Oh Jakks Pacific, what were you sniffing back in the early 2000s? Actually, I bet it was rubber fumes, because that would explain what I’ve got to show you this edition of either Woeful Wrestling Figures or Action Figure Fight Club. (I’m torn on the rebranding)
Everyone, say hello to WWE Unleashed Booker T.
So while there were the standard plastic figures available and then some lamentable over muscled rubber figures that whilst looking like the stuff of Vince Mahon’s most private thoughts, had all the play value of a hardened lump of play-doh.
But somewhere in the middle came this peculiar line up of figures that mixed the two. The bottom half made of hard plastic to actually allow Booker to stand up (a low bar but one the Flex Em figure I reviewed failed to clear) but from the waist up, Booker here is a very flexible fella indeed.
Built around a bendable frame and covered in rubber, Booker is almost infinitely posable in the chest, neck and arms. This is wonderful in a wrestling figure as it allows for all sorts of complicated maneuvers, even the dreaded Dab.
The solid skeletal frame at the figure’s core makes for a very tactile and pleasing object to manipulate too, every micro movement is accompanied by a satisfyingly chunky “click” and despite its age still holds every pose perfectly. Even the worryingly pained expression on his (admittedly brilliant) headsculpt and static hands can’t hurt the aesthetics.
This all sounds good so far but unfortunately a few things spoil the party and leave Booker here as a curiosity and nothing more. Firstly, he’s HUGE. This figure towers over all others, meaning that for boring purists like myself it ruins the effect when Booker T can look down upon even The Great Khali. That maybe a minor gripe but it plays into my next grumble, the legs. Casting them in plastic and giving them the same articulation as a regular figure is great as it lets the him stand but somehow in an attempt to keep everything in proportion, Booker’s pins have been awkwardly stretched alone the Z axis and he looks like he’s resting on two cereal boxes. This and the glossy plastic clashing with the matt rubber of the top half leaves him looking like a botched prototype, something needing a little more refinement before release.
That’s a shame. There’s the kernel of an amazing wrestling toy here. With more love and attention, Jakks were potentially on to something with hyper articulated figures that avoided obvious and ugly joints. However just failing to stick the landing with the legs and the overall weird proportions make this yet another obscure footnote in the history of wrestling toys but a very admirable attempt on Jakks’ part. Maybe Mattel could have a better chance at nailing this thing.
Thanks for reading.
Martin S Dixon
See my inner thoughts happening in real time on twitter HERE.
Check out Wrestling in the Clinton Years & my short stories on kindle HERE
Help feed my caffeine addiction HERE