For most of the 80s, I was a Hulk Hogan guy. Then I got exposed to the NWA and instantly became a fan of The American Dream Dusty Rhodes. He didn’t have Hogan’s physique and wasn’t a dominant world champ, but his average man appeal was endearing.
Mattel did a nice job with the WWF Polka-Dot era Dusty, but my collection was in desperate need of a more serious Four Horsemen-battling Dream. Finally, Mattel delivered with the WWE Hall of Fame Retro WCW Ring set. I could take or leave the ring, but to get Big Dust, it was all worth it. Let’s check it out.
Packaging: Mattel does a nice presentation for these specialty rings. The figure is displayed clearly so you can catch any tampering or swapping. The front has an old school in action picture up front and a hole in the lower left to test out the spring-loaded mat.
I’m already a big fan of the Hall of Fame blue and gold color scheme. The back is another action pose with a reference to Dusty Rhodes’ bionic elbow. I wish Mattel had been able to work in a bio though.
Likeness: There’s no mistaking the head sculpt is Dusty Rhodes. The likeness is terrific. The sculpt shows Dusty giving a mild smile. I’m not entirely sure this was the best expression choice, but it’s definitely The Dream.
The hair is done really well. It’s got a lot more detail than some of the softer hair sculpts we’ve seen from Mattel. This body fits Dream’s body type perfectly. It’s not overly flattering like some of the other figure physiques and fits in well with the rest of the line.
Scale: Standing at 6’2”, Dusty stands eye to eye with allies Animal, just slightly taller than the 6’1” Ric Flair and Arn Anderson and shorter than the 6’4” Lex Luger. That’s some of Mattel’s best adherence to scale yet. That’s always been one of my favorite aspects of the line and I’m glad to see them continue sticking with it even at this stage in their run with the line.
Paint: There’s not a whole lot of paint requirements here. The DR initials on the tights are done well and the detailing on the boots is flawless right down to Rhodes on either side.
The white elbow tape is painted just right to line up on either side of the black elbow pad. I would’ve liked for Mattel to pay that same attention to the kneepads as Dusty frequently doubled up on them to help protect his weaker knees. Even the red splotch is done well.
Articulation: This bigger body type is sturdy. The leg articulation is kinda tight meaning Figure Fours are going to be a little tricky, but otherwise I was able to get most of The Dream’s moves down. As always, I’d like a little more forward movement from the shoulders as that would allow for a more convincing sleeper hold and those kinds of moves.
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knee (double-jointed)
Accessories: Even as a pack-in figure, Mattel gave Dusty a useful accessory. He gets the WWE version of the Big Gold Belt. The belt is made of a softer leather like material. It’s not going to go around Dusty’s waist, but hangs over his shoulder great.
Ring: This ring is pretty tiny. Lining four figures up across the ring makes it pretty small. Mattel actually has a clever easy set up for it. One post has the ropes attached and you just have to catch the ropes into the rest of turnbuckles. The spring mat works fine although it’s a bit bouncy for simple set ups.
Kids will probably really enjoy it. This is a ring that’s perfect for travel or if you have an extremely limited amount of display space. It was a little disappointing that the WCW ring apron only goes on two sides instead of all four sides like normal though.
Worth it? At $40, this is a pretty reasonable price for a standard $20 Mattel Elite figure and a decent ring. That’s not a steal by any means, but fits in with expectations for what this kind of set should cost. As with a lot of Target exclusive items, you’ll probably be able to find this on a sale at some point unless you were super pressed to get it like me.
Rating: 9 out of 10
I’d prefer to just get Dusty without needing the extra ring. I’d been perfectly happy with the belt and maybe a bullrope. On his own Dusty would warrant a perfect score This is a package deal though and as a result, the set is nicked down a bit.
Where to get it? This is a Target exclusive so that’s your main option. You can get it from this link here.