As I revealed a few months back, I went on a kick of pre-ordering the Elite sets. It just feels easier than searching the stores anymore. If you're pre-ordering from Ringside, it's a lot faster, too. I believe I have one more set pre-ordered as of press time and then a smattering after that. If you know me, my reasons for pre-ordering Elite 79 may be a bit baffling to you. There isn't a Legend or "Flashback" to be had and there are a few names who've had countless re-releases. There are, however, two who should be relatively difficult to find in stores and some quality re-releases. Plus, wallet permitting, who isn't spending to keep happy and sane these days? Well, I'm certainly not rich but I do like sanity and fun, so here we are.
In this lineup we've got Io Shirai, Bobby Fish, Big E, Xavier Woods, Daniel Bryan, and Roman Reigns. Elite 79 brings us exactly one "First Time In The Line" figure and another who really hasn't seen a wide release. I'm also a big fan of what I deem "definitive" or "ultimate" versions of a star. No, not the overpriced "Ultimate" line which has seen some nice releases, but rather a regular released figure that usually includes some sort of accessories or maybe even just decor that gives you the feeling that you don't need another release of this star. I'd say that we get three of those here, as well.
The packaging is your standard release for this year and probably into next. I'm still not crazy about it and I still preferred the previous boxes, but it is what it is. I have bought very few extras to keep carded lately for a few reasons, but this is assuredly one of them. One plus point is that there are very few "signs" cluttering up the window. The "True FX" logo has been moved to the top cardboard. Another plus is that most of the figures fit the packaging well, so there isn't much "floating." We've still got the issue of all the heads and hands scattered about which is a double-edged sword. I love the inclusion of these and completely understand why they're boldly on display, but it's definitely one of the factors as to why I have little desire to keep any of these in the package.
Kicking it off, the latest version of The New Day is complete. Yes it is. Joining the Kofi Kingston from Elite 78 brings us Big E and Xavier Woods, the latter of which easily sees his "definitive" release here. Woods comes with Francesca II as well as his "UpUpDownDown" championship belt and alternate head. The latter, after some research, appears to have been inspired by a promo at SummerSlam 2019. His sunglasses and hair are meant to resemble Stevie Wonder and they indeed do. The belt, from his popular YouTube show of the same name, is made of molded rubber similar to the Mattel Hardcore Championship, but looks very nice nonetheless. Big E is lacking wrist tape (did he stop wearing it at some point?) but has a welcomed new expression and another plate of pancakes. Combined with Kofi the trio does look great. I think I'm finally done with the boys in figure form, but I've said that multiple times.
I remember when Daniel Bryan having an action figure was a true novelty. If you're a longtime reader you'll remember it, too, as I recall reviewing it a decade ago. Here we are again in what I also feel could be a "definitive" figure. This is one that, had I not ordered the set, I probably wouldn't have picked up right away until I learned of how cool it really is. Not only does it come with two distinctively different hairstyles for the popular former indy darling, but something about the inclusion of the "grappling" hands really puts it over the top for me. The "shaggy haired" head is also another example of how scary good this True FX stuff is. As I do with the Survivor Series Jeff Hardy released last year, I feel as if I'm looking at a real human face here instead of just an action figure.
Bobby Fish is one that will be heavily hunted and fly off of the shelves. He's in a popular faction in a popular brand and was yet another indy darling, albeit to a lesser degree than D-Bry. While it isn't a "First Time In The Line," the only previous way to get a Mattel figure of him was in the Undisputed Era boxed set along with Adam Cole (not going to do it...) and Kyle O'Reilly. O'Reilly is coming back with a matching figure in Elite 80 and will include the second half of the new NXT Tag Team Championships that is started here with Fish. Of the "new" NXT championship designs, the tag team belts are the only ones that I prefer over the old ones. These figure-sized versions look great, but the strap itself is a bit too big for the figure and "hangs" a bit at its tightest. As for Fish himself, I think I do prefer the first release, but we'll see when O'Reilly hits my hands and this blog.
Roman Reigns has recently stated that he's going to start wrestling with his shirt off. As with most figures of the Samoan superstar, this is already possible. This figure is no exception, but what I most appreciate is the inclusion of the "smiling" head with pulled back hair. I believe that this is the first time that this head has been used for an Elite figure. It also includes the "Hang Loose" hand sculpt which we've already seen with Samoa Joe and Matt Riddle. For some reason I'm a sucker for it. Look out, Instagram, for a grouping of those three figures on my account.
Rounding out the group we have the figure that will be the most popular of the bunch, Io Shirai. The Japanese star joins Asuka and Kairi Sane in Mattel's WWE group of joshi. She comes with an amazing soft goods jacket complete with "furry" hood and some alternate hands. I'm not big on the alternate hands with the female figures as for whatever reason they feel as if they could break easily, but I'm not saying to get rid of them, either. The figure is insanely short in stature which is true to life yet still a bit jarring when compared to others. That's how "wrestling figure wave budgets" are made and how lineups are decided: for big figure like Roman you sneak in a shorter star like Io.
This is the happiest you'll ever see me with a wave of nearly all re-releases and current stars, but I am. I cannot see myself ever needing another Bryan, Reigns, or Fish. It's questionable that Shirai will ever get another figure, but I'm not sure that I would need it, either. You simply cannot say "never" with The New Day with their variety of looks, but I wouldn't wait on Woods if you're interested in the belt or "Stevie Wonder" head. Another word of caution is that this set will likely be hitting stores just as the Christmas buying season begins. Between that and everything under the sun being wonky this year, I'd either pre-order this bunch or grab them the minute you see them.
Oh yeah. Right. This is Mattel. You have to do either no matter what time of year...