When I decided to burn my wrestling DVD collection to Blu-Ray, I went a little further back to before I was even born to get some of the classic matches from the Golden Age. One of the initial feuds that really caught my attention was Superstar Billy Graham vs. Dusty Rhodes. I remembered Graham from his latter days in the WWF, but watching him in his Hulk Hogan-inspiring days was something.
The Superstar has long been one of the more requested figures for old school collectors so I was excited to add him to my collection. He also fills another gap in my Survivor Series teams section. Let’s see if Mattel did justice to one of the WWF’s greatest champions.
Packaging: I like the newer packaging mainly because it’s something different. I’m sure I’ll get tired of it eventually. Superstar’s packaging is full of goodies and really shows you’re getting a lot with him.
The sides feature two pics of Superstar. The bio sums him up nicely, but because he’s the collector’s edition figure in wave 78 none of the rest of wave are shown making for a lot of wasted space.
Likeness: Graham features a terrific likeness to his older days from his WWF comeback in 1987. Mattel went with the super muscular torso and arms for him, which was the best fit for a guy with 23” pythons.
Scale: Superstar was 6’4” putting him taller than rivals like the 5’10” Bruno Sammartino and 6’1” Bob Backlund. The tricky thing is Graham doesn’t have a ton of viable rivals from his face run in the WWF as Mattel still hasn’t made Butch Reed or the One Man Gang.
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Paint: Graham rocked tie-dye pants and Mattel did a pretty good job with the technique. I love their choice of white on purple as it’s not a color scheme that’s very prevalent with many figures.
The white probably needed a few more passes to avoid so much bleed through, but the effort is appreciated. I really like the work done on Graham’s two-tone goatee as well.
Articulation: Superstar was all about the power moves and tossing his opponents like a rag doll so he doesn’t need the most dynamic articulation scheme. Fortunately, most of his power moves can easily be achieved with the exception of a very credible looking full nelson. Maybe if he were an Ultimate Edition figure?
Superstar Billy Graham has:
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knees (double-jointed)
Accessories: Graham comes with easily one of the best accessory options Mattel has ever done. He comes with an alternate head based on his earlier 1970s run when he was the WWWF champion.
Graham’s physique was back to his 70s prime when he returned to the WWF in the late 80s so this is a perfectly reasonable swap. As for the head itself, the sculpt is amazing and looks as precise as if Superstar was wrestling today. Mattel is doing some killer work with their True FX and both head sculpts are the technique at its best.
Essentially we’re getting two eras in one with this figure, which is unprecedented for Mattel — let’s not count the earlier Andre the Giant attempts — and is something I hope they explore more of in the future.
That’s not all though as he comes with a cloth tie-dye t-shirt, which works for either era as well. He comes with a pair of swappable gripping hands, which theoretically could be used for the full nelson.
Additionally, he comes with a pair of sunglasses and a plastic boa. Basically everything short of a Kango for the 70s look is included with this figure, which really is one of the more impressive offerings from Mattel we’ve gotten in a long, long time.
Worth it? Graham is the standard $20, but this is one that is worth tracking down and paying a bit more to acquire.
Rating: 10 out of 10
I almost feel like going over a 10 for this one. Mattel went above and beyond with this figure resulting in one of their best offerings for fans of two generations in one set.
Where to get it? Elite 78 isn’t in stores yet, but I didn’t feel like the headache of trying to track down Graham at Wal-Mart and got him from Ringside Collectibles.