions. I won't say that my fandom for the man ended there, but to briefly sum up a story best kept for another time, my interactions with him have not been exactly memorable. Nevertheless, Foley remains in the wrestling spotlight in one way or another, and here he is with yet another action figure.

This second appearance of the Cactus Jack character in the Mattel WWE line has been a hot product thus far. The first figure was an online retailer exclusive and has gained monetary value on the secondary market. The main differences between the two are the accessories included, although there are a few cosmetic changes as well which we will get to. This Cactus is part of Mattel's WWE Elite 48 series and is in the standard window box packaging used for that line. Originally this second Cactus was to be included in the Target exclusive WWE Hall of Fame line, but that fell through for what was said to be rights issues.

As with the past several Elite series, the figure includes a stand and piece of cardboard backdrop. When all of the figures in the series are collected, the backdrops can be assembled to form a fuller picture. I still don't care for the backdrops, although the plastic stands are always welcome. The cardboard backers are flimsy and just simply look cheap. The advertisement of the "bonus" on the front of the packaging also takes away from signing space for those who intend to have these figures autographed. They can be removed with a lot of work, but the figure isn't truly mint at that point. This is a feature that I will gladly see fade away, should it ever.

Cactus Jack is clad in his world-famous "Wanted" shirt that has seen inclusion on all Cactus Jack figures produced up to this point. It is indeed iconic and is instantly recognized with the character. Even following the days where you would spot Austin 3:16 and nWo t-shirts anywhere you went, the occasional Cactus Jack shirt still popped up. The man was, and is, popular. The big difference in the details of the figure are the pants. Here we have the cactus design down the legs while the first had the word "CACTUS." There are slight differences with the boots, as well.

The facial likeness is very good and this is definitely Mick Foley. Oddly enough (or maybe not so much), I see Mick's daughter Noelle when I look right at the eyes of the figure. The apple doesn't fall far from the...cactus? I particularly like the hair molded to look like part of it is pulled back into a ponytail which should remind many of the hardcore legend's WCW days. Included as accessories are a "DO NOT ENTER" street sign and a removable flannel shirt which replace a "STOP" sign, ring steps, and handcuffs that were packed with the first release.

If you have the Jakks Classic Superstars Cactus Jack figure and are looking for something different, you really won't find it here. It's a nice, very solid figure, but Mattel really doesn't offer anything new for the character. A "pure" WCW version of Cactus would have been something fresh. With the popularity of this figure, maybe we will get that down the line. I could also see inclusion of Cactus into the Basic line, and a WCW-based look might work well there. While I'm sure that we're also going to see some modern Mick Foley figure releases reflecting his stint on Monday Night Raw, it's Mattel's take on Dude Love that I'm more anxious for.

Have a nice day...or have mercy...or...bang bang!

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