Thursday, May 3, 2018

Toys "R" Us Delivers a Final "Weapon of Mass Destruction"

No one wanted to see Toys "R" Us close. As different as it was from when many of us were kids, it was an institution. As frustrating as things got when action figure collecting was at its height, with rampant stories of employees selling "rare" figures out the back, many of us remained loyal Toys "R" Us kids. Now in 2018, we're all making our last stops to "the world's biggest toy store." Many wrestling collectors have a reason to visit, a last exclusive WWE figure set from Mattel.

The WWE Fan Central series features Mark Henry (as Sexual Chocolate), Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Triple H, and The Big Show. They're in the 2018 boxy packaging that I love and really could have been part of the previous Toys "R" Us exclusive line, the WWE Network Spotlight collection. It's "The World's Largest Athlete" that we're focusing on today, who has always been one of my favorites to collect as an action figure. There's just something about a legitimate giant that translates well into plastic. Plus, stretching back to the days of the well-remembered and dangerous (did you ever hit another kid with one?) King Kong Bundy LJN figure, you just feel that you get your money's worth with the bigger guys.

We're seeing a few firsts for a figure of The Big Show in this release. This is the first time that this particular head sculpt has been used. How about that beard? This is also the first time to my knowledge that we see a completely closed fist for Show, allowing the figure to properly "knockout punch" any opponent. The left hand of the figure is aptly reused from recent Andre the Giant releases. Maybe I should say "paw" instead of "hand?" The body of the figure itself also seems to be new, showing off a svelter Show than in past figures.

Speaking of Andre, this is the second figure to include the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy. Just as in its original release, the trophy is "breakable" for jealous runners-up to smash in an epic tantrum. The trophy itself doesn't have quite the "shine" that the first release did, but unless the two accessories are side-by-side, you wouldn't really notice. It remains one of my all-time favorite wrestling figure accessories and looks great packaged with, in my opinion, the most deserving of the Andre Battle Royal winners to date.

This whole series is a winner. Why did it have to be exclusive? Many theories abound as to what will happen. Toys "R" Us stores are STILL receiving shipments of this series, thus the secondary market prices have greatly dropped. There are rumors that Mattel took back some of the cases due to the chain closing. Will they show up elsewhere? I wouldn't doubt it. Needless to say, I feel that three of the four figures here (Show, Heenan, and Henry) belong in any collection and the situation does need to be handled to satisfy collector demand. When will we find out? You won't see it comin', but I promise you'll know...

No comments: