Paul Heyman and Heidenreich 2 figure set Review
I know what you're thinking. "Why bother reviewing a mundane WWE wrestler two pack?" Well, this particular two pack isn't quite so mundane. For one thing, it features "Real Scan" technology, which guarantees top-flight headsculpts, but more importantly, half of this set features Paul Heyman, the man who took ECW to heights that got the notice of the two major wrestling federations in the 90s, before they raided his talent and ran him out of business.
I believe that this is the first time Heyman has been immortalized in plastic. Which is pretty cool, considering that he's the man who discovered most of the top wrestling names in the business over the past ten years. As the man behind ECW, which at one time was the number- three wrestling promotion in the country, Heyman put his own financial well-being on the line to keep his company afloat. Four years after its demise, a documentary DVD of highlights became a record-setter in terms of sales, outperforming all but one WWE release last year.
This is also notable because Heyman is in the midst of his highest profile ever, as WWE, his current employer, is reviving ECW for a "One Night Stand" Pay Per View event, which takes place after this is being written, but which will be history by the time you're reading this review. Chances are that if the ECW event is a money-maker, it will be revived as an in-house brand of WWE (which bought the remnants of the company in bankruptcy court). And it that happens, Paul Heyman will have to be the on-air figurehead, otherwise, it just won't work. June has turned into a de-facto "ECW History Month", with the official reunion show, an unofficial show a couple of nights earlier, and multiple DVD releases due before the middle of July.
Now, while that's cool and may seem like a bit of marketing genius, it's really just dumb luck. Heyman has been working as a consultant and on- air talent for WWE for the last few years, but spends as much time in the doghouse with the top executives as he does actually doing work. This set is based on his on-air role as manager for the monster Heidenreich. That pairing actually dissolved on TV last year. Heyman got caught listening in on a conference call that he wasn't supposed to (I guess somebody's been reading "The Late Shift" again), and was sent home with pay as punishment.
I know, getting paid for doing nothing isn't exactly like being sentenced to hard time, but it did torpedo the original rationale for this two figure set. Luckily, as this set hits stores, Heyman is back on both RAW and Smackdown! pimping the ECW Pay Per View, and Heidenreich has been repackaged as a kid-friendly, poetry-spouting big guy who just wants to be your friend-sort of like Casper the Friendly Ghost on steroids.
The lucky part of this typically convoluted wrestling circumstance is that Jakks Pacific has lucked out and has this set in stores while both characters in it are all over television, even if they are no longer a team. And it's cool because after being crucial in the development of Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Rey Mysterio Jr, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit and Rob Van Dam, to name just a few, Heyman will finally get to see a piece of that action figure royalty money. ECW nostalgia is at an all- time high, just over four years after the company gave up the ghost. Tickets to the One Night Stand event ranged from $150 to $400, and sold briskly.
So, that's why this set deserves notice. But after all that you're probably wondering how good the figures are. They are great, with a few caveats.
Foremost among the problems is that the two figures in this set are the same height. In real life, Heyman is nearly a foot shorter than Heidenreich. For this set, Heyman is too tall, and Heidenreich too short. Jakks really needs to work on fixing their problems with scale, especially when they put two figures in the same package.
Another problem is that Heyman's body seems to use the same "business suit" body that Jakks uses on all their non-wrestling figures. And Heyman does not have the pumped-up buff, bulging body that Vince McMahon does. While Heyman has lost a lot of weight, his body type can still be best described as "schlub". He's short and a little overweight. The body on this figure is bulging to the point that he looks like a bodybuilder.
And on the nit-picky side, Heyman is missing his trademark plastic laminate around his neck. And I can understand the licensing problem, but it just doesn't look right for his baseball cap to be missing the New York Yankees insignia. Even more puzzling is the lack of a WWE logo on Heyman's microphone. And one last problems is that his hands are almost as big as his head. This looks like Paul Heyman re-imagined by the founders of Image Comics-he's needlessly buff, and has a tiny head with giant hands.
On the plus side, both these figures feature amazing likenesses on the headsculpts. The Real Scan technology is really put to good use here. And both figures feature 14 points of articulation, which is much better than what wrestling action figures used to be graced with. Heck, more than a few wrestling action figures from years ago featured zero points of articulation.
Heyman looks best with his somewhat clunky baseball cap removed (he hasn't been wearing it on TV lately anyway), and except for the height discrepancy and Heyman's fantasy body, these figures look pretty good together. If you're a die-hard ECW fan, you'll have to have this set. If you like offbeat action figures that don't look like your typical fare, then you might also want this set, just for the guy in the suit.
This set sells for under fifteen dollars at most retailers who carry the Jakks Pacific WWE lines. With ECW possibly hotter than it ever was while it was still in business, this could be an interesting curio.