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"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka

WWE Legends
by yo go re

Mattel's WWE Legends figures are supposed to be about memorable moments. Sometimes that could use a little more research.

One of the most popular stars of the early 1980s, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka returned to WWE in 1989 amid much anticipation and fanfare. With his fast-paced, high-flying style, Snuka was again a hit with fans. In 1991, "Superfly" was the obvious choice to take on an impressive newcomer, Undertaker, in his WrestleMania debut. Undertaker's victory over Snuka served notice of the "Deadman's" future dominance, as the "Superfly" is widely regarded as an all-time great and is enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Really? That's the memorable moment they picked for him? Yes, that was the start of Undertaker's 19-0 streak at WrestleMania, but that's more memorable for 'taker than for Snuka. It's like, who was the first guy Goldberg beat on his way to the streak? [Hugh Morris --ed.] Right, nobody knows. You want a memorable moment for Snuka himself? You go back to 1984, when Rowdy Roddy Piper cracked a coconut over his head during a "Piper's Pit" segment.

Superfly Jimmy Snuka had a figure in Jakks' Classic Superstars line, but I missed that one. It had a good likeness, but this one is better. His lips are pursed in his classic exhalation, but like Macho Man Randy Savage, his hair is too thick and bushy. We could also use one of his cowrie shell headbands to really sell the appearance, though.

We usually wait until the end of the review to talk accessories, but Superfly's has to be mentioned now. He comes with a display base and a cardboard nameplate, but that's just ancillary: the items of note are the softgoods tiger print robe and sash. He's wearing them in the packaging, so you've got to deal with those before you can actually get at the figure. Snuka wore similar animal-print coats to the ring sometimes, but I can't find any evidence of this specific robe. There are no belt loops or anything, so the sash really is held on by tying it around his waist, and that's the only thing that keeps the robe closed, as well.

Beneath the robe, Superfly has a pretty large, muscular torso. Wrestlers didn't look like bodybuilders back then, but Snuka was always pretty ripped. They probably could have given him bigger arms, but it's the legs that really need to be redone. They are way too skinny for the guy - he needs legs like tree trunks, not the emaciated "Jake Sully wheelchair legs" he's got here. He's wearing boots, which is just weird: the guy almost always wrestled barefoot, to play up the "Fiji islander" feel of his character.

He's also wearing pants rather than short trunks, but that actually happened sometimes - more in recent years, since he's in his 60s. The pants have a tiger print to match the robe, and it fades from orange at the waist to white at the knees. The paint is excellent, with a seamless fade between the colors and perfectly crisp black stripes all the way around - it even lines up over the joints, which is always a dicey proposition. He has striped wristbands as well, and those are just painted on: no sculpted edges. The orange is so close to his skintone the stripes look like they're painted on his arms.

Snuka's articulation is good, but most of his joints were stuck when I got him out of the package. He moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, boots and ankles. The big bushy jheri curl keeps the neck's balljoint from its full range of motion - it only swivels, doesn't move up and down. His hands are in usual generic gripping poses, which we'll also put in the "huh, that's disappointing" category: his trademark look had the thumbs and outside fingers extended (you know, the I love you sign); he did it in his ring entrances, he did it between moves, he did it when he leapt off the top rope; it was his thing. And the fact that this figure doesn't do it doesn't do anything to make it look more like him.

Superfly Jimmy Snuka was pretty much the first guy to start jumping off the ropes, rather than just running around the mat, so any aerial wrestlers today owe it all to him. This figure, though, leaves a lot to be desired. Mattel could easily do another version with no boots, short trunks, remolded hands and a headband to correct all the issues, and it would be worth picking up. This one? He was a good bargain buy, but has too many mistakes to be worth full retail.

-- 02/08/12

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