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The Giant

WWE Elite Collection
by yo go re

Mattel has ended its retro-themed WWE Legends line, but they continue to cater to us old-school fans in the Elite Collection line, throwing in a classic wrestler (or persona) at least once a series. That's the kind of fanbase-pandering we can appreciate!

You have to give the New World Order (nWo) credit; they realized early on that the best way to avoid having to fight the Giant was to make him a member. Not content to play a supporting role, Giant requested a title match from nWo founder "Hollywood" Hogan and was promptly kicked out of the group. Giant would rejoin two years later to oppose rival Kevin Nash, only to lose his spot when Nash's faction merged with Hogan's and launched a group attack on the big man. Giant then headed to WWE, where he would put on a very big show indeed.

Actually, he headed to the WWF, because they hadn't changed their name yet. But nice job working his later wrestling name, "Big Show," into the bio. When he first debuted in WCW, he was billed as being the son of Andre the Giant, which was pure bunk: Andre had a kid, and Show had a dad, but not each other.

He's been bald ever since Kurt Angle tranquilized him and shaved his head as part of a fued in 2004, so it may surprise some fans to learn that The Giant used to have a head full of long, luxurious hair. Even with that addition, the sculpt of the face is so recognizable that there's no mistaking who this is. He's incredibly angry - maybe because his beard is just painted on, not sculpted.

The reason WCW could pass Paul Wight off as Andre the Giant's son (against the younger man's will, it must be noted) was that, like Andre, he was born with acromegaly. He underwent surgery in the early '90s to repair his pituitary gland, ceasing the progression of the disease. However, he still has a physique very similar to the former superstar. It's surprising, then, that this figure uses a different body than the Andre Mattel released. There's a bit more muscle tone, and the torso isn't quite as wide. The arms and legs might be the same, but who's paying attention to that? His boots are fully sculpted, but his unitard and the hair on his chest is all just painted on.

A painted singlet means that the line gets broken every time you move his torso joint. Kind of defeats the point of having a joint there, doesn't it? Other than that, he also has joints at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, thighs, knees, shins and ankles. That's all you'd ever need for a guy The Rock dubbed "Big Slow" (though to be fair, he's pretty quick when he's keeping the weight off). It's not like you even need a lot of articulation to pull off his finishing moves! These days, in the WWE, Big Show's finisher is the WMD - a punch in the jaw. Yeah. For a while he used a spinning headlock elbow drop, a legdrop takedown, or a Camel Clutch, but in WCW, his finisher was the simple chokeslam: pick somebody up by the neck, throw them into the ground. The end. The chokeslam was, of course, invented by another famous giant wrestler, Abraham Lincoln.

Despite his massive size, The Giant comes with an accessory. It's not much - just a black softgoods nWo shirt - but it's more than we expected. The back closes with velcro, and there are no sleeves, so it's very easy to fit on him. Of course, he's in the original white, not Wolfpac red, since Giant was constantly at odds with Kevin Nash. The whole nWo angle was what finally pushed WCW over the WWF in the ratings (and kept them there for 84 weeks) - it was so popular that the WWF just blatantly copied the idea with D-Generation X.

I bought a bunch of wrestling toys back in the '90s, but never got a Giant, so I was glad to see a new, better version today. And thanks to Mattel slipping flashbacks like this into the normal line, they've made it so I look at the back of each new series to find out if anything is worth getting - you've got to admit, that's a pretty smart move!

-- 02/12/14

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