Thursday, November 22, 2018

Retro Continues To Be Nowtro: Part I

 It's an amazing time to be a kid from the '70s, '80s, or '90s. Pretty much any toy that you had, even gaming systems, are available again in stores worldwide. Even the action figures that you played with anywhere that you were able to take them can be found on store shelves. From the vintage plastic of Mego action figures in the likenesses of so many pop culture legends to "Kenner" branded Star Wars toys, everything old is new again. Thanks to the Mattel Retro WWE figure line that we've been covering for nearly two years, wrestling isn't left out.

For me, a bit of the shine has worn off since the initial offerings. This actually is starting to ring true for the entire Mattel WWE empire, but we'll get to that in the second half of this two-part review. This week and next will each showcase one of the most recent Retro figure series to be released. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of nice new figures here that we will look at, but that generally isn't where the problems lie. Before we get to broader issues, let's take a look at the new figures individually.

The cardbacks still strongly resemble the Hasbro WWF packaging of yore. The colors have stopped changing (the first two initial series were blue bordered) but they still fit in nicely with their classic counterparts. Unfortunately the changes that began with series three still linger. A plastic stand featuring the logo of the superstar in question is packaged where the "Real Wrestling Action" graphic should be. Above that is a completely out-of-place advertisement for an app. One of the highlights of the Hasbro line was the large photo of the wrestler. This annoying ad detracts from the photo.

In this set we have Ric Flair, Finn Balor, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens. The latter is a repaint of his release from the first series. Like the earlier figures each superstar has an aforementioned "Real Wrestling Action" that either copies or mirrors one from the Hasbro years. Balor's is close to that of the first Marty Jannetty, Owens has the Andre/Akeem/Dusty "jolt," Flair's is an adapted version of the spring-action waist which originated with "Macho King" Randy Savage, and Zayn has a brand-new kick action that easily could have been created nearly thirty years ago. His pose reminds me of the first "Million Dollar Man" figure by Hasbro.

The likenesses and detail are good on all, and just "cartoony" enough to fit into the original Hasbro line. We will dive more into this topic next week. The star here, however, is Ric Flair. This is the Flair that we should've received back during his WWF run. The "chop" move works excellently and the figure simply runs circles around the rather poorly executed Flair Hasbro that saw release in 1993. The re-used body of Ravishing Rick Rude just did not work and I'm sure that I'm not the only one who, at first glance of the famous WWF Magazine ad, thought that the facial likeness was Dino Bravo. One of Hasbro's biggest World Wrestling Federation blunders is finally corrected.

Even though one of the four here is a repaint, this is a nice set. We'll get more detailed next week as we look at a subsequent series and what seems to be going wrong with the line. In the meantime, have you even seen these on store shelves? How about the other newer sets? If the public cannot buy, they will not support. It's as simple as that, and it seems to be creeping into all aspects of Mattel WWE figure collecting.

To be continued...

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