The new releases keep coming. I used to hate to do back-to-back entries of simply new figure reviews, but why not? Mattel has truly been pumping out the product and nothing going on in the world this year has seemingly caused much of an impact on it. I foresee the month of December being loaded with new product reviews, which as always will focus on the legends. Does it get more legendary than our star for this entry? The King is certainly near the top of the list, no matter what.
Jerry Lawler makes his fourth total appearance in the Mattel WWE line in the Elite 82 series. While there are other very worthy figures in the set, most notably the Elite debut of Keith Lee, for this series I decided just to review "The King." After all, no one wants a Rob Gronkowski review. Regardless, this is the second Elite series to bear the new packaging gimmick of the "Certified Authentic" seal. I'm still unsure as to what we're certifying, but I noticed this time around that the colors are a vast improvement over the packaging revisions of a year ago. The red is much more understated which is somewhat pleasing to my eye. I have nothing against the color red, I just have never gravitated toward it as far as wrestling figure packaging.
Also pleasing is that for once a "legend" or "flashback" figure is actually part of the series rather than a "Collector's Edition" meant to spur a "fun" chase for the toy. Well, no five dollar profit for the Cheeto-fingered neckbeard scalper this time, The King is part of the regular lineup along with Alexa Bliss, John Morrison, Finn Balor, and the aforementioned Lee and Gronkowski. Maybe this could be a trend? Maybe we could get a 50/50 ratio of legends to current stars? We can bargain, Mattel. As if you care. Again, it's not that I don't like a lot of the current stars, but with lines like "Top Picks" around to re-release figures that no one wants like Seth Rollins, that should leave plenty of room for the all-time greats.
For a legend who's had as many assorted colorful looks as The King has, most of those styles have remained unrepresented in the figure world. This latest figure features a look that's absolutely never been done before. It's a design that easily takes you back to the days when Jerry Lawler showing up on WWF television was absolutely shocking. For years The King of Memphis denounced the company and all it stood for, yet here he was. It appeared that Hell had frozen over until around six months later when Jim Cornette appeared on Monday Night Raw and things really got crazy as far as what we thought we knew about pro wrestling, but we're getting off-topic. The matter at hand is that we finally have Jerry Lawler as he appeared when he was simultaneously a heel commentator nationwide and a local hero in Memphis. The magazines had a ball with that one.
While the body is the same as previous Elite Lawler figures, everything else is new. We've got a newly sculpted crown and a beautiful soft-goods cape. Honestly, this cape shows the fine effort that does go into the design and production of a lot of these figures. As much grief as myself and other collectors give Mattel for their often asinine practices, figures like this one, Superstar Billy Graham, WALTER, and other releases this year more than make up for it. A lot of companies would not have paid the elbow pad the attention that it deserved by including the regal detail on it, but there it is.
The facial likeness is new as well and is the first of Lawler to be done in the "True FX" style. While it does look good from multiple angles, there is something just a tad off when looking at the figure dead in the eyes. The look they were going for was Lawler's "unimpressed" expression that he shot so many times both in the ring and in promos, but it came off as looking somewhat tired. Still, it should be noted that all four Mattel Jerry Lawler figures have had different head sculpts. There's really something to be said about that and just as with the design on the costume it's much appreciated.
In another year this would be a top Figure of the Year candidate. With so many other options I'm not sure that it quite makes the cut, but it is still a great figure that any fan of Lawler or the classics absolutely needs. The King seems to pop up in the Mattel line every few years just like Dusty Rhodes. Both men also have a plethora of looks to choose from. But can you easily find any of their past figures now? Exactly. Grab it when you see it or order it when you have the chance, which is always a great rule of thumb when it comes to the Mattel WWE line. There isn't time to dawdle.
The next entry hits on Turkey Day! It's an American made topic for a real American holiday. Ironically, it's an item that I dawdled on for years but finally decided to go for. After you check in with us on your favorite gut-busting holiday, you may decide to take the plunge as well, brother.