REVIEW: WWE SUPERSTARS ROYAL RUMBLE 2013 THE ROCK
By Thomas Wheeler

What are those qualities that propel someone to the top of whatever business they're in? Well, obviously, that depends on the business. I think it would be fair to say that in the professional wrestling world, those qualities would include, along with significant athletic ability, a generous helping of charisma, personality, the ability to speak well, no small measure of acting and performance skills, and so forth. All of these -- if one is fortunate and skilled enough to combine and take proper advantage of them, stand a good chance of making a person into a pop culture legend in the wresting world, and perhaps even beyond.

And certainly that has been the case with one Dwayne Johnson, better known to fans of the WWE as -- THE ROCK. And recently, he turned up in the WWE Superstars collection.

And speaking also as a G.I. Joe fan, it hasn't escaped my attention that it's still possible to buy G.I. Joe Retaliation movie figures, which feature The Rock very prominently on all of their packages, in the role of popular Joe Team member Roadblock, and of course, there are Roadblock figures within the line. So you can really get two figures of the same individual, in different scales, manufactured by two different toy companies

Crazy world, isn't it?

As The Rock, Dwayne Johnson has been made as a WWE Superstars figure in an assortment dedicated to Royal Rumble 2013, in which The Rock appeared. Let's consider some of the history of this popular individual, and then have a look at this action figure.

Dwayne Douglas Johnson, born May 2, 1972, better known as The Rock, is an American actor and semi-retired professional wrestler who works for WWE. Johnson was a college football player. In 1991, he was on the University of Miami's national championship team. He later played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, and was cut two months into the 1995 season. This led him to become a professional wrestler like his grandfather, Peter Maivia, and his father, Rocky Johnson.

Originally billed as "Rocky Maivia", he gained mainstream fame as "The Rock" in the WWE from 1996 to 2004, and was the first third-generation wrestler in the company's history. He returned to wrestling part-time for WWE in 2011.

Johnson is widely considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. He had 17 championship reigns in WWE, including ten world title reigns: the WWE Championship eight times and the World Championship twice. He won the WWF Intercontinental Championship twice and the World Tag Team Championship five times. He is the sixth WWE Triple Crown Champion, and won the 2000 Royal Rumble.

Johnson's first leading film role was in The Scorpion King in 2002. He has since appeared in several successful films, including The Rundown, Be Cool, Walking Tall, Gridiron Gang, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, Planet 51, Tooth Fairy, Doom, The Other Guys, Faster, Fast Five, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and Fast & Furious 6.

Like his father and grandfather, several of Johnson's other relatives are or were professional wrestlers, including his uncles, Afa and Sika Anoa'i (The Wild Samoans) and his cousins, Afa Jr. (Manu), Rodney (Yokozuna), Solofa (Rikishi), and Eddie (Umaga). When Johnson declared his intent to become a wrestler, his father initially resisted, but then agreed to train him himself, warning that he would not go easy on him. Veteran wrestler Pat Patterson got Johnson several tryout matches with the WWE in 1996. Under his real name, he defeated The Brooklyn Brawler at a house show, and lost the other matches to Chris Candido and Owen Hart. After wrestling at Jerry Lawler's United States Wrestling Association, as "Flex Kavana", and winning the USWA World Tag Team Championship twice with Bart Sawyer in the summer of 1996, Johnson signed a WWE contract. He received additional training from Tom Prichard, alongside Achim Albrecht and Mark Henry.

Johnson made his WWE debut as Rocky Maivia, a combination of his father and grandfather's ring names. He was initially reluctant to take the name, but was persuaded by Vince McMahon and Jim Ross. He was given the nickname "The Blue Chipper", and his lineage was played to on TV, where he was hyped as the WWE's first third-generation wrestler. Maivia, a clean-cut face character, was pushed heavily from the start despite his wrestling inexperience. He debuted at Survivor Series in November 1996, in an eight-man elimination tag match; he was the sole survivor.

On February 13, 1997, he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Triple H on Monday Night Raw. Though pushed as a face, audiences generally disliked Maivia. Chants of "Die, Rocky, die!" and "Rocky sucks!" were common during his matches.

After losing the Intercontinental Championship to Owen Hart on the April 28, 1997 Raw is War, and suffering a knee injury in a match against Mankind, Maivia returned as a heel. Along with Faarooq, D'Lo Brown, and Kama, he formed a group called The Nation of Domination. During this time, he refused to acknowledge the "Rocky Maivia" name, instead referring to himself in the third person as "The Rock".

The Rock's entertaining promos and ensuing popularity led to a face turn, in which he called himself "The People's Champion". This led to a feud with Mr. McMahon, who said he had "a problem with the people" and would thus target "The People's Champion". A double turn occurred at Survivor Series, when The Rock defeated McMahon's associate, Mankind, in the finals of the "Deadly Game" tournament for the vacant WWE Championship. The Rock allied with Vince and Shane McMahon as the crown jewel of their stable, The Corporation.

Though he was a heel, his amusing verbal skills led many fans to cheer The Rock. He turned face again after being betrayed by Shane McMahon and began a feud with Triple H, The Undertaker, and The Corporate Ministry. He defeated Triple H at Over the Edge, then lost to The Undertaker at King of the Ring.

After some time off, The Rock returned to the WWE in late July 2001, and had to decide whether to join the WWF or The Alliance (a group of former WCW and ECW wrestlers) during The Invasion, eventually siding with the WWF. At SummerSlam, The Rock defeated Booker T to win the WCW Championship. He lost the title to Chris Jericho at No Mercy. The next night on Raw, he teamed with Jericho to win the WWF World Tag Team Championship from The Dudley Boyz.

The Rock closed out 2001 by losing the WCW Championship to WWE Champion Chris Jericho at Vengeance, in a title unification match. He then feuded with the New World Order, after challenging Hollywood Hulk Hogan to a match at WrestleMania X8. The match was billed as icon versus icon, with both men representing the top tier of two generations of wrestling; ultimately Rock pinned Hogan at WrestleMania X8. After the nWo turned on Hogan for losing the match, The Rock allied with him and then took a short sabbatical from wrestling.

The Rock appeared in WWE sporadically following Wrestlemania 20. He made a cameo in his hometown of Miami and helped Mick Foley turn back La Résistance. In 2004, he hosted a segment of the WWE Diva Search.

After this, Dwayne Johnson stated in several interviews that he was no longer under contract to WWE. He stated he would continue using the trademarked name "The Rock", per a dual ownership deal between him and WWE. On March 12, 2007, The Rock appeared on WWE TV after a near three-year absence, via a pre-taped promo shown on the TitanTron during Raw. He correctly predicted Bobby Lashley would defeat Umaga at WrestleMania 23 in Donald Trump and Vince McMahon's "Battle of the Billionaires" match.

On March 29, 2008, The Rock inducted his father, Rocky Johnson, and his grandfather, Peter Maivia, into the WWE Hall of Fame. During his induction speech, he roasted WWE wrestlers John Cena, Santino Marella, Chris Jericho, Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. On October 2, 2009, the ten-year anniversary of SmackDown, The Rock cut a promo via pre-recorded video.

On the February 14, 2011, episode of Raw, The Rock was revealed as the host of WrestleMania XXVII, appearing live on Raw for the first time in almost seven years. During a lengthy promo, he addressed the fans, Michael Cole, The Miz and John Cena, calling Cena a "big fat bowl of Fruity Pebbles", inspiring a popular crowd chant and sign. The Rock claimed to love wrestling, having has been born into the business, a claim Cena argued. After numerous appearances via satellite, The Rock appeared live on the Raw before WrestleMania XXVII to confront Cena, with whom he had been feuding with through Twitter, making fun of Cena's clothing and calling him a "homeless Power Ranger" and "Vanilla Ice".

On April 3 at WrestleMania XXVII, The Rock opened the show by cutting a promo. After appearing in numerous backstage segments, The Rock came to ringside to restart the main event between Cena and The Miz as a No Disqualification match, after it had ended in a draw. As revenge for the Attitude Adjustment Cena had given him on Raw, Rock hit Cena with the Rock Bottom, allowing The Miz to pin him and retain the WWE Championship. After the match, Rock attacked Miz and hit him with the People's Elbow. The following night on Raw, Cena challenged The Rock to a match at WrestleMania XXVIII the next year, which Rock accepted.

On September 16, WWE announced The Rock would wrestle in a traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series tag team match, teaming with Cena at Survivor Series in November. However, on the October 24 episode of Raw, Cena instead chose The Rock to be his partner in a standard tag team match against Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth), which Rock which agreed to the following week. Despite their rilvary, The Rock and Cena defeated Awesome Truth on November 20 at Survivor Series, when The Rock pinned The Miz with the People's Elbow. After the match, The Rock gave Cena a Rock Bottom.

Leading up to Wrestlemania, The Rock and Cena had several verbal confrontations on Raw. On April 1 at WrestleMania XXVIII, The Rock faced Cena in the main event hyped for a year and billed with the tagline "Once in a Lifetime". When an overconfident Cena attempted the People's Elbow on The Rock, he countered with a Rock Bottom for the pin and the win. The following night on Raw, The Rock praised Cena for putting up a good fight, calling their match "an honor". He then vowed to once again become WWE Champion.

On July 23, 2012, at Raw 1000, The Rock announced he would face the WWE Champion at the Royal Rumble. During the show, he encountered WWE Champion CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and John Cena, all of whom expressed a desire to face him. He later saved Cena from an assault by Big Show, only to be laid out by CM Punk. On the January 7, 2013 Raw, The Rock returned to WWE to confront his Rumble opponent, the reigning champion CM Punk. On January 27 at the Royal Rumble, Punk defeated The Rock after The Shield interfered. McMahon was about to strip Punk of the championship, however, at The Rock's request, he instead restarted the match. This culminated in The Rock defeating Punk to win his eighth WWE Championship, a win which marked The Rock's first WWE Championship reign in over ten years. Punk received a title rematch with The Rock at Elimination Chamber, with the added stipulation that if The Rock was disqualified or counted out, he would lose the title, but Rock pinned Punk to retain the championship. The following night on Raw, The Rock unveiled the new WWE Championship during his championship celebration, with an entirely new center plate and his signature Brahma Bull logo on the side plates. The Rock then resumed his rivalry with John Cena, with Cena blaming his personal and professional troubles on his loss to The Rock the previous year. On April 7 at WrestleMania 29, Rock lost the WWE Championship to Cena.

The success of Johnson's wrestling character allowed him to cross over into mainstream pop culture. Johnson had guest roles on Star Trek: Voyager, as an alien wrestler that uses The Rock's famous moves, and on That '70s Show, as his father, Rocky Johnson.

Johnson's motion picture debut was a brief appearance as The Scorpion King in the opening sequence of The Mummy Returns. The character appears in the movie's climax in CGI form. The movie's financial success led to his first leading role, in the sequel The Scorpion King.

In 2011, Johnson appeared in the fifth film of The Fast and the Furious film series, Fast Five, as Luke Hobbs, a Diplomatic Security Service agent assigned to hunt down the series' protagonists. Johnson landed the role after series star Vin Diesel read comments and feedback from fans, one of whom wanted to see Diesel and Johnson in a movie together. Johnson, a fan of the franchise, had wanted to work with Universal again after they had given him his first film roles.

He played Roadblock in G.I. Joe: Retaliation in 2013, and reprised his role as Luke Hobbs, in Fast & Furious 6, the same year. He starred in Pain & Gain and Empire State in 2013. In addition to these films, Johnson is also the host and producer of the reality competition/game show series The Hero, on TNT. Johnson is set to star in Hercules: The Thracian Wars in 2014, and has confirmed that he will once again reprise his role of Luke Hobbs in Fast & Furious 7.

You wonder when the man sleeps, you know?

So, how's the figure? Superb. I've been hoping that there might be a good figure of The Rock in the Superstars line so that I could add this legend of professional wrestling to my collection, and now here he is.

Since the figure is part of an assortment based on Royal Rumble 2013, this version of The Rock is obviously up to date. The Rock has had a number of hairstyles in his career, and his most recent has been -- no hair at all. He's kept his head shaved for some time now, never mind the fact that he rather needed to in order to play the part of Roadblock. The one major difference between Roadblock and The Rock is that Roadblock has a mustache and goatee. The Rock is entirely clean-shaven.

The headsculpt is an excellent likeness of The Rock, right down to his trademark single raised eyebrow.

The Rock keeps himself in good physical condition, and this is certainly reflected in the body parts chosen for the figure. Mattel keeps a generous supply of assorted body types available for their WWE Superstars figures. Really, they have to. This isn't like DC Universe or Masters of the Universe where you can have one basic body type for the most part. The WWE Superstars figures are based on real people, with a wide variety of physical builds, and Mattel has a good supply of body sections available to come as close as they possibly can to the actual physique of the individual.

In The Rock's case, the figure has excellent but not overstated muscle definition, entirely appropriate to the man. The figure really does look like The Rock.

The Rock has two distinct tattoos. On his right upper arm is the head of a bull. One of The Rock's nicknames over the years has been the "Brahma Bull". On the left side of his chest and left upper arm is a much larger and far more ornate tattoo, reflective of The Rock's Samoan ancestry. I'm not only impressed that Mattel was able to imprint such an ornate and intricate tattoo, but that they were able to do so over three distinct figure parts -- the torso, the left shoulder, and the left upper arm piece.

The Rock is wearing black trunks, with the words "The Rock" imprinted on the front, and the image of the bull's head -- eyebrow raised, no less -- on the back. The figure has been given black elbow pads and knee pads, molded from flexible plastic and attached to the figure during assembly. Nice thing about these is that they're flexible enough so that they don't severely hinder the figure's articulation.

The Rock has quite high wrestling boots, almost to the knees. These are also black, and have been very impressively detailed with sculpted laces all the way down, including past the ankle joint.

The figure, which stands 7-1/8" in height, which is a pretty good height within the WWE line, is very nicely articulated, and is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivels, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, boot tops, and ankles.

The worst thing I can say about the articulation is that the legs move back and forth, but not outward, and there is no mid-torso articulation. That's no great loss in my opinion, but some collectors might feel a little frustrated by the leg situation. It doesn't bother me that much. Mattel does produce WWE figures with a higher range of articulation, in their Elite Collection. As you might expect, they also have a higher price tag. I'm content with the Superstars line. In most stores, they're extremely reasonable, especially for their size.

So, what's my final word? Although his appearances are infrequent these days, The Rock is still an important part of the WWE. He appears during the opening credits of some of their shows, and he was even chosen to be the sole superstar on the cover of the WWE 2K14 video game. There is no question that the man is a legend in the business, and certainly a future Hall of Fame inductee.

This is really an outstanding modern figure of The Rock, and I would certainly expect that any WWE fan would be pleased to have him in their collection.

THE ROCK from the WWE SUPERSTARS "ROYAL RUMBLE 2013" collection definitely has my highest recommendation!