Of all the Mattel WWE figures in my collection, the one I still can’t believe that’s in my collection is Shinsuke Nakamura. I started really getting into New Japan Pro Wrestling when AJ Styles arrived. While I was familiar with The Young Bucks and Doc Gallows, Nakamura quickly became one of my favorites. There was nobody else like him in wrestling regardless of promotion.
I strongly considered investing in a Nakamura custom figure since there was no chance he’d come to the WWE. But somehow, I now have a WWE Defining Moments Shinsuke Nakamura figure. Time to start focusing extra hard for a Midnight Express with Jim Cornette thee-pack. Let’s see if the King of Strong Style gets the royal treatment with his first Mattel figure.
Packaging: As a Defining Moments release, Nakamura gets a more prestigious than usual packaging. I always love how some signature element of the wrestler gets incorporated into the packaging.
In this case, it’s Nakamura’s studs from his jacket. The bio is a little underwritten since Mattel went with his NXT debut as his ‘defining moment.’ It’s not like they could talk about his NJPW career so that has to suffice I suppose.
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Likeness: I’ve seen a lot of debate on the likeness. Nakamura is a hard guy to capture and give an expression that isn’t so tailored to one specific action (see Legends Series 2 Rick Rude). Mattel did a good job capturing Nakamura right down to the hair strands and expression. There’s some great personality in this head sculpt.
The torso choice works as Nakamura isn’t well defined and it helps give him some length.
Scale: Nakamura is 6’2”. That puts him taller than the 6’1” Sami Zayn, 5’11” Finn Balor and AJ Styles. The figure is a little taller than he should be by maybe an inch or so, which is likely due to the pants.
Paint: Nakamura doesn’t wear a complicated outfit. Either red or black pants with matching boots in addition to a mouth guard. I suspect Mattel went with a black mouth guard so some unsuspecting parent wouldn’t think he’s bleeding.
Articulation: It’s no secret I’m a fan of the Elite articulation model even if it has some room for improvement. Nakamura is more of a leg striker and attacks with his kicks so that’s important. I was able to get some reasonably good kick poses, but the style of the pants hinders straight kicks.
I was able to get Nakamura’s signature ‘Yeaooow!’ rope pose down, which was fun. I figured as much thanks to the limited shoulder range, but I wasn’t able to get Nakamura’s hands crossing pose at all.
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knee (double-jointed)
Accessories: Nakamura tends to go with either a tank top or a vest. Mattel decided to throw them both in so we get all of his viable accessories in one take.
As always I have to go with my APA example regarding accessories. Both Farooq and Bradshaw came with creative accessories — their signature table and office door. That was under the standard Elite line. For the DM line, I’ve got higher expectations. These shirts are cool, but nothing that we didn’t get with the Elite Road Dogg.
For the DM line, Mattel needs to do better. And no, the removable armband doesn’t balance things out in case you were wondering.
Worth it? Here’s where that Defining Moments treatment really comes to bite us. In no shape or fashion is Nakamura worth $25. Like Surfer Sting and Razor Ramon, Mattel has no problem charging extra for highly demanded characters.
DM figures frequently go cheaper months later — the Great American Bash Sting is available for a far more appropriate $11 — but I don’t think that’ll be the case here. I hate the price gouging here in making Nakamura a DM figure when you’re just paying the extra $5 for a packaging you’re likely to throw away anyway.
Rating: 9 out of 10
The DM price markup is annoying. I wish the Elite articulation model allowed for better kicks and forward shoulder movement, which is more apparent here. Still, I’ve got a Nakamura figure. Pretty cool.
Where to get it? Toys R Us has been knocking it out in terms of getting new figures fairly quickly now. That’s where I got mine, but if that proves too challenging, you can always grab him on Amazon.com.