REVIEW: WWE RAW SUPERSHOW SUPERSTARS BROCK LESNAR
I'm honestly finding myself wondering why I waited so long to start bringing in select WWE Superstars action figures from Mattel. I've been a fan of the WWE since the mid-1980's. But I've never really collected any wrestling action figures. Maybe they were just too numerous. Certainly, Mattel's predecessor, Jakks Pacific, put out a huge and extensive line, and Mattel is doing likewise. One can hardly blame either company. The WWE is a huge and popular property with plenty of current and former Superstars to work with that are among the most recognizable sports and entertainment celebrities around.
One WWE Superstars figure that did not elude me is a figure of a man with a very storied career, not only with the WWE, but with mixed martial arts fighting, and even, briefly, the NFL. He made a decidedly impactful return to the WWE after an absence of quite a few years, and it was more than enough to get a modern action figure of him made.
The man's name is BROCK LESNAR, and this is his first time in the WWE Superstars action figure line. Let's have a look at his history, and then have a look at his action figure.
Brock Edward Lesnar (born July 12, 1977) is an American professional wrestler, former mixed martial artist, professional football player and amateur wrestler. He is also a former UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Lesnar gained prominence in the WWE from 2002 to 2004, where he is a former three-time WWE Champion, becoming the youngest WWE Champion at age 25 with his first reign. Lesnar was the 2002 King of the Ring and the winner of the 2003 Royal Rumble. After leaving WWE, Lesnar pursued a career in the NFL. He played during the pre-season for the Minnesota Vikings, but ended up being a late cut. Lesnar returned to professional wrestling at the end of 2005, and joined New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in his first match. He was officially stripped of the title by NJPW in July 2006, and took the physical belt with him to Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), where he was still recognized as IWGP Champion until June 2007.
Lesnar started a career in MMA and won his first fight in June 2007. He then signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in October 2007. He lost his UFC debut against Frank Mir, but defeated Heath Herring in his sophomore fight. He subsequently captured the UFC Heavyweight Championship from Randy Couture on November 15, 2008, then avenged his loss to Mir at UFC 100 to become the Undisputed Champion. After being sidelined from fighting in late 2009 due to diverticulitis, Lesnar returned to defeat the Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin at UFC 116. Lesnar lost the Heavyweight belt against Cain Velasquez at UFC 121. He was once again stricken with a bout of diverticulitis in May 2011 and had surgery to try to cope with the ailment. Lesnar returned at UFC 141 in December 2011, where he lost to Alistair Overeem and promptly retired from the UFC. In April 2012, Lesnar returned to WWE.
Brock Lesnar was born in Webster, South Dakota. He attended Webster High School in Webster, where he had a wrestling record of 33–0–0 in his senior year. Lesnar later attended the University of Minnesota on a full wrestling scholarship for his junior and senior years of college; his roommate was fellow professional wrestler Shelton Benjamin who served as Lesnar's assistant coach. Lesnar won the 2000 NCAA wrestling championship as a heavyweight after placing second in 1999.
In 2000, after leaving college, Lesnar signed up with the WWE. He was sent to its developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling. There, he formed a tag team known as "The Minnesota Stretching Crew" with Shelton Benjamin. Lesnar and Benjamin won the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship on three occasions.
Lesnar debuted on WWE television on the March 18, 2002 episode of Raw, the night after WrestleMania X8, coming through the crowd and attacking Al Snow, Maven, and Spike Dudley during the course of a match. He was accompanied by Paul Heyman, who was seen giving instructions to Lesnar.
Later, Heyman was confirmed to be Lesnar's agent and gave Lesnar the nickname "The Next Big Thing". Brock's first feud was with the Hardy Boyz. In June 2002, Lesnar won the King of the Ring tournament, defeating Rob Van Dam in the final round. This victory earned him a shot at the WWE Undisputed Championship at SummerSlam.
At the main event of SummerSlam, Lesnar defeated The Rock, albeit with the use of a steel chair and outside interference from Paul Heyman, to become the WWE Undisputed Champion. With his victory at age 25, Lesnar became the youngest WWE Champion in history.
Lesnar's rapid rise to the top of WWE in 2002 led to a feud with The Undertaker, which involved a match at Unforgiven. It ended in a double disqualification leading to Lesnar retaining the title. The next month, at No Mercy, he faced The Undertaker again, this time in a Hell in a Cell match.
Lesnar's next opponent was The Big Show. Heyman was convinced more than anyone that Lesnar could not win, trying to talk him out of defending the title. Lesnar refused and lost the championship in Madison Square Garden at the Survivor Series pay-per-view to Big Show, Lesnar's first pinfall loss in WWE.
After WrestleMania in 2003, Lesnar turned his attention to John Cena, who had returned from injury in February 2003. The feud ended relatively quickly in a match at Backlash when Lesnar defeated Cena. Lesnar would then have feuds with, among others, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, and the Big Show, leading into Survuvor Series.
The Survivor Series event marked the first time Lesnar met Goldberg, a man to whom Lesnar had been compared due to their similar physiques and undefeated streaks in wrestling. Lesnar claimed in a backstage interview that he could beat anybody in the world, leading to Goldberg interrupting the interview and introducing himself to Lesnar, shaking hands with him before leaving with a staredown. Later in the Royal Rumble match, Lesnar attacked Goldberg.
In February 2004, Lesnar faced Eddie Guerrero for the title at No Way Out. Goldberg interfered in the match and was able to help Guerrero turn the tide in the match. Lesnar still had his chance to win by nailing an F-5 onto his title belt that Lesnar brought into the ring, but Guerrero countered with a DDT to drive the champion into the belt. Guerrero pinned Lesnar to win the WWE Championship. An angry Lesnar then began feuding with Goldberg, blaming him for losing his title, and a match was set up between the two at WrestleMania XX.
During the feud with Goldberg, Lesnar was at odds with Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was shown suggesting to Goldberg that he attack Lesnar at No Way Out. When Lesnar attacked Austin on Raw and stole his four-wheeler, Austin was inserted as the special guest referee for the Wrestlemania match. Behind the scenes, it was widely known that the match would be Goldberg's last in WWE. Only a week before Wrestlemania, however, rumors surfaced that Lesnar, too, was leaving in order to pursue a career in the National Football League. As a result, Lesnar's match with Goldberg became a fiasco as the fans jeered and heckled both wrestlers.
Lesnar played for the Minnesota Vikings, where he created controversy in some games by starting minor fights and got heat from the Kansas City Chiefs for a sack on quarterback Damon Huard, which drew a big response from the crowd. Huard was hit hard and had to go to the sidelines and sit out a few plays. After playing in the pre-season, Lesnar ended up being a late cut. He declined an invitation to play as a representative of the Vikings in NFL Europa because he wanted to be closer to home with his family.
On October 8, 2005, Lesnar won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in a three-way match at a New Japan Pro Wrestling show in the Tokyo Dome, which included the then-champion Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono. Lesnar is one of the few American wrestlers to have held this title.
On July 15, 2006, New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that Brock Lesnar had been stripped of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship as he would no longer be returning to defend the title due to "visa issues." A tournament was held on July 16 to determine the new champion, which was won by Hiroshi Tanahashi, the man Lesnar was originally scheduled to face. Lesnar continued to possess the physical IWGP Championship belt until late June 2007.
Approximately one year later on June 29, 2007, Lesnar defended his IWGP Heavyweight Championship (IGF promoter Antonio Inoki had stated he still viewed Lesnar as the "proper" IWGP Champion, as he was not defeated for the title) against TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle in a champion versus champion match. Angle defeated Lesnar. This was Lesnar's last match as a professional wrestler until 2012 when he re-signed with WWE.
On April 28, 2006, Lesnar appeared inside the ring after the final match of K-1 Hero's Las Vegas and announced his intent to join the MMA promotion. He trained with Minnesota Martial Arts Academy under Greg Nelson, and University of Minnesota Assistant Head wrestling coach Marty Morgan. Brock Lesnar announced on August 12 in Las Vegas that he had signed a deal with the K-1 promotion
In 2008, it was announced that Brock Lesnar had reached a deal to fight with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). On February 2, 2008, Lesnar made his debut with the promotion in an event titled UFC 81: Breaking Point against former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Frank Mir. Lesnar secured an early takedown, but was deducted a point for hitting Mir on the back of the head. Following another takedown by Lesnar, Mir managed to secure a kneebar and force a submission at 1:30 of the first round.
On October 26, 2009, it was announced that Lesnar had pulled out of the UFC 106 card in which he was set to face Shane Carwin for the UFC Heavyweight Championship due to an illness. UFC President Dana White said that Brock had been ill for three weeks, claiming he had never been this sick in his life and that it would take him a while to recover; his fight with Carwin was rescheduled for UFC 108 in early 2010
It was later revealed that Lesnar was suffering from a serious case of diverticulitis, an intestinal disorder, which would require surgery. After further diagnosis, on November 16 Lesnar underwent surgery. In January 2010, Lesnar announced on ESPN SportsCenter that he was scheduled to make a return to the UFC in the summer of 2010.
On January 11, 2011, it was revealed that Lesnar would be one of the coaches of The Ultimate Fighter Season 13, opposite to Junior dos Santos, with the two expected to face each other on June 11, 2011 at UFC 131. Lesnar, however, was struck with another bout of diverticulitis and had to withdraw from the bout on May 12, 2011. Lesnar underwent surgery on May 27, 2011, to help battle his problems with diverticulitis.
His return match was scheduled to be at UFC 141 on December 30 in Las Vegas against former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. Lesnar had to cut weight for the fight in order to meet the 265 lb weight limit and entered the Octagon with a potential title shot at the new champion Junior dos Santos for the match victor. During the match, Overeem targeted his opponent's midsection and was able to land several strikes before delivering a powerful kick that dropped Lesnar to his knee and left him prey to a barrage of punches resulting in the referee stopping the fight and declaring Overeem the winner via TKO.
After the defeat, Lesnar announced his retirement from mixed martial arts, mentioning his struggles with diverticulitis and saying "tonight was the last time you'll see me in the octagon". UFC President Dana White commented that while he wasn't aware of the decision, Lesnar's decision to retire was not a surprise to him.
Brock Lesnar returned to WWE on the April 2, 2012 episode of Raw, confronting John Cena and attacking him. The next week, General Manager John Laurinaitis revealed that he signed Lesnar to bring "legitimacy" and become the "new face of the WWE" before also announcing that Lesnar would face Cena at Extreme Rules. Cena then interrupted and engaged in a brawl with Lesnar, which resulted in the entire WWE locker room trying to pull them apart and Cena being left bloodied. On April 16, the Extreme Rules stipulation was added to the match. At the pay-per-view, Lesnar would debut a new ring attire, dressed in his MMA gear and 4XL-size gloves he wore in the UFC. Ultimately, Lesnar ended up losing the match to Cena.
The following night on Raw, WWE's Chief Operating Officer Triple H refused to give in to Lesnar's unreasonable contract demands, resulting in Lesnar attacking Triple H and breaking his arm with a kimura lock. The next week, Paul Heyman made his return as Lesnar's legal representative. At the No Way Out pay-per-view in June, Triple H challenged Lesnar, who was not present, to a match at SummerSlam, which Heyman refused on Lesnar's behalf the following night on Raw. On July 23 at Raw 1000, Triple H's wife, Stephanie McMahon, goaded Heyman into accepting Triple H's challenge against Lesnar. Following this, Lesnar returned and had a brief brawl with Triple H before he was chased from the ring. In a bid to psychologically unsettle Triple H, Lesnar would break the arm of Triple H's best friend Shawn Michaels with a kimura lock on the August 13 episode of Raw. Six days later at SummerSlam, in a match dubbed the Perfect Storm, Lesnar defeated Triple H via submission after once again breaking his arm with a kimura lock. The following night on Raw, Lesnar would crown himself the new King of Kings and then release a tout in which he revealed that he would be departing, due to his victory of Triple H displaying that he had conquered everything in the WWE.
Lesnar returned to Raw on January 28, 2013, confronting Vince McMahon, who was just seconds away from firing Paul Heyman. Despite Heyman's pleas, Lesnar hit McMahon with an F-5. The following week, Vickie Guerrero revealed herself to be the one who signed Lesnar to a new contract. Afterwards, Lesnar confronted and attacked The Miz. On February 25, Lesnar interrupted a match between Paul Heyman and Vince McMahon, only to get into a brawl with a returning Triple H which resulted in Lesnar having his head split open and requiring 18 stitches. As of this writing, the general thought is that this will lead to a match between Lesnar and Triple H at WrestleMania 29.
So, how's the figure? Extremely impressive. Granted, so's the person that the figure is based upon.
What would be the best visual description of Brock Lesnar? I think it might be this. If you wanted to come up with someone who looked like the ultimate bad@$$ tough-guy, you could do a lot worse than to base that image on Brock Lesnar. Now, the WWE is filled with plenty of highly-skilled athletes, and they are a tough breed, and many of them certainly have that presence about them. But Brock Lesnar can just stand there and stare and intimidate you.
Read that sentence regarding his return to the WWE. He "a brawl with a returning Triple H which resulted in Lesnar having his head split open and requiring 18 stitches." I saw this happen. It happened when Triple H shoved Lesnar head first into one of the massive steel posts that comprise the four corners and the basic foundational structure of the ring.
I have no idea if splitting Lesnar's head open was intentional or not. The thing is -- it didn't slow Lesnar down. He just bounced back from it and kept coming like a human bulldozer. If something like that had happed to me, I think I would've grabbed a towel and scooted off to the back to find the nearest medical care I could. Assuming I was still conscious. Lesnar? Just kept swinging. This is how you know you're facing a very tough, determined, individual.
Lesnar has a powerful, wide build, with good muscle definition. One of the things that impresses me about Mattel's WWE line is that they have come up with a substantial diversity of body types. This isn't a line of super-heroes. While the WWE Superstars all have to be in generally good physical condition to do what they do, they don't all look alike. Mattel accommodates this with appropriate heights, sizes, and body types. I've seen some body parts reused here and there, and that's both understandable and acceptable. But it's not nearly as frequent as, say, DC Universe or Masters of the Universe.
Lesnar has a number of distinctive tattoos. He has this frightening image on his back of -- well, I'm not entirely sure what it's supposed to be. It looks like the furry skull of some sort of alien creature that I might expect to find in the rougher neighborhoods of the Klingon homeworld, with a sword rammed through the top of it and coming out the bottom.
I've sometimes wondered why anyone would get their back tattooed, and Lesnar is not unique among WWE Superstars in this respect. I mean -- you can't see it. Maybe it's the intimidation factor? Not that Lesnar particularly needs it. I mean, assuming you're stupid enough to think about sneaking up behind somebody this big to begin with, if that person is also willing to put something that looks like this on their back as a tattoo, then show some marginal level of intelligence and back off, y'know?
Lesnar has a number of other tattoos, as well. There are two smaller ones on his upper back, a fanged skull on his right shoulder, another tattoo on his left shoulder, and a weapon tattooed on his chest and abdomen. This, as much as anything, looks like some sort of bladed weapon with a few extra spikes and a handle that resembles a set of brass knuckles.
All of these tattoos have been imprinted onto the figure with great detail and accuracy. Every time I see these, I think of a much earlier tattooed figure that Mattel produced, part of their Big Jim line in the mid-1970's. His name was Dr. Steel, and he had this dragon tattoo on his chest. It was this outline of a dragon done in blue and red, and it was done so flimsily that you could chip it off almost by sneezing on it. We've come a long way...
The Lesnar figure is wearing the fingerless gloves that Lesnar brought over from his UFC days, and is outfitted in knee-length, somewhat loose-fitting-looking pants that have a red waistband, and a red left leg and a black right leg. Personally, I'm glad for the red. So many WWE Superstars seem to dress in black these days, that finding a figure that's wearing some other color isn't all that easy. At least with Lesnar, we have sort of a halfway change of pace.
The Lesnar figure is wearing knee pads, molded from flexible plastic that were attached to the figure during assembly. However, they don't work entirely well. They'd work perfectly fine on a figure that was wearing shorts, or even tights, but here, given Lesnar's knee length pants, and the fact that the figure's knee joint is right there at the base of the pants, the knee pads are riding a little low. They don't look all that bad, really, but they aren't the best fit for this particular figure, and it's even more apparent if you pose the figure with bent knees.
Completing the outfit are black boots, with impressively sculpted and detailed laces.
As to the headsculpt -- one of my biggest criteria for adding a WWE Superstars figure to my collection is how much it looks like the actual individual. It helps that the package card includes a photograph. The Brick Lesnar figure is an excellent likeness of Brock Lesnar. He has a fairly prominent brow, and wears his hair cut very short on the top, and virtually shaved on the sides and back. This is how the figure's head has been sculpted, and it's a superb likeness, and very well detailed.
My other criteria is that I'm not that interested in a figure that's got some quirky facial expression, even if it's one that the wrestler himself has been known to use. That sort of falls too close to the old axiom, "If you keep making that face, it'll freeze like that!" It's also not at all a factor on the Brock Lesnar figure. The man has one basic facial expression -- mean. And the figure captures this abundantly well. In fact, when I'm finished with this review, I'm going to immediately put him back on the display shelf, because I don't much like how he's looking at me...
The facial details are superbly painted, including the hair, eyebrows, and especially the eyes. Very neat, and very precise, as it should be.
Articulation of the figure is excellent. Brock Lesnar is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, boot tops, and ankles. The legs move forward and backward, but not outward. And there is no mid-torso articulation. But keep in mind, this is the basic WWE Superstars line. If you want more articulation, it can be found in the Elite Collection. But you'll be paying quite a bit more for it, like about 1-1/2 times as much. For myself, I'm content with the Superstars line.
So, what's my final word? I'm sincerely glad I've decided to bring some of these WWE Superstars into my collection. These Superstars figures are as well sculpted and designed, they're certainly affordable, and I do feel that perhaps this is a collection that I should have really started a while back. I look forward to maintaining -- and reviewing -- it, as new Superstars that I am interested in are added to the lineup.
If you're any sort of WWE fan, and have been a fan of Brock Lesnar, perhaps even outside the WWE, then you'll certainly want to have a look at his WWE Superstars figure, and bring it into your collection. Mattel is really doing an outstanding job with these WWE Superstars!
The WWE SUPERSTARS figure of BROCK LESNAR definitely has my highest recommendation!