I try to keep things positive on here. I make a concerted effort to only make posts about stuff I like, and share art that I think has some value.
I love professional wrestling. The art of crafting a live fight with spectacular moves where nobody gets hurt in such a way that the audience doesn’t question the realism of the combat is truly underrated. Even amongst wrestlers, the very art of pro wrestling is often underrated, in favor of style.
The outside-the-ring shit I don’t much care about. I mostly focus on what these colorful characters do from bell-to-bell. And sometimes it is magnificent. And other times, you can SEE what they were trying to do, but they don’t quite get there.
That is the story of today’s post.
All Elite Wrestling is a wrestling promotion that is owned by Tony Khan, the son of the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Young Mr. Khan is a lifelong wrestling fan, and in 2019 he signed a bunch of the biggest non-WWE talent in North America to his new promotion. They got a TV deal on TNT every Wednesday night, and have aired a new show every week for nearly two years.
I’m not a fan of every match, or even every wrestler on each show, but I really love that all these folks have a place to go to get work and exposure. I see AEW’s existence as nothing but a positive for the professional wrestling industry.
Two of the standout stars, to me, are the Lucha Brothers, Pénta El Zero M (formerly Pentagón Jr., name changed for legal reasons), and Rey Fenix. I hadn’t heard of either of these two, until “All In,” a 100% independent pay-per-view wrestling event, held in the fall of 2018. Pentagón Jr. took on the legendary Kenny Omega in a match that truly shocked me. 25 and a half years into being a wrestling fan at the time, and I was being surprised again.
Penta immediately shot into the short list of people I needed to pay attention to. His “Cero! Miedo!!” (No Fear) catch phrase and hand gestures were simple, but since he was a luchador, it had just enough international flair to put it over the top.
When AEW’s weekly TV show started a year later, I was introduced to Penta’s real-life brother, Rey Fenix. Again, someone who I had never heard of, and blew me away with how clean and crisp his high-flying maneuvers were.
So when I learned that Jazwares was going to make action figures of the various AEW wrestlers, I was on alert. Unfortunately they started coming out during the COVID-19 pandemic, so my trips to retail stores were EXTREMELY limited. it wasn’t until very recently that I saw any figures in person. But there was the pair of Lucha Brothers, and I kinda knew I had to pick them both up.
If you’re a wrestling fan who collects modern action figures, you’ll be familiar with Mattel’s WWE Elite series. The AEW Unrivaled figures look to match that style, with all the same articulation. They’re basically in the same vein as Marvel Legends, Star Wars Black Series, Power Rangers Lightning Collection, etc., etc.
The figures look really decent. They definitely resemble their in-ring counterparts. Penta’s arms seem a little skinny to me, but that may just be more accurate than I’m used to.
But there’s a couple things that don’t work for me.
First, their legs are just TOO long. Like, they’re actually disproportionately long. But maybe that’s okay if it’s a line-wide thing. That level of disproportionality can actually make for more dramatic poses and action scenes. So, okay, I’ll let that slide.
Next, like many action figures of the modern era, both Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix came with extra hands. But in the case of both figures, one of the “alternate” hands was just the same hand that was already attached to the figure! For both characters! Is that how they’re supposed to come? I thought it might be a packaging error, but what are the chances it would happen that BOTH of the figures I bought would have the SAME production error? But! It’s just extra hands. They both still have more than enough hands to go around.
Finally, the biggest issue for me is their hip joints: they’re loose.
Again, if it was just one of the figures, I’d chalk it up to an unfortunate production error. But it happened to both of them, right out of the package. Those wobbly hips mean that the figures can’t stand up without a lot of patience and coercion. Even in the photos, they’re mostly leaning on either each other, or my WWE Basics Neville figure.
And since most of the time, the thing I do with my Legends-esque figures is pose them on a shelf, it makes these figures kind of useless to me. How am I gonna pose them if they won’t stand up?
And that’s really unfortunate. As I mentioned earlier, I’m really excited by AEW and what they’re doing as a company.
In the end, this experience showed me that Jazwares continues to make sub-par action figure.
I can SEE what they were going for, but they didn’t quite get there.
Still, I’m glad I bought them. I’m happy to have little representations of two guys that reminded me what I loved about wrestling, even if they have trouble standing up.
I truly hope that the extra hands and hip problems just happen to be on my two figures, and nobody else has had these issues. But after this first experience with Jazwares wrestling toys, I’m in no rush to go back.