You don't have to be a fan of a particular event to want to own merchandise derived from it. I have never been a fan of WrestleMania XII. I've never enjoyed the Iron Man match nor much on the under card. At the time I remember being shocked at how few matches were on the show. The Internet was abuzz that less matches would equal better quality. Wrong. But even though his match was a squash, it was great to see The Ultimate Warrior back in action with a fresh and updated look for "The New WWF Generation."
Mattel's latest WWE exclusive through Ringside Collectibles tackles this exact look. Jakks had included it in their Classic Superstars line, famously packaging some of the figures backward in order to show the detail of the duster. We once again get the duster here along with some other cool accessories which we'll discuss in a minute. I seriously wish that Ringside received all of the Mattel exclusives, especially those involving legends which are nearest and dearest to me. A couple of clicks and I'm guaranteed to own the figure at the price originally intended. I'll stop there.
The packaging here is similar to other recent Ringside exclusives such as WALTER and Bray Wyatt. It's a box without any true way to hang it. Some collectors are against this, others love it. I, personally, enjoy the way that the boxes look and were I to buy any extras for autograph purposes (sadly not an option with The Warrior) I'd be very excited to add them to the signed collection. The window of the box is in the shape of the Warrior's famous face paint. The extra hands are visible in the window but don't detract from the presentation. You know that they're there, but they aren't enough of a focal point that they look strange.
Something else that you may notice upon looking at the figure boxed is the WrestleMania XII logo behind The Warrior. Much to my surprise this is a tri-fold cardboard backdrop of the entrance from the 1996 event. Very unexpected and cool. Mattel did not need to include this, but they did. I applaud things like that, especially when they're a nod to wrestling history. If you follow our social media you saw just how cool the figure looks "taking off from the gate."
We've seen the tooling of much of this figure elsewhere before, but the head seems to be completely new. It's a great face with a very intense Warrior look. If it has been used before I don't remember it. Sometimes it's hard to pinpoint on figures that include face paint. The blonder hair was definitely accurate for the era. The blues and oranges are particularly striking as far as the gear goes and The Warrior has his arm tattoo as he did in this era. We've seen the tattoo a few times before on Mattel figures and I can think of at least one more figure where, should the look be produced, it will pop up again.
The duster is a slightly more plastic-y material than the last few we've received. I guess it's actually a very thin vinyl. The colors come across well on it which is probably why the material was chosen. The wrist gauntlets are removable should you choose to do so as you're switching out the hands. Speaking of the latter, we get three different sets: fists, gripping hands and open hands. All are appropriate for The Ultimate Warrior but I'll always get a thrill posing him as he's pressing his hands to the Heavens. Very few wrestlers were more intense and simultaneously made millions believe in a completely off-the-wall character.
I think that you can tell that I really like this figure. The sad part is that it would have the potential to be the best version of The Ultimate Warrior produced by Mattel if they hadn't made so many other great ones. This may be a very event-specific attire, but it would fit into any collection or display. The Warrior is iconic no matter what he's decked out in. And as many as we've already received, I can think of so many more that have yet to be produced. If you know me, you know I'm thinking Dingo Warrior all day. We've sort of missed out on The Blade Runners at this point, but you never know what could happen in the future.
The initial shipment, though delayed, is arriving to collectors at press time. He's still available on back-order. While most Ringside Exclusives become desirable after a period, if you ask me this one is a slam dunk. I've said it before...get it now. And Always Believe.