But today the Deadman is the focus. His latest Elite figure is a flashback to the days when he emerged from a long hiatus as a custom chopper-ridin', sunglass-wearin', Limp Bizkit-Rollin', biker badass!
Some fans aren't too crazy about Taker's AB gimmick (including someone high up within WWE, apparently), but at the time it was a way to rejuvenate the character and give the "supernatural" aspect of the Underatker some much-needed breathing room. Let's see how Mattel faired in delivering this now-classic interpretation of Big Evil in action figure form!
WWE Elite Collection series 18 - Flashback
$16.99 (Toys R Us)
AB Taker is built on the same upper body other Elite series Takers use. His tank top is sculpted on to his upper and middle torso. Ironically while those other Elite Undertaker figures all sport his now-iconic MMA gloves, it is this figure that captures the time during which he began sporting them. The hands are molded in his flesh tone with the sculpted glove portions painted black. The cuff portions are separate plastic pieces that fit over the figure's wrists.
The lower body features sculpted leather pants, wrinkled and bunched up where appropriate. Even the boots are new. The lower body trades in the boot-top swivels (usually found at the calf on most Elites) for ball-joints at the ankles.
The paint work on AB Taker is solid. Most of the paint is focused on his head (hair, eyes and goatee) and his arms where his elaborate, highly-detailed tattoos are on full display. The exposed "skin" on his torso is painted just like other Undertaker figures. The only other paint apps found on the Deadman is a little bit of silver for his belt buckle and the "DEADMAN INC." tampo on his left thigh.
The American Badass comes packaged with two accessories, sadly neither of them is a motorcycle. But he does include a bandana and an entrance t-shirt. The bandana is molded in blue/purple (sorry I have a hard time distinguishing those two colors) plastic with white paint apps.
The shirt is adorned with a large red devil head outlined in white. The back of the shirt reads "RED DEVIL; BIG EVIL" on the back and was similarly applied with red paint and a white outline. I haven't had any issues with paint rubbing off the molded t-shirts or vests in the line, but I can't imagine they would withstand too much abuse, so take care in storing and handling these.
I should probably mention that he did not include the elbow pad pictured above (and below). That's something I added to make him a little more authentic. I've commented before on Mattel cutting pads on Elite figures, which is ludicrous considering these are supposed to be the most authenitc WWE figures they produce, but it's especially maddening when he's wearing one on the box art. Anyway, I chose to give him a medium-sized elbow pad, just to differentiate him a bit more from other Taker figures, but the usual large Taker pad works, too.
And so, with this release we have yet another incarnation of the Phenom and complete the Brothers of Destruction tag team of Taker and Kane. When Mattel first announced an AB version of Undertaker I immediately thought the figure would be based on his initial AB look with the long hair, denim vest and coat. I was a bit disappointed when pictures emerged of this figure, but that's just because I expected the other look. I'm happy with this one although I wouldn't be against getting that other version, also.
In fact, I think Mattel could pull it off by reusing this figure and adding the Defining Moments Undertaker head. Maybe create some new sunglasses for him and add a denim vest and he's done! Just throwing it out there.