But one thing Mattel does do well is wrestling figures. Sure, not all of them are perfect – but they pump them out at a frighteningly fast rate, they consistently improve the quality and the pricepoint has been maintained at a reasonable level. So today, we’ll take a look at their most recent version of WWE’s terrifying heel Braun Strowman.
I’m pretty newly returned to wrestling, so I haven’t really seen Strowman's ascent to stardom. But from a newcomer’s perspective, he’s pretty likeable – and he’s getting a bit of a push at the moment, having recently won the 50-man Royal Rumble. Unlike certain other wrestlers we could name, he seems to have both the charisma and in-ring skills to leverage it successfully.
The likeness in the sculpt is quite good, much better than the (okay) paint would suggest. I’m sure there are already customisers out there already working on better paint jobs, but I’m happy enough with what I have. Normally I prefer more neutral faces on action figures, and. But for Strowman I’ll make an exception; he is a big unit who spends a lot of time yelling at his opponents.
This makes for a fun figure, but he’s certainly not perfect. Though his articulation is mostly pretty good, his shoulders appear to be on pegs, rather than swivels. His arm movement is considerably more restricted than…well, any other Elite figure I own. This is a problem, because unlike many of his bigger WWE brethren, Strowman can actually wrestle, rather than simply delivering big hits. Additionally, the beard means it’s all but impossible to turn his head.
Paint is solid, especially on the tattoos. It’s a shame he doesn’t have any stubble on the sides of his head, but at this price point I think it’s a forgivable admission.
Accessory-wise, he comes with an ambulance door (not pictured), and a stand with a stylised portrait of Strowman on it (also not pictured). The stand is handy, but I’m so-so about the portrait that it comes with. Personally, I preferred the backstage diorama look from previous series. What would be far better is interchangeable hands. I’m sure I’m not the first person to express this sentiment, but it would really take things to the next level. One open hand and one fist is okay, but it would be good to be able to get a bit more variety -- especially considering the guy's catchphrase is literally "Get these hands".
Braun Strowman is a solid figure that looks great on the shelf, but the lack of shoulder articulation definitely hurts him. Also, given Strowman's inclusion in this week's Money in the Bank match and his overall popularity, it seems more than likely that we'll see more more Strowman merch in the near future. Recommended for diehard fans, but not strictly necessary if you picked up the Series 52 version.