Thursday, October 27, 2022

Complete Lucha Action!

And now for some modern wrestling toys that you may not even be aware of. The Legends of Lucha Libre is a fast growing line produced by Masked Republic & Boss Fight Studio. The company has an eclectic group of toy licenses under it’s belt including Popeye, Sam & Max (if you know who they are, we can be friends), Umbrella Academy and even an upcoming Major League Wrestling figure line. More on the latter in a bit. Right now the company is focusing its wrestling division on lucha libre stars of both the past and present. I recently picked up two of the figures, an accessory pack and the arena playset. What’s better than a bunch of reviews in one?

Before purchasing I recalled hearing of these figures awhile ago and, looking back, it seems that there were a few delays getting them out. The two that I picked up are part of their “Fanaticos” line which would be the equivalent to Mattel’s WWE Basic figures. There are “Elite” equivalents  as well which seem to have been available a bit longer. Penta Zero M and Rey Fenix (The Lucha Bros.) are available in both styles while Juventud Guerrera and Taya Valkyrie, the two that I picked up, are thus far only available in the Fanaticos line. They’re available at various online retailers thus far, though I haven’t seen/heard of them breaking into brick and mortar stores just yet. The accessory pack, one of two, shown here seems to be available wherever the figures can be found. The arena set is more of an exclusive. 

As far as graphics, design and quality the packaging for the figures and accessory set are on par with anything that we’re getting from “the bigger guys.” In fact, I’d probably go as far as to say that it’s more appealing. Through most of its run the Mattel WWE packaging has had simply too much red for me. These are a nice gray/white with a nice, large representation of the star. Nothing too difficult about removing the figures from the packaging, either. The cardstock for the card backs is nice and thick, something that another company could definitely learn from. These aren’t much different in price from those guys, so it isn’t budget we’re talking about here. The accessory set is also nicely packed and nothing’s moving, although you’re more than likely going to want to open it. As far as the figures, the packaging is nice enough that I’d considering buying extras for autograph purposes on certain wrestlers. 

Some of the chatter that I have seen regarding this line were worries of the figures not being to scale with “the other leading brands.” It does appear that the Penta and Fenix figures from The Legends of Lucha Libre are a tad smaller than their Jazwares AEW counterparts, but I’m going by photos that I’ve seen on those. As far as the two figures that I picked up I really couldn’t be more pleased. Valkyrie fits in nicely with other female figures while Juvi works great with Mattel’s Rey Mysterio figures and others. Considering a lot of collectors will want will Juvi for WCW collections, I think that he’s a perfect addition. Some of the upcoming figures in this line also fit that bill. It’s WCW’s Cruiserweight Division revisited! 

There’s something about these figures that, once you hold them, makes you wonder why more wrestling figures can’t be done in such high quality. I really feel like these figures have such little chance of breaking. There are other figures out there that seem as if they’ll break right out of the package. Not here. These things are seriously solid yet move nice enough for some great playability. Certainly as much as some of the other “basic” style figures out there. The accessory pack is well done, too. There’s another set which includes a breakaway table, but I really wanted this one for the dog collars and chain. I was a tad disappointed to find that apparently you need figures with removable heads in order for the accessory to work. I haven’t wanted to remove a head on a figure where it’s unremovable, so I’m unsure if this will work with these Fanaticos figures. Nonetheless for toy photography purposes a small cut in each dog collar should remedy the issue. The chair is one of the more realistic that I’ve seen for figures. The microphone in my set did not have a logo on it as shown on the packaging. You also get a nightstick, breakable block and an extra masked head which leads me to believe that head swapping is a deal somewhere in this line. 

Some of you are chomping at the bit regarding the playset. I can feel it. Playsets bring out the kid in us all. This set is another production of Extreme Sets, the company which makes the arena backdrop set that you’ve seen in photography here on the blog as well as our socials not to mention a review here some years ago. Interestingly they’ve never sold this particular lucha arena set on their site itself. Instead it’s purchasable through Boss Fight Shop as well as a few other online retailers that can be found with a Google search. These Extreme Sets backdrops/playsets/environments can be costly but are a great boon to action figure photographers everywhere. This one, although not as tall as the regular arena, is a bit less in cost but still immense in its own way. 

In all you get three “floor” pieces and five “walls” (two solid, two with doors, one entry way) along with two anvil cases, an row of lockers, a ramp and a stage. That’s a lot! All of is printed with high quality graphics on equally high quality and very thick cardboard. The “accessory” pieces easily fold into what they’re supposed to be and the floors and walls connect via two tabs on each. You can do a lot of customization and you don’t have to build exactly what the instructions suggest. Customization is key. As far as rings it’s BYOB, but Masked Republic/Boss Fight Studio do have one coming from the line in the near future. Really there’s enough room to hear to load the place up with all kinds of accessories that you already have. 

I’ve only shown what’s included in the pictures here but I can certainly see myself adding to the set. Some small groupings of the audience/crowd from the original arena from Extreme Sets would look great here and a black mat can be added to create a larger ring/ringside area. The stage can be removed from the entry way to accommodate larger figures. The “curtain/lights” backdrop to the entry way is actually connected via velcro on both the entry way backdrop and the wall itself. This is something that I’d like to see Extreme Sets incorporate into more of their products. The arena itself is that of a older, run-down venue decorated with lucha signage. It’s a fun atmosphere and I could see most any wrestling figure in this environment. Part of it can be utilized as a locker room and you can even stuff a wrestler into one of the lockers. It honestly has a bit of a “Lucha Underground” vibe and I’m sure that’s what they were going for. The packaging says that it’s for adult collectors, but a respectful child could get a lot of play mileage out of this. Are we so far removed that we’ve forgotten that many of the original Kenner Star Wars playsets utilized cardboard? I will say that assemblage should be done by an adult and that, like with the other arena Extreme Set that I own, I’ve always wondered just how much assembly/disassembly these playsets will weather. 

That’s a lot of lucha libre action! I’m excited to see what’s next for this line from Boss Fight Studio. Ultimo Dragon, Vampiro and Konnan are all announced figures in the line that I have an interest in. The MLW line should be promising as well. Figures of Hammerstone, The Von Erich Brothers and Savio Vega? I have no idea of any of the lineups, but I’d be more than pleased with any of those names. As for Extreme Sets, it’s nice to see that they’ve teamed with a figure company to produce a licensed set. It’s curious that it’s nowhere to be found on their site, but there’s probably a story behind it. I hesitate to give them too much of a plug since they refuse to ever use my figure photography on their socials, but I will say that they have an exciting new set coming next year that’s reminiscent of a small venue where a certain soon-to-be-thirty-year-old wrestling program started. Just like everything you’ve seen here, it looks really cool, folks!

Thursday, October 20, 2022

WWF '80s Cover Boys (& Girl)

What were you doing a decade ago this week? If you were a reader of this blog back then, and I hope that you were, you may have been reading about Pro Wrestling Illustrated. It was ten years ago here on the blog that I chose my five favorite covers of everyone’s favorite then-33 year old (now 43!) wrestling magazine. A magazine that’s slightly less aged yet just as classic is the official WWF Magazine. I can proudly say that I’ve long chronicled the history of the now defunct publication, even garnering the attention of WWE itself. No matter what their official take is, the first in-house publication was the WWWF Wrestling Action Magazine. All five issues have been displayed and discussed here on the blog and probably will be again. The two issues of WWF Victory Magazine from 1984 are what WWE considers to be their first and those two editions certainly hold a value similar to that of the earlier Wrestling Action titles. No matter how you look it at, the publication that eventually became WWF Magazine in its longest incarnation was bound for success. I’m sure you have some favorite issues and often that’s determined by the cover. So just as I did with PWI ten years ago, here are my top five favorite covers from the 1980s… 

*Who personified the ‘80s wrestling boom better than Hulk Hogan and Wendi Richter? Certainly had the latter stayed with the company longer she would be even better remembered, but don’t discount the impact of Miss Richter. Managed by Cyndi Lauper, Wendi Richter was a household name around the time of the first WrestleMania. Her cover appearance on the October/November 1984 WWF Magazine, teamed with The Hulkster himself, reflects just how popular women’s wrestling had grown. Was it the first women’s wrestling revolution? It absolutely was. Nearly forty years later and we’re actually able to recreate this cover in action figure form. Hmm… 

*He’s cool, he’s cocky and he’s bad. You know he’s The Honky Tonk Man and in September 1987 he proudly displayed his newly-won Intercontinental Championship on the cover of the WWF Magazine. This isn’t just a nice cover, it’s a striking cover. Between Honky’s expression, the hair and of course that legendary championship belt (complete with the beloved red WWF logo), this photo is a work of art in my opinion. This is the type of photo that would be featured if some hoity toity magazine were doing a fluff article on pro wrestling. Instead it’s here in a magazine for wrestling fans as opposed to putting down wrestling fans. 

*I’m a Christmas guy. There have been several great Christmas wrestling magazine covers over the years but the one that makes my list is the December 1984/January 1985 WWF Magazine featuring Sgt. Slaughter. The Rowdy Roddy Piper cover of a year later comes ever so close, but something about the Christmas card-quality of the Slaughter design just wins out for me. It’s also interesting to think that Slaughter was gone from the company by the time that the cover date came around with his last recorded match being in early December. I miss when holidays were celebrated more publicly like this. 

*Flying up to March 1989 we’ve got a purely 1980’s cover featuring my all-time favorite tag team, Demolition. It may also be notable that three of my five favorite covers shown here feature championship belts in addition to the stars that held them. Demolition was in the midst of their first of three WWF Tag Team Championship reigns and were undoubtedly the hottest tag team going. I respect The Road Warriors, but Demolition carved out a legacy all their own. In addition to being able to have great, entertaining matches with any style of team, the boys also didn’t overstay their welcome. Bill Eadie and Barry Darsow are also two of the nicest guys in the business. Let’s just say that with Demolition the best part of the match wasn’t limited to their ring entrance. 

*The early years of the magazine certainly produced a lot of memorable covers. October/November 1985 featured an absolutely dramatic scene with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Though the exciting superstar had torn through the NWA over the years, Steamboat was still relatively new to the WWF and “The Dragon” persona. Evoking thoughts of Bruce Lee was always a goal during Steamboat’s time in the WWF and that is certainly evident here. Though he would get a few program covers, including a very memorable one featuring the Intercontinental Championship belt, this would prove to be his only solo appearance. 

Well, that was certainly a bit of a “who’s who” of ‘80s WWF talent. I guess in another decade we’ll go with a different magazine. The Wrestler? Wrestling Revue? Championship Wrestling Magazine from Memphis? For the latter we’d only have six issues to pick the five from so it certainly wouldn’t be too difficult. In the meantime, keep flipping those pages of the past!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Dueling Machos

Action figure photography is all the rage these days. I’ve summed it up here on the blog before: it’s the accepted way for adults to continue to play with their toys. I love it and I’ve often said on my own wrestling figure photography social (Instagram: The_Figure_Arena) that you could literally start an account just for “Macho Man” Randy Savage figure pictures. Is it any wonder? He has countless looks from his colorful years in the business and it seems as if we’re getting several new figures of him each year. Well, now we’ve got two more to add to the lineup. Two new looks just hit, ironically both black and white, and what better way to look at both than in a combined blog review? Dig it? 

Both of these “Macho Men” are entries into the Mattel WWE Ultimate Edition line. Undoubtedly one of the hottest series out right now, the Ultimate Editions are purportedly the “ultimate” in accessories, articulation and likeness. Originally I took the name to imply that they were the “ultimate” edition of each character, meaning that no other version of this particular individual could ever measure up. Seeing as that we now have three “Ultimate” Savage’s and four “Ultimate” Hulk Hogan’s, with more of both on the way, I think that we can resign that way of thinking. At least I can. Instead I believe that we are to think that any figure in this line is automatically the “best of the best.” Does that really ring true? 

The 1993-1994 era Macho Man was the “early bird backer” incentive for collectors to back the Mattel WWE Ultimate New Generation Arena set. The set, along with the other “Ultimate” incentive figures (Diesel and Doink The Clown) have already been reviewed on this blog. Savage, due to being added to the program later, shipped separately. The nWo era “Mach” was a Target exclusive and the second in their “Ultimate Legends” figure lineup. There was an earlier Elite version of this figure that was exclusive to an online retailer, but I passed on that one as I generally do with “Attitude Era” online exclusives due to lack of personal interest. For reasons that we’ll get into when we look deeper into the figure, this one grabbed my attention for sure. 

Both figures are packaged in the standard, large “Ultimate” packaging. The “announcer/WrestleMania X” Macho also has an outer cardboard box which will undoubtedly be considered necessary to be present if one wants a “complete” figure. To me it’s just a box, albeit with the “New Generation” WWE logo on one side and the Ultimate logo on the other. As usual with the Ultimate figures there are plenty of accessories floating around. It’s (sadly) a non-factor when it comes to Randy Savage, but I’ve never entertained the notion of getting any Ultimate figures signed due to this. It just isn’t appealing to me in that respect. It should be noted that additional accessories are unseen yet included with “announcer” Macho. 

Before I really took a good investigative look, I actually thought that I would like the nWo Macho Man more. Considering that the announcer figure is closer to my favorite era, that thought was a bit of a shock even to myself. I’d heard some things that turned out to be false about the announcer figure. Appealing in the favor of the nWo Macho was that we finally get a “tongue sticking out” head for Savage. So, who’s better? 

Both include a plethora of accessories. Announcer Macho, as noted above, even comes with some that aren’t immediately visible. While you do see vintage-styled microphones, monitors, a headset and extra Macho Man cowboy hat with attached headset right in the window, hidden behind some cardboard is the “classic” announce table with blue soft goods table cloth and blue folding chairs. It should be noted that all of these accessories wouldn’t have made it into a standard Ultimate release. Again, they are part of the New Generation Arena theme. For those wondering, beneath the table cloth is your standard Mattel breakaway table. The extra headset (presumably for Vince McMahon, Gorilla Monsoon or Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) is too pliable and doesn’t look as good as its Jakks counterpart from years ago. This Macho also includes “pointing hands,” an entrance jacket and shirt. A fallacy that I’d heard about this figure was that the jacket and shirt couldn’t be worn simultaneously as they were in real life. I had them on the figure together in seconds, so obviously it’s meant to be done. Considering how thin both are (a blessing in this case), there’s no reason that it shouldn’t work. 

nWo Macho also features two thin shirts. In the past few years I think that most of us have gotten used to the thin fabric being used by Mattel. It may actually look a bit better as it’s more form fitting, but I do wonder about it holding up over the years. What I love about the nWo Macho shirts is that they fit on just like real shirts. No velcro! Mattel really needs to take note of how great this is for future Hogan releases. We’ve had more than enough “tearable” shirts with The Hulkster. It’s time to give us some solid ones. Going back to Macho, “The Savage One” also includes a pair of what I call “Freak out! Freak out!” hands, his white sash belt and bandana. It’s a solid figure that can be customized with other already released Savage accessories. All five heads included between these two figures are interchangeable although the “tongue” head is the only one not included twice. 

I do feel that each figure was missing fairly important hands. Seeing as that nWo Macho is gloved, I think that we should’ve received pointing gloved hands. As far as the announcer version, I feel that leaving out “taped thumbs up” hands was a glaring omission. He did this all the time as an announcer. Mattel has been strangely stingy with “thumbs up” hands. Is it some sort of evil, canceled hand sign that I’m blissfully unaware of? I honestly wonder if an updated Hacksaw Jim Duggan were to be released (he hasn’t had a new figure since alternate hands were added to the line) that perhaps they would not be included with him, either. We have gotten them with Scott Hall and in an upcoming Razor Ramon release, but that doesn’t help with Macho seeing as that he wore hand tape. 

The good thing is that The Macho Man has endless looks to choose from, thus there’s really no limit to more releases. Where do these two rank? They’re both very good but I wouldn’t deem either the best. If I had to choose I would probably say that the best Macho release was the first Ultimate figure clad in the white and neon outfit. It wasn’t his most recognizable outfit (despite being made in Hasbro form) but it certainly felt the most complete. Had the recently released WrestleMania VI version of The Macho King included his entrance jacket, I feel that that one would be hard to beat. Alas, it does not include the jacket. Neither of these figures ultimately makes my mental ballot for “Figure Of The Year,” but they’re still solid. nWo Macho is still available through Target while the other, due to it being part of the Mattel Creations set, will have to be obtained through the secondary market if you were not a backer. 

With upgrades in production methods and the ever-increasing demands of collectors, these figures should only be getting better and better. Randy Savage is one of the most visually varied and striking individuals to ever exist in the world of professional wrestling. As long as the rights are continually granted to make figures, we should continue to see him be well-represented. Both of these figures were necessary entries into the Savage collection, but the colors keep them from becoming truly the best of his figures out there. No one was more colorful in or out of the ring. Now that we have figures of just about every “darker” side of Savage (even late WCW which was produced a few years back), let’s get back into his colorful side. How about some of the 1988 robes? More of the “neon cowboy” era? The sky is the limit…although watch for flying elbows.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Wrestling MarketWatch: Million Dollar Memorabilia

Every piece of wrestling memorabilia has got a price! I mean, really. Whether it’s pennies on the dollar or a price into the four digits, there’s a buyer for nearly anything wrestling related. Since we look at recent selling prices here on MarketWatch and stick to a theme in each edition, who better to examine  the power of the almighty dollar with than “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase? In addition to the greenback connection, DiBiase also has countless items from which to choose from. Being a top WWF heel for the better part of six years during the golden age to nearly always being active in legends merchandising programs has ensured that. Grab your bodyguard, open your wallet and maybe even buy out the local pool, it’s time to revisit the merchandise of The Million Dollar Man. As always, prices are for unsigned examples unless otherwise noted. 

*In the ‘80s there wasn’t any streaming and cable wasn’t available absolutely everywhere yet. So what did many, especially in rural areas, do? Buy a satellite dish, of course! These weren’t the dishes that we think of today that virtually hang off of the side of the house. These were big dishes that usually had a prominent place in the yard. In the early days of their use even premium television such as HBO could be picked up, though not legally. Shout out to Captain Midnight! If you know, you know. Anyway, like everything else back then there was a publication just for satellite tv users. Satellite TV Week was the name and featured on the cover of the March 5-11, 1989 issue was none other than The Million Dollar Man, himself! An article on who watches wrestling is inside, but the classic green-suited pose of DiBiase is what would attract most collectors. A copy recently sold for $20. 

*DiBiase wore many different colored suits over the years as The Million Dollar Man. One of the earliest was the silver suit which was most prominently featured when DiBiase briefly purchased the World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship from Andre the Giant. Jakks attempted to make a figure version of this look in a Classic Superstars set along with the Million Dollar Belt,  but it came out more ivory colored than anything. Mattel finally tackled the look in the WWE Legends line. The two strikes against that version were that figure was too short over all and it was the “chase” version of the figure. The more common version was the ubiquitous black suit style. Although the chase figures in the WWE Legends line have been relatively easy to locate in recent series, this particular one was not. It’s still selling for between $60 and $90. There’s a chance that this could change in the future. A certain large online wrestling figure retailer has been getting the WWE Legends series in stock. While they don’t sell for retail price at first, this has been causing the after market prices to drop a bit. If that company continues the trend of selling these sets, Series 9 containing DiBiase would be next in line to arrive on their site. 

*Ted DiBiase wasn’t always The Million Dollar Man. In fact, he was fast becoming one of the top stars in the NWA before he joined the WWF. In June of 1984 DiBiase was featured on the cover of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. It’s a great studio shot where DiBiase is showcasing the glove that he was famous for in those days. We’ve been so conditioned to remember The Million Dollar Man (and rightly so being one of the best heel characters of all-time) that it can be easy to forget that DiBiase had carved out quite a career before the World Wrestling Federation came calling. Look around and you will even see speculation that DiBiase was in the running for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Consider the stranglehold that Ric Flair had on that title during the ‘80s I don’t know that it would’ve happened, but a run in Jim Crockett Promotions against the other top stars there is definitely something that we can all dream about. This issue of PWI has been selling for an average of $20. 

*The WWF wasn’t shy about featuring DiBiase on their cover either. After all, he was one of their top heels as has been mentioned and was a great character who drew. When his run in the world title picture ended (though he would and could be plugged into title shots in subsequent years being the reliable star that he was) it was clear that DiBiase deserved some sort of championship. Did his character need it? No. Did his character want it? Absolutely. Thus was born the Million Dollar Championship. I don’t know a single wrestling fan who, as a kid, wasn’t mesmerized by that belt. I remember wanting the Hasbro Million Dollar Man figure as one of my first of the line specifically because it included the belt. It’s a thing of beauty and replicas of it are popular to this day. To show it off shortly after its creation the WWF threw it and DiBiase onto the cover of the May 1989 issue of their magazine. It’s a great shot with a green background (greenback…), DiBiase’s iconic black suit, and plenty of money. What’s not to love? It sells for an average of $15, so adding a copy to your collection won’t break your bank…even if you aren’t The Million Dollar Man. 

*Speaking of Hasbro, what better way to end than with one of the classic DiBiase figures. This one is the third figure of The Million Dollar Man to be produced (first being from LJN, second arriving in the first Hasbro series) and hit shelves in 1991. It features a stomping action and includes The Million Dollar Championship belt just as the first one did. We would have to wait a few years to get a wrestling gear DiBiase figure which ended up being his final appearance in the line. Being up there with Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage as far as who had the most Hasbro figures isn’t bad at all! Prices are all over the place for this one, sometimes (but not always) depending on which version of the card back is being sold. No matter the language or country of origin you always get the great “laughing” photo on this version of the figure, so you can’t go wrong regardless. He’s recently sold from anywhere between $160 and $255. Not quite a bargain but definitely a figure needed for any Hasbro lineup. 

Ted DiBiase remains one of the more popular legends on the convention circuit. Between his abundance of merchandise, popular character and high-profile feuds with Hogan, Savage and Dusty Rhodes among others, it’s no wonder that everyone has a price…for The Million Dollar Man.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The Ravishing One Cleans Up

That guy is reviewing a figure from D-X? The nWo? The Attitude Era? Doesn’t he always bitch and moan nonstop about that era?


Well, “yes” to all of the above. But like many of you I’m a complex collector. As soon as a suited Ravishing Rick Rude was announced I must say that it excited me as much as a “First Time In The Line” legend figure would. First and foremost I’m a fan of The Ravishing One in any era. Second, I don’t necessarily damn *everything* from the late ‘90s. Third, who remembers Rude’s run as WCW International Heavyweight Champion? Rude appeared in promo shots as well as on television in a suit during that run. Add it all up and you bet that this is a figure that I’m going to love…and review!


Suited Rude comes to us as a Build-A-Figure. These sets are obviously selling as there are more available and/or in production than ever before. A set (that was not reviewed here but was shown on our socials) featuring a child version of Dominik Mysterio was released not long ago and Royal Rumble and WrestleMania sets featuring Dok Hendrix and Mean Gene Okerlund in a tuxedo, respectively, are in the pipeline. Each set now seems to be themed towards a specific “Big Four” pay-per-view or “premium live event” as they’re now known. The Mysterio set was geared towards SummerSlam while the group we’re looking at today is based on the Survivor Series.


With a few exceptions, most of the sets as of late seem to feature one “legend” and three current talents in addition to the Build-A-Figure. In case this is your first rodeo, pieces of the BAF are included with each of the individual figures thus getting you to purchase all four main figures. To be honest I’m getting less and less enthused with the main four figure choices. In one respect it’s the only way that I’ll purchase repaints/re-releases of certain stars. I think we have enough “modern” Shawn Michaels and Rey Mysterio figures to last a lifetime. They say “vote with your wallet,” but in reality that just doesn’t work. These figures sell and, at least in my experience, are rarely seen on the pegs. You have to remember that disregarding those of us who are buying them all to create the BAF, you’ve got kids and parents grabbing for the latest HBK or AJ Styles. It’s a formula that works for Mattel. If it keeps getting us figures (especially legends) that won’t be produced otherwise I will continue to stick by it. I’d be a hypocrite if I complained any more on the topic as I’ve picked up every Mattel WWE BAF set since the first. Between JJ Dillon, Paul Ellering, Teddy Long, The Fink and Jim Ross, among many others, the program has yielded some great additions to the line.


This time around we’ve got The Ultimate Warrior, Becky Lynch, Drew McIntyre and AJ Styles. Interesting to me is that it’s The Warrior who contains the most unique pieces to build Rude – his heads. That’s right, you get both a mustached and bearded head. If you’re really dead set on not picking up the other three figures you could easily use the heads on another suited figure body. With a new look and rather fresh head sculpt, this figure of The Ultimate Warrior will be the hottest seller here regardless of including the “crucial” pieces to the Rude BAF. Ultimately (no pun intended) it comes down to budgetary restraint as to which figure includes which BAF piece. There has been at least one instance in the past (and one ostensibly upcoming in the Rumble set) where only three of the four figures in the wave were actually needed to build the complete fifth figure.


I’m not going to spend too much time on Lynch, McIntyre and Styles. Not only are they fairly uninteresting, but after a decade I know this blog’s audience. Most modern day-only fans aren’t looking for what a 40-year-old man thinks of the latest figure of “The Man.” She looks good, as does Styles, but I just have a feeling that they’re underwhelming releases even to those who actively collect them. McIntyre, on the other hand, is a bit better. I can remember when, not too long ago, the Elite version of “young” Drew from the very early days of the Mattel line was a hot commodity. With upgrades in figure production technology this one is obviously better and comes with a pretty cool soft goods entrance vest that the original lacked. While the fourth figure and BAF Rude are the obvious gems, this Drew isn’t the worst inclusion and is sort of fun as long as we have to include modern names.


Speaking of that fourth figure, you already know that it’s The Ultimate Warrior. With a fairly new head sculpt (previously used just once) and paint designed to resemble his look from the 1990 Survivor Series, this is an absolutely stunning figure. I can practically hear him declaring that Tito Santana’s fandom/mania/whatever is “Arriba Derce” to go along with “Hulkamania” and “Warrior Wildness.” You didn’t know that? Go watch the pre-Match of Survival promo. I haven’t done it yet, but throw a winged eagle belt on him and this just may be a picture perfect figure. Everyone goes wild for the “Ultimate Edition” figures of The Warrior and rightfully so, but for my money I’m not sure that we have a better one than this right here. The skeletons certainly made their sacrifice for this figure…


And we come to the Build-A-Figure. Some may not be as excited about this one as I am, but for me it’s just a figure that should’ve been made long ago. Suited figures are the favorite of many. There’s something very “old school wrestling” about classic wrestlers in suits. If Rude’s career had gone on as long as it had every right to, I could see him transitioning away from the robes and more towards this. This is another figure that will look great with a belt, preferably “big gold.” I didn’t do a picture of that as of yet, but I’m sure one will pop up on our figure photography social (IG: The_Figure_Arena) or even on Twitter. One issue that mine does have is that the left arm won’t stay attached. My BAF JJ Dillon and Gene Okerlund (who was ultimately not a BAF in the U.S. but came with “switchable arms” anyway) have had the same issue.


As much as I love the BAF I can honestly say that I feel that this set won’t be worthwhile to most collectors. Despite it being one of my top wanted versions of Rude I can see a lot choosing to pass. If these show up in abundance at retail it will be The Ultimate Warrior flying off of the shelves. If you’re any kind of Warrior collector, you’ll need this version. There have been “must have” BAF sets and others that are less than such. Unless you feel as I do about building Rude, this one will likely fall in the latter category for you. The upcoming Royal Rumble Dok Hendrix BAF set features Vader (in an update to the “Vader Time” version), Rey Myserio (again), Damian Priest and Brie Bella. The WrestleMania set featuring the Mean Gene BAF is a breath of fresh air for legends collectors with WrestleMania VI versions of Dusty Rhodes and Macho King Randy Savage as well as Hollywood Hogan and The Rock. I guess we could classify that foursome as “The Skydome Series.”


In the meantime, maybe go and pull up the 8/18/97 episode of Raw. Don’t do it on Peacock or you’ll miss the classic, and now edited, Rick Rude theme. The show opens with Vince McMahon introducing Rude as “one of the all-time World Wrestling Federation greats” and the subsequent promo gives us a little taste of what may have been had Rude not jumped to WCW only to be totally wasted in his final years. Perhaps the seeing last great incarnation of “The Ravishing One” will inspire you to make your Mattel collection a little more “Rude,” as well.