You may want to watch AEW Dynamite before reading this article.
Great, so with spoilers out of the way, let’s get into this one. Like most Wednesday nights I’m up super late watching both NXT and AEW Dynamite. Last night’s biggest news was Sting is now with AEW. This is where the wrestling fan and wrestling action figure side of me were in a greater conflict than Impact and AEW.
I was thrilled that Sting was going to a company that was going to treat him with the respect and reverence an icon of his status demands and not have him lose to Triple H at his only Wrestlemania to “win the war.” But, that figure collector side of me was legit ticked off. This meant Mattel was never going to release that amazing looking Early Crow Sting figure they revealed. That specific look has been one of my wrestling grail figures and I’m so annoyed I’ll never get it unless my last name was Bezos.
Worse, this meant we wouldn’t get any future attempts from Mattel to finally get Surfer Sting right. The first few figures had this amazing bucked-tooth head sculpt to go along with an oddly constructed body with poor part choices. Sting has never looked like Batista FYI.
And just as Mattel was making some long overdue articulation progress with its Ultimate Edition line, we’re not going to get the fantastic treatment for Sting in that series.
The reality is Mattel could have made Surfer Stings as big a priority as The Ultimate Warrior and Macho Man Randy Savage. His figures have always sold well and it’s not like there’s a shortage of Sting fans that would have been happy to get any and all face paint variations and repaints. It was a license to print money.
But this isn’t the first time Mattel has dropped the timing ball with figures and decided to pace out releases only to see a character no longer available.
The most infamous one was Hollywood Hogan. Mattel delivered the iconic 80s Hulkster version and revealed a prototype of Hollywood. Before that figure, we got a Wrestlemania 9 main event version and even a white tights release.
And then the tapes surfaced and no more Hogan figures. Enough time passed and Hogan played nice to the point a Hollywood Hogan is back on the table. Hopefully Mattel learned its lesson and has 10 more Hulkster/Hollywood figures in the works on a quicker release schedule.
As AEW continues to carve out a sizable portion of the marketplace, it’s likely more top WWE stars and legends are going to “cross the line” limiting the pool of flashback wrestlers. I’ll do a write up on that soon, but for now let’s take a look at some of Mattel’s biggest questionable choices when it came to missing the boat on Flashback figures.
The Dudley Boyz – Bubba Ray and Devon made a return to the WWE after a lengthy stint in TNA. Mattel cranked out two versions of them — both in their modern attire.
In fairness, those versions are passable (besides Devon’s lack of hair), but it would have been so much better to get Attitude Era versions of the Brothers.
Dustin Rhodes – There’s pretty much an Owen Hart chance of ever getting this version of The Natural from Mattel now that his brother is part of AEW management.
Mattel was somewhat slow on releasing classic Goldust figures so that’s not a major shock, but for old school WCW fans not getting him is more than a little annoying.
Jimmy Snuka – It’s not just moving to a rival promotion that derails figure options. As we saw with Hogan, public perception can switch in an instant.
Superfly Snuka was an 80s icon and now there’s a high chance this early 90s look will be all we get of the legend instead of his classic barefoot look.
Chris Jericho – Mattel didn’t neglect Chris Jericho like some other legends, but some of his more notable looks — a true WCW Lionheart, mid 2000s WWE, Unified Champion, etc. weren’t prioritized. Unlike a lot of guys on this list there’s a chance Jericho returns after making up with Vince McMahon for one last retirement round.
So that’s this list. I’ll be back real soon with another list looking at the most obvious legends Mattel should get their iconic looks made into figure form before they happen to show up on another station Wednesday nights.