Friday, February 19, 2010

Toy Fair is over...I guess...but what made TNA fans contemplate Suicide?

So the 2010 Toy Fair is over. I think. Well, all the wrestling news from it is out, it seems, and that's what we're here for.

Both Mattel and Jakks had presentations for their WWE and TNA toy lines, respectively. My grade?


To start, I have yet to be a fan of the new Mattel WWE line. While they did unveil a VERY impressive Legends line, their basic line of current stars still leaves a lot to be desired. Action figures are meant to be larger-than-life. If they're pumped up just a bit more than they're real life counterparts, it's ok! When it boils down to it, these are toys for children. They want likenesses of larger-than-life heroes and villains. Mattel isn't giving that.

Jakks, with their upcoming TNA line, showcased figures of several top stars. Unfortunately, these were the same figures they unveiled just a few months ago. Their Legends line was represented by figures that are not "retro" at all and are said to be figures from their regular TNA line. In fact, Jakks seemed more interested in showcasing a generic wrestling figure line that they plan on marketing to dollar stores.

Jakks biggest disappointment to many involved their plans for a figure of Frankie Kazar...I mean...Suicide. Apparently, due to worries about children buying toys with the word "Suicide" on them, the figure is going to be produced without the name. A symbol from the character's costume will be used on packaging, while the name normally emblazoned across his chest will be omitted. While Frankie Kazar...err...the man who portrays Suicide has gone back to using his regular name at recent TNA tapings, time will tell if the figure will be released at all. Needless to say, since Frankie one of my least favorite jokers...I mean...wrestlers, I won't be too heartbroken either way. For those who do care, a special online release of the figure, with Suicide name included, would easily solve the problem for collectors. Perhaps it's too easy a fix. And definitely too much effort for the wonderful Frankie Kazarian. Kayfabe, begorah.

That's not to say both companies went without their positives at the event. As mentioned in my last entry, Mattel is introducing a stellar looking Legends figure line which will include Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors, Sgt. Slaughter, Steve Austin, Ted DiBiase, and at long last, Ricky Steamboat. After that entry went to press, Mattel unveiled prototypes of Jake Roberts (in '91-'92 heel attire with cobra!), Rick Rude (in SummerSlam '90 attire--short hair!), Terry Funk (1985 WWF style!), Iron Sheik (in the jean shorts "LJN" look), and Jimmy Snuka (in pants & boots from '91). It should be noted that the irrepressible Honky Tonk Man announced just days ago that he has signed an action figure deal directly with Mattel, possibly making him the last entry in the second series.

What I particular like about the Mattel Legends line is that they seemingly have taken note of the WWE Jakks Classic Superstars line and purposely designed their Legends figures to be in attires that weren't produced by Jakks. This is a smart move both for their sales and longtime collectors.

TNA also had some high points in their presentation. A guilty pleasure for me was a prototype for a four-sided ring that seems to be modeled after the ring used on the Hulkamania tour of Australia late last year. It's an item that would probably be shunned by some TNA collectors, but is unique and outside the box, nonetheless. Another thing I particular liked was that Jakks does not seem to be abandoning their "Ruthless Aggression" figure body style. Now seemingly (and logically) renamed "Impact Aggression," reusing this design ensures that if collectors have the desire to display some of the TNA and Legends figures alongside their previous WWE figures and Classics, they will blend seamlessly. Per the last word from Jakks, figures in store-exclusive four-packs and their Legends line will be produced in this style.

Whew. That was a lot. Now for some random notes...

*Antonio Inoki has been announced as another addition to the 2010 WWE Hall of Fame Class. Whether you view it as an actual Hall of Fame or just another WWE event, no one can deny that it's a fun show...and the program that comes out of the event is a great item!

*WWE NXT debuts this week. While I get hot and cold (with an emphasis on cold) on the current product, I have to admit this show excites me. And seeing as Bryan Danielson...I mean...Daniel a part of the show, it means we're that much closer to an "American Dragon" figure. This will please MANY long-time fans.

*Thanks to everyone who just started reading the blog after joining the Facebook page!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

An Exciting Time To Collect...

As is the case every year at this time, Toy Fair hits New York City with previews of toys of all types for vendors to order throughout the year. For those wrestling collectors who venture into the action figure realm, pictures from the event are often enough to get fans salivating.

Preview pictures have already emerged from Mattel Toys showcase at the event. Mattel recently took over the WWE toy license and product started showing up on store shelves late last year. While their initial lineup of current stars has received a warm welcome, many collectors were waiting for Mattel to launch a line of WWE legends figures; a follow-up of sorts to Jakks now-legendary Classic Superstars figure line.

In pictures already transmitted from the event, Mattel has showcased what looks to be Series 1 of their upcoming WWE Legends line. The Road Warriors (NWA style), Dusty Rhodes (polka-dots), Ted DiBiase (black suit), Sgt. Slaughter (Mid-Atlantic/early WWF style), and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat have been unveiled. The Steamboat figure is particularly intriguing, as "The Dragon" was one of the top requested grapplers never to grace the Jakks line. Steamboat was shown in packaging, complete with red gi outfit and the komodo dragon he carried to the ring in his feud with Jake "The Snake" Roberts. The band/muzzle that was ever-present around the komodo's jaw is even sculpted on. While I have been less than enthusiastic about the Mattel line thus far due to poor likenesses and a general feeling of lesser quality than the Jakks line, the WWE Legends collection may end up changing my mind.

When Toy Fair officially kicks off, it is hoped that Jakks will have their upcoming TNA line on display, as well as their NWA Legends collection. A TNA Legends line has appeared for pre-order on several websites, and it is assumed that these will be the NWA Legends figures. Sting, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett, and Scott Steiner are listed among the pre-orders, and it is hoped that all of these wrestlers will be depicted in their classic attire. While Kurt Angle hardly fits in an NWA Legends line, it is hoped he will at least have hair and one of his original singlet designs. Here is also hoping that further NWA Legends series feature TRUE NWA Legends who are long deserving of figures such as Magnum TA, JJ Dillon, and Ole Anderson.

It should also be noted that Jakks will now have the opportunity to persue adding Randy "Macho Man" Savage to their figure line. Under WWE's license, that option was prohibited. Make it happen, Jakks!

WrestleMania is coming, and in addition to more news from Toy Fair and other news about upcoming wrestling items, I'll be having several WrestleMania-themed entries chronicling the rich history of the event and the collectibles commemorating it.

Stay tuned!