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Michael Buffer

WCW Ring Announcers Series
by yo go re

And now, the officials are ready. The fighters are ready. Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready? For the thousands in attendance and for the millions watching around the world; ladies and gentlemen, "LET'S GET R-R-R-READY TO REVIE-E-E-E-W-W!"

One of the advantages the WCW had over the WWF during the "Monday Night Wars" era (other than better booking, better storylines, better matches, better wrestlers, and, of course, 84 straight weeks of better ratings) was that it had the most famous ring announcer in the world, Michal Buffer. By having Buffer belt out his trademark phrase before main event matches, it made WCW seem like a legitimate organization - or at least as legitimate as heavyweight boxing, not that that's really saying much. Oh, and when we call it his trademark phrase, we really mean it: Michael Buffer had the foresight to trademark those five little words, and pockets the money every time it's used (and that's on top of the rumored $5 million he got for saying it in person).

This figure comes from the same series of three-packs as Mean Gene Okerlund - in fact, those are the only two there ever were. One pack had Mean Gene, and the other had Michael Buffer (with Scott Steiner and DDP). I'm not sure who else they could have done.

Amazingly enough, this is not the only Michael Buffer action figure ever made: Jakks also produced one when they had the Rocky license because, like we said: he's the most famous ring announcer in the world. He made an appearance in whatever the latest Rocky movie was, and they made him a toy. But as usual, they just reused one of their wrestler bodies, which didn't suit the man at all - Michael Buffer is a guy who taught himself to tie his ties lefthanded, because the knot fits better against the top button of the shirt, making for a cleaner look; does that sound like a gentleman who would be wearing an ill-fitting tuxedo? Of course not! This ToyBiz release from 1999 gives him a 100% unique body with an appropriately slender body and a tuxedo jacket with real working buttons. Read that again: buttons! You could unbutton his coat if you felt like it!

The likeness on Buffer isn't as drop-dead perfect as it was on Mene Gene, but that may be attributable to the fact that his mouth is open in a yell - even NECA has trouble making that work, even given an extra decade and a half of technological advances. This figure was also made back when he still had dark brown hair, not gray.

The toy stands 6" tall, which is completely accurate to Buffer's real-life height. He doesn't have a lot of articulation, but it's enough to do what he needs to do: gesticulate broadly. He moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows and hips. Everything but the elbows are swivel joints; those are hinges. His right arm is bent far enough to raise the included microphone to his mouth, while his left arm is designed to be held up toward the sky. Granted, that means he looks a little odd in a more relaxed pose, but if you're going to get a Michael Buffer action figure, are you really going to have him not telling us to make sure our rumble-preparedness is up to snuff?

His only accessory is a black microphone with the WCW logo. It fits tightly into his (admittedly slightly oversized) hand, and there's really nothing else to say about it. It's the only accessory he needs, so it's good that they included it.

The "let's get ready to rumble" cry was developed out of necessity. As Buffer has explained, "in the old days, the ring announcer
would introduce the important fighters who were in attendance. But that had evolved to announcing five commissioners, three sanctioning-body officials, two ring doctors. And it chilled the crowd." Looking for something to get everybody pumped, he tried a few different phrases (seen in the photo alt tags above), with no luck. Then he remembered Muhammad Ali's famous quote, and ESPN commentator Sal Marchiano saying "we're ready to rumble," and it grew from there. Michael Buffer is an unlikely choice to get an action figure, let alone to get one this good.

-- 02/05/14

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