Hello again! I got so much general positivity and happiness from my review of Retro Series Eight that I decided NOT to wait another couple of years for the next installment. The question is, are you ready?
If you’re just joining us, this series of articles is taking a passionate look back at the greatest wrestling toy line of all time – the WWF Hasbro figures from the first half of the 1990’s. The toys were so beloved that they spawned a whole tribute line a few years ago by Mattel.
We’ve been reviewing both toy lines, series by series, since my mom found a tub – nay, a TREASURE CHEST – full of most of my old Hasbro figures. If you happened to miss anything, well – good news – I’ve got some links for you to snack on:
Now let’s hit it!
It’s so odd how the original WWF Hasbro line and the WWE Mattel Retro lines have mirrored each other, both intentionally and unintentionally. The Hasbros were running out of steam back in 1994, but managed to release four new series that year. I guess Hasbro was dumping everything they had before they cut bait.
I don’t know if the Retros were running out of steam in 2019 or just being repackaged, but it sure looked like Mattel was done with them for a while. In the same spirit, Mattel also released four waves of Retros in 2019. Series Nine is the third set.
Because the joy of the hunt is dead for collecting these Retros, I picked up all of Series Nine from Megalopolis.toys for $49.99 plus shipping. Remember when you used to be able to find these figures in stores?
Like most of its predecessors, Series Nine features four figures in total. Like Series Seven & Eight, Series Nine is packaged on the blue bordered cardboard and includes all of the advertising and drop card for the WWE Mayhem app. Nothing says 90’s Retro like advertisements for a bodacious cellphone app!
Overall, there are some straight up fire selections when it comes to the figures in Series Nine, so let’s dive in!
“MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE
We’re kicking things off with the MADNESS, as Macho Man makes his second Retro appearance. I’m a little disappointed for Mattel to be repeating a legend so soon after he first appeared in Series Five, but hey, it’s Macho Man, so we can’t complain too much. Heck, the Hasbro line had no less than FOUR Macho figures.
What I will complain about is this figure’s likeness to Randy Savage. If you remember my Series Five Savage review, I noted that the face just wasn’t quite right on that Macho Man. Well, from what I can tell, Mattel has repainted that same head for Series Nine and it still sucks. In fact, it sucks worse because the bandana is just bad. Mach’s doo-rag lacks any kind of detail, making it look like an orange/yellow blob on his head. The back doesn’t look so bad – I guess that’s a plus for all of the Macho Man Butt Fetish collector’s out there displaying their Randy Savage figures backwards.
Randy’s gear is a nice nod to old school collectors. During the original Hasbro run, there was a catalog ad that showed a Macho Man figure similar to Hasbro Series One, except he was sporting green trunks. This caused a lot of buzz in the future with folks trying to track down the actual figures. Turns out only one exists, and of course Matt Cardona has it.
I get that it was cheaper to repaint the Series Five head, especially if Mattel was cutting bait on the Retros after the next series, but I have to think having an orange headband instead of a bandana would’ve made all the difference for this Macho Man.
Macho’s Authentic Superstar Move is the Flying Elbow Drop, which he now accomplishes using a spring-loaded waist. The figure also utilizes the jointed “chop arm”, which we first saw back with the Series Four Ric Flair. That’s interesting, given the two characters’ history and the fact that the RS4 Flair was also a nod to an old figure.
Unfortunately, this figure misses the mark. Even worse, it misses the mark multiple times. I do love the picture they chose of Macho Man for the packaging, though, which is enough to pull it from a C to a C+.
Goldust figure, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!
First, making a figure of Goldust – to me – is what this line should be all about. The Hasbro line ended in 1994, just a couple of years before the Attitude Era. There are SO MANY good characters from that time forward to choose from. Mattel has done a great job so far of grabbing Stone Cold, Mankind, and some others, but I would say that the line is often a little more focused on current superstars than it should be. It’s like they were never sure about the audience they were playing to. Mattel – THIS IS THE AUDIENCE YOU’RE PLAYING TO!
Second, I love that Goldust’s wig is removable. What a great quasi-accessory. Goldust always wore his wig to the ring, but never wrestled with it on. To give fans the option to have the hair is a great idea.
Last, everything about the Goldust figure is true to the character. The detailing on his gear is very similar to his real gear from around the time of his debut in 1995. And that smirk!
Goldust’s ASM is the Curtain Call, which he accomplishes via spring-loaded waist and a jointed chop arm…just like Macho Man. I guess Mattel was getting rid of their excess chop arms they had lying around?
Overall, an awesome figure and a great addition to the line.
You may think from my impassioned defense of Goldust that I’m against current superstars in the Retro line. I am not, especially when they’re this badass. I love Samoa Joe.
2018-2019 was the height of Joe’s run in the WWE, so it makes sense to include him here as a current superstar. Joe spent a lot of time challenging for the Universal Title against guys like Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, and, memorably, AJ Styles. At Wrestlemania 35, Joe destroyed Rey Mysterio to win the United States title. Though Samoa Joe was released from WWE earlier this year after struggling with injuries, wrestling fans out there are hoping we see Joe pop up again to dominate soon.
Even though this figure was released in 2019, Joe is wearing gear from 2017, when he first jumped from NXT to the main roster. This was when Joe was aligning himself with Triple H against The Shield, thus the “Right Hand of Destruction” verbiage on his T-shirt. It’s a minor qualm, really, especially in a review from 2022. Black shirt, long two-tone shorts – this is the Joe figure you’ve been waiting for.
Joe’s likeness is spot on and his beard looks great, too. His ASM is the Senton Splash, which he accomplishes using the jointed waist action we’ve seen in the likes of Kevin Owens and Akeem. This is Mattel’s low-key way of calling you fat.
I can’t wait to put the MBWF tag team titles on my Joe and KO figures and have them defend against the Legion of Doom!
On paper, this series has two current superstars. But in reality, it has three legends. Randy Orton makes his 4″ debut in Series Nine!
The Viper isn’t one to make big changes to his gear, but his tattoos and facial hair put him at his 2019 look. So before the van dyke and his brief hooded-vest period. The fact that Orton doesn’t have a lot of standout features means Mattel had to work harder to nail the figure. And they definitely did – likeness and gear are on point, the tats look good, and the lettering on his tights looks great.
Randy’s ASM is the RKO, for which he’s built perfectly. The figure has the jointed clothesline arm that I’ve been so fond of in the Retro line since Series Two Steve Austin.
Like Samoa Joe, Orton spent a lot of 2019 in the hunt for the WWE Title, so it only makes sense to include him here from a current superstar perspective. Past that though, Orton is a 14-time WWE champion who deserves mentioned in any conversation about in-ring greats. Getting a Randy Orton figure is one of the reasons this whole line exists.
RETRO SERIES NINE GRADE: A-
This is an incredible series. Mattel shook up the format of “1 classic/3 current” superstars, and the set is all the better for it. I’m not going to lie, by the time Series Nine hit shelves, I was dealing with some Retro fatigue. With the third wave in less than a year, the line was starting to feel like overkill. However, Mattel really knocked it out of the park on this set. It may be their strongest overall ever. And that’s after a really good Series Eight.
It’s really hard to pick best figure, but I have to go with that Goldust. He just goes above and beyond. Sleeper is Samoa Joe, which is apropos since he’ll put your ass in the Coquina Clutch and put you to sleep. Worst is easily the half-assed tribute to a rare Hasbro Macho Man. It was a nice thought, though.
Overall, definitely pick this series up if you were thinking about giving up on the line.
Thanks again for reading about my little wrestling men. We’re headed from here straight to Retro Series Ten and, guess what? I just got a shipment from Mattel Creations as I was doing this write up. Expect to be headed back to 1985 with me soon.