I’m a diehard wrestling fan having started out right at the beginning of Hulkamania in the mid 80s as ‘The Hulkster’ put down one dastardly foreign heel after another.
While most of the current WWE roster doesn’t do a lot for me, Rusev quickly appealed to me probably in part because he connected to my inner 9-year-old who cheered when Hogan would face off against the likes of Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik. Having Lana accompany him to ringside doesn’t hurt either. Cue gratuitous GIF of Lana (You’re welcome).
Although my Mattel WWE collection is primarily devoted to Flashbacks/Legends, when I saw Rusev’s Elite figure I had to break my normal policy and grab my first modern figure since The Wyatt Family. Did Mattel crush The Bulgarian Brute? Let’s find out.
Packaging: I remain a fan of the 2015 Elite packaging. I’m sure it will get changed somewhat for 2016 releases, but I hope the core elements remain specifically the line referencing the ring attire.
The blue and light grey color scheme is a great combination and stands out great on shelves compared to most 6″ lines which are predominantly black. I wouldn’t mind a bit more of a bio beyond the stats though so that’s one area it could be improved upon. I appreciate the different pictures of Rusev to give a better sense of how the figure should look compared to its real life counterpart.
Likeness: Going with an open-mouthed expression always invites trouble because it’s important to get it just right otherwise the figure looks less like he’s fired up and intense and more like he’s in sticker shock over the price of biker shorts. This figure is more of the latter. Rusev seems to be a hard guy for Mattel to get down just right as neither the Elite or the Basic Battlepack with Lana really have his likeness down. You can get that it’s Rusev, but the likeness isn’t going to blow you away with its lifelike quality. The cardback portrait features a more traditional Rusev expression so hopefully the next time Mattel takes a crack at him, they’ll go more for that look.
Mattel did a solid job with Rusev’s hair capturing his receding hairline without making it too exaggerated. I’m torn if they went a bit too heavy on the chest hair. It’s not Razor Ramon levels, but it is probably more prominent on the figure than the wrestler himself. The tights look good and Rusev’s Bulgaria tattoo is the right size and in full color.
Paint: Rusev looks to have a darker skin tone in real life than the figure, which has the basic regular skin tone of most figures.
The detail work on his tights had some minor nicks, but if you’re like me you’ll find your OCD flaring up every time the lettering doesn’t match up perfectly while he’s on display. Rusev’s back tattoo is good although I wish Mattel would carry the tattoo design all the way up the lower torso so when you pose him there’s not a gap in the tattoo.
Scale: Rusev is billed as 6’0″ but his figure is slightly taller. As you can see, he’s half a head taller than John Cena who’s billed at 6’1″ but is shorter than Roman Reigns who’s billed at 6’3″. (Note: This Cena is probably a bit too short as the Elite 3 version matches up better with Rusev)
Articulation: For the Elite figures, the main thing you want to be able to do beyond the normal standard moves of course, is the wrestler’s signature and finishing moves. Rusev poses a problem as his big move, The Accolade, is the camel clutch, which pushes the Elite articulation to its limits.
You can get a fairly convincing looking Accolade, but you won’t be able to have him fully cinch it in like Rusev does on RAW.
Accessories: Rusev surprisingly has a good amount of viable accessories from his occasional ring jacket, a Russian flag and the US title. Mattel went with his medal and steps in the colors of the Russian Federation.
I appreciate the gesture of new accessories since there are figures that come with the US title and the next Elite Rusev figure seems like a lock to come with the flag since it’s so important to his gimmick. The medal is one of the best Mattel has done with a softer rubber that lays down flat against his chest instead of hanging off like a thick hunk of plastic. It’s such a tight fit I was concerned I’d rip it off and it’s something you’ll want to be careful of when you remove it on and off.
Worth it? Regular Elites range in prices these days from $16 to $20 depending on the retailer. Rusev is a major player in the WWE right now thanks to his high-profile feud with John Cena so he’s an important character right now. While there’s some elements that aren’t perfect, Rusev is a star and I’m a big enough fan to be mostly satisfied with his figure.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Where you can get it? Retail shops everywhere are carrying Rusev. You can buy him now at Amazon and help support the site: WWE Elite Collection Rusev Action Figure
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