REVIEW: WWE SUPERSTARS DREW McINTYRE
Although I've been a fan of the WWE since the 1980's, I'd never been one for collecting the action figures based on these popular sports entertainment superstars -- and certainly there have been plenty of them over the years.
LJN was the first to produce such toys, although calling their efforts "action figures" is a bit of a stretch, since they were basically non-poseable pieces of rubbery plastic, about eight inches tall or so. Hasbro was the next licensee, with a fairly extensive line of rather exaggerated-looking figures that had built-in spring-action features.
Next up was Jakks Pacific, which after some initial product that featured some of the most dreadful sculpts I'd ever seen, got on a much better track with improved likenesses on realistic-looking figures with excellent overall articulation. Their product line ran for a good many years.
And now it's Mattel's turn, and they are turning out some truly impressive figures. I suppose the main reason I never really collected WWE figures before was that I was rather overwhelmed by the amount of merchandise available. But, upon discovering the very reasonably priced Superstars line, and realizing that I could pick-and-choose through it, much as I do with most of the toy lines that I pay attention to these days -- just as I don't have, for example, every Star Wars figure in the known universe -- I decided to bring in a few of the more notable Superstars.
Mattel's WWE Superstars line focuses mostly on currently-active wrestlers. If you want some of the more legendary characters from years past, there's the Legends line for that -- which has a higher price point. For myself, I'm content to remain with the Superstars line at this time.
One recent addition is an excellent figure of a wrestler who, I have to say, has had a career in the WWE of rather astonishing ups and downs. His name is DREW McINTYRE, and although he's consistently played the role of a heel, or a bad guy, during his time in the WWE, I've always rather liked him, and wish he'd get more of a break than he has. Let's have a look at his career, and then have a look at his recent Superstars action figure.
Andrew "Drew" Galloway (born June 6, 1985) is a Scottish professional wrestler signed with WWE under the ring name Drew McIntyre.
He began training from the age of 15 in England, before moving back to Scotland to begin his career. Before long he became a regular in British Championship Wrestling (BCW) using the gimmick "Thee" Drew Galloway, winning their Heavyweight Championship twice along with the Heavyweight Championship of Insane Championship Wrestling. He also found success abroad in Irish Whip Wrestling, winning their top title. During this time he completed an undergraduate degree in criminology.
After touring the independent circuit around the British Isles, Galloway moved to the United States in 2007 to sign with WWE. Along with a brief stint on the SmackDown brand, he spent time in developmental territories Ohio Valley Wrestling and Florida Championship Wrestling, winning the Heavyweight and Tag Team Championships later, before returning to SmackDown and quickly winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship. In 2010, he held the WWE Tag Team Championship with Cody Rhodes. McIntyre then experienced a dramatic plunge down the card, becoming an occasional competitor on WWE Superstars. In late 2012, he became a member of Heath Slater's 3MB faction.
Galloway began training for professional wrestling at the age of 15 at the Frontier Wrestling Alliance's Academy when his family moved to the south of England to Portsmouth. In the FWA Academy he was trained by the promotion's operator Mark Sloan along with Justin Richards and James Tighe. Galloway also cites the promotion's established stars helping out with training, including Doug Williams, Paul Burchill and Alex Shane
In 2003, Galloway made his debut for the inaugural show of British Championship Wrestling (BCW), operating in the Greater Glasgow area. While there he honed his wrestling skill further, training under Colin McKay and later Spinner McKenzie and developing the character of "Thee" Drew Galloway, a cocky narcissist.
By December, Galloway was being managed by Charles Boddington who aided him in his first significant success and would go on to manage him for the next four years. On 5 December, Boddington announced that BCW Heavyweight Champion Spinner McKenzie had been fired and thus would be stripped of the title; Boddington then instantly gave the belt to Galloway. Stevie Knight took exception to this and challenged him to a match that very night at Bad Tidings: Night 1, winning the championship.
Later that year, Galloway had a series of matches against American veterans. In June, he was defeated by The Honky Tonk Man and later that month lost in a tag team match to Marty Jannetty and Highlander. In November, at the aptly titled Lo Down, Galloway main evented in a double count-out match against D'Lo Brown.
In late 2006, World Wrestling Entertainment went on tour in Europe, and before their filming of SmackDown in Manchester, Galloway had a try out match. The following year in April, he received another try out match in London. Later in October 2007, Galloway made his televised WWE debut during SmackDown using the name Drew McIntyre. He appeared as a fan friendly character, imploring the crowd to cheer for him due to seeking dual citizenship with America, while accompanied by fellow Briton Dave Taylor. He defeated Brett Major in his first week and the following episode defeated his tag team partner Brian Major with the help of Taylor. McIntyre was moved to the Raw brand in the new year, but after a win against Charlie Haas on January 4, he disappeared from television.
After moving to Kentucky, Galloway made his debut in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) with a win over Paul Burchill. He soon changed his name to Drew McIntyre and teamed with Burchill to take on The Major Brothers in a losing effort.
In October, McIntyre found a new partner in Stu Sanders forming a tag team called The Brit Pack. They picked up their first victory on October TV tapings. The win propelled McIntyre to gain an OVW Television Championship match against Colt Cabana.
In 2008, Mcintyre gained momentum with a winning streak that built towards a non-title match against OVW Heavyweight Champion Evan Bourne which McIntyre won by disqualification, after interference. His final match in OVW was on 29 February with a win over Scott Cardinal.
After moving to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), Galloway reformed The Brit Pack with Stu Sanders, now going under the name of The Empire. In April they took on The Puerto Rican Nightmares who won the match and a shot at the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship. Once The Nightmares won the titles, The Empire received two consecutive chances to win the belts and became Tag Team Champions on 6 May.
In October, McIntyre was entered into a contest for the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship and made it into the final but lost to Eric Escobar (the former Eric Peréz). McIntyre closed out the year with an unsuccessful attempt to gain the Heavyweight Championship in a Four Way match.
Going into 2009, McIntyre entered into a rivalry with Joe Hennig but their first match in February ended in a double count-out. McIntyre interfered in Hennig's match the following week, costing him the match. On February 26, Hennig defeated McIntyre, and went on that night to win the Florida Heavyweight Championship from Escobar. Their feud ended abruptly when Hennig vacated the title after an injury, causing McIntyre to be elevated into title contendership, beating Escobar for the vacant championship in March.
On August 29, 2009, McIntyre returned to the SmackDown brand, disregarding his previous time on WWE television, and established himself as a villain by attacking R-Truth as he entered the ring. McIntyre would continue to attack Truth over the following weeks, claiming to be on the show to wrestle, not to party like Truth.
On September 25, WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon, introduced McIntyre as a "future World Champion" that he had personally signed. The following week McIntyre continued to crash parties by making a speech at the Decade of SmackDown celebration, until R-Truth put him through a table and the anniversary cake. This all led to McIntyre's first proper match since his return at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. At the event, McIntyre defeated Truth in under five minutes.
At Survivor Series, McIntyre had a place on The Miz's team for the traditional Survivor Series Elimination match. McIntyre, The Miz and Sheamus were the surviving members on their winning team; McIntyre eliminated Evan Bourne and Matt Hardy.
Being the only SmackDown superstar to survive against Team Morrison, McIntyre faced and defeated John Morrison a few weeks later, putting him in line for Morrison's Intercontinental Championship at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs. At TLC, McIntyre managed to pin Morrison to win the Intercontinental Title, his first championship in WWE. He retained the title against Morrison and later against Kane using underhanded tactics. His televised undefeated record ended in a Money in the Bank qualifying match against Kane on the February 26 episode of SmackDown.
His winning record was decisively ended by The Undertaker on March 19, and he also failed to win the Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania XXVI, his first WrestleMania appearance.
On the June 21 episode of Raw, the Nexus faction attacked Mr. McMahon, which removed him from television for a prolonged period and ended McIntyre's preferential treatment. After losing to Matt Hardy on the June 25edition of SmackDown, Long informed McIntyre that his work visa had expired and that he would be deported back to Scotland immediately. This storyline had a basis in reality, since Galloway's visa had indeed expired. He returned two weeks later and was re–instated after being made to beg Long and qualified for the Money in the Bank match at the Money in the Bank pay–per–view by defeating Kofi Kingston.
McIntyre then continued his rivalry with Matt Hardy and Hardy's friend Christian. At the same time, "Dashing" Cody Rhodes also took umbrage with Matt Hardy and Christian, leading to an alliance being formed. On September 19 at Night of Champions, McIntyre and Rhodes captured the WWE Tag Team Championship in a five-team Tag Team Turmoil match as the last entrants. McIntyre and Rhodes then successfully defended their titles twice against the Hart Dynasty. At the Bragging Rights pay-per-view on October 24, McIntyre and Rhodes lost the championship to John Cena and David Otunga and dissolved their team.
In early 2011, McIntyre was part of a brief storyline with Kelly Kelly. Though Kelly was a popular character, McIntyre tried to woo her despite his villainous behavior. She refused to date him, due to his anger problems which were shown during his matches against Trent Barretta.
On April 26, Drew McIntyre was drafted to the Raw brand, and made his debut in a losing effort to Kofi Kingston. McIntyre was featured very rarely on Raw and was motly confined to non-televised matches and WWE Superstars. On the December 15 episode of Superstars, McIntyre finally won a match by defeating Justin Gabriel which earned him a contract with SmackDown.
He switched to the SmackDown brand on December 30 and resumed his tense relationship with General Manager Theodore Long. Long put pressure on McIntyre to win matches to justify his contract and McIntyre subsequently began an eight-match losing streak going into the new year, after the last of which, Long fired McIntyre within the storyline. A week later, McIntyre was reinstated by guest general manager John Laurinaitis, where he finally ended his losing streak by defeating Hornswoggle.
He was subsequently included on Laurinaitis' team in the 12-man Tag Team match at WrestleMania XXVIII, helping to earn Laurinaitis control of both the Raw and SmackDown brands. During the match, Drew McIntyre injured his shoulder. He returned on the May 10 edition of Superstars defeating Ezekiel Jackson. Since returning his fortunes had relatively stayed the same. He continued to lose most matches and was confined to Superstars and house shows, however he was able to make several appearances on Raw and Smackdown, but most of them were losing matches against the likes of Brodus Clay.
On June 24, McIntyre made his NXT debut defeating Seth Rollins, but would eventually lose to Rollins in the first round of the NXT Gold Rush tournament.
On the September 23 episode of SmackDown, McIntyre and Jinder Mahal interfered in Heath Slater's match against Brodus Clay by attacking Clay. The trio would later settle for the name of the Three Man Band, or 3MB for short. With Slater and Mahal continually representing 3MB in tag team matches in the group's early history, McIntyre was often left supporting at ringside due to a wrist injury. McIntyre would go on to wrestle his first match under 3MB on the December 7 episode of SmackDown when 3MB defeated the team of The Usos and Brodus Clay.
At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, The Miz would host Miz TV with McIntyre, Slater and Mahal being the guests. After 3MB assaulted the Spanish announcers, The Miz, along with Alberto Del Rio and the Brooklyn Brawler would defeat 3MB in a six man tag team match. The next day on Raw, McIntyre was defeated again with 3MB against The Miz, Del Rio and Tommy Dreamer. McIntyre and Slater, representing 3MB, also competed in the first round of the NXT Tag-Team Championship tournament, but were eliminated.
"Dramatic plunge", says the history I studied? "Plummet" would be more like it. Like I said, I sort of feel sorry for McIntyre, and I wonder if he ticked off somebody higher up in the organization at some point. Here was a guy with a ton of talent, athletic ability, obviously in superb physical shape, an excellent camera presence, presented as having been hand-picked by Mr. McMahon himself as "The Chosen One", and even given one of the best ring entrance music pieces I've heard in years, titled "Broken Dreams" by a group called Shaman's Tears... and now he's one-third of a band of almost perpetually-losing goofballs called 3MB that play air guitar before getting their collective butts handed to them, as if the upper management can't think of anything else to do with them.
I'm convinced that Drew McIntyre could put on top-level matches against anybody he's matched against, whether it's John Cena, Alberto del Rio, Sheamus, Miz, CM Punk, Randy Orton, or any of the other current top names. And frankly, given how often those names are thrown against each other time and again, I think Drew McIntyre should be brought up to the level he's capable of and stir the pot a bit. We fans of the WWE Universe could use the variety.
So much for my commentary on the state of things in the WWE as seen every week on Raw, Smackdown, and their other shows.
So, how's the figure? Truly excellent. Drew McIntyre is a fairly tall individual, even by professional wrestling standards, and has a muscular if somewhat lean build, and the body parts used to construct his figure reflect this very well.
One of the things that impresses me most about Mattel's WWE Superstars line is the fact that they have created a multitude of body types. This isn't like the DC Universe or Masters of the Universe lines, where a good basic body can be designed and used over and over again. Admittedly, I appreciate the consistency there, but it doesn't really work for a line that is based on actual people.
The WWE Superstars, while they have to maintain good physical condition in order to do what they do in the ring, do not all have the same body type. Mattel, as such, has created a large variety of body parts, some more distinctive than others, which can be used to get the closest possible match for a figure of any given individual.
In Drew McIntyre's case, he is taller than average, as is his figure, standing precisely 7" in height, and he has excellent muscle definition on a muscular but slightly lean body, due no doubt to his height. This is also reflected in the parts used, which have an above-average level of muscle definition.
One of the main criteria that I have for purchasing a WWE Superstars figure is how much it looks like the actual individual. Fortunately, the Superstars packages have a photograph of the person on the package, which certainly makes this comparison easier. The Drew McIntyre figure features an excellent likeness. McIntyre has a rather European look to him, as well as a rather prominent nose and chin. These are well reflected on the figure. The figure has very pale blue eyes, which are probably more prominent on the figure than they typically appear to be when one sees Drew on WWE programming, but it's an excellent bit of detail on the figure.
Drew McIntyre has dark brown hair, which he tends to wear very long. Typically, he ties it off on the back when he makes his entrance to the ring, but he either removes the band holding it in place before the match starts, or it gets removed just through the activity of the match. However, this figure still has the hair tied off in the back. There are other long-haired wrestlers that have had their long locks sculpted as part of their figures. I suspect in McIntyre's case, someone just figured that sculpting it tied off would be a little easier, and it's still a legitimate look. I have no complaint about it, and the overall detail is excellent.
Drew McIntyre is wearing blue trunks. This is a nice change of pace from the usual black ring garb that a lot of these figures tend to have. (One of the reasons I bought Rey Mysterio a while back was the figure of him that I found was dressed in bright green, and I wanted some color in the collection, darn it!) The back of Drew's trunks has a stylized image of a red lion, in profile, standing on its hind legs, front legs extended outward, the entire image outlined in white.
I knew I'd seen this image before, in reference to Drew's part of the world, but I didn't know its proper name or its history. Fortunately, a good friend of mine who lives in England is also Scottish, and he was able to link me to some historical information.
The lion is part of the Royal Standard of Scotland, also known as the Banner of the King of Scots, or more commonly the Lion Rampant of Scotland, is the Scottish Royal Banner of Arms. The entire flag not only features the aforementioned red lion, but is a mostly yellow flag with an ornate red border.
Since 1603, the Lion rampant of Scotland has been incorporated into both the royal arms and royal banners of successive Scottish then British monarchs in order to symbolize Scotland; as can be seen today in the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom. Although now officially restricted to use by representatives of the Sovereign and at royal residences, the Royal Standard of Scotland continues to be one of Scotland's most recognizable symbols.
And apparently there's no real restriction against using just the lion on somebody's wrestling gear, or on an action figure thereof. The sides of McIntyre's trunks also have alternating red and white symbols that are reminiscent of the "lilies" mentioned in the border of the Royal Banner.
The imprinting job is impressive, as it has to cross the articulation points for both legs, but it does so very impressively. It's a good thing that -- however this sort of thing is done -- Mattel has ways to make it work very well, especially for this WWE line. Along with various intricate costume designs, many WWE Superstars have tattoos, some of them quite extensive, that also need to be added to the figure. Drew McIntyre is not one of these, however. The imprinted designs on the figure are restricted to the trunks.
Drew McIntyre has black wristbands, which are painted on the lower arms, black knee pads, which were molded separately from flexible plastic and attached to the figure during assembly, and do not seriously hinder articulation, and black boots, with very impressively sculpted detailing on the laces.
Articulation of the figure is excellent. Drew McIntyre 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 pretty much the basic WWE Superstars line. If you want more articulation, it can be found in the Elite Collection, which includes mid-torso articulation and more extensive leg articulation. But you'll be paying quite a bit more for it, about 1-1/2 times the price of a Superstars figure. I'm content with the Superstars collection.
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 as any action figure on the market these days, generally with superb likenesses, and I do believe that 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, and I'm certain there will be some.
If you're a WWE fan, and have been a fan of Drew McIntyre, then you'll certainly want to have a look at his WWE Superstars figure, and bring it into your collection. Come on, give the guy a break. He could use it, and Mattel is really doing an outstanding job with these WWE Superstars!
The WWE SUPERSTARS figure of DREW McINTYRE definitely has my highest recommendation!