For fans of Neidhart and Volkoff, the appearance of both former stars in the Big Legends insert set of the new 2018 Topps WWE Heritage set will be bittersweet.
This year’s WWE Heritage set features today’s stars and old school stars from the 1980s, when the organization was known as the World Wrestling Federation. The blaster box I bought touts the base set’s “Iconic 1989 Topps design,” but that layout simply reminds me of the height of the baseball card glut of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
While the ’89 design might be one of the cleaner ones of the 1980s, there weren’t many challengers from that decade. The best was arguably the 1987 wood design, but that was used for the 2017 Topps Heritage set.
The wrestler’s name is part of the swirl that dominates the bottom of the card front, with the division logos (NXT, SmackLive, Raw and WWE) above them. The design is vertical which limits the action shots except in very tightly cropped body slams or leaps from the ring.
The WWE Heritage set has 110 base cards, and the blaster box I opened yielded 24 of them. Copper parallels fall one in every two packs, and I pulled five of them to meet the average.
Big Legends is a 50-card set that comes close to duplicating the 1989 Topps Big baseball sets. There is an inset of the wrestler, plus a semi-action shot that highlights the competitor. The only major departure from the 1989 Big set is that the wrestler’s last name is not separated in Scrabble-like letters. The 2018 version looks cleaner and less jumbled.
Typically, there are two Big Legends cards in every blaster box pack, and I pulled 20 of them. This is a nice cross-section of the stars who helped Vince McMahon take over the pro wrestling market during the 1980s — Sgt. Slaughter, the Iron Sheik, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig and Jake “The Snake” Roberts, to name a few.
The 10-card Rookies insert set also brings back memories of the 1989 design, and I pulled four of them: Asuka, Scott Dawson, Tye Dillinger and Pete Dunne.
There were two Rick Flair Hall of Fame tribute cards in the blaster box I opened, part of a 10-card set (Nos. 21 to 30) that will eventually total 40. Anther tribute set, featuring Shawn Michaels, was packaged with the relic card. There are 10 cards in this subset, following the same numbering pattern as Flair’s; there also will be 40 in the entire set. The Michaels card I pulled reflected back on WrestleMania XIX, when The Heartbreak Kid” defeated Chris Jericho.
Cole wrestled with Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly as the Undisputed ERA that night against Sanity (Eric Young, Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe) and The Authors of Pain (Akam, Rezar and Roderick Strong).
Cole pinned Eric Young in that match as the Undisputed ERA emerged victorious.
There are plenty of stars and familiar names in the 2018 Topps WWE Heritage set. I wish there had been some more old, older school wrestlers, like the ones who starred during the 1960s and ’70s. I’d love to collect a set that included Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Fred Blassie, Pat Patterson, George “The Animal” Steele and Baron von Raschke.
But that’s just me, showing my age. This generation’s fans will find plenty to like about this year’s set.