Initially written off as a relic of a less PC time Umaga managed to overcome the dated Samoan savage gimmick to be one of the strongest challenges in John Cena’s WWE title tenure.
It’s crazy to think that it’s been eight years since Umaga died, but in his short time in WWE, he made an indelible impression on the fan base as one of the more dominant and feared acts of the post Attitude Era.
Even more astonishing is the fact that guys of Umaga’s generation are all almost all out of the WWE with the exception of The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and are now viable Flashback candidates. As one of the first ‘modern’ Flashback entries, Mattel couldn’t have picked a better one than the Samoan Bulldozer.
Packaging: Just like the Elite 41 Lita, Umaga doesn’t have the normal Flashback distinction with a Legends brand accent color. That’s probably because he’s recent enough for most collectors Mattel didn’t want to appear too dated with his figure by lumping him in the same category as guys whose heyday was in the 80s and 90s. It does give Umaga’s packaging more of a generic look.
Likeness: It’s all about the expression with Umaga. No one wants a sedated looking monster heel and Umaga looks suitably crazed and ready to destroy his opponents. There’s a ton of personality there fully capturing the essence of the character.
I’m very glad Mattel gave him a unique right hand thumb mold to capture Umaga’s Samoan Spike finisher.
Scale: At 6’4″ Umaga was slightly taller than stars like the 6’1″ John Cena and shorter than the 6’5″ Randy Orton. Mattel botched the scale somewhat as Umaga is far too tall and closer in height to the 6’10” Kane than Cena.
Paint: Umaga’s complex tattoos from the chest, stomach down to the left calf are all faithfully captured. The logo on his tights are also applied neatly. There were lots of opportunities for paint issues, but Mattel did a sensational job right down to the silver grill teeth plating.
Articulation: Even with the wider body mold, Umaga has the same articulation we’ve come to expect with the Elite line.
Thanks to his wider frame, Umaga can hold poses a little better and can support other figures easier, which is great for those who want to set up in-action photos.
Accessories: Umaga comes somewhat lacking here as he’s packed with the same sarong previously seen on Rikishi. It wraps around him well and fastens reasonably snug around his waist. I typically like cloth for the ringside wear, but it’s not a big deal in this case. It fits snugly and isn’t something that ruins the look since it’s made of plastic.
In fairness, that’s all he wore to the ring, but he would have been an ideal candidate to include a little extra like a steel chair or some other weapon.
Worth it? Umaga is in this odd time frame as he probably won’t appeal to older fans who started tuning out during The Reign of Cena and he’s been gone long enough that kids are less likely to beg their parents for his figure. The lack of accessories don’t help push him over the edge, but his $19 price tag might make him more of an impulse purchase.
Scale botch aside, this is a great figure. For fans of that era, Mattel did a tremendous job and this is well worth picking up.
Where to find it? Catch the right Walgreens or Gamestop and you can still find Elite 40 in some stores. If you don’t feel like tracking him down, he’s available now at Amazon.com for $18.