An Extremely Thorough Review Of The WWE/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mashup Action Figures
There are several times in my life where I have tried to stop buying action figures, for all the reasons that you'd expect. They're expensive, they take up space, and while I'm not above making Storm Shadow drop a Stone Cold Stunner on Batman while I'm on the phone and need something to do with my hands, it's not like I actually spend enough time playing with them to keep them form just sitting on my desk gathering dust.
But every time I try to get out, something brings me back in, and nothing has ever gotten me as hard as the new line of Ninja Superstars figures from Playmates, in which WWE Superstars are combined with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And they are amazing.
So first things first: The two figures I got were provided as review samples by Playmates, and rather than taking requests, they filled their review requests at random. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to snag the one that I really wanted --- Michelangelo as "The Macho Man" Randy Savage --- but the other one that I got was the nearly inexplicable Donatello as the Undertaker. It seems the search for Leonardo/John Cena will continue.
Second, unlike most figures, the appeal of these things has nothing to do with the articulation, the accessories, or even the designs. The thing that's so amazing is that they actually exist. They are very real. They are in my home right now.
I mean, pop culture mash-ups are certainly nothing new, but even the most jaded fan has to admit that it's a whole lot easier to draw a picture of Finn and Jake catching Pokémon in the Tardis, or even to put that design on a t-shirt than it is to actually secure the licenses from two different companies and then design and produce a line of action figures based around the concept. The very idea is staggering, and that's before you get into the question of who even decided to put that much effort behind uniting these two very distinct ideas.
Personally, I suspect the process went a little something like this.
It makes about as much sense as anything else.
But let's talk about the figures themselves. In terms of the designs, they're exactly what they say on the box, with the weird effect of looking less like a mashup and more like the Ninja Turtles just got ringside tickets for Monday Night Raw and decided to cosplay as their favorite wrestlers. And really, despite the fact that I would've preferred to experience the Hustle, Loyalty, and Katanas of Leo Cena, it's really interesting that I got the two I did.
Donatello just pretty much looks like Donatello wearing a sleeveless trenchcoat and a hat, and maybe experimenting with facial hair. Michelangelo, on the other hand, is a full-on fusion with Randy Savage, something that's really helped along by combining his ninja turtle mask with the Macho Man's signature bandana. As much as it still looks like cosplay --- a pretty great idea that I'm not opposed to at all --- Mikey's the one who went all out.
Beyond the designs, the first thing you'll notice about the figures is the scale. If you're the kind of person who buys both Ninja Turtles and WWE figures, you'll notice that the mashups are --- appropriately enough --- right in the middle between them.
I think the idea here is that they're more-or-less in scale with the WWE figures, but the Turtles' weird proportions make it pretty difficult to tell when they're interacting with anyone except other Ninja Turtles. The feet alone.
The weird bit, though, is the accessories.
Donatellotaker comes with a scythe, and while that's not actually something that the Undertaker carries, it's also pretty easy to forgive on account of being more-or-less just a thematically appropriate modification to his bo staff. The shovel that he comes with is a little more appropriate given the Undertaker's history of "Buried Alive" matches, and the genuinely hilarious Turtle Power sticker on it is a great little nostalgic reference to the kind of nonsense that came with these toys back in the '90s.
Unfortunately, he also comes with the worst accessory of the bunch, which was also the one that I thought would be the best:
The title belt is, to put it bluntly, trash.
It's frustrating, because in the days since the old WCW figures that all came with belts that only vaguely resembled the actual championships, the belts that come with the figures have been really great. They're often painstakingly recreated to look as close to the real thing as they can at a small scale. This one, despite being based on one of the best belt designs of all time --- it's that ten pounds of gold, daddy! --- is just stickers on black plastic, and I had this thing out of the package for about five seconds before the sticker started peeling off.
The one bright side about this is that I was initially disappointed that while Leo Cena comes with the United States Championship belt and Donnietaker comes with the World Heavyweight Championship, Mikey Savage doesn't have the classic Intercontinental Title, which actually is my favorite belt design of all time. That it's this disappointing, however, actually makes it kind of a relief.
Or it would be, if Michelangelo's accessories weren't the most mystifying collection of blunt objects I think I've ever seen.
Admittedly, these are all things that one would find in a wrestling arena -- sort of -- but the Macho Man was not exactly known for competing in the kind of no-disqualification "hardcore" matches that would make these appropriate. Admittedly, it would be a lot harder to capture Savage's signature moments in action figure accessories without going to a title belt --- a tiny little package of coffee creamer is far from ideal --- but these are just weird. Especially that ladder.
The concept of a Ladder Match --- where a title belt or other prize is suspended above the ring and the wrestlers have to climb a ladder to get to it --- is a pretty easy one to recreate with action figures, but if you're going to do that, why would you use a tiny stepladder? Are we meant to recreate thrilling scenes of Randy Savage/Michelangelo the Ninja Turtle getting something down off a shelf that was just slightly out of reach?
In the end, though, that doesn't really matter. Like I said above, the most compelling element of these figures is their very existence, and the fantastic designs that they bring to the table fulfill that promise perfectly. At the end of the day, the only question is whether these allow you to have Michelangelo drop a top-rope Flying Elbow onto his wrestler-cosplaying brothers.
And you can.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles WWE Ninja Superstar figures are available exclusively at Walmart for ~$19.99. These figures were provided by Playmates for review.