Who could forget pro wrestling writer Bill Apter taking a heart punch from Stan Stasiak? Or eagerly reading stories with eye-catching headlines like “Bobby Heenan’s Bloody Obsession”?
The growth of cable TV, the internet and the wildly successful marketing plan McMahon used to become a giant among wrestling corporations changed the game. Topps has recently tapped into the pro wrestling fan base with much nicer looking cards than those that existed in the 1990s. Once again, Topps’ flagship set for WWE wrestling cards brings fans colorful action photos and interesting storylines.
The only negative is that there were not as many action shots; rather, many of the card fronts were glorified mug shots, or shots of wrestlers coming down the ramp when they were introduced before a match. In a sport/entertainment-based outfit like the WWE, action is what fans demand; the same should be considered in a set of collectible cards.
The base set includes 100 cards, and there are several variations. There are plenty of options for those who buy hobby boxes, such as autographed cards and relics. There are some nice possibilities for collectors who buy blaster boxes, which is what I did.
A blaster box, which a collector can buy at retail stores like Target or Walmart, contains seven packs, with 10 cards to a pack. There also is an additional pack that contains one relic card.
There were also 12 Raw cards, which included favorites like The Miz, Titus O’Neil, Kurt Angle, Heath Slater and Mickie James. In addition to the base Raw cards, there were bronze parallels of Stephanie McMahon and Maryse.
There were 13 SmackLive cards, which included Shane McMahon.
Of the 13 NXT cards I pulled, there was an interesting mix of announcers (Nigel McGuinness, Mauro Renallo and ring announcer Kayla Braxton), a manager (Paul Ellering) and a general manager (William Regal).
The key inserts in the 2018 Evolution set are Evolution, a 50-card subset that shows the changes several wrestlers have gone through during their time in the WWE; I pulled 20 of those cards.
The relic card was a commemorative medallion in the shape of Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship belt and was numbered to 299.
The WWE set continues a nice run of cards by Topps. All facets of the WWE are represented, and there is a fine cross-section of stars and up-and-coming wrestlers.
A nice gesture by the WWE in the future would be an insert set commemorating the long career of the promotion’s first superstar, Bruno Sammartino, who died April 18. It’s a natural, but we will see.