Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Buzz: WWE Elite series 20, 21 & 22

I don't know about your area, but store inventory around here is mostly devoid of any new toys, so I thought it would be great time to share some thoughts on the recently announced line-ups for WWE Elite 21 and 22.

These were posted last week on so credit for the reveals goes to them.

Now on with the new figs!

Yeah, so, starting with series 20 would be a better idea. My apologies to those who read the original post. I've revised it to cover E20 now.

Series 20:
• Chris Jericho
• Christian (Flashback)
• CM Punk
• Cody Rhodes
• John Cena
• Santino Marella

Images of all these figures are available here.

Chris Jericho
When I got back into wrestling in early 2010, I wasn't impressed by Jericho's new look. Short hair and shorts were a stark contrast to the Y2J I knew. As such, I skipped his initial Elite figures (both from series 4) and settled for the Entrance Greats version.

After some time away, Jericho returned to the WWE with a new heel gimmick of not speaking when he appeared at the arena. The whole thing was incredibly stupid, but he started wearing a light-up jacket during his entrance and this figure does a rather good job of capturing that. I think he's a sure buy for me.

This version of Christian is a straight-up companion figure to series 13's Edge and the duo's most popular incarnation during the Attitude era. Bought!

CM Punk
Another blue version of Punk, this time with white stars outlined in red. The figure will include another WWE title belt and that's a shame because I was hoping for his "In Punk We Trust" t-shirt in plastic form. As I understand it Punk's Elite figures are becoming increasingly more expensive due to the amount of paint apps required for his body art which he keeps adding to. At one point I had six Punk figures. I sold off a few last Summer and kept my modified E1 figure, the RSC exclusvie and the E11 version. I think those are the only ones I need.

Cody Rhodes
Must-have! Must-have! This one looks really nice. We saw an early version of him at Ringside Fest a few months back and it featured the same head as the "grotesque" Cody from series 13. I'm glad they used a new, douchey-smile headscan. The updated body looks way more accurate for Rhodes, too, and the entrance coat turned out great!

John Cena
This seems like a really odd choice. Not because it's another Cena figure, I mean, come on, he's the WWE's top guy. His toys always sell! It's odd because he also appears in his green ring gear in the TRU-exclusive "Best of PPV" series. Both figures use the new Cena sculpt that debuted in series 17. Both include his cap, dog tags and arm band, but if you want the matching entrance t-shirt, you'll have to scour TRU for the exclusive. This version is inspired by the "Money in the Bank" PPV and trades-in the shirt for a ladder and MITB briefcase.

Closing out series 20 is the long-awaited second appearance of Santino. I'm a bit ashamed that I never got around to review the first Elite Santino. It was among the first Mattel WWE figures I purchased and is the only series 3 figure I still own. I was interested in seeing this updated version, but must admit it's quite underwhelming. Sure, he has his trademark Cobra. Sure, the updated headsculpt loses the unibrow and features a shaggier hairdo. He's now sporting shoes instead of boots. But it's the same attire as the first figure. AND the left out his chest tattoo! That's just crappy, Matty. I may still pick this one up, though. I can swap out the legs and head on the E3 figure and that should give us a decent current representation. The cobra sleeve will just be icing on the cake.

Series 21:
• AJ
• Alberto Del Rio
• Honky Tonk Man (Flashback)
• Randy Orton
• Rey Mysterio
• Ryback

The WWE design team has already revealed some details about a few of these so I'll talk about those first.

AJ Lee
Fresh of her line debut in basic series 24, AJ is scheduled for her first Elite figure (the third Diva in the series after Kelly Kelly and Miss Elizabeth). She will be sporting her plaid outfit, but no clue to what color it will be. I'd like to see her green outfit, but will accept the yellow version, too. What I'm more concerned with is whether or not this will be a straight redeco of her basic figure or will she get double-jointed knees like Elizabeth (and the male figures) did. She will not include any accessories.

Alberto Del Rio
ADR will come in his black attire most recently seen on TV during his match against Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship. I'm quite happy with his Elite 12 figure, moreso since acquiring an alternate head, so this will more than likely be a pass for me.

Honky Tonk Man
The only "Flashback" figure in series 21. We learned at Ringside Fest 2012 that HTM will arrive in his red ring attire and I assume that means he'll have red entrance gear, too. He will also include a guitar accessory.

Orton, Mysterio & Ryback
Nothing revealed in regards to these three, but I can tell you I'm not interested in Orton and I doubt I'll buy Ryback. However, I have some high hopes for Mysterio. I'd really like to see an updated version with his "?" ring shirt and a smiling face. Or at least a face with some expression on it. I have his series 1 & RSC "Flash" figures and think Mattel can pull off his modern look taking parts from each of those releases.

Series 22:
• Big Show
• Damien Sandow
• The Giant (Flashback)
• Kane
• The Rock
• Tensai

Big Show/ The Giant
Well, this was a surprise! Cody B. shared some pics a few months back of a prototype headscan for a cancelled Legends Giant (you can see customs using the head online if you search for them). I've mentioned before that I wasn't a fan of WCW back in the day, but I definitely respect it now as a significant part of my favorite era in wrestling. That said, The Giant will most certainly be a purchase for me and join the other WCW/NWO figures released so far.

I don't know what version of Big Show will appear in this wave, but I'm really hoping Mattel corrects the boots/lower legs on him. Ever since series 10's Show, Mattel has resorted to simply painting his lower legs black and adding enormous (in terms of width) to him in order to recreate his current tall boots and pads look. This looks terribly inaccurate and was done to the series 13 and Best of PPV series Big Show figures, too. Shame on you, Mattel.

The funny thing is it wouldn't even be that difficult for them to make him properly with existing parts! I grabbed a spare Elite Undertaker and did a little bit of kitbashing, replacing Show's legs from the knees down with Taker's and adding some Triple H knee pads. He loses just a tiny bit of height, but he's still taller than Taker and Kane and now looks way more accurate to his current boot/pad style. I can't see any reason Mattel can't deliver this.

I'm interested to see if they'll give the new version a closed right fist for his WMD finisher. Aside from that I'd like to see his camo attire with green boots and an angry face sculpt.

Damien Sandow
Holy crap, am I eager for this one! I think Sandow is fantastically entertaining both in the ring and on the mic and seeing as we're getting an updated Cody in series 20, we'll have Rhodes Scholars on the shelf by the Summer. I really can't wait for this release, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about this one.

Mattel would have to be crazy not to include Sandow's entrance robe, but how it will be executed makes me uneasy. Cloth would be ideal, however with Mattel's recent budget cuts it's very likely we'll end up with a plastic robe. If that is the case, I hope they mold it in a way which allows him to hold a microphone in a convincing manner. A tall order, maybe, but that's what I'm expecting.

A new Big Red Monster and I think it's safe to assume it'll be the same figure we saw in series 19 albeit with a slight deco change to include the red flames on the left leg instead of the multi-colored flames that appear on the E19 figure's right leg. I doubt he'll include another welder mask, more than likely a tag title belt if any.

The Rock
Hmm... which of these am I less excited about. The Rock seems to have replaced Cena for sheer number of figures in the Elite line. I can't say I'm at all interested in this. What can they do with him really that they haven't already done? Just change the deco on his tights?

Now, if you want me to tell you what I really want to see out of a new Elite Rock figure, well, I'll tell you. How about correcting his boots? That's right. Up until now his boots have been too short. The top strap should go over his calf, not halfway up like it does now. Also, his boots should be glossy. That needs to be addressed already. And while we're at it, how about given him accurate knee pads?

Ugh. I hated him when he was Prince Albert and he's not doing much for me now. Apparently he's not doing much for ANYONE now, except jobbing to Wade Barrett. Easy pass for me. I am curious to see if he'll get his whole entrance attire, though.
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