When the New Age Outlaws were released individually as Elite Flashbacks, I couldn't justify spending nearly $20 on each of them much less find them in stores for that matter. I was perfectly fine without having the New Age Outlaws in my Mattel collection because they were "old school" and I was collecting the "new school". Then they came back and had some matches. And it kind of made me want them more. So when this Battle Pack was announced I knew I had to have it.
The last time I had New Age Outlaws figures I liked was in the Jakks BCA days because I was never as big of a fan of their TTL figures and Road Dogg hasn't had a figure since then. Just think about that. Think about how long it has been since Road Dogg has had a WWE figure (Though he has had TNA figures) From their dumpster match with Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie to their portrayal of VKM in TNA, I have always been a fan of the Outlaws and I respect the fact that they can publicly speak out against HHH and Shawn Michaels doing the DX thing those few years back when they shouldn't have and still make it back to the company.
I'll start with Billy Gunn in terms of figures because whether it was "The One", a Smoking Gunn or he was marrying Chuck Palumbo, the only way you need Billy Gunn in your WWE Mattel collection should be as a New Age Outlaw. This figure is nice enough for him, but I do have two problems with it. For one, I don't think his head looks very much like him- or at least not the way that I remember Billy Gunn since this is more loosely based on his modern return when he drank some tea that made him poop his pants (I'd say YouTube it, but that's on you)
He looks kind of like an elf from Lord of the Rings and since Adrian Neville looks like a dwarf I can imagine a nice LOTR/WWE spinoff line coming soon. Though if you get some sort of fabric and craft a small bandana, it should be easy enough to hide the imperfections in his face. My other problem though is the boots used for this Billy Gunn figure. He has the same problem some of the Jakks RA figures had and that is simply the fact that his feet aren't flat or he bends at the knees too easily because he loves to fall down.
Of course the real prize in this set is the Road Dogg Jesse James. It's been too long since Road Dogg has had a WWE figure and I'm glad I can put him in my Mattel collection since it was hard to convincingly put him in my Jakks WWE collection. As a modern version of Road Dogg, he is wearing the newest New Age Outlaws shirt and that's fine because- at least to me- it's better than having him in a DX shirt for whatever reason. I like the NAO better on their own than as part of a faction I guess.
The D-O-DOUBLE-G also has a buzz cut, which he sports now, though he had long braids back in the day. If you fold a scrap of fabric over and create a bandana for him that can cover his whole head (like his BCA figures) then the fact that he doesn't have hair becomes less noticeable and I'm fine with it. What's funny is, Road Dogg has quite a few tattoos, and yet I don't remember him having them all but I do remember Jakks getting away with putting some of them on his BCA figures.
Road Dogg's head scan looks perfectly like him and everything about this figure is just spot on. I have my issues with the Billy Gunn figure, but even if Billy Gunn was perfect himself in figure form here I'm sure Road Dogg's figure would still just blow it away. This Road Dogg figure is just that good. And personally, since they are older guys now, not really known for high flying and remind me of a time when action figures were simpler I do not mind having their Basic versions over Elites.
As far as accessories, they both come with a microphone which makes sense because they both talk and have their own opinions. But I feel like when Road Dogg was done doing his entrance part he'd pass the mic to Billy Gunn so they only might have needed one. Maybe something like a table or chair would have been more appropriate as a throwback, but I'm not in this for the accessories and especially when it comes to Basics I can't say I really even expect accessories. (Perhaps Mattel used all their accessory money on the Usos repaints?)
I'm not really planning on buying any of the older tag teams that no longer exist (Sorry, Legion of Doom), but it is nice to have the New Age Outlaws to not only mix it up with some of their on screen rivals, but just to put them against The Wyatt Family, Los Matadores and the tag teams I can only imagine we will get in the not too distant future. So, for me, the New Age Outlaws are essential but as someone who collects on the "new school" I can see why they might not be for you, which is just another reason why I got the Battle Pack and not Elites.