Thanks to Mark Carpowich for this report:
The panel started with a representative from Mattel discussing what's in store for fans in 2012. The company will roll out new additions to its Basic Figures collection, which will include an Extreme Rules set, something called Survivor Series Heritage, two-packs known as "battle packs" that will commemorate rivalries of the past year or so, as well as first-time figures for Vickie Guerrero and Sin Cara.
There will also be a new set called Elite Flashbacks, including characters like Papa Shango and the voicebox-era Kane.
We will also see a new Legends set, which will include Andre the Giant, the Rockers, and five more figures to be chosen by fans (who can vote at mattycollector.com).
Finally, there will be a set of Defining Moments figures, including a Thuganomics-era John Cena and Bret Hart.
The moderator then called Bret to the stage to discuss his figure. Bret was fairly low-key until a baby in the audience started to make a fuss, at which point Bret said, "Someone should move Shawn Michaels to the back."
The moderator then introduced the remaining guests, Rey Mysterio and HHH. Each of the wrestlers entered the room with their theme music playing. Members of the audience were then invited to ask questions using a mic in the middle of the room.
Fans asked fairly tepid questions ranging from "who was your favorite opponent" (Bret said Mr. Perfect, Owen Hart and Undertaker; HHH said Shawn Michaels; Rey said Eddie Guerrero and Psychosis), to "which is your favorite action figure" (HHH put over the entire Mattel line, then joked about a writers' team line of action figures that he said "comes with a Mr. McMahon doll, you pull a string and he calls you idiots"), to "what are your thoughts on Randy Savage" (Bret admired his professionalism and dedication to the fans, and said he opened the door for smaller wrestlers like himself and Shawn).
This was the point when CM Punk entered the room. Someone with a press credential (who was later interviewing Bret Hart at the Mattel booth, and presumably a WWE employee) was inside the room, propping a back door open for several minutes before Punk entered. I was sitting right next to the door and saw him enter immediately, but no one else in the room noticed him until he interrupted with his bullhorn.
The fans LOVED this - in fact, earlier in the presentation, a CM Punk action figure elicited a big reaction, whereas the audience booed when a John Cena figure was shown.
After Punk left the room, HHH got all serious and scolded the fans for cheering the same CM Punk that walked out on them and won't perform. He then put over the rest of the WWE roster, guys who do perform every night. In a lot of ways, HHH's speech sounded like the promo Cena cut on The Rock in Australia.
This whole thing really played out well live, with Punk breathing some much-needed life into what had otherwise been a pretty tame presentation. HHH is one of the best on the mic, but Punk totally controlled the whole exchange. Considering that Rey has a 50-50 shot of replacing Punk as WWE champion, it would have made sense for him to chime in, but I guess the focus was on the authority figure versus the rebel. Comic-Con was the perfect venue for this, and again, it came across very well.
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