There are some figures that Mattel just won’t give us. Some for ridiculous political reasons, others because WWE holds a grudge. One of them doesn’t even have to have a given name. He could simply be “WWE Referee.” Yes, Mattel has brought us a few “guest referees” and Danny Davis, but after over a decade kids (and adults alike) still don’t have a proper modern WWE referee figure. The Mattel spokespeople who parrot the company lines say that it’s a WWE decision. It probably is, but it still makes zero sense. Could Figures Toy Company have provided the answer?
Just a few weeks ago FTC quietly unveiled not only a new figure but one in an entirely new style to emanate from them. Their “Ultimate Referee” is in a style very similar to the Mattel WWE Elite figures with multiple points of articulation. This is certainly a departure from the “Jakks Ruthless Aggression” style bodies used for the other FTC wrestling lines such as Legends of Professional Wrestling and Rising Stars of Wrestling. There’s no word yet on if this new style will find its way into any of the FTC lines with licensed names. One does tend to think that doing a referee in the style initially is a marketing test of sorts. Nominally priced, it was well worth the dive to see just how the new ref in town measures up and if he finally quenches the thirst for such a figure.
Packaged in a sturdy, fully illustrated cardboard box, you have no doubt who’s inside before you even open it up. Remove the bubble wrap and there you have The Ultimate Referee. He does indeed have articulation similar to “the leading brands” and the plastic feels like it isn’t far off from the type used by the “big guys.” His face is generic, as it should be. The referee should always blend in and we’ll expand upon that shortly. His left hand is open and can clutch the ring ropes or even a small accessory. The right hand is giving the “two” sign, which, aside from a pointing finger, is exactly what you want on a referee. There's been a lot of fuss lately over "pinless" figures. For those of you who enjoy that, this guy is indeed pinless. There isn’t much paint here since it’s a referee, but what is there is all good. You could easily apply a sticker or two if you want to give your referee some affiliation. If you’ve got a steady hand you could even grab multiples and paint a ref for each promotion. You could do WWE, AEW, NWA…
Early concerns, as with most wrestling figures, are with height. Our ref here is on the shorter side but by no means does this disqualify him. He’s taller than Mattel Rey Mysterio and that’s all you need. He does his job and does it well. As stated above, the best referees shouldn’t be noticed much. He’s there to count, argue with a heel or a manager and maybe even get intimidated or roughed up a bit. This is exactly who you need to do all that. Some have mentioned alternate hands or even heads, but for this price point you just can’t beat what you get. Certainly those things could come along with a future release. Perhaps even retro styled refs? Sure ‘80s bow tied refs would be great, but how about the less uniformly-attired officials of the ‘60s and ‘70s? An aging guy with a gut and a sour expression to match? I’d be all for it!
You need a ref and you can’t go wrong with “The Ultimate Referee.” He’s available at Figures Toy Company right now. Don’t forget that when you follow the link just provided you can use code JWS_WRESTLING_MEMORABILIA for 10% off of your order of $20 or more! Need a new ring? Steel cage? Chairs? Tables? Singapore canes? It’s all there to fully equip your arena. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, wrestling figure photography is hot. It’s the adult way to play with your toys. If you’re going to do it right, get all of the essentials. And if you don’t have a referee you have absolutely no excuse now thanks to FTC!
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