Monday, February 16, 2015

Toy Review – WWE Elite Collection Series 32 Rey Mysterio from Mattel

This was supposed to be my Toy Fair recap, but I realized this morning that Toy Fair has two more days. So that doesn't work. Enjoy today's review of a Rey Misterio, Jr. figure! 
 
Tomorrow I'll be reviewing Mattel's SDCC Exclusive Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile, Wednesday we've got a new contributor with an interview, Thursday I'll put up the Toy Fair post, and Friday will be an all-new episode of the podcast with me and Mike Gordon talking about Batman '66!

Rey Misterio, Jr. (as this figure should properly be known) was one of the most unique and remarkable performers that World Championship Wrestling had on its roster. He had a look that could not be mistaken and once he got in the ring there was no denying that he was almost supernatural in his abilities. 
 
One of my favorite Misterio matches took place in front of MGM Studios in Orlando. It was against the Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko and Rey walked away with the title. I tend to like outdoor matches anyway, but this one was particularly notable. Malenko and Misterio were always fantastic opponents and this is one of their best matches.

Side Note: Dean Malenko is one of my all-time favorites and I really hope they get around to making an Elite figure of him sooner than later. He’s on the backstage staff, so I’d think it would be likely, especially with this Misterio out now.

While I’ve gone back and forth on actually liking Rey Mysterio (as he started calling himself after joining the WWE roster) due to his perpetual Whitemeat Babyface status and questionable mic skills, I will always have the highest level of respect for his work ethic and in-ring ability. He has to be one of the most successful masked luchadors America has ever seen, if not the most. And deservedly so.

As good as Mysterio got in WWE – and he definitely upped every aspect of his game – I’ll always love WCW Rey the most. The more traditional gear appeals to me and as far as his actions – you just never knew what he was going to do. Once guys get to WWE they adopt that predictable match format where you might still get surprised every once in a while, but for the most part once you’ve seen a guy wrestle a few times you basically know what to expect. With Rey Misterio in WCW you never knew what to expect. 
 
This gear is from Starrcade 1996, where Misterio faced Jushin “Thunder” Liger for the first time. It’s an interesting choice. The colors aren’t particularly flashy, it’s not necessarily one of Rey’s more known looks, and there’s no other significance to the match. It wasn’t his first PPV appearance or any particular title situation. I’d love to think that this is a hint that we’ll get a Liger figure, but I have no idea what his licensing situation might be.

First Glance

This Rey is markedly smaller than other WWE Elite figures (as it should be) and even seems smaller than other Rey figures, due to the lack of baggy indy pants. 

I’m immediately impressed with the sculpt of the wrist bands. Not so much by the doofy look on Rey’s face.

Packaging

This is the same box that the Elite series has been using for a while. I like it. The large picture of the Superstar on the angled front makes these easy to browse on the pegs. The rest of the design and graphics are appealing and eye-catching.

This isn’t something I have really thought too much about before, but when you have a line at retail for multiple years, it’s very important to change up the look of the packaging every few waves. I don’t think drastic changes to the shape are necessary – and perhaps even detrimental – but the color schemes and placement of logos need to be switched up every few waves so that customers can easily recognize when new assortments have arrived.

I mention this because Series 32 of the Elite line brings a few changes in the packaging, the most noticeable of which is in the biographical information on the back of the box:

I suppose that as far as action figures go this makes more sense, but I much preferred the written narrative of the older Elite figures. Not only were those more informative, they were actually correct. This new thing only has eight pieces of information and four of them are inaccurate or irrelevant.
  • I have never heard Rey referred to as “The Biggest Little Man” in any significant manner that would suggest it is an “Also Known As” title.
  • Rey didn’t use the 619 or the West Coast Pop until his WWE years. This is not WWE Rey.
  • Listing affiliations is dumb in the first place because in wrestling you’re probably going to be enemies with someone just as often as you’re friends; as is the case with the names here. And again – this is WCW Rey. He hadn’t even met those guys yet. Maybe RVD, but not in the way this box suggests.
I do like that they identify the ring attire. I wish I had realized that before I looked it up.

Looks

I have to go ahead and get this doofy face sculpt out of the way.

Rey’s head is a bit too round, but I can get past that. It’s the “baked out of my mind” look of his eyes and mouth that’s throwing me off. I mean, it looks like Rey, but this is not a guy in the middle of a hurricanrana. This is a guy that just walked out of Cypress Hill’s dressing room.

Otherwise the head is great. The design stuff is painted – and nicely – and the wings are sculpted. My only gripe is that there are no laces on the back of the mask.

Rey’s physique looks right. I don’t have any other Mysterio figures, so I don’t know if this one is actually a bit more slender, but he looks to have his WCW proportions. He definitely bulked up in WWE, especially in recent years.

The wristbands look fantastic. These aren’t just painted on like many other wrestling figures’. They have raised sculpts and the wings even jut out from them. The paint looks a little iffy in these pictures, but in person it looks fine. The armbands are a different story. 
They aren’t sculpted, but just painted directly onto the figure’s biceps. Not great. Not terrible, but made more obvious because they’re right above those great wristbands.

WCW Rey only had one tattoo, and Mattel nailed it. The shape and size are accurate, but the color is also perfect. It’s not just straight black. They used a lighter color so that it would give the appearance of fading that naturally occurs with tattoos.

Rey’s tights and boots are pretty plain, sculpt-wise, but the paint is spot-on. 
 
I would’ve preferred a more serious look on the figure’s face and the attire could stand to be a little glossier. This gear wasn’t spandex, it was the shiny PVC stuff. But whatever. Overall the figure still looks great.

Accessories

Rey comes with a ring stand and a title belt.

The ring stand is a neat addition. On its own it is utterly useless, but if you have one of the many rings that Mattel produces you can clip it to a ring post to simulate Rey doing all sorts of high-flying maneuvers. It’s a neat extra and it helps to fill up a box that’s way too big for Rey.

The title belt makes me angry.

This is a great-looking WWE Cruiserweight Championship. The problem is that this Rey Misterio never held this title because this title didn’t exist until 2001 and Rey didn’t hold it until 2003, long past the time when he was wearing tights and wrestling in WCW because WCW was gone.

This should be the WCW Cruiserweight Championship, which looks nothing like this belt. I hate to complain about such a nice accessory, but it’s wrong. 
 
Fun

Like all of the Elite figures, Rey is packed full of articulation and great to pose and mess around with. 
 
The stand isn’t much use without a ring, but I do have one of the old JAKKS Real Scale rings. I was just too lazy to get it out and tighten up the ropes for pictures. Since I’m buying so many of these damned wrestling figures lately, I suppose I should.

Any wrestling figure that comes with a title belt is a good thing. Back when I was nuts about collecting the JAKKS figures I’d buy somebody just to get the title belt. Granted, that’s back when the figures were eight bucks apiece.

The most important thing that a wrestling figure should be is fun. They need to look like the person they’re supposed to be and all, but if you can’t play with them what’s the point? This is a fun, sturdy figure that hits all the right notes.

Overall

Mattel has made a fantastic WCW Rey Misterio, Jr. The stand may be extraneous and the belt may be wrong, but the figure itself is excellent. Even considering the wrongness of the title belt (no, I will NOT let that go), this figure would have gotten a perfect score if those arm bands had been sculpted rather than painted.

4 out of 5

I don’t care for the choice of facial expression, but that’s personal preference, not an accuracy or quality thing.

If you’re a fan of Rey or of WCW or even just love guys in masks (and who doesn’t?) I highly recommend this figure. 
 
In fact, I highly recommend you buy it from Amazon right now and help out my expensive website:






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