Saturday, July 20, 2019
Enter Super7. In the past several years this company has taken the action figure community by storm. They have adopted a variety of licenses and created action figure lines that never were, should have been, and in some cases extended others. Together, Super7 and Mattel released a collection of 12 WWE Legends M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. Each packed three to a card, there are four sets altogether. Fans of the original M.U.S.C.L.E. figures probably felt that their minds were read. '80s WWF stars as the most portable "wrestling" figures of the era? It's a natural!
Neither of those legends are featured here, but it's still quite a Hall of Fame lineup. Among the three packs of four figures we have Mean Gene Okerlund, The Iron Sheik, Macho Man Randy Savage, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Junkyard Dog, and The Ultimate Warrior. Each figure is assuredly recognizable even being that small and molded in the famous M.U.S.C.L.E. pinkish beige. Many have accessories molded on which adds to the fun. With the cast of characters from that era, however, it's hard to make anything but recognizable characters. Not one person could argue that if you did twelve current stars in the same style, those figures would take a bit longer for anyone to differentiate.
I like these little guys. I'm sure this is it for the WWE sets. The packs can be found at fairly deep discounted prices if you look, but that doesn't mean that the M.U.S.C.L.E. fun has to end there. In addition to the non-wrestling licenses that Super7 has added to the M.U.S.C.L.E. line, they've put out a few packs featuring the Legends of Lucha Libre. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Super7 just announced that they have acquired the license to produce figures for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Will that line spill over into some M.U.S.C.L.E. figures? Seeing the origins of the figures as chronicled above, it would almost be coming full circle.
The Rainmaker, Kinnikuman style?
Sunday, July 7, 2019
Some of both the most wanted and most creative figures of the entire line show up here, with a few that we'll pay particular attention to. Series 8 has The Iron Sheik, Jeff Hardy, Braun Strowman, and Zack Ryder. Series 9 brings us "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Goldust, Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Finally in Series 10 we've got Junkyard Dog, Matt Hardy, Elias, and Diesel. All series are on blue border Hasbro-esque cards that complete the retro feel. Thankfully the distractions that plagued the design in some of the middle series are gone, those being display stands and ads for a digital game that really has no business here. The game ad has been relegated to the back of the cards which bear no resemblance to the Hasbro cards whatsoever. Similarly, the cardboard stock used here is a lot thinner than what Hasbro used. This has been causing it to be quite the chore to find nice examples for carded collectors. This will certainly factor in as the years go by when mint examples are few and far between. Per retailers, the damaged cards have been coming straight from factory cases, furthering frustration.
Series 9 showcases two legends, those being Goldust and Randy Savage. This is the second inclusion of "The Macho Man" in the Retro line, the first being in his nWo attire. This one is a homage to an unreleased prototype of the first Hasbro Savage figure that was shown in advertisements wearing green trunks. It's nice to see a more classic looking Savage in the line. Joe and Orton are solid modern figures for the line. Some have issue with Joe being produced in his shirt, but we must remember that many original Hasbro figures were in shirts and entrance attire as well. The star here is "The Bizarre One," Goldust, in what could prove to be his final figure for some time. Appropriately, he is produced in his early look complete with black-painted ears and removable wig. Should the Hasbro line have carried on another year, Goldust would have at least been in the planning stages.
Ten series of Retro. This is the first review of the line that, as of press time, has no future announced releases to discuss at the end. While many collectors finally got what they wanted out of the line in Diesel, there's room for more. Of that fabled unreleased final Hasbro series, Mattel could produce Mabel, Jeff Jarrett, and "All-American" Lex Luger. I wouldn't mind seeing Dusty Rhodes (like that's a surprise...), "surfer" Sting, and Nikolai Volkoff added if at possible. Since females and managers weren't part of the Hasbro line I won't say that I'm expecting any, though it's hard to fathom that the new line would end without at least one woman in the era of the women's revolution. How about Elizabeth, Sherri, Ronda, and Becky? At least two Retro-styled women's bodies should be produced to give us an idea of what could have been...and what now still could be.
Kill the distribution issues, Mattel, and bring us ten more series...