Sting and Bret Hart are my favorite wrestlers. While Bret has gotten some great figures from both Jakks and Mattel, Sting has been a bit underrepresented. I was ecstatic when Mattel announced Sting from his Great American Bash 90 match against Ric Flair was going to be featured in the Defining Moments line. But when the prototype surfaced, that excitement largely faded. Upon opening up the figure, I realized I was too optimistic. This figure is comprehensively one of Mattel’s worst figures in the entire line, which frustrates me to no end.
Packaging: The Defining Moments line puts the figure in a very classy presentation. The black and gold color scheme offers a nice amount of elegance and showcases the figure in a unique way to really stand out on shelves.
I love the personalized touches like the stars and stripes along the back window and the stage-setting bio remains a favorite. In this case though, Mattel’s fact checkers were asleep at the wheel mentioning Sting’s blue and silver jacket, which is a pretty big goof especially for MOC collectors.
Likeness: Here’s possibly the biggest hit of the figure for me. Without the face paint and flattop, you’d be hard-pressed to find Sting in this likeness. Instead of looking fired up after getting chopped for the 12th time, Sting looks really confused. Mattel likes to use the open mouth sculpts, but rarely gets the rest of that look correct so the eyes and eyebrows look like Sting just woke up from a nap and he’s preparing to brush his teeth.
You know Mattel is going to crank out a slew of Surfer Stings so it was vital to get the head sculpt right. This was a major letdown that hopefully will get addressed quickly with a different head as quickly as the Sid Justice figure.
I’m also not the biggest fan of the body chosen. Sting didn’t have the super defined physique of his best friend Lex Luger, but he wasn’t doughy either. Mattel opted to use the Batista torso, but the Steve Austin or British Bulldog torso probably would have been a better fit.
Adding the rat tail was a nice touch however, and I’m curious if future Surfer Sting figures will keep or ditch it based on the appropriate era. Mattel initially released an assortment of the figure with incorrect laced boots, but a corrected laceless version is already making its way to stores. I’m glad Mattel fixed that instead of paying lip service to fans and never getting it done.
Scale: Sting was billed at 6’2” just a bit taller than the 6’1” Ric Flair and shorter than the 6’4” Lex Luger and 6’5” Barry Windham. Sting’s head is oversized, which throws off that accuracy of the scale. It’s big and sits low in the neck, which still makes him taller than Flair, but not as short as he should be compared to Windham or Sid Vicious.
Paint: The GAB look has always been a nightmare for those collectors not as talented with customizing. The stars and stripes look was one of Sting’s more complex face paint designs and combined with the red and white striped Scorpion logo, this is Sting’s look I’ll be more forgiving than most for paint problems. The scorpion came out perfect, easily the best aspect of the figure.
Finding a completely perfect jacket will probably take some searching, but that’s probably less important than a figure with a good face paint sculpt.
Articulation: Defining Moment figures feature no more or any less articulation than your typical Elite figure. With Sting, that means you won’t have any problem slapping on a Scorpion Deathlock or nailing a Stinger Splash.
With the goofy torso selected for Sting, he can’t bring his arms close to the side so he’s got an ape visual going on. I’m not sure why Mattel gave him an open left hand. Sting was a high-level brawler so fists definitely would have been more appropriate. My figure had very loose hips so holding wide poses was a challenge. Honestly I appreciate pretty much everything that could go wrong with the figure being wrong.
Accessories: Sting has one accessory, which is great or lousy depending on your display preference. If you just want Sting to stand on your shelf, you’re OK to an extent. Want more and you’re going to get frustrated quickly.
Sting gets the same stiff style plastic jacket we’ve seen before with a Bret Hart exclusive. The jacket has very little give so you can’t have Sting posed with his hands on his hips like that iconic pre-match pose behind the sparkles. The jacket’s lack of pliability almost makes for one of those nerve-wracking experiences where I was concerned I was going to break Sting’s arms off just from removing the jacket. If Mattel wants to persist in ditching cloth, they really need to find a more flexible material.
Considering this look is from Sting’s first NWA World Championship, it was also disappointing Mattel didn’t include the WCW World title we’ve seen with figures like the Defining Moments Ric Flair.
Worth it? After getting characters like the APA with a table and door and Lita with two shirts, the $26 price tag seems more than a little excessive here. Mattel has been coasting on the Defining Moments name for a while now essentially charging for in demand characters and a fancy box without that something extra to moderately justify the cost. Considering the origin of the line, which featured cloth attires and title belts, there’s no way Sting isn’t a victim of some serious price gouging here.
Where to find it? Toys R Us is starting to become the first and best option for new WWE figures as it’s ‘scooped’ the competition in getting the figures to shelves. Eventually, you’ll be able to find Sting at Target, Wal-Mart, etc. Amazon.com also has him in stock as well.
Rating: 2 out of 10
This figure is an outright disaster. That’s especially disappointing as the WCW Crow version Sting is one of my favorites in the entire line. I’d naturally be more forgiving on Sting figures, but this one is just completely wrong on too many levels. Hopefully Mattel just totally overhauls everything on future Surfer Sting figures. Otherwise I might just stick to customizers.