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Bret "The Hitman" Hart

WWE Elite Collection
by yo go re

The last time we wrote about Bret Hart, he was a cartoon. Now it's time to get real.

Hart emerged from Calgary's Stampede Wrestling, coming to WWE as a tag team with his brother-in-law, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart. Together, The Hart Foundation won the World Tag Team Titles twice, and became one of the most popular pairings in WWE. From there, The Hart Foundation separated, and Bret became and instant sensation as a singles star. He defeated Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental Championship in August of 1991, and became a two-time holder of the title at WrestleMania VIII, where he defeated "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in a memorable match-up. Hart won his first WWE Championship in a non-televised live event in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, forcing Ric Flair to submit to the Sharpshooter. It began the first of five WWF Title reigns for the man who boldly declared, "I'm the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be."

I already had a Bret Hart action figure, thanks to Jakks Pacific's Classic Superstars line, but Mattel's wrestling toys are so much better than any that have come before, it seemed worth the upgrade. Bret's wearing his classic pink-and-black ring gear: a black top with a pink heart outlined above the stomach, and pink pants with white and black stripes down the outsides of the legs and four small black hearts on his right thigh. He has separate elbow- and kneepads. The body chosen for this figure is appropriately sized, unlike the completely jacked Classic Superstars version: he's muscular, but he's not overly huge - remember, Bret was instrumental in getting Vince McMahon to believe (if only briefly) that "small" wrestlers could be as big a draw as the giants.

Jakks' figure had a mediocre likeness, and while this one is definitely better, it's still not as good as some Mattel have done. I'm not quite sure what would improve it - maybe if his slick hair came more around the sides of his face, rather than being completely behind him? Maybe if his smile was a bit wider? I just don't know.

Since this figure is part of the Elite Collection, he has great articulation, moving at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, boots and ankles. None of the joints were stuck, even the ankles (which are notoriously stiff on a lot of Mattel WWE product. While it's enough for him to do his part of his trademark finisher, the Scorpion Deathlock Sharpshooter, actually applying the move to another wrestling toy will depend on the articulation that toy has, not Bret.

We do get some accessories: a pair of black sunglasses (not the sort he'd give away to a fan at ringside, regular ones) and one of the World Tag Team Championship belts. The belt is the classic design that was used for nearly two decades, from the mid-80s up until the Brand Extension in 2002 (when Raw and Smackdown became two different promotions, rather than just twwo different shows). Basically, if you can name a tag team worth naming, this is the belt they wore. So it's a perfect inclusion for the Hitman and very welcome!

Bret "The Hitman" Hart and his partner, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, were available separately in Elite Collection Series 43, and actually weren't too difficult to find (unlike some tag teams we could mention). Between them and the Hall of Fame Jimmy Hart, Mattel lets you build a quality Hart Foundation.

Bret "The Hitman" Hart | "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart | Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart

-- 12/28/16

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