With the "Legends" line left lingering on store shelves (and now MattyCollector.com), Mattel decided it was a good time to incorporate some Superstars from yesteryear into the highly successful WWE Elite Collection line as a way to bring in some characters that aren't seen on TV nowadays without the burden of having to sell an entire wave of figures based on former wrestlers. While these "Elite-Legends" would be incoporated into the Elite line proper, they've been dubbed "Flashback" figures in order to separate them just a bit from their contemporary wavemates. Elite series 12 is the first wave to introduce these Flashback figures with the inclusion of Kane (in his debut attire) and the subject of today's review, the frightening Papa Shango!
WWE Elite Collection Series 12, Flashback
Mattel/ 7" Scale
The character of Papa Shango was played masterfully by Charles Wright, who you may remember under various personas, and based on that of a witch doctor, practicing voodoo and causing all sorts of weird things to happen to his opponents. His feud with the Ultimate Warrior was perhaps his most memorable, but never panned out into a traditional match. Afterwards, Shango just kind of faded off with Wright eventually returning to the WWE as Kama in the Nation of Domination and later his most popular character, the Godfather.
The figure does a great job of capturing Shango's likeness and he's about the right height, too, but he seems a bit slim in the upper torso area. His torso may be new in the Elite line, but we've seen it before. Shango borrows heavily from WWE Legends' Sgt. Slaughter but adds larger thighs and lower legs making him taller. He would have benefitted from a thicker upper body, specially the chest and shoulders, but I guess this sculpt is passable.
Papa Shango shines (not literally) in the paint department. His face features that eerie white skull painted on it with a black outline and two small red stripes on each cheek which are also outlined in black. He has extensive bodyart and it's all captured here in detail that rivals the work we've seen on other figures like Undertaker and CM Punk.
His costume is mostly black so his lower body is cast in black plastic, however all of his designs are in blood red and have been clearly tampographed on to his belly, back and down the outside of each leg. The laces on his boots have been painted in the same red tone as his costume designs. I had a few random paint marks on Shango's head, but I don't think it's a common problem.
Mattel gave Papa Shango three accessories: his top hat, bone necklace and voodoo wand. These are fine, but I can't help but wonder if a "Legends" release would have included his furry cape. Obviously, three new mold accessories is plenty for an Elite figure and it's safe to say this is where his tooling budget went as opposed to a new upper body being created for him.
The hat is fine and features a flat front painted white with a sculpted flower, painted in red, at the brim. The necklace has a lot of nice details sculpted into it, but it would have benefitted from a paint wash and a bit of spot touches to make it really pop. I have to add that to my "to-do" list. The wand gets the job done, but is quite different from the one he's holding in the package photo. Like the necklace, the wand could have benefitted from some extra paint, mainly on the bead/string portion. All together Papa Shango's accessories compliment him and give him a nice "ring entrance" look.
If offered up in a fan poll I'm not sure how successful "Papa Shango" would be over Wright's classic pimp gimmick. I'm not even sure which I would pick, nostalgia would definitely make me think Shango, but the lean selection of "Attitude"-era Superstars in the Legends line would probably push me towards the Godfather. Still, I'm glad Mattel released this figure. He ended up looking rather fantastic inspite of the slimmer build (which isn't really slim at all). In a perfect world he would have included his entrance cape and a better voodoo stick, but as-is he's a good addition to the "Legends" shelf. Although it's highly unlikely Mattel would be able to produce a Godfather figure given WWE "family-oriented" programming these days, I'd still like to see one. He was a prominent part of the late-'90s WWE, which even casual fans of the era still remember today because even today's WWE management can't deny that flaunting surgically enhanced women on stage is great for the ratings (of course, they don't do THAT anymore...).