You’d have to be a kid growing up in the 80s to fully appreciate how big a star Mr. T was in the middle of the decade. Mr. T’s popularity coincided with the peak of Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, but most importantly for the WWE, the rise of Hulkamania.
Hulk Hogan broke through to the mainstream with his appearance in Rocky III, which featured Mr. T as the indomitable force Rocky had to overcome. Back when he had his finger on the pulse of pop culture, Vince McMahon got the inspired idea to pair Hogan with Mr. T in the main event of the first Wrestlemania. We all know how that turned out and as a result, Mr. T has forever been linked to Hogan even joining him in his debut in WCW.
For its 2020 San Diego Comic Con WWE exclusive, Mattel revealed a pretty big coup with its first Mr. T figure. Let’s see if we need to pity any fools with this exclusive.
Packaging: I love this packaging as it recalls the old school VHS WWF video tapes I’d rent at my local video rental spot Erol’s. Mattel always goes all out for the SDCC WWE exclusive figures and while it’s not as extravagant as the Slim Jim Macho Man packaging, this is pretty close.
Likeness: Mr. T has one of those likenesses that requires more work to mess up. Mattel did a great job here with a gritted, serious expression that captures his intensity while rendering his trademark mohawk perfectly.
The parts chosen work well too as Mr. T wasn’t some bulky heavyweight compared to the 80s WWF wrestlers.
Scale: Mr. T is 5’10” so he should be much shorter than the 6’7″ Hulk Hogan and still looking up to the 6′ Rowdy Roddy Piper. He’s a lot closer than he should be to Piper, but Mattel doesn’t have an intermediate height between a Rey Mysterio sized figure and the average height guy so that’s what we get. He does look pretty accurate to Hogan.
Paint: I’m editing my wrestling tapes and watched several episodes building up to Wrestlemania, but I can’t find the exact source material for this outfit. The closest I came was a Saturday Night’s Main Event in November 85 where Mr. T accompanied Hogan to ringside against Cowboy Ace Bob Orton.
That’s when he wore blue striped tights — no kneepads or gold boots — but at least the main aspect of the attire is intact.
It is somewhat controversial and questionable that Mattel opted for this alternate attire instead of Mr. T’s most essential WWF look — his Wrestlemania 1 appearance. It is a little odd to go with this random look especially since Mattel’s next Mr. T figure is based off his Wrestlemania 2 boxing match against Rowdy Roddy Piper.
That controversy aside, Mr. T looks good. No inexplicable lighter skin tone, the stripes on his pants lined up nicely and the gold boots pops with the red and blue laces.
Articulation: Mr. T has the standard Elite articulation so you can pull off all of his dangerous submission moves. Whoops, sorry wrong guy. Mr. T had basic wrestling skills down and there won’t be any of his moves you’ll have trouble pulling off. The kneepad is my preferred style as it doesn’t hinder any of his leg movement.
Mr. T has:
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knees (double-jointed)
Accessories: Mr. T has a cloth camo jacket that recalls his classic look over the years. This is just about accurate from the longer short sleeves.
The only thing missing are the pockets along the chest.
He’s also sporting a big red weight belt with a big gold T. The red studs on the sides also form a T in another cool touch.
He also comes with a super gaudy mass of gold chains around his neck. Mattel did a great job of the sculpting as it’s a pretty dead on to what T wore. Ideally, the gold chain would sit just a bit lower as its natural resting position is around his chin instead of his neck.
Mr. T has a big gold clasp armband on his right arm and a “smaller” link band on his left arm. For alternate display options he’s got another set of fists. I always like that especially since the default hands have the rings on them.
Worth it? Mr. T clocked in at $40. That’s a lot for one figure even with the exclusive price tag. I’ll add in a few points for the packaging and original cloth jacket and chain pieces. Does that make him worth twice as much as a regular Elite figure? It probably depends on your love of Mr. T.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Mr. T is a pretty essential member of the 80’s WWF roster. I wish he was in his Wrestlemania attire, but otherwise this is a really great figure worth adding to my collection.
Where to get it? For about a half hour, Mr. T was available on Entertainment Earth and Mattel Creations’ Instagram page. That’s better than some exclusives. Now to get him you’re going to have to go down a more challenging secondary market route, but Mattel has already revealed more Mr. T figures are coming. Amazon has him in stock for a not too terrible markup.
*A very special thank you to Mattel Creations for providing this set for review.*