This review is so overdue I could call it retro. Mattel has given us several Shawn Michaels figures from his storied career, but his mid-90s stint had largely gone uncovered. That was the sweet spot for HBK as he was in his first run’s peak and arguably the top performer in the company. It was 50/50 with Bret Hart. Back when this magical store called Toys R Us existed they had an exclusive WWE Network Spotlight line.
Mattel used it to get some highly demanded repaints and re-releases out to the masses and this time, we got the long awaited Summerslam 95 HBK from his ladder match rematch against Razor Ramon. Let’s see if this figure reaches any new heights.
Packaging: I’m not the biggest fan of the Network Spotlight Packaging. It’s a little too heavy on the red for my liking and misses the multi-color accents of the regular Elite line. I really like the bio, which explains the attire and encourages fans to revisit the match on the WWE Network.
Bizarrely, the Shawn Michaels portrait on the side and the back is a combination of his current day look with his 1995 attire. It looks pretty bad and the lazy approach for one of the biggest names in the history of the sport is disappointing.
Worst case, Mattel could have just used an actual picture of Michaels from 95 as opposed to a slapped together rendering. After all, it’s not like collectors won’t want more Michaels figures from the 95-98 era.
Likeness: Continuing that previous sentiment, this is hardly the best figure representation of HBK for this time period.
Of the numerous HBK head sculpts, the one chosen for this figure is probably the weakest. Again, HBK is popular enough and has so many viable variant options that getting it right with a new headsculpt was more important than just getting the figure out.
This headsculpt has a decent likeness, but it lacks any of the swagger HBK had in abundance. Hopefully at some point Mattel will make a new mid-90s HBK with a beard to fully capture his late 94-95 look.
Paint: The Summerslam 95 attire has been one of the more heavily requested of Michaels’ mid-90s looks for a good reason. The blue/black color scheme stands out and looks really sharp.
The boots are the standard kickpad version we’ve gotten on other HBK figures. Likely due to the shift in colors, they appear much bigger on the figure. They’re lacking all the cool little detailing and look unusually plain. Shawn also wore kneepads with this attire and their absence makes the boot height bigger as well.
For those losing sleep over it, all the HBKs come with chest hair painted. Since that’s not consistent from figure to figure, that’s not something Mattel needs to be overly concerned with as I’d much rather have that paint application money used on the boots.
Scale: The figure clocks in at the right height for Shawn, who is 6’1” — an inch taller than Bret Hart and definitely smaller than the 6’11” Diesel and Sycho Sid.
Articulation: Unlike the 1995 Royal Rumble Heritage figure, this is an Elite figure so you can execute all of HBK’s moves including Sweet Chin Music. I was kinda annoyed with the missing details, but it was fun re-enacting all of Shawn’s big moves.
WWE Network Spotlight Shawn Michaels has:
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knee (double-jointed)
Accessories: In homage to his Summerslam 95 ladder match, HBK comes with a ladder. I thought the ladder was the wrong size, but it’s not as short as I originally thought. It could stand being a few rungs higher though and it’s not the ladder you’ll be using for the big high spots of the match. Still, I like having some differences in the ladders anyway.
As usual, I wish Mattel included all of Shawn’s ring gear. That was a big part of his presentation. Since he was the intercontinental champ for this match, adding the belt would have been a nice touch as well.
Worth it? I’m a sucker for any and all 90s HBK attires. If Mattel created a better boot mold and nailed the HBK head sculpt I’d happily buy as many Michaels figures as we’ve gotten Macho Man and Ultimate Warriors. The figure is now going for around $45. That’s a lot for a plain HBK figure with a spotty likeness.
Rating: 8 out of 10
This is a fun 95 era HBK, but a better likeness, boot detail and ring gear would have put it over the top.
Where to find it? Unless your time machine works and you can go back to a time when TRUs were still in the U.S., you’re going to have to go the Amazon.com route.