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The Legion of Doom

WWE Elite Collection
by yo go re

Well, it was bound to happen eventually: Mattel got me to double-dip on wrestlers I already owned. I really thought it would be someone else, though, not these guys.

Dominating tag team competition for nearly 20 years as part of the Road Warriors, Hawk, along with partner Animal, was a favorite in the WWE Universe, known for ending interviews with a trademark "OOOOOOH, WHAT A RUSH!" The pair first teamed up in 1983, and their devastating "Doomsday Device" finishing move - Hawk clotheslining an already weakened opponent sitting on Animal's shoulders - immediately captivated fans worldwide. They dominated wherever they went, the AWA, NWA and eventually, WWE, where the won the World Tag Team Championship at SummerSlam 1991. They returned to WWE five years later and recaptured the World Tag Team Championship, solidifying their place in WWE history.

Since these guys ar a tag team, and were both released in Series 30 of the Elite Collection (plus since we've already reviewed Hawk and Animal when Jakks released them), we'll just cover them both at once in the same review.

When Paul Ellering put two competitors from his stable together in the early 1980s, few had any idea that Animal and his partner Hawk - the Legion of Doom - would dominate tag team competition for much of the next two decades. Initially known as the Road Warriors, and with a legendary finishing move - the Doomsday Device - the duo won champions in the AWA, NWA, and WWE, becoming the first team ever to take titles in the era's three major promotions. The pair left WWE in 1992, only to make a dramatic comeback five years later when they captured the World Tag Team Championship against the Godwinns, then followed it up with a victory in a battle royal at WrestleMania 14. After Hawk passed away in 2003, Animal teamed with Heidenreich, winning one more tag team title in 2005 and dedicating his victory to Hawk.

When Jakks made their Hawk, he had his tongue hanging out. All their Hawks, in fact - they only ever made one Hawk-head, and then recycled it every time they released a new figure. Mattel went for a more restrained look, but they kept what was important: his reverse-mohawk. Since this isn't the fifth time Matty's made a Hawk, he's got his most familiar facepaint: a red triangle under his left eye, and a big black... slash... thing... over his left.

On the other hand, Jakks' Animal was pretty calm, while this one seems furious. Or maybe he's smiling. Either way, he's baring his teeth. Look at Mattel, releasing toys that actually go out of their way not to duplicate things that have been done by other companies! Animal's still rocking his weird mohawk/ponytail combo haircut, but the bits that come up over the ears don't connect to his goatee. His facepaint is black, red and yellow, with a spider on his forehead.

Also, kudos to Mattel for making Hawk and Animal look like two different people even below the neck. Michael Hegstrand was bodybuilder before becoming a wrestler, so he has a very defined physique. In fact, he has the same torso as Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Same legs, too, though they don't look as ridiculously skinny here. Is it because they're painted black? I thought that was supposed to be slimming. You've lied to me, fashion magazines I've never read! He does have smaller arms than Snuka, so maybe it's just a visual contrast thing? The legs don't look small because they're not being shown up by the arms?

Meanwhile, Joeseph Laurinaitis was bigger than his partner, but never quite as ripped, so the toy follows suit. This torso isn't reused from any of the Mattel wrestling figures I already own, because not even the Iron Shiek was this wide. He's still muscular, though, and his arms and legs are bigger than Hawk's. Both Road Warriors are wearing black trunks with a red pattern on the hips, and a red waistband with the Legion of Doom name printed on it in black. Despite their different-sized limbs, there would be no sense in molding the same thing twice in nearly identical sizes, so they both wear the same boots.

And also the same armor. "The Road Warriors" were obviously meant to cash in on the popularity of the movie, so they started out dressing like bikers, and the costumes just got crazier over time, until they were wearing football pads that had large spikes jutting out of them. The sculpt on the pads is not as crisp here as it was on the Jakks releases, but it's still pretty nice. And hey, we also get the forearm pads, which is something Jakks never did! The pads all just slide into place, there aren't any straps or anything that you need to worry about breaking.

Both figures have the same articulation - the same articulation the Elite Collection figures always have: neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, boots and ankles. Hawk's ankles simply refuse to move - I was trying get them moving, and the foot popped off the joint before it would even move a millimeter. That is stuck stuck! You can still get them to perform their signature finishing move, the Doomsday Device: Animal would pick an opponent up, sitting them on his shoulders, and Hawk would dive off the corner post and clothesline the poor chump down to the mat.

These aren't the first Hawk and Animal figures Mattel has made. The pair were included in Series 1 of the WWE Legends line, though those were wearing different costumes, and had different torsos that were less suited to their individual owners. As usual, the "throwback" figures continue to be the hardest figures to find in any specific series of the Elite Collection, so the worst thing we can say about Hawk and Animal is that they're going to be hard to get ahold of (and that they don't include title belts).

-- 02/11/15

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