Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mattel Attempts To Deliver Some Stratusfaction

'Tis the season for new figures and reviews!  With a bevy of new Mattel WWE items, just in time for the holiday season, we have yet another new product highlight and review.  New characters and even some familiar faces getting the "Elite" treatment have been showing up here, with the latter being the topic of today.  It's a Hall of Famer and it's a female character.  Add those two qualifications to it being one of the most popular WWE stars of the past decade and that makes it a must-review product 'round these parts.

I'll admit, I was wrong.  I, like many other fans, didn't have much hope when Trish Stratus made her WWF debut.  Walking out on stage, it was obvious that she had a presence, but there was no way that this girl was going any further.  Her voice quivered on the mic and it was apparent that she was being utilized for all of the wrong reasons.  Thirteen years later, I sat in Madison Square Garden watching this same woman, albeit with different colored hair, take her place in the WWE Hall of Fame.  Never judge a book...

Trish always gives so much credit to Fit Finlay who has widely been noted for helping the in-ring talents of the female stars of that era.  Most fans will agree, he did an incredible job.  I've often said that Trish would be "the new Moolah" as far as her wrestling career went.  While Trish retired much earlier than the women's wrestling pioneer, her ability to create an exciting match and captivate the audience of the WWF/WWE was right on par with her predecessors.  Trish "got it," and I don't believe that we've seen the last of her yet.

It's fitting that, following her Hall of Fame induction, Mattel introduces Miss Stratus into their figure line.  Although she had many figures in the Jakks WWE collection, the Mattel female sculpts have thus far proven to have much more playability.  Trish versus Kaitlyn, Alicia Fox, or The Bella Twins?  Mattel is making it happen.  But did the company fulfill Trish's oft-proclaimed promise of "Stratusfaction Guaranteed?"

Elite Series 24 is the last before a packaging change.  Unlike some of the female (and male) Elite figures, Trish does not seem to float in the package.  She could perhaps have been placed a bit higher in the bubble, but overall she settles nicely next to her accessory.  She is the only "Flashback" figure in this series, which also includes The Miz, Ryback, Wade Barrett, Rey Mysterio (surprise, surprise...but at least it's a cool costume), and Dolph Ziggler in a celebratory pose with the World Championship (from the old days when he was mistakenly booked as something other than an undercarder).

I'm all about figures feeling like you've got your money's worth.  For a female figure Trish surprisingly has that feel.  It's no Tensai, but it isn't a light figure at all.  There's substance here, and for the price of these figures, that's what we should be getting.  Trish's attire is an outfit that we're all familiar with, and one that I recall her wearing on many occasions.  The figure has elbow pads, and although the artwork on the box doesn't picture them, I'm sure that she wore these at some point as well.

In the package, I wasn't that enamored with the facial likeness.  The more I look at it, the more I like it.  It's not perfect and isn't as good as Jakks likeness of her circa 2004, but it's undeniably Trish.  The absolutely perfect hair sculpt helps a lot.  As with the last Elite female figure that I reviewed, there seems to be sloppy paint apps on the face.  These are usually removable, but it just shouldn't be happening.  There isn't anything that a mint on card figure collector can do about something like this, so it does need to be addressed on Mattel's end.

Now we get to my favorite part, the accessory.  Trish comes fully equipped with the WWE Women's Championship belt.  This is the first time that this women's belt has been produced by Mattel.  Jakks attempt at this belt was less than pretty.  Aside from Moolah and Mae Young who had padded hips under their outfits, the belt never fit any female figures correctly.  It was made on the scale of the other belts for the male figures which was a crucial mistake.

The Mattel version is a vast improvement.  From a detailed soft strap complete with "engraved" WWE logos to full paint apps to just simply being smaller, this belt is one of the top selling points of this figure.  It will fit virtually any female figure that you can find perfectly.  Well, you may have a bit of trouble fitting it on A.J. Lee, but skeletons shouldn't be winning championships, anyway.  Since this belt is no longer in use in WWE, it's hard to imagine when this design will be released again.  If you want to own this belt for your figures, this is the place to get it.

What else can I say?  This newly-minted figure of wrestling's newest mommy is a winner.  For the price of an Elite, you feel like you're getting a quality, well-designed figure with a great accessory.  As with almost any female figure that I review, if you want her you'll have to snatch her up when you see her.  She's packed one per case, she's a popular Hall of Famer, she has a desired accessory, and the holidays are coming.  Though I'm usually a champion for the cause of pre-1990's characters being made as Elite Flashbacks, this figure does have me wondering just what kind of magic Mattel could make with Lita.  Back to the drawing board!

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