One of the most popular toy reveals at SDCC '15 was Mattel's zombie Hulk Hogan. Beyond being a fine bit of meta commentary, it was just a fun design. Sadly, that toy was scrapped in the wake of Grandpa Terry's racist comments. Quel dommage! But while that particular figure may be gone, the idea lives on in its own branded sub-line.
From his throne of bones, Triple H rules over the hordes of the undead as The Skull King - a name fully embodied by his new, rotted form.
Oh no! If you've been following along with our imaginary sword-and-sorcery fantasy storyline, it seems the dark wizard Marquiliam Khaliwey, ally of Uistean Caddo has defeated Vesk, the Hunter-barbarian from Nova Hantunscīr, using his Plague Conjuring or his Demonic Bending to turn Vesk into an undead slave! One who, judging by the bio on the back of the card, has continued to fight against his dark opponent in a new and terrifying way! See? Even toys of specific characters can be whatever fun thing you imagine once you get them home and open them. It's only the dull and unimaginative children who are limited by the text on the back of the cards. Your toy is whatever you want it to be!
The zombie figures are as green as pistachio ice cream, with carmine wounds. The underlying sculpt of this figure is the same as Entrance Greats HHH, though obviously some parts have been redone: the
flesh on his chest and neck have been ripped away, revealing the musculature beneath. There's another small wound (a bite?) on the right side of his waist, but it's not painted.
The coolest thing about the Hulk Hogan zombie was the way he was ripping his own chest open, the way he used to tear off his shirts; it took a familiar part of the character and adapted it to the new zombie reality. Triple H does the same thing. During a 2001 match with Chris Jericho, Trips famously injured his quadriceps muscle, tearing it completely free from the bone - watching the match, you can literally see the muscle detatch beneath the skin; it's kind of horrific (especially since he finished the match, and insisted that Jericho use his regular finisher, which puts a lot of real-life stress on the recipient's legs). In honor of that, Zombie Trips has a massive wound on his left thigh, with the skin all shredded and chunks of muscle in the wrong place.
Triple H often wears a skull mask as part of his entrance gear, so this figure adapts that by having his face be competely torn away, leaving just a bare skull with some stray bits of flesh still clinging to it. Since the mask is only the upper part of a skull, the toy has no lower jaw (though there are two bits poking down that look like they're meant to be part of the mandibles, but are painted red and green instead of bony yellow). The teeth are white, and the eye sockets are empty.
Though the figure is wearing rubber knee- and elbow-pads (painted with his iron cross and HHH logos, respectively), those don't really count as accessories, because come on, nobody is ever going to take those off. So really, his only pack-in is the blocky silver crown he's wearing.
As the figure's body is similar to the Entrance Greats toy, so is the articulation. In other words, it's good, but not quite as good as the Elite Collection Flashback figures. We're talking hinged ankles, swivel boots, hinged knees, swivel hips (how very 1998!), swivel waist, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head that has enough of a range of motion to actually look up and down, rather than just turning side to side. So he's flexible enough for a zombie king, but not quite enough to deliver Hunter's finishing move, the Pedigree (a double-underhook facebuster that takes forever to set up and is easily countered anyway). But if you're just looking to smash him roughly against other figures, you're all set!
The packaging for this line is pretty cool.
It's a narrow blister card with ragged edges, a speckled grey background with hands clawing at the sky, and the word ZOMBIES scrawled in red across an angled wooden plank. Since there are no photos of wrestlers as zombies, the back of the card has comicbooky art - a big color image of the included character, then black and white headshots of the other seven. The blister is different for each toy, thematically tied to their character: Triple H stands within an ancient arch, with a pile of skulls at his feet.
We may not get the Hulk Hogan we wanted, but the WWE Zombies line still has some good offerings. Even if you don't follow it, these make for fun Halloween displays.