REVIEW: WWE SUPERSTARS R TRUTH
I've noticed something since I started collecting Mattel's line of WWE Superstars action figures -- the apparent distribution of these figures is even more peculiar than most action figure lines.
Maybe it has to do with how extensive the line is. These Superstars figures are Mattel's most basic offerings, and based on the numbers on their packages, there's literally been dozens of them, even though most of them have come and gone, and some faces turn up more often than others.
I'm not seeing that nearly to the same degree with the WWE line. A while back, I found a Booker T figure at a relatively remote Walmart. I haven't seen him anywhere since. I passed on a Kane figure at a Target because he looked like he had a loose leg. I have never seen him at another Target. I finally found Kane at a Walgreens, and that Walgreens hasn't restocked its WWE figures since. I'm not saying that any one retailer is preferable to another. I don't think they are. Prices are fairly consistent across the board, which is actually a little surprising. All I'm saying is, you never know who's going to turn up where when it comes to this line. The other thing I'm saying is -- if you see a WWE Superstar that you want, you'd better get him when you see him..
This WWE Superstar goes by the name of R TRUTH, although he's been known by a few other names over the course of his professional wrestling career. Let's have a look at the man and his career, and then review his WWE Superstars action figure.
Ronnie Aaron Killings (born January 19, 1972) is R-Truth, who is currently signed to WWE. Since working for the company, he has been a one time United States Champion and one time WWE Tag Team Champion with Kofi Kingston, and a two time Hardcore Champion under the ring name K-Kwik. As R-Truth he has headlined multiple pay-per-views for the company, occasionally in world title contention. Killings has also worked for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as K-Krush and later as Ron "The Truth" Killings, where he became the first African-American NWA World Heavyweight Champion, a title he held on two occasions, in addition to becoming a two time NWA World Tag Team Champion and a one time TNA World Tag Team Champion.
Jackie Crockett of the National Wrestling Alliance first tried to convince Killings to become a professional wrestler, but he was determined to focus on his music career. Killings spent two years working on his music career and then contacted Crockett once more and expressed an interest in becoming a wrestler. Crockett, by now the senior cameraman for World Championship Wrestling, took Killings to several WCW and Pro Wrestling Federation events, introducing him to wrestling personalities.
Killings debuted in the PWF in 1997 as a manager, then spent three years traveling and training with Manny Fernandez. In 1999, he debuted in NWA Wildside as K-Krush, where he was awarded the newly-created NWA Wildside Television Championship on December 12. Killings lost the title to A.J. Styles on January 8, 2000.
At the urging of Rick Michaels, Killings sent a promotional videotape to the World Wrestling Federation. He was signed to a two-year developmental contract in 1999 and was assigned to Memphis Championship Wrestling, a WWF developmental territory. On April 12 in Robinsonville, Mississippi, he won a battle royal to claim the vacant Southern Heavyweight Championship. He lost the title to a masked Jerry Lawler on May 24 in Tunica, Mississippi, but reclaimed it from Joey Abs several months later in Memphis, Tennessee on August 19. His second reign ended on November 3, when he lost to Steve Bradley in Manila, Arkansas.
Killings was then promoted to the main roster and put in a tag team with Road Dogg. He debuted on the November 13, 2000 episode of Raw is War, attacking William Regal during a match against Road Dogg. Killings and the Road Dogg began rapping together, performing a song called "Gettin' Rowdy" as they approached the ring. Upon the return of Road Dogg's former partner Billy Gunn later that month, Killings was involved in a D-Generation X quasi-reunion. At Survivor Series, Killings teamed with former DX members Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and Chyna to face The Radicalz in a Survivor Series match. Killings was eliminated and the Radicalz went on to win the match. At Armageddon, Killings and the Road Dogg took part in a four-way tag team match for the Tag Team Championship, which was won by Edge and Christian.
After Road Dogg was released on January 26, 2001, Killings became a singles competitor and became a successful mainstay on Jakked. He took part in the 2001 Royal Rumble, but was eliminated by Big Show. Killings then began competing in the hardcore division. He defeated Raven for the Hardcore Championship on February 3, but lost the title to Crash Holly that same evening. Killings became somewhat of a background figure of "The Invasion" angle during the summer months, following WWE's purchase of WCW, often seen in dressing rooms and watching television with other superstars during inter-promotional matches. Killings was released from the WWF the next year.
In 2002, Killings joined Xtreme Pro Wrestling as K. Malik Shabazz, teaming with Saleem Jihad and Raphael Muhammed and Riley "The Milkman" Hood as the New Panthers, a faction based upon the Black Panther Party. He left the promotion later that year.
Killings signed with the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling promotion in June 2002, and appeared on the first weekly TNA pay-per-view on June 19 as K-Krush. Killings immediately established himself as a heel by harassing NASCAR drivers Sterling Marlin and Hermie Sadler until he was attacked by Brian Christopher. Later that same evening, he participated in the Gauntlet for the Gold match, but was eliminated by Malice. The following week, Killings lost to Christopher after Marlin and Sadler interfered in their match. On July 3, Killings and Jeff Jarrett defeated Christopher and Scott Hall after Christopher turned on Hall during the match, aligning himself with Killings and Jarrett.
On the July 17 TNA pay-per-view, Killings delivered an angry promo in which he implied that he had been held back as a result of his race. He then stated that he was to be referred to as "The Truth". Killings eventually began using his own name, referring to himself as Ron "The Truth" Killings. Killings defeated Ken Shamrock for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship at NWA-TNA 8 on August 7, thus becoming the first-ever recognized African-American NWA World Heavyweight Champion in history. He successfully defended the title in matches with Monty Brown, Jerry Lynn, Low Ki, Curt Hennig, and Scott Hall before losing on November 20 to Jeff Jarrett who had the help of Vince Russo. As a result of Russo's involvement, Killings turned into a face. In subsequent months, Killings feuded with Sports Entertainment Xtreme before turning into a heel once again by attacking Jarrett on March 19.
Between May and June, Killings began teaming with Konnan and former WWE ally B.G. James. In July the trio formed a faction known as the 3Live Kru. The NWA World Tag Team Championship was held by all three members of the Kru as part of the Freebird Rule until January 28, 2004.
Following the break-up of the 3Live Kru, Killings began competing as a singles wrestler once more. He briefly aligned himself with Sting in March, teaming with Sting, A.J. Styles, and Rhino as "Sting's Warriors". At Lockdown on April 23, Sting's Warriors defeated Jarrett's Army in a Lethal Lockdown match.
On June 19, Killings tried to resign from TNA. Amidst more dissension backstage, however, TNA refused to release Killings. In December, he worked out a deal for his release from the company.
Killings re-signed with World Wrestling Entertainment in 2008 and debuted on the SmackDown brand under the ring name R-Truth on August 29, as a face, defeating Kenny Dykstra. WWE completely ignored his past with the company as K-Kwik and his Hardcore Championship reigns until Summerslam 2010, where commentator Matt Striker made a passing reference to his past.
On the October 23, 2009 episode of SmackDown, R-Truth, Finlay, Matt Hardy, and the Hart Dynasty defeated Cryme Tyme member JTG, Eric Escobar, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre in a five-on-four handicap match to qualify as the representatives of Team SmackDown at the first-ever Bragging Rights pay-per-view. At the event, Team SmackDown defeated Team Raw when Raw member The Big Show turned on his team.
On the February 16, 2010 episode of ECW, R-Truth was announced to appear on the debuting WWE NXT as the storyline mentor of David Otunga.
On the February 5, 2010 episode of SmackDown, R-Truth won an elimination chamber qualifying match against Mike Knox. At the first-ever Elimination Chamber, R-Truth competed in the Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship, but was eliminated by CM Punk. On the March 2 episode of NXT, Truth accompanied his rookie David Otunga to the ring for his match against CM Punk's rookie, Darren Young. During the match, Punk interfered, which cost Otunga his match, leading to a backstage brawl between Otunga and Truth.
At Wrestlemania XXVI, R-Truth teamed with John Morrison to face The Miz and The Big Show for the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship in a losing effort.
Truth was drafted to Raw with teammate John Morrison during the 2010 WWE Draft on April 26. He immediately began a feud with Ted DiBiase after DiBiase offered him a job as his personal assistant, which Truth declined with a slap across DiBiase's face. Two weeks later, during a match with William Regal, Truth was attacked by Carlito and Primo, who were paid off by DiBiase after the assault. Truth went on to wrestle and defeat DiBiase at the first-ever Over the Limit pay-per-view on May 23. The next night on Raw, Truth defeated The Miz to win the vacant United States Championship, earning himself his first major singles championship since returning to WWE.
During November, when John Cena had been forced to join the Nexus, Truth attempted to stand up against them and stop them from overpowering the reigning champion Randy Orton, resulting in an inpromptu tag match between Orton and Truth against the Nexus' leader Wade Barrett and Truth's former rookie David Otunga. When Cena seemed to be considering unfairly awarding the Barrett the title to save his job, Truth lectured him about the sanctity of the title he had not yet had a single shot at. Truth then lost in a singles match to Barrett. Cena eventually heeded Truth's word and called it down the middle at Survivor Series, with Orton retaining.
On the April 11, 2011 episode of Raw, Truth became the number one contender for the WWE Championship along with John Cena via double disqualification after The Miz and Alex Riley attacked both of them during a number one contender's gauntlet match. The Raw General Manager stated that, due to interference from Miz and Riley, R-Truth and John Cena would both compete for the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules in a steel cage match. Morrison questioned Truth about about his capability to compete in a match like this, and challenged Truth to a match for his spot. Truth turned heel by attacking Morrison after Morrison won that match.
The following week on Raw, R-Truth cut a promo, stating that popularity did not get him any titles, and also announced that he was done entertaining the fans. After the promo, Truth was attacked by Morrison. At Extreme Rules on May 1, Truth prevented Morrison from escaping the cage during the main event for the WWE Championship, ultimately costing him the title.
On the May 9 episode of Raw, Truth revealed that his attack on Morrison had led to him being hospitalized (in reality, Morrison had injured his neck) before then attacking Rey Mysterio at the end of the show. On the May 16 episode of Raw, Truth accused Mysterio of being a "thief" and stealing his chance at the WWE Championship. Truth then attacked a weakened Mysterio, who had just finished a match with Alberto Del Rio. Truth faced Mysterio at Over the Limit, where he was victorious.
After subsequent episodes of ranting and raving over John Cena's popularity, he harassed a young fan and his father on the May 30 episode of Raw, throwing a cup of soda in the father's face after a countout win over Cena. After Raw went off the air, the Raw General Manager announced a WWE Championship match between the two, on the condition that R-Truth apologize for his behavior the next week.
On the June 6 episode of Raw, Truth interrupted both Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin and made his way out to the ring, singing a song about "Little Jimmy" (referring to the children in attendance) and wearing a Confederate soldier's uniform. However, he stayed true to his word and "apologized" for his actions the previous week. As a result, he faced John Cena at the Capitol Punishment pay-per-view for the WWE Championship, but was unsuccessful in winning the title.
On the August 22 episode of Raw, R-Truth and The Miz attacked Santino Marella before his match and then proceeded to cut a promo about not being used properly. On the August 29 episode of Raw, Truth interfered in The Miz's match and the both of them attacked CM Punk. On the September 5 episode of Raw, Truth and Miz challenged Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston) to a match for the Tag Team Championship at Night of Champions, but were disqualified after Miz assaulted a referee during the match. R-Truth and Miz were subsequently "fired" by Triple H the following night on Raw. At Hell in a Cell, R-Truth and Miz attacked Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk, John Cena, and several others after the WWE Championship match ended. After this, the entire WWE roster came out to find a way into the cell before the officials were able to get the door open and "arrest" them.
On the October 10 episode of Raw, R-Truth and The Miz were reinstated by John Laurinaitis. At Vengeance, Miz and Truth defeated CM Punk and Triple H in a tag match, due to interference from Kevin Nash. Later that same night they assaulted John Cena during his WWE Championship match with Alberto Del Rio.
On the October 24 episode of Raw, Awesome Truth attacked John Cena and Zack Ryder. On the 7 November episode of Raw, Miz and R-Truth defeated Cena and Ryder. On November 20 at Survivor Series, R-Truth and The Miz were defeated by Cena and The Rock. The following night on Raw, Cena instigated an argument between R-Truth and Miz, which ultimately led to the team's dissolution as Miz attacked R-Truth with a Skull Crushing Finale onto the stage.
On the December 26 episode of Raw, R-Truth returned to attack Miz after the latter lost to John Cena via countout, turning face once again. This was followed by back-and-forth assaults on the two throughout January.
R-Truth then began teaming with Kofi Kingston. On the February 27 edition of Raw, Truth and Kingston failed to capture the WWE Tag Team Championship from Primo and Epico in a Triple Threat Tag Team Match, also involving Ziggler and Swagger.
On the April 30 episode of Raw, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston defeated Primo and Epico to win the Tag Team Championship. At Over the Limit, R-Truth and Kingston successfully defended the title against Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger and then again in a rematch on the May 28 episode of Raw. In the pre-show of Money in the Bank, Truth and Kingston defeated Hunico and Camacho in a non-title match. The following night on Raw, they successfully defended the Tag Team Championship against the Prime Time Players (Titus O'Neil and Darren Young), and again at SummerSlam. At Night of Champions, Kingston and Truth lost the Tag Team Championship to the team of Daniel Bryan and Kane and failed to regain the titles from the new champions the following night on Raw. It was announced after the October 8 edition of Raw that Truth and Kingston had mutually decided to part ways as a tag team.
Truth began feuding with United States Champion Antonio Cesaro on the October 29 episode of Raw, after saving former tag partner Kofi Kingston from a post-match assault from Cesaro. The following week, Truth teamed with Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio to defeat Cesaro and the Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil), with Truth pinning Cesaro for the win. Truth faced Cesaro for the United States Championship on November 18 at Survivor Series, but was unsuccessful in winning the title. On the following episode of SmackDown, Truth defeated Cesaro in a non-title match. On the December 3 episode of Raw, Truth was again unsuccessful in capturing the United States Championship from Cesaro in fatal-four way match, also involving Kofi Kingston and Wade Barrett. On December 16 at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Truth failed again to capture the United States Championship from Cesaro.
R-Truth was sidelined due to a gash he suffered at the TLC event. Truth returned on the February 18, 2013 episode of Raw saving Kofi Kingston from Damien Sandow. The following week on Raw, Truth beat Cody Rhodes, and Sandow tried to attack Truth but failed. On the April 15 episode of Raw he scored an upset victory over Intercontinental Champion, Wade Barrett and stated he was a threat to the title.
So, how's the figure? Extremely impressive. One of my primary criteria for bringing any of these Superstars figures into my collection is how good a likeness they are of the actual individual. This is a relatively easy comparison to make, because the package card features a photograph of the actual individual. Really very convenient. Thank you, Mattel.
In R-Truth's case, he's an excellent likeness. R-Truth, once again a "face", or one of the good guys, is frequently smiling when he enters the ring, and that's the expression that he's been given. I don't tend to buy figures that have quirky facial expressions, and I have noticed that some popular WWE Superstars get more than one headsculpt, which has been fortunate on more than a few occasions. I don't know that R-Truth has had more than one headsculpt, but fortunately, this one works.
R-Truth has two piercings in his face, one at one end of his left eyebrow, and another below his lower lip. While I've personally never quite understood this -- method of personal decoration -- on anybody -- credit is certainly due to Mattel for duplicating it most effectively on the figure's headsculpt with little sculpted details painted in silver.
R-Truth wears his hair in moderate-length dreadlocks, and these are presence and accounted for, of course. The hair has been sculpted separately from the rest of the head, and attached during assembly. It has been molded from very flexible, rubbery plastic, and is superbly well detailed. One interesting little bit of detail is the one dreadlock that hangs over R-Truth's left eye. There's a detail that wouldn't've really been possible if this hadn't been sculpted separately.
Mattel uses quite a number of different body types for their WWE Superstars line. Although one certainly needs to be in good physical condition to perform in the wrestling ring, this isn't the DC Universe. Not everybody can get away with using the same basic set of body molds, a consistency which I sincerely appreciate in the DC Universe line, but which would not be appropriate for the WWE Superstars line.
R-Truth has a good physical build with a distinctly above-average level of muscle definition, and that's the body type that was chosen for him, and it works very well. R-truth also has narrow armbands painted above the biceps on both arms, and a wristband painted around his left wrist.
His right arm has an elbow pad, separately molded from flexible plastic and secured to the figure during assembly. It doesn't adversely affect his articulation. And the right lower wrist and hand are designed to look as though R-Truth is wearing a glove.
R-Truth has two tattoos -- a letter "R" inside an oval on his upper right chest, and the word "Barba" on his lower right arm. I find myself wondering if there is more to the tattoo than this, as the rest might be covered by the wrist band. I keep thinking it might spell "Barbados", but I have no idea if R-Truth has any connection there, or if it simply might be "Barba", although what that might mean, I don't really know.
Interestingly, based on a recent viewing of Monday Night RAW, R Truth currently has more tattoos than his action figure. This honestly isn't all that uncommon, especially for a wrestler that's taken a bit of a break, which he has. Those inclined towards tattoos in the first place seem inclined to get more when they have some time off. This must really drive the toy companies nuts at times. "What, Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton are going to be out for three months? Call our imprinting division!"
Unlike most wrestlers, R-Truth doesn't wear tights to the ring. He wears rather baggy trousers. And on this figure, they've been molded in black, with a black belt and a silver buckle, and some wording on the trousers.
Down the front of the left leg, in stylized graffiti-type letters, is his name -- "R TRUTH". This has been imprinted in white and yellow. It's an interesting study, since in my experience with action figures over the years, one of the toughest things to do is paint yellow over black. It's even tougher than white over black. Here, it works quite well, although oddly, the alignment on a few of the letters, which are half white and half yellow, is just a little off, and I don't think it was intentional. However, given the style of the lettering, it's not especially noticeable.
Wording on the upper left leg reads, "All Eyes on the Truth", in white, while on the back of the trousers, also imprinted on white, are the words "Truth is Back", and a hand-written name, "Lil Jimmy" -- and that deserves some explanation.
R-Truth first used the term "Little Jimmy" as a derogatory reference to the young WWE fans when he was behaving as a heel. Later, his in-ring persona wasn't so much that of a heel, but as someone who was, shall we say, a few fries short of a Happy Meal. He'd even come to the ring wearing a straitjacket. At this point in time, and continuing for a while even once he'd become a good guy again, and had presumably regained most of his sanity, "Li'l Jimmy" became an invisible, imaginary friend. R-Truth would even motion for him to come down the entrance ring with him. It was one of the more peculiar gimmicks in recent times.
But I admit I had to wonder if the name "Little Jimmy" had any particular basis for it. And it turns out that it does. Little Jimmy, originally titled Jimmy, was a newspaper comic strip created by Jimmy Swinnerton. With a publication history from February 14, 1904 to 1958, it was one of the first continuing features and one of the longest running.
The title character was a little boy who was constantly forgetting what he was supposed to do and ended up getting into trouble.
The character has been described thusly: Jimmy was a wide-eyed innocent, but easy prey to the foibles of little boys. He'd constantly forget what task he was about and wander off to do boyish things, to the great consternation of the adults in his life.
The strip first appeared sporadically in The New York Journal. It soon became a regular in the Sunday comics section and was picked up as a feature in other newspapers. When King Features Syndicate was created in 1915, Little Jimmy went into nationwide syndication. In 1920, a daily strip was added and ran until the late 1930s. The Sunday strip continued until Swinnerton retired in 1958.
That's a heck of run for a comic strip I'd never heard of until I researched this, but admittedly it ended before I was both. It certainly ended before R-Truth was born, and I find myself wondering if the connection is intentional. But it's interesting to consider.
Back to the figure -- the pants end in very baggy cuffs, and R-Truth has black shoes, with nicely detailed laces, emerging from the trousers.
It seems that a significant majority of these WWE Superstars figures that I have collected dress in black. Such is simply the pattern today, although I've tried to break it up a bit when I can.
Articulation of the figure is excellent. R-Truth is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivels, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. About the only articulation limitations are a lack of mid-torso articulation, upper leg swivels, and the fact that the legs move forward and backward, but not outward. However, it should be noted that these are Mattel's most basic WWE figures. If you want greater articulation, there's the Elite Collection -- but you'll be paying about 1-1/2 times the price for it. These WWE Superstars figures are, quite frankly, a bargain at their size. R-Truth stands a very capable 6-3/4" in height. And I'm more than content with what I'm getting for what I'm paying.
So, what's my final word? Mattel's doing a really great job with these WWE Superstars figures, even if certain individuals and any sort of distribution pattern tends to be more elusive than with most action figure lines, in my opinion. Nevertheless, when you find somebody interesting and well-made, that's among the popular current superstars of the WWE, which is certainly the emphasis of this branch of Mattel's WWE product line, then you know you'll be getting a cool and impressive figure. And R-Truth here certainly fits that description extremely well. I'm glad I've got him, and I'm sure you'll enjoy him, as well.
The WWE SUPERSTARS figure of R-TRUTH definitely has my highest recommendation! And now he's asking me to go check his package to make sure I get Little Jimmy out of it.