When the new television deal was announced for NXT, this set took on a little bit more meaning. Before now, NXT has been a brand exclusively on the WWE Network. It was well received, but perhaps didn’t have as large an audience. That has all changed, but will that mean a bigger market for the cards? Time will tell on that.
It feels like an unusual release. It has a similar configuration to other recent wrestling releases, included a set of matches and moments, as well as one of the roster. There are 100 matches and moments, and a separately numbered 50 roster cards. Only the matches and moments have parallels, which makes it seem the primary base set. There are no other “non-hit” inserts included in this release. It also seems a bit strange that, while included in the roster cards, the women are not featured in the matches and moments portion.
A box advertises 24 packs with 7 cards per pack. It also includes 2 autographs per box, although there have been reports of some boxes containing 5 autographs instead.
SmackDown is a new release for 2019. It’s not clear if it’s directly because SmackDown is moving to Fox after years on USA. Tonight is the beginning of the draft to fully separate Raw from SmackDown for the new future. The new roster may not reflect this release very well, though. This release matches the Raw release from earlier in the year,
In years past, Topps had two major releases, using the standard baseball design from that year. This changed this year. There seem to be two main releases again, representing Raw and SmackDown, but they are using unique designs for each. The Raw design was rather lackluster, but the SmackDown one stands out a lot more. I still wish they were the same, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.
This has turned in to a pretty standard release before a new movie, but it’s starting to feel like it’s going back to the same well too many times. The throwback blue starfield design recalls the first series of the 1977 A New Hope release, which was nice once. Now that it seems to show up for every new movie, it’s losing some of its shine. The 110 card base sets features all the main movies, as well as some teaser pics from the upcoming release.
The base set features a number of parallel starfield colors, but they really don’t seem to parallel the original release very much. There are a few insert sets, including schematics and stickers. The box contains 24 packs of 8 cards, and includes two hits, one of which is an autograph.
With all the changes in the WWE releases this year, it’s nice to have a familiar release come out. It has a fairly well known pattern with the base set consisting of 60 roster cards, along with 40 card for specific events. Of course, there are multiple layers of parallels. These cards feature wrestlers from all the different brands, including NXT UK.
There are a few insert sets, but not as many as a lot of the other releases these days have. One feature I’m not a fan of, is that some of these insert sets are retail exclusives. A hobby box may get you close to a base set, but you will be completely shut out of some of the inserts. I wish that wasn’t the case, as I’m not interested in chasing these at multiple stores.
I don’t really have much to say about Archives. It doesn’t really feel to me like it’s needed, when there is a Heritage release. In recent years with all the tributes to sets from the 80s showing up in the flagship release, it feels like reusing old designs is getting overdone.
Archives usually focuses on three designs. This year, the main designs are 1958, 1975, and 1993. We also see 1978 Record Breakers, as well as 1994 Future Stars. The base set features 300 cards, with an additional 30 Short Prints. Unlike some of the other releases, the SPs seem to be pretty achievable.