Instead of trying to get the line back into stores, Mattel decided to re-launch the figures through their Mattel Collectors site. Now released in sets of four titled an "Official Retro 4-Pack," the first of these sets was available for roughly five hours on January 28. While that may not seem like a terribly long time, compared to many modern releases it was more than enough time for anyone who wanted one to get a set. With the names of Mean Gene Okerlund, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Cowboy Bob Orton and Mr. T, who WOULDN'T want a set of these?
The sets come packaged in a brown cardboard outer box similar to the cases that figures ship to stores in. Beneath that is a beautifully done and very Hasbro-esque box that may remind you of the packaging for the first Hasbro WWF ring or even the Jake Roberts snake toy. Inside of this box are the four individually carded figures. While not exact Hasbro replicas, there was obvious improvement here over the card backs on the previous Mattel retro releases. Gone are the pointless "game app" ads and the dreadful and useless display stands.
What may be most notable with the new packaging is that the card stock appears to be nearly identical to that used by Hasbro all those years ago. This is a huge improvement over the thin and flimsy stock used with the previous Mattel waves.
If you didn't get these, I don't know what to tell you. They're unlikely to make these particular figures available again. That being said, I see them doing many more waves in the future. While we have plenty of licensed legends coming in this style from the boutique manufacturers, they're all missing a "Real Wrestling Action." It's not the end of the world, but it sure does stick out when we get figures like these that do have the long-time fan favorite feature.
Regardless of who you're rooting for, 2022 is sure to be the biggest year for Hasbro collectors in three decades. They're all so close to the real thing, it's like being in the ring...