Thursday, April 8, 2021

Just When You Thought You'd Escaped Badstreet...

I don't brag on my collection a whole lot, but there are a few wrestlers who I truly feel that I have pretty impressive "sub-collections" centered around. Of course we're talking some of my all-time favorites such as Dusty Rhodes, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Harley Race, Bruno Sammartino, Jerry "The King Lawler" and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. But one that I sort of stumbled upon was the leader of The Fabulous Freebirds himself, Michael "P.S." Hayes. It's not that I wasn't a fan of Hayes, he just didn't rate up there on my personal list as some of the others that I've mentioned do. Now we all have yet another Michael Hayes item to add to the collection, his debut Mattel WWE figure.

This is another "Collector's Edition" figure meaning that it's an exclusive and doesn't officially have a "home" in a series, but it does ship with Mattel's WWE Elite 83 wave. Despite working for WWE for over twenty-five years now, for various reasons I just didn't imagine we'd ever get a new figure of him. He's had three past releases (AWA, WCW and WWE, respectively) but I just didn't see another one coming along. Such as with their releases of Magnum T.A., JJ Dillon and Paul Ellering I was once again pleasantly surprised.

The packaging is your standard design of the last few years. I've noticed a variation although I don't know if it's an official "running" change or simply luck of the draw. The Badstreet t-shirt, which we'll discuss more in a bit, seems to be positioned either lower or higher. When it's lower it obscures the Badstreet USA logo that makes the shirt one of my favorite wrestling figure accessories of all-time. If you're a carded collector this is certainly something that you'll want to keep an eye out for.

We've got a good facial likeness going. It certainly captures the "wild-eyed southern boy" look of Hayes while simultaneously being suitable for a variety of situations both in and out of the ring. Despite many in-ring wars, Hayes is the Freebird best remembered for his mouth. He was certainly a talker and the included "pointed" fingers just drive this home. I'm sure these that hands being included was no mistake. The body is a tad slim for most eras of Hayes (more on that in a sec), but the chest hair detail and the shirt hide it when it needs to be hidden.

Some have voiced their issues over this being a "mash-up" of Hayes eras. The sunglasses and picture on the front of the package do indeed reflect more of a later WCW Michael P.S. Hayes. The tights and shirt are definitely mid-to-late '80s. The slim body is actually reminiscent of when the young Freebird was just starting out in the late '70s. My response? It's probably the only Mattel Hayes that you're getting AND in my opinion is tied for first place among all of his figures. There you have it. No crying about it on this blog.

Can we get to my favorite part now? The shirt. The ironic "Badstreet USA" t-shirt is finally in action figure form. Honestly, if I saw this figure on a deep, deep discount I would probably buy extras just to yank the shirts for other figures. Even more surprising to me than the fact that we have a Mattel Hayes figure is that we finally have this shirt in this size. It boggles my mind, to be honest. There have been licensing wars over the music in the past and I'm sure that Mattel had to go through some legal hoops for this logo. Why was this even on their radar? I'm honestly done asking. I'm going to enjoy it because I absolutely love it.

You don't need me to tell you to buy it. This figure reeks of the attitude of Michael P.S. Hayes and ranks among my favorite Mattel figures of all-time. I also consider it tied for first as far as Hayes figures go with the Galoob release which also screams "Michael Hayes" just by looking at it. Many collectors including myself had this Mattel release in late 2020 so sadly it can't be a Figure of the Year candidate, but I'll be damned if that bothers me. Grab your JYD and Von Erich Mattel figures and set the scene. Support it and maybe we'll get more Freebirds down the road.

Or down the block. You know which one.

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