The collection of wrestling action figures is a thriving sub-genre of the hobby, and whilst these figures have never been the focus of my own collection, I've always admired them from afar. Never one to resist a well-made figure in a bargain bin, this 7-inch WWE JAKKS Pacific figure caught my eye some time ago, but I confess lay forgotten until I happened upon a spoof news story recently - Ben Affleck to portray The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30 – which after I'd finished chuckling, reminded me to dig out this rather good Undertaker action figure.
I couldn't even begin to explain the full back-story behind Undertaker (real name Mark William Calaway) in the weird and wonderful world of World Wrestling Entertainment, but as the name implies, Kane the Undertaker started out exploiting a series of mortician-themed gimmicks, with supernatural references to the undead. In the early noughties, however, he briefly reinvented himself as a biker, riding to the ring on a motorcycle, and wearing sunglasses and bandanas. It is this short-haired, bandana-wearing alter-ego known as “Big Evil” that is portrayed in this action figure.
The first thing that one notices about the JAKKS wrestling figures is simply how solidly made they are – these chunky figures are heavy to hold and built to withstand play from children, not only grace the shelves of collectors. The attention to detail, however, is excellent and sure to satisfy the most demanding adult collector – the facial likeness, the careful paintwork, the tattoos, the creases in his jeans, even his shoelaces, are all spot on. The articulation is also impressive with seventeen points in a variety of ball, cut, hinged and swivel joints at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, knees and ankles. Most flexibility is concentrated in the arms and hands – the cut joints at the wrists and biceps turn a full 360°, whilst the ball joints at the shoulders allow him to raise his arms easily above his head and brandish his bloody shovel accessory, which is sadly missing from my loose figure.
This figure is date stamped 2003 on the soles of both feet with copyright licenses for both JAKKS Pacific Inc and WWE, but was actually issued in 2004 as part of the Ruthless Aggression “Ring Rage” Series 8.5 alongside Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, Rey Mysterio, A-Train, and Big Show. Collect them all... you KNOW you want to!