Hey yo! Survey time. How many of you are ready for another look at 4″ wrestling figures?
Welcome back to another edition of WWE Mattel Memories. If you’re just joining us, boy are you late to the game. Today we hit double digits as we look at the 10th series of Mattel’s WWE Retro line!
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me give you the short version. In the 90’s, Hasbro released the greatest wrestling figure line of all time. They were so beloved that, over 20 years later, Mattel rebooted the series. Call them Hasbros, call them Retros – I call them my wrestling men.
As I said, we’re looking at Retro Series Ten today, but if you have missed any of the previous fun, just click the links below. Don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere.
Retro Series One
Retro Series Two
Retro Series Three
Retro Series Four
Retro Series Five
Retro Series Six
Retro Series Seven
Retro Series Eight
Retro Series Nine
WCW Galoob Series One
Video Review: Ring Replacement Sticker Kit
Video Review: Guide To WWF Hasbros
Now – boom pow bang, let’s do the dang thang.
Unbelievably, Series Ten was the FOURTH series of Retros to hit online stores in 2019. Much like the original Hasbro line, it seemed like the Retro line was nearing the end of its run, just trying to throw everything it had at that final year.
To be honest, even I was getting Retro fatigue by the end of 2019. I didn’t even bother to pick up Series Ten when it came out. Boy, was that a mistake. Since it was the last series to be produced (for a while), those last figures became somewhat sought after. In other words, they were gonna cost you righteous bucks on the aftermarket. You can read more about that below.
Just like the previous series from 2019, Series Ten features four figures on a blue bordered card. The back of the card still features the WWE Mayhem game promotion, which I can’t even complain about at this point because why would anyone care? Figures are also still packaged with dropcards featuring QR codes that can be used for in-game characters.
All in all, Series Ten looks to be a fairly fun set of figures, even if the line itself was losing steam. Let’s break it down!
We’re kicking things off with a Hall of Famer. JYD is one of only two figures in the Retro line from WWF’s pre-Golden Era, the second being The Iron Sheik. It’s an interesting choice, and should please the older Retro fig collectors.
Dog’s likeness is spot on, even though his expression is one of worry that he’s pooped his pants. That would be bad, too, since his pants are white. Luckily, he has not pooped his pants, but those white tights would be a bold choice when it comes to ring scuffs. I’m not too worried about scuffs since I’m past 40 and don’t play with these. Well, hardly ever.
JYD’s gear is basic but a total throwback to the early 80’s. He’s got the red and blue stars and “THUMP” written across his butt. White knee pads and white boots round it out. Dog’s Authentic Superstar Move is the “Thump Powerslam”, which he accomplishes via a spring jointed torso. Not my favorite Retro action, but it’s not bad either.
I picked up my JYD fig new on card from Amazon via a third party seller. I didn’t buy him until February this year, so I ended up paying $74 plus shipping for him. Ouch.
All in all, the Retro line is a good place to give us a Junkyard Dog. By the time the original Hasbros hit stores in 1990, JYD had been gone from the WWF for a couple of years. It’s nice to circle back and grab some of the important characters from that era.
“WOKEN” MATT HARDY
I went through a period around 2014 where I absolutely despised Matt Hardy. Matt was working the indies at the time and, I don’t know, something about his face. That said, even I have to admit I loved the “Broken” character. The “Final Deletion” match was an all-time classic. If you haven’t seen it, go check it out.
In 2017, in the midst of Matt’s “Broken” indie run, he and his brother Jeff made their surprise return to WWE. After a good stint as the returning Hardy Boyz, Matt and Jeff both started doing their own thing as singles. Matt went back to his “Broken” idea, but since this is WWE, they made it “Woken” and pretty much screwed it up.
Visually, “Woken” Matt Hardy isn’t much different from “Broken” Matt Hardy, and “Woken” Matt was in WWE at just the right time to get his own Retro figure. Granted, I’d rather have a classic-era Hardys Matt, but I’ll take two-tone hair Matt as a backup.
The figure looks less unkempt than the real life Matt, but Mattel really nailed the crazy eyes. Not much to be said for the gear – blue pants and a pair of black shoes. It’s sad because the solo Jeff Hardy from Series Eight really nailed it, but Matt Hardy is just kind of there. We couldn’t get that big ring jacket Woken Matt was wearing?
Matt’s ASM is the Flying Leg Drop, which he accomplishes using a spring loaded leg, similar to Retro Sheamus. Believe it or not, I’m about to say something nice about the bases that came with some of the earlier Retros – they were really good for standing these leg action figures.
I picked up Matt a little while after Series Ten came out, but the cost wasn’t too terrible. $28 from ToyWiz via Amazon.
In 2019, Elias was having a pretty good run in WWE. So much so that he had an interaction with John Cena at Wrestlemania 35 and The Undertaker the next night. So it makes total sense that Mattel would choose Elias as a current superstar to showcase in this wave of figures.
Let’s get this out of the way – packaging Elias with a guitar accessory is genius. The callback to the Hasbro Honky Tonk Man figure is great nostalgia and makes this a must have figure. Unfortunately, Elias doesn’t do much else to warrant praise.
The likeness is pretty generic. If you told me this was a Luke Harper figure, I would believe you. Elias always wore a bunch of wristbands and that weird red kimono – where’s that? Where are his scarves? We know Mattel has scarf technology thanks to the Chris Jericho figure.
If all that wasn’t bad enough, the guitar is made up of like five different pieces. Presumably this makes it fun to smash the instrument to pieces over one of Elias’s unlucky opponents. In fact, Elias’s ASM is the “Guitar Smash”. Unfortunately, the damn thing will barely stay together.
Overall, great idea with a lackluster implementation. I picked up Elias for $14.99 via Megalopolis – the only figure I paid sticker price for in this series. He’s still fairly easy to find if any of you Zeke Freaks need him.
Now we’re talking! The former WWF Champion and Hall of Famer Diesel rounds out Series Ten and collectors have been waiting a long time for this one!
For years, pictures and rumors have circulated online that a Diesel figure was scheduled to be included in Series Twelve of the original Hasbro line. It makes sense, since Series Twelve would have hit stores in 1995 – right when Diesel was running the WWF. Unfortunately, Series Twelve never happened, and a 4″ Big Daddy Cool slipped into the land of our dreams.
In some ways, it’s kind of unbelievable that the Retro line waited this long to release their Diesel. Good news – he’s worth the wait!
The Diesel likeness is spot on, his gear is badass, and he’s got that mean mug like no other Hasbro before him. Diesel also has the “cartoony” look that made the original Hasbro line so much fun. Mattel really knocked it out of the park with this one, even if all they did was follow Hasbro’s plans from 25 years ago.
Big Daddy Cool’s ASM is the Jackknife Powerbomb, which he accomplishes via springloaded arms. As soon as I finish writing this, I’m gonna have Diesel jackknife Elias onto his guitar and make it explode. It’s gonna be great!
Along with Junkyard Dog, Diesel is one of the harder to find Retros at this point. I got lucky and bought him from someone on Facebook last year for $75.
RETRO SERIES TEN GRADE: B+
Though not as strong as Series Nine before it, Retro Series Ten is solid. You can’t complain about the character selections, that’s for sure. A couple of missteps in execution, but overall a really fun set.
Easily your top figure is Diesel. Even if you don’t collect the Retros but love the Hasbros, you may want to make an exception for Big Daddy Cool. Worst is Elias, and his problem is really just a lack of accessories.
Believe it or not, that will do it for the original run of Mattel Retro Memories. After the release of Series Ten in 2019, the line would go dormant for a few years. Then, rumblings came out of Mattel Creations labs and, all of the sudden, we were excited about Retros again.
More on that next time!