Toy Review – WWE Ultimate Edition Ultimate Warrior from Mattel

In the time that has passed since I reviewed the other figure in this case pack, Ultimate Ronda Rousey, I have been unable to resist expanding my collection of wrestling figures.

For a long time I was just collecting Mattel’s Retros and female figures. The Retros were charming throwbacks to Hasbro’s WWF figures and for the most part I find WWE’s female performers more interesting both in the ring and visually than the males. Objectively, females tend to be more toyetic.

Now, however, I have ended up collecting Mattel WCW figures as well as a few odds and ends here and there – mostly stuff I find on clearance. How could you possibly pass up Big Strong Boi Tyler Bate with the NXT UK Championship for twelve bucks? Or Ricochet, Tommaso Ciampa, or (Mustafa) Ali for seven bucks each (due to a nationwide screw up on the part of Walmart)?

The bottom line is that Mattel is making some of the best action figures on the market, but only if you’re into wrestling toys. I’m resisting going all-in, but as a lifelong fan of action figures and wrestling, some of these releases really give me the itch. Especially these Ultimates.

The first wave of these consisted of Rousey and this Warrior, the next – which should be hitting stores soon – includes Shinsuke Nakamura and Bret Hart. I’m not sure yet if I’ll end up getting those, but Rousey and Warrior both fit into what I’m already collecting, though I didn’t realize the latter did at first.

I’ve never been much of an Ultimate Warrior fan. Body guys never did much for me. Don’t get me wrong – I admire their dedication to what I think must be a very difficult lifestyle. But I like guys who can work and who look like they’re built for ass-kicking, not for wearing a G-string and flexing on a stage. Warrior had charisma for sure, but he was the shits in the ring. He’s not a guy I’m going to collect.

But then I found out from the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast that this look is based on his time in WCW and that was a very interesting run.

Not good, but interesting.

Between my love for wrestlecrap and the fact that I am actively collecting WCW figures, I knew I had to get this guy.

Is it truly the Ultimate Warrior? Read on and find out!

DSC_0193THE BOX

I’ve actually seen these in Target stores since reviewing the Ronda Rousey figure and I have to say I’m disappointed that they’re hanging them on pegs. I think they’d look much better and grab more attention on shelves. On pegs they hang a bit crooked and look sort of junky. On shelves they’d look like the special items that they are.

The box design for these figures is fantastic. The angular shape is eye-catching. The window has an interesting design and fully displays the figure and accessories. I hope they continue to keep these in neutral poses because to me it makes them look higher-end than the posed Elites and it makes warping of limbs less likely. When a figure is forced into some specific action pose in the tray it often leads to limbs being bent in ways they weren’t meant to and you get bow legs and askew arms due to the soft plastic they use nowadays warping to conform. A neutral pose keeps everything nice and straight.

The graphics are classy and printed in different glosses, which always seems fancy. Gloss + matte = money. Just looking at this box gets me excited to see Hart and Nakamura, even though I know they’ll have essentially identical designs.

Except they won’t. Because some of the neatest features on these boxes are the quotes under the opening panel. In addition to the stats and bio on the back, there are relevant quotes on the sides when you open the box. I would have been thrilled with the info on the back alone, as that seems to be a dying trend these days, but those quotes are a special touch.

I also love that there’s only one language on these. Not that I have anything against languages that aren’t English, but when toy packaging is covered in three different languages it just looks ugly. It’s one of the things that has killed my enjoyment of the art of toy cardbacks.

DSC_0208THE TOY

This is a weird thing to have to say, but the first thing I want to point out is that the torso joint looks way better in person than it does in these pictures. Warrior almost looks like a Hasbro jumper here, but it’s a much smoother transition in hand. I noticed it on the recent King Mabel Elite figure, too. In pictures that joint looked horrible, but once I saw the figure in person I got it because it actually looks fantastic. And I don’t even like Mabel (I’m a huge fan of Viscera, though).

The default head is phenomenal. The sculpt of the hair captures Warrior’s big, rock n’ roll coif perfectly. The highlights over the darker color manage to imbue the whole figure with a slightly more realistic look then Mattel’s other figures.

The portrait is excellent, with incredibly detailed facepaint that somehow has the look of the consistency of facepaint rather than just the appearance of action figure paint apps. I can’t explain it, but it has a different look from the rest of the deco.

My one complaint with how these are designed is that the waist joint should be a rocker like the abdominal joint and not a swivel. The swivel results in an ugly profile when you twist the torso, to the point where I’d almost rather it not even be there.

Otherwise this Warrior looks fantastic. The figure has the ripped physique that only Warrior had, to the point where I’m not sure who else they could make using these parts. Maybe a mid-2000s Triple H? I think that’s when he got really shredded. They might be able to do a late-90s Scott Steiner, but I think he was a little thicker.

Whatever the case, the body looks great and is loaded with more articulation than Warrior quite frankly needs:

*Barbell peg at the neck

*Hinged swivels at the shoulders

*Upper bicep swivels

*Double-jointed elbows

*Hinged swivels at the wrists

*Rocker joint at the upper abdomen

*Swivel waist

*Hinged swivel hips

*Thigh swivels

*Double-jointed knees

*Swivels at the boot tops

*Rocker ankles

*Hinged toes

That’s a lot of joints, but there are some issues.

I already mentioned the waist, but the head joint is lame, too. In this day and age that barbell peg is sad. Hasbro has been using pegs mounted on hinges for a long time now and there’s no reason that Multiple Man should have better head range than Ultimate Warrior. I found this very disappointing, especially since Warrior’s thick, lustrous mane was clearly sculpted to allow for a wide range of movement.

The rest of the articulation, however, is great.

It’s tough to get double joints right, especially on realistic characters and especially on flesh. Obviously these are quite visible, but I think that Mattel did as good of a job as they possibly could have blending them into the profile. They’re also nice and deep and functional and don’t result in the limbs looking freakishly long.

I’m not usually a fan of toe joints, but these seem pretty tight and did slightly increase the range of stances the figure can achieve.

Everything other than the waist blends into the figure as well as solidly functional action figure joints could be expected to.

As great as the figure’s physique and articulation are, the gear is what really caught my eye.

Warrior’s trunks, wristbands and kneepads all match his immaculately detailed facepaint. Mattel is generally very good with deco on their WWE figures, but these designs seem just a notch better than normal. The little skulls and the purple highlights look wonderful, as does the lettering. My one, ever-so-slight complaint is that the tassels on the wristbands aren’t painted on both sides. But that’s a minor issue.

Speaking of tassels, all of the long, multicolored ones on this figure are actually articulated. You wouldn’t believe how much this improves the dynamism of posing this figure. Whether he’s running, shaking the ropes, or preparing for the Gorilla Press Slam, these can be swiveled to hang properly and add so much to the look of each pose.

The boot tassels honestly look a little plain, but the all-white coloring is accurate and I would not prefer soft goods here. The paint on the boots, though, is great and adds a lot to the look. The “W” on the toe combined with the painted soles and trim makes for a much more visually exciting base.

Finally, there’s the tattoo on Warrior’s right arm. It’s broken up by the bicep swivel, but there’s really no way around it. I could slide the armband up and it would cover the break, but then that looks weird and also keeps the arms from hanging straight down. Not that I’m displaying him like that anyway, but it would bug me.

DSC_0206THE STUFF

Warrior comes with an alternate head, four alternate hands, and a trench coat.

The alternate head is an excellent choice – a mid/post-match look with the face paint melted away and a more intense countenance. The eyes are wide and wild, the teeth are clenched, and the hair is mussed up.

The extra hands consist of a pair of fists and a pair posed wide open, ready to lift an opponent high into the air. The fists are fists and we’ve seen them before, but I love these spread hands. When I think of Warrior, I think of him taunting the Gorilla Press Slam and these are the hands that do that.

The heads and hands all swap out easily and stay put while retaining their posability.

Warrior’s soft goods coat is, for me, the centerpiece of this set.

Much like the figure itself, there’s something I need to point out about the coat before I get to anything else – the sleeves are too long if the figure is just standing there. But that’s fine because how often was Warrior ever just standing there?

If the sleeves had been cut to fit for a neutral standing position they would have been way too short in any poses, whether running or with the arms up or whatever. As is, those poses look great and he doesn’t end up with that “big guy in a little coat” look that afflicts other figures with soft goods.

The fabric Mattel used is just the right thickness to allow the figure to move but also to hang in a reasonable manner. It’s not Mezco quality, but you also didn’t pay $80 for this. The edges have an unfinished look that I don’t love, but they don’t appear to be prone to fraying and it certainly looks better than thick seams would have.

The printing on this thing is unbelievable. Warrior’s coat was airbrushed – as was fashionable in wrestling at the time – and this looks much cleaner, but I’m good with that. The details of the reaper and the nWo tombstone, as well as the flaming “WARRIOR” and “OWN” on the sleeves deserve this kind of accuracy.

The coat fits the figure nicely, a fact that is even more surprising considering that you can fit the tassels under there, too.

DSC_0227THE VERDICT

While some may not love that this is an Ultimate Warrior look that originates from his time in WCW, I do believe that it is, indeed, an ultimate Ultimate Warrior.

For the $29.99 MSRP I don’t think this figure could present a much better plastic version of Warrior. It successfully combines the best soft goods, sculpt, and articulation available at this scale/price point into a great shelf item that’s also an excellent toy. And I wouldn’t worry too much – there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll see a WWF Warrior in this line at some point. The only real shame is that the future doesn’t appear to hold a Hollywood Hogan for this Warrior to face.

I’m definitely glad I added this figure to my WCW collection!

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