Thursday, January 25, 2018
Mattel's Flashback To Build-A-Figure
These two new sets, one Elite, one Basic, were released simultaneously and exclusively to Wal Mart. Collecting the Elite set of Mean Gene Okerlund, The Ultimate Warrior, Syxx, and Yokozuna yields you a SummerSlam 1989 interview set. The Basic set of Ravishing Rick Rude, Cowboy Bob Orton, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, and Sgt. Slaughter allows you to build Howard Finkel. Even the packaging has a decidedly retro feel and includes a homage to the memorable baby blue interview backdrop from the mid-1980's. The Elite packaging features the new rectangle box design which was recently introduced and seems to make the figures themselves stand out that much more.
Seeing only his second figure ever is "The Fink." The legendary ring announcer is captured in his 1980's look and, thanks to the facial likeness, is light years better than the Jakks Classic Superstars version. The WWE's longest tenured employee comes complete with a classic styled microphone which is also included with Mean Gene. Cowboy Bob Orton, one of the Basic figures needed to complete Finkel, sees only his second release in the Mattel line complete with trademark hat and ubiquitous arm cast. It could have been interesting to see Orton released with a pink cowboy hat reflecting his days with Adrian Adonis, but ultimately pointless seeing as we likely won't be seeing a figure of "The Adorable One" any time soon.
Sean Waltman, a figure veteran under his 1-2-3 Kid and X-Pac gimmicks, also makes a debut of sorts here. For the first time Waltman is officially released as "Syxx," his nWo persona. Though Jakks released X-Pac in his nWo gear many years ago, it was representing his WWE-nWo run as X-Pac. The figure includes his personalized six-ball version of the classic nWo shirt. A slight change in design and name takes what could have been an unwelcome re-release and changes it into a surprisingly fresh figure.
As with their release of Virgil which simultaneously mocked and celebrated his "convention icon" status, Mattel proves that their releases are beginning to include quite the sense of humor. The SummerSlam 89 interview set is the same one which, in an outtake accidentally broadcast on pay-per-view, suddenly fell apart enraging a foul-mouthed Mean Gene. There's even a hole provided which is cut out behind the sign enabling someone to cause the "accident" to happen over and over again. Now, if we could only get a Royal Rumble interview backdrop. Put that cigarette out!