Mint in Package – Ultimate Warrior Figures by Jakks Pacific & Mattel (w/a Diatribe and Some History)
If you know me or have followed this site over the past few months it’s no surprise I’m a wrestling fan, although I may be more of a critic now who just wishes we were back to the Attitude Era of WWE or at least having some competent story lines and writing.Perhaps the reason I don’t stop watching is my nostalgia tied to wrestling. I loved it as a kid. I didn’t watch other sports and my cousins and my relatives were so into hockey and other sports (and stats) and it didn’t resonate with me. I had no interest in any of it. I didn’t bond with my dad over any sports, nor was I encouraged to really play or go into any, as I would rather watch cartoons, listen to music, and be creative instead of competitive.
With wrestling, I suppose I had larger than life characters that were role models – as in you could connect to a performer, cheer for them, and want them to succeed to overcome all odds, which made you believe you could, too. I knew it was scripted, but I still knew what they did could hurt and cause injury.
I think the biggest thing missing from wrestling these days is the surprises. With the Internet and spoilers, you know when people are backstage, you know when people get signed and are going to potentially show up, you can read booking odds, and you can find out almost anything. It’s so hard to surprise the wrestling community these days and that’s why I think people like me just want a good, logical story line with wrestling as the means to the end.
I have to say that although I collect lots of toys and action figures, I don’t have very many WWE/WWF figures. I did growing up. I had those classic LJN rubber figures that had no articulation and I also had many of the Hasbro figures that had an action feature. I really dug those guys, but as I tried to move away from wrestling in my early teenage years and more into musical discovery/independence, having a social life, and focusing on gaming, I sold them all (as well as my vintage Masters of the Universe figures, TMNT, and others that I kick myself in the ASS for, but that’s part of TRYING to grow up).
As you can see from the title of the article and have gotten down this far (thank you), you may guess that The Ultimate Warrior is a character that I loved as a kid. I was never a Hulk Hogan fan, for the same reason I can’t stand Roman Reigns right now or John Cena. I HATED that Hulk could be pummeled outside the ring and be off for weeks and then come back just to get his ass beat in the ring but then “Hulk Up” and win within seconds with his bullshit moves – same with the other two aforementioned wrestlers. It took me out of the disbelief bubble you’re supposed to be in when you watch wrestling and it pissed me off as a kid and it pisses me off now.
I knew as a kid that The Ultimate Warrior was somewhat limited in his wrestling skills just like Hogan and that he could win after a bit of a beating, but there was something different about him. His theme music, with that heavy metal feel, made me excited. He went in to kick ass and usually got the job done quick (and yes, I know why now, but didn’t know he was so winded and not as up to par as someone like Mr. Perfect -who SHOULD have been a WWF/WWE World Champion). His promos also made no sense but they were amazing due to the energy. Watch a compilation HERE!
In my 20s, it was interesting to see my heroes turn into something else. James Helwig, who played The Ultimate Warrior character, actually changed his name to Warrior. He believed that what he became was bigger than ever imagined and carried a positive message. Then during his short lived public speaking engagements, you heard some insulting and homophobic remarks come out of his mouth. He insulted Bobby “The Brain” Heenan when he was battling cancer and basically said he deserved it. He also feuded and made his thoughts known on past colleagues from the WWF (WWE), like Hulk Hogan. Warrior shooting was interesting to hear as you got gossip on other wrestler’s actions backstage. That’s one word against another, I suppose, so I guess you could only take Warrior’s perspective with a grain of salt.
Let’s not forget WWE’s DVD, The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, where WWE released it to capitalize on The Warrior’s popularity. Unfortunately all the DVD featured was interviews doing nothing but damage The Warrior’s time in WWE and exposing when Warrior held up WWE for more money at Summerslam 1991. Do I agree with all of Warrior’s business practices? No, but I could see where Warrior was coming from with Hogan getting so much while Warrior was trying to be touted as the next best thing. At least WWE released another compilation and retrospective righting the wrong.
You can look up more history on The Ultimate Warrior here. I didn’t want this article to go into a full history on him, but I think it’s important for me to mention some of these issues and why I connected to him as a kid to understand why I still have figures of him and why nothing will really take away that feeling I still have when I watch a match like the one with The Ultimate Warrior against Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI. It’s not a technical wrestling match, but it was so special with having a good guy vs. a good guy and me just wanting The Ultimate Warrior to kick Hogan’s ass.
OK, my diatribe and history lesson is over. (although probably still not as complete and in depth as I would like it to be). I have three figures of The Ultimate Warrior and they are still in the package and hang in my drum room with other figures. I’ll quickly run down when they came out and what they represent in the history of The Ultimate Warrior.
WWE Classic Superstars Series 3 Ultimate Warrior by Jakks Pacific (2004)
This Ultimate Warrior is a repaint of the one they used in Series One. This one features a green and pink colour scheme and a yellow Intercontinental Championship belt. The box displays the figure really well and features a picture of the toy on the side, the other figures in the series on the back, and a small bio about The Ultimate Warrior.
The head sculpt is well done, but maybe a little too thin in the face and I think the hair could have been done a bit better, perhaps not as high up. The tassels are all sting and cloth and it adds a higher end collectible feel to the figure.
Down below is a closer look at the knee pads, boot tassels and the Intercontinental Championship belt.
WWE Classic Superstars Series 12 Ultimate Warrior by Jakks Pacific (2006)
This Ultimate Warrior figure is an homage to the times he wore a robe/cape to the ring. Once again, the figure is in a clear display package that showcases the figure on the side, another bio, and the other figures in the line.
One of his most memorable robes/capes was the one he wore when facing “The Macho Man” Randy Savage at Wrestlemania VII. I can’t remember when he wore this specific outfit, though. This figure is a variant because he was packed backwards to show off the cape whereas the majority of the figures sold faced forward.
Below are some closer pictures of the graphics on the back on the cape, the old school WWF Championship belt (I love the old school eagle belt!), and a close up of the face.
WWE Legends Series 4 Ultimate Warrior by Mattel (2010)
This Ultimate Warrior captures the moment when he captured the Intercontinental belt from The Honky Tonk Man at SummerSlam 1988. The packaging shows the figure more clearly than the other two figures I have and feature a picture of The Ultimate Warrior in the background. I really like the aesthetics of this packaging as the figure is clearly visible, posed, and it’s just great to hang on the wall.
The back of the packaging features a bio for this time in Warrior history and features images of other wrestlers featured in that specific series. I think they should have pictures of the figures instead of the photos of wrestlers done up in a funky art style because it would entice me to purchase others if I really dug how they made them.
I think Mattel nailed the look of The Ultimate Warrior with this figure – the hair, face, and the belt are all so well done. It think it’s also important to note they got the colours and design of his costume from that night done right. The abdominal articulation is a welcome addition and the cut is very clean so it doesn’t take away the overall clean look of the figure.
There are many other Ultimate Warrior figures made throughout the years – all with the sculptors and companies doing their takes on the figure and capturing different costumes and times in his career. I’m not a completest when it comes to something like collecting The Ultimate Warrior figures as there are many that I’ve missed that go for hefty prices on the collector’s market and I find that a few are all I need (unless people want to give me more! HA!)
I’ll end by stating, for those who didn’t know, Warrior was brought back into the WWE family in 2014 to be inducted into the Hall of Fame for Wrestlemania XXX weekend. He appeared on Raw the next night as well to cut a promo about life and how all the fans were The Ultimate Warrior, not just him. It was really well done and he was signed up for a Legend’s contract from what I remember. Unfortunately, he died the very next day from a heart attack. It was so weird because his speech seemed so cryptic about breathing your last breath.
I was saddened as I think Warrior was really going to be redeemed and potentially some part of the WWE programming here and there down the road in some manner. Unfortunately, we’ll never know. He was a childhood hero of mine. He made me believe I could be bigger than life. He made me believe that being unique was a strength and not a weakness. He made me believe.