Hey again! It’s time to delve in to another batch of little plastic muscle-bound men. It’s time for more WWE Mattel Memories!
If you’re completely new to this, Good Brothers Wrestling has devoted several columns to reviewing the classic WWF Hasbro figures from the early 90’s. The Hasbro figures are so beloved that, in 2016, Mattel launched a line of tribute figures called WWE Retro. So, of course, we had to review those too!
Today, we’ll be taking a look at Series FIVE of the Retro figures, but if you need to catch up, go ahead and click the links below! It’s no big deal, we’ll just sit here and play with our Real Wrestling Actions!
Alright, let’s do it!
RETRO SERIES FIVE
Series Five is the second wave of WWE Mattel Retro figures released in 2018, and it’s not the last. That may be surprising, as I sit here in January 2019 and I’ve never seen a Series Five figure in the stores. The same is true for Series Four. I have seen pics online of people finding them on pegs in Target and other places, though, so I assume it’s possible.
While I referred to Retro Series Four as the “NXT Alumni” series, Series Five is much more single-minded. Like the series before, Series Five includes three current superstars and a classic figure. All three current superstars are The New Day. That’s bold. While it’s no doubt that New Day is one of WWE’s most bankable commodities, it seems like it would have been a good time to bring back the old Tag-Team Two-Packs for these guys. Buying each one individually is just a kick in the wallet. Think of all the single-packed New Day Funko Pops you STILL see sitting on the shelves at Walgreens.
Like the last two series, Retro Series Five is packaged on red cards. And yes, they come with those stupid bases. I picked up my entire set from Megalopolis.toys. Between a promo code and a sale due to damaged packaging, I got a VERY good deal on this one. Like 40 bucks shipped. I still miss chasing them in physical stores, though.
Real talk: Kofi Kingston sucks. Not in real life, but in real plastic.
Kofi Kingston is the longest tenured WWE superstar in the New Day. Kofi has been around for over ten years. He’s been around so long he’s changed nationalities. Kingston is an exciting performer, known for his aerial feats. He’s a multi-time Intercontinental and United States Champion, and I believe he’s held tag team gold longer than anyone else in history. Still, with New Day, Kofi stepped up his game and finally connected with the audience in a new way. The man is beloved. So, while I will complain about buying each of the three members of New Day individually, I think Kofi is the one guy that could stand alone and sell.
So why does he SUCK SO BAD??? First, he’s a handleback. But as a high flyer, it’s not really a surprise that they’d saddle Kofi with this gimmick to perform his “Trouble In Paradise” maneuver.
I could forgive the handleback gimmick, but THAT FACE. He looks like some kind of sex doll for a fetish that no one has. It’s unnerving and borderline repulsive. What is that mouth even open for? Is he yelling? Is he laughing? Is he yawning?
I actually feel sorry for Kofi Kingston, the man, that he has a figure this terrible. Since Kofi’s roughly my age, it had to excite him in some way that he’d be getting a “Hasbro-style” figure. Then this? When’s gonna be his time?
Oh, they did give all of New Day’s bases a different color, so that’s neat. Kofi’s is blue. I may like the base better than the figure.
Another open mouth?? Actually, Big E’s open mouth/tongue out expression isn’t near as offensive as Kofi’s. The likeness more portrays Big E’s fun-loving nature, which is at least somewhat captured in this figure. Kofi looks more like something from the movie Re-Animator.
I like Big E’s mold in general, which has roots all the way back to Hasbro Series 1’s Hulk Hogan. His springloaded arms lift up and swing back down to perform his “Big Ending” finisher. E looks strong, just like he should, and is also physically bigger than the other two New Day figures, which I like.
As a fixture on Smackdown Live for the last couple of years, I would say Big E and his New Day cohorts certainly NEEDED to make it to the Retro Series. I may have slow-rolled them though, introducing one figure per series, building anticipation to completing the New Day set.
So on what episode of Smackdown Live did they turn Xavier Woods into a voodoo zombie?
Xavier is even worse than Kofi. They should’ve just packaged this thing with Papa Shango, it would have made more sense. Like, seriously, who quality controlled this? Why are his eyes rolled back like The Undertaker???
Even if you could get past the likeness (you can’t), Xavier is just wrong. His figure is bigger than Kofi’s, which doesn’t look right since everyone knows Xavier is the runt of The New Day. With New Day all coming in one series, the proportion difference is very noticeable.
Xavier’s “Honor Roll” maneuver is performed using the same technology seen in RS1 John Cena. I’m just not crazy about the torso joint. The only thing saving this figure from an F is they really got Woods’ hair and pointy boots down.
Just terrible otherwise.
“MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE
And now we get to our classic figure and final figure in Retro Series Five – OH YEAH, “MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE!
Savage made FOUR appearances in the WWF Hasbro years, so it’s kind of interesting that they’d go back to the well on him so soon. Luckily, unlike RS1 Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior, RS5 Macho Man features an all-new look.
The nWo/Madness-Era Macho Man didn’t used to get a lot of credit, but, in recent years, the visual of Savage in the Black & White is nearly as iconic as the tassels and cowboy hat.
I love the gear on Macho Man, but his face just looks a little off. I’ve complained in previous columns about the Retro likenesses seeming more like Real Scans than their cartoony Hasbro counterparts. I think Savage lends credence to that theory, since he’s not around in 2018 to get a head scan and, clearly, they F’ed it up. Not terribly, but noticeably.
Macho’s “Macho Man Elbow” is the same pull and release arms seen in the Big E figure. If Mattel is just doing four figures per series, I don’t understand why we need to repeat action-types within a series. It just seems lazy.
RETRO SERIES FIVE GRADE: C+
Oof. Things were hitting a tipping point in Series Four, but Series Five sees this line really going off the rails. I’m not sure what’s going on with the likenesses here. Was Mattel trying to re-capture that cartoon vibe Hasbro had going with the crazy New Day expressions and just REALLY screwed it up? Where was the quality control?
While previous series have featured some stinkers, there were always big winners too. Series Five does not have that. Macho Man and Big E are both decent figures, but both have obvious flaws that keep them from being a homerun. Xavier Woods is maybe the worst likeness in the entire Mattel line.
Bottom line – hopefully this is just a hiccup and Retro Series Six (which has already hit shelves) comes back strong. Mattel has already announced FOUR MORE SERIES of this line to hit stores in 2019, but I can see Series Five clogging shelves well into the next decade.