I don’t talk about collecting wrestling figures a lot, because I don’t collect a lot of wrestling figures. I bought dozens of the old Jakks Pacific “Bone-Crunchin’ Action”-style WWF figures in the 1990s. I bought even more of the “Titan Tron Live”-style figures that succeeded the BCA line. And I even bought a handful of the “Ruthless Aggression” and Classic Superstars-style toys.
And after JAKKS changing figure styles 3 times in a decade, I was burned out. How many times am I going to be expected to re-buy my favorite wrestlers? So when Mattel got the license in 2010 or 2011, I bailed. That was the perfect jumping-off point for me. Sure, I got a couple of WWE figures as gifts, and specifically bought one or two that I found for cheap. But really and truly, I was out.
And then for Christmas 2021, a friend got me this WWE Elite Legends “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn figure:
The WWE Elite Legends line is a Target-Exclusive series that highlights wrestlers from the 70s, 80s and 90s, with a little bit of the early 2000s thrown in for the last couple waves. “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn was part of the wrestling faction D-Generation X, and there was one time where all the members of DX dressed up in army fatigues to “invade” a rival wrestling promotion.
But the best part about this figure was that you could remove the DX t-shirt and the camouflage pants, and he had his wrestling gear on underneath!
I learned that a “DX Army” Triple H figure was already announced for the next wave of WWE Elite Legends, along with “Road Dogg” Jesse James and Chyna in the wave following that. While he wasn’t announced, obviously the last member, X-Pac would have to be in the wave following those two, just to complete the set.
So a couple months later, I ordered a Triple H from Target.com, and he arrived at my house:
At one point during the “invasion,” Triple H got on a megaphone to just be generally loud and obnoxious, but also to ask how much people paid for their tickets to the competing show. More than one person said they got their ticket for free. Yikes. Underneath the army clothes, Triple H is wearing the tights he debuted at the Royal Rumble 1999 event. Almost a year after the “invasion,” but sure. Close enough. Plus, I don’t know that Mattel had released HHH in that particular pair of tights before, so it still counts as a new figure.
My HHH figure has an imperfect joint on the right hip, which is too bad. I don’t think that’s universal, I probably just got an isolated incident. He’s gonna rock the army pants all the time anyways, so I’ll never see it.
Next up was is Triple H’s bodyguard, Chyna:
No assault rifle for Chyna, which is fair enough. It would be weird to buy a wrestling toy with a big ol’ gun like that.
Chyna always just wore black spandex and leather, so even though this figure isn’t quite as accessory-heavy as the others, it’s just as accurate. And it doubles as just a regular ol’ Chyna figure, which is good. She fell out of favor with the WWE, so there haven’t been a lot of Chyna toys released until just the last couple of years, after her passing. I’m glad WWE has decided to honor her legacy in pro wrestling, even if the ending of their relationship wasn’t the most pleasant.
For the figure, I appreciate that her torso-joint is under her top, where her breasts overlap her ribs. It hides that bit of articulation perfectly, while still allowing her to be put in more dynamic poses. It’s a much better solution than the big ol’ door hinge-looking joint on the other figures in the series.
“Bad Ass” Billy Gunn’s tag team partner, “Road Dogg” Jesse James, came out the same time as Chyna.
Road Dogg always wore his shirt in the ring with some baggy pants tucked into his boots. I like that Mattel opted to go for the hairstyle that specifically popped out of the removeable helmet piece, rather than his usual cornrow hairstyle, as it’s more accurate to the DX Army Invasion. But it does mean that he looks a little bit weird when he isn’t all geared up. I’m not complaining — Again, I’m always going to leave the full gear on these guys, so it’s not a huge loss for me.
And finally, X-Pac just came out at the end of July:
X-Pac had actually just come back to the WWE from the rival wrestling promotion D-Generation X were “invading,” WCW. They played that up during the invasion, as he had gotten injured on the job, and was released from his contract early via a FedEx delivery, rather than being told in person or over the phone — A fact he was VERY bitter about at the time.
X-Pac was always wearing jackets when he first came back to WWE, as he still wasn’t 100% healthy and ready to wrestle, so I’m glad they included that with this figure. Unlike the fabric shirts the other three men have in this set, ‘Pac’s D-Generation X shirt is a rubbery plastic. That’s weird, but I’m sure it was more functional than having the cloth shirt under the leathery jacket. His camo pants are the same, though. He’s even got his little sunglasses!
X-Pac wore green for most of the time D-Generation X was together, but in the summer of 1999, he was a tag team with Kane, who wore so much red that he was nicknamed “The Big Red Machine.” Since that’s one of the looks for X-Pac that Mattel hasn’t made yet, that’s what we’re got here.
Below are a couple of shots of all 5 figures together, both in their wrestling gear, and in their “DX Army” attire:
Glad to finally have all 5 of these wrestlers together, 8 months after receiving Billy Gunn for Christmas.
Below (as long as it remains on YouTube) is a 1-minute video recapping the DX-WCW Invasion, for those of you who read my website but don’t know anything about wrestling stories from the spring of 1998:
WWE, D-Generation X, Triple H, X-Pac, Chyna, and Road Dogg Jesse James, all related characters, names, and likenesses are trademarked and owned by World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Except when they aren’t — Somehow, Monty Sopp got to keep the name Billy Gunn when he left WWE. Look, pro wrestling blurs the line between fiction and reality, so trying to figure out who owns what is a complicated mess.