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Superstars unpackaged: 2015 action figure firsts
For most people, holding an ultra-realistic replica of yourself in the palm of your hand would be kind of creepy. For WWE Superstars and Divas, it ultimately becomes part of the job. Each year, members of the current roster and iconic WWE Legends alike are added to Mattel’s expansive action figure line, and in meeting their miniature, articulated selves, emotions — and sometimes tears — pour out of even the most hardened in-ring competitors.
In 2015, NXT standouts, WWE Hall of Famers and even a member of the McMahon family were among those rendered in plastic by Mattel’s detail-oriented designers for the very first time. Join WWE.com as we look back at 2015’s action figure firsts, and find out what several of these Superstars had to say about their toy debuts.
Stephanie McMahon (Basic Series 51, Elite Series 37)
Stephanie McMahon is always dressed to do what’s “best for business,” and that goes for her debut Mattel action figure, too.
“I’m in my suit, I’ve got my heels on, and it’s certainly appropriate given my position of power,” Stephanie told WWE.com.
The Billionaire Baroness’ power-suited Mattel debut was followed up later in the year by an Elite Collection version, which recreated Stephanie on the night of SummerSlam 2014, where she stepped back into the ring after 11 years and defeated Brie Bella. With a grin, Stephanie affirmed that this is her favorite of the two figures.
“It’s fun to notice all of the little things on my costume. I can’t even believe that the lace on the side of my gear is represented,” Stephanie said, turning her Elite action figure in her hands. “From the way my hair was done to the color of my eyes, every little tiny detail is reflected in these action figures.”
Stephanie has been created as an action figure several times over the years by other toymakers, but none have matched the realism of Mattel’s offerings.
“It’s exciting to see the evolution of my character and my likeness,” Stephanie said. “As technology evolves, the ability to create more true-to-life action figures comes right along with that. It’s awesome. It’s really cool to see action figures that look like me, and that look like our other Superstars and Divas.”
Charlotte (Basic Series 55)
As the daughter of two-time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, Charlotte could easily be jaded when it comes to action figures. After all, The Nature Boy’s been a mainstay on toy shelves since the early 1980s. Yet, when the second-generation Diva held her own action figure for the first time at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con International, she could hardly hold back the emotions.
“I never would have pictured this for myself growing up,” Charlotte told WWE.com. “I watched my little brother carry around my dad’s [action figure] our whole childhood. It’s a ‘pinch me’ moment. The detail work, the tattoos, the gear … it’s amazing.”
Rusev (Basic Series 47)
No League of Nations action figure display would be complete without the hulking former United States Champion Rusev, whose scowl graced toy shelves for the first time in 2015 as part of Mattel’s Basic Series 47.
Barefoot and clad in blue-and-black gear, this figure perfectly captures the imposing physical details that made The Bulgarian Brute so intimidating upon his main roster debut.
“The chest hair is accurate for sure, as well as my big shoulders and my broad chest,” Rusev told WWE.com. “It shows my big thighs and my overall musculature, so good job overall.”
Paige (Elite Series 34)
She may have been snubbed for Diva of the Year at the 2015 Slammy Awards, but Paige still had reason to celebrate in 2015 thanks to an Elite Collection action figure that not only represented the first-ever toy version of the Diva of Tomorrow, but commemorated her Divas Title-winning debut the night after WrestleMania 30.
“I loved that it came with both the Divas Championship and the NXT Women’s Championship. None of the other Divas have both of those titles in their package,” Paige told WWE.com.
With so many WWE collectors snatching up her debut action figure in 2015, Paige hopes that her miniature doppelgängers are wreaking havoc on other Diva action figures all over the world.
“Charlotte’s debut figure obviously deserves a P.T.O.,” Paige said of her former friend. “As a matter of fact, they all do. I’m not gonna lie to ya.”
Doink the Clown (Elite Series 34)
Several toy companies have produced action figures of cult favorite ’90s weirdo Doink the Clown before, but none have been as intricate as the version Mattel released last year. Packaged with a bucket accessory — into which you can add water, confetti or whatever else the maniacal Doink might dream up — this miniature Doink (and we’re not referring to Dink) comes with three interchangeable hair pieces, so you can display different versions of the master of the Whoopie Cushion on your toy shelf.
Neville (Basic Series 52)
Before donning a cape and soaring onto the main roster the night after WrestleMania 31, Neville was dropping jaws at Full Sail University as a workhorse NXT Champion, holding the coveted title for a record-shattering 287 days. The high-flyer’s debut Mattel action figure represents The Man That Gravity Forgot during his days at NXT, which is most noticeable in his silver, gray and yellow ring gear with a Union Jack flag representing his native Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Neville was almost speechless when describing how it felt to become an action figure for the first time — yet another affirmation that he had finally arrived in WWE.
“That’s one of the things that everyone has on their bucket lists,” the 2015 Breakout Star of the Year told WWE.com. “When you grow up a wrestling fan and you’ve got the action figures, to actually be an action figure, it’s surreal. It’s awesome and it’s something I’m very proud of.”
Bo Dallas (Basic Series 49)
It’s safe to say that the most “inspirational” Superstar on the WWE roster prides himself on being goal-oriented, so when Bo Dallas saw his debut WWE action figure for the first time, he couldn’t help but feel a swell of accomplishment.
“Looking at the figure is like looking in the mirror. It’s a tiny me!” Dallas exclaimed to WWE.com. “Everything about the figure is unreal. The detail at Mattel is second to none.”
In fact, the former NXT Champion’s first Mattel action figure is so realistic, he’s hoping it’s used as an aspirational tool as parents look ahead to 2016.
“If you want to start the New Year Bo-Lieving, I think picking up a Bo Dallas action figure would do your kids a great justice,” Dallas said with a smile.
X-Pac (Elite Series 33)
Mattel action figure collectors were able to add X-Pac to their personal DX Armies in 2015 when the Bronco Busting Degenerate arrived as part of the toymaker’s Elite Collection Series 33.
Clad in his green-and-black ring gear and wearing his signature bandana, X-Pac’s figure also comes with the sought-after European Championship, a D-Generation X T-shirt and a face sculpt featuring his tongue protruding disrespectfully from his mouth. Hey, DX was never exactly big on manners.
Sting (Defining Moments)
Perfect for creating dream matches or re-enacting classic WCW bouts, Mattel’s Defining Moments Sting was a must-have action figure in 2015 — especially considering The Vigilante’s incredible impact at this past year’s WrestleMania, where he battled Triple H.
Complete with a removable trench coat and a black baseball bat accessory, this Sting is based on the WCW icon’s appearance at Starrcade 1997, the night he conquered the nWo to become WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
Lana (Battle Pack Series 34)
It was a rollercoaster of a year for Lana, whose tumultuous split with Rusev, brief romance with Dolph Ziggler and TMZ-worthy surprise engagement to her Super Athlete ex-boyfriend made heads spin in 2015. Appropriately enough, it was in a two-pack alongside her burly fiancé that The Ravishing Russian made her action figure debut, sporting an eye-catching red dress that had collectors chanting “We Want Lana.”
The intense popularity of this was explained succinctly to WWE.com by Lana herself: “Because I’m so ravishingly beautiful.”
We can’t argue with her there.
Emma (Basic Series 49)
She might have ditched the bubbles and the dancing in favor of a devious partnership with Dana Brooke in NXT, but Emma’s debut Mattel action figure serves as a wistful reminder of a more innocent era for the Melbourne native.
“Mattel pretty accurately designed the ‘Innocent Emma,’ and I think everyone should collect that one,” the dichotomous competitor told WWE.com in reference to the labels she has been assigned on social media. “I’m sure there will be a so-called ‘Evil Emma’ coming out soon, so WWE fans will want to own both sides of me.”
Tito Santana (WWE Hall of Fame Elite Series)
Exclusive to Target, Mattel’s debut action figure of Tito Santana boasts an incredible head sculpt of the iconic WWE Hall of Famer, and includes a miniature replica T-shirt that looks straight out of a 1980s WWE merchandise catalog. And thanks to Mattel’s already released Rick Martel action figure, nostalgic collectors could finally reunite Strike Force on their toy shelves in 2015.
Adam Rose (Basic Series 50)
Nowadays, Adam Rose doesn’t seem to remember where he parked the Exotic Express, but that doesn’t mean the self-proclaimed “Social Outcast” wasn’t at least a little celebratory when he described how it felt to become a Mattel action figure for the first time in 2015.
“When you decide to embark on the journey of becoming a WWE Superstar, becoming an action figure is one of the things we all think about,” Rose told WWE.com. “Seeing that become a reality is one part of the dream coming true. Not only that, but now my kids have an action figure [of Dad] they can actually play with, so it’s awesome.”
Junkyard Dog (Elite Series 33)
We’ve been known to belt out “Grab Them Cakes” at the most inappropriate of occasions, so we were pretty excited when the first-ever Junkyard Dog action figure found its way into the WWE.com offices.
Featuring the same red, white and blue ring gear and intimidating steel chain that JYD sported at WrestleMania III, this detailed figure more than does the fan-favorite WWE Hall of Famer justice.
Tyler Breeze (Basic Series 53)
Tyler Breeze is a tough critic — especially when it comes to other people trying to capture his image — but even Prince Pretty himself thinks his debut Mattel action figure is selfie-worthy. That is, of course, if they ever make selfie sticks that small.
“As you’ll see on the figure, the boots aren’t just traditional boots. They have the furry tassels, which I wear myself,” Breeze explained to WWE.com. “One thing I’m waiting for that they didn’t do is the fur vest, which, I believe, is something they’re looking into.”
A fur-vested Breeze figure? We wonder if a VIP Lounge playset is far behind …
Sami Zayn (Basic Series 50)
Even though Sami Zayn was sidelined for much of 2015 with a serious shoulder injury, it was a landmark year for the former NXT Champion, who emerged in Mattel’s WWE action figure line for the very first time as part of Basic Series 50.
Clad in red-and-black ring gear and featuring an expressive face sculpt of the Montreal native, this Zayn was sought after by collectors and kids alike, but something tells us his forthcoming Elite Collection action figure will be even more popular. After all, it will be the first Mattel action figure to come packaged with the NXT Title.
Stardust (Basic Series 51)
Okay, so there have been multiple Cody Rhodes action figures from Mattel over the past five years, but since Stardust has engulfed the mind and body of the second-generation Superstar, Mattel’s debut Prince of Dark Matter is considered an entirely new entity — much like its face-painted inspiration.
Upon glimpsing his “first” action figure, the extraterrestrial oddity took to Twitter to offer his thoughts on Mattel’s handiwork.
Um, yep. We’re looking.
Razor Ramon (Defining Moments)
Toy collectors, say hello to The Bad Guy!
After joining the ranks of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014, Razor Ramon became part of Mattel’s prestigious Defining Moments series early last year.
Oozing machismo, this highly detailed figure comes complete with signature purple ring gear, an Intercontinental Championship and a removable set of gold chains that would make Mr. T blush.
Barry Windham (WWE Hall of Fame Elite Series)
In a Target-exclusive boxed set, the final member of the original Four Horsemen, Barry Windham, rode into Mattel’s action figure line as part of the retailer’s WWE Hall of Fame series.
Donning his signature black vest and red-and-black boots, this mean-mugged action figure of the decorated veteran means business, and makes us eternally grateful that that the former United States Champion didn’t debut in this line as The Stalker.
Summer Rae (Basic Series 50)
It seems like ancient history now, given Summer Rae’s subsequent dalliances with The Miz, Rusev and most recently Tyler Breeze, but the leggy beauty introduced herself to the WWE Universe at large as Fandango’s dance partner back in April 2013. And that’s how Mattel introduced her to the action figure world.
Although Summer doesn’t necessarily think fondly of her tasseled attire during that time — likely due to the explosive nature of her split with Fandango— she couldn’t help but gush about her first-ever action figure, which hit shelves last spring.
“My family thinks it’s really weird that you can buy me in stores as a doll, but I loved it,” Summer told WWE.com. “My hair looks on point. I love that they captured my golden locks.”