With the Rock n Wrestling era losing popularity, Vince McMahon needed to turn to a new generation to keep his fanbase invested. Stars like Bret Hart, Diesel, Razor Ramon and Owen Hart took the forefront, but arguably no one soared higher than The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. While he’s remained a fixture of the WWE since, the New Generation marked Michaels’ entry in the main event scene. And it’s been an era of his career that Mattel has largely ignored with its Elite line until now.
As part of its exclusive line, Wal-Mart gets to release a Flashback Series Shawn Michaels figure. For those collectors who got the Ringside Collectibles exclusive figure there’s not a ton of difference here. Even the color scheme is fairly similar.
The big deal for completists is this is the attire Shawn wore during his epic WrestleMania 10 ladder match with Razor Ramon. It’s important enough to warrant another figure even if Mattel didn’t fix all the issues from the previous release. It does highlight Mattel’s oversight in not getting us a WM 10 Razor yet.
Packaging: This Flashback packaging is pretty good although it’s still a bit too much red for me and overpowers the other colors. The figure is presented clearly and we can easily make out the Build A Set piece.
That’s not always the case with figure/set add-ons from previous Mattel packages. The side package features Shawn from that era although there seems to be some heavy photoshopping.
The write-up on the back is odd as it doesn’t focus on the ladder match or where Shawn’s career was at that point. Still, I’m glad Mattel made some effort here.
Likeness: This is one of Mattel’s better HBK head sculpts. The only issue I’ve got is Shawn’s hair up top was higher and fuller. For some reason this sculpt is flatter. Mattel also opted to sculpt the earrings on instead of making them removable, but they should be much longer as they nearly reached his chest.
I love the cocky expression as it really captures HBK’s demeanor nicely for this time frame. And the body parts chosen are accurate for his size and bulk.
Scale: Michaels is 6’1” so he’s looking up at just about everyone from the 6’7” Razor Ramon and 6’10” Diesel. Mattel doesn’t tend to screw up part choices and scale once they get them right. He is a tad shorter than the 6′ Bret Hart, which is weird and unlike Mattel.
Paint: Mattel went with a darker hair color, which is better than the mustard green shade they use for blonde hair. In hindsight that was pretty terrible.
The one frustrating part of this figure is the paint scheme is so close to the original RSC exclusive. This time the figure has the actual broken hearts. The tight design wasn’t more intricate and the boots look bare with only the silver accents, but this is accurate to the outfit.
One shortcut I wish Mattel didn’t take was the omission of the white for the interior of the gloves. That helped make the look and just going with flat black is not just wrong, but boring. This is one of Mattel’s cleanest paint jobs, which is very impressive for a predominantly white costumed figure.
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Articulation: There’s no surprise with the articulation as the Elite mold does the job. This allows for great range of motion and you can convincingly pose Shawn to accurately hit all of his signature moves. As usual, I’d love a butterfly joint for that added level of movement, but this articulation model is pretty solid.
Mattel did go with the swivel elbow instead of the traditional setup they use for most Elite figures. It didn’t impact the articulation with Shawn, but it was worth noting.
Shawn Michaels has:
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
Accessories: The Flashback figures actually have a decent amount of accessories. Shawn comes with his sunglasses and detailed vest. The vest is an original sculpt and captures the diamond shaped opening with a lot of the sculpted elements like the crosses and mirror circles. This is really nice work from Mattel and helps make the case for this figure.
It’s too bad Mattel couldn’t also include a chaps sculpt as well. Shawn wore them enough that they’d get their money’s worth out of adding.
The coolest accessory is the curtains stand for the Build A Set Heartbreak Hotel set. They’re just slightly smaller than they should be, but you may be able to fudge the height a little more with how far you place the pegs in the base. Oh man would it have been sweet if Mattel could have worked up a better way to convey the neon in the sign. This is a very fun set and I’m happy to see Mattel trying out these mini playsets.
Worth it? I got Shawn for $18. That’s lower than the regular Elite figure and it comes with a massive accessory. That’s a win in my book.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
If you don’t have the RSC HBK, this is a no-brainer, but even if you do Mattel added enough extras to make this double dip worth it.
Where to get it? This set was exclusive to Wal-Mart and is now going for insane prices on Amazon.