New releases have started reaching ridiculous levels, so we’re going to look at an old release that has been sitting around for a while. This Topps release covered the World Wrestling Federation, back before it was known as World Wrestling Entertainment. This came out after Wrestlemania 3 from the Silverdome in Pontiac Michigan, featuring the clash between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant.
This release comes before the time that hits were the central focus of a product. It is also before inserts really became standard, although it does include a sticker subset. The base set contains 75 cards, showing superstars, highlights, as well as some action captions. There is also an insert subset of 22 different stickers.
There is a danger built in to these older products, and it goes beyond chewing thirty-three year old gum. These packs were wax, and the sealing process often stained the bottom card. The amount of wax varies, and is sometimes not very noticeable, but it’s something to consider. Also, is a problem related to the gum. These packs weren’t really designed to stay sealed for decades. After years sealed in a pack, along with pressure, the gum often ends up almost leaking on to the cards. Every pack had one card severely damaged by the gum. Keep these things in mind if you look at old wax era packs.
This yearly release comes a little bit later during Wrestlemania season this year. In recent years, this has been a January release, but this time comes out on March 11. It also comes during the Covid 19 pandemic, which has begun shutting down major sporting events. At the time of this writing, a SmackDown episode was rescheduled to an empty Performance Center, while Wrestlemania is still tentatively planned, but with a lot of uncertainty.
This release features a 100 card base set showing major events from the previous year. It also contains a number of insert sets, including a 50 card roster subset. The cards show a pirate theme, as the planned location for this year’s Wrestlemania is Raymond James Stadium, the home of the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A box contains 24 packs with 7 cards per pack. It advertises two hits per box, one of which is an on card autograph.
While I guess this is technically a new release, it seems to really be splitting how the long time flagship release worked. In years past, the main wrestling release featured all the current brands on cards using the same style as the flagship baseball release. It gave the wrestling release a big time feel, to be sure.
Those days are now gone. Rather than include all the brands, as in previous years, this set focuses on the Raw roster, along with 205 Live. It also uses a different design from the flagship baseball. This, coupled with the lack of some big names seems to hurt this release. We’ll see if it grows on me over time, but right now, it feels like a disappointing set.
The box contains 24 packs of 7 cards. Each box advertises 2 hits, with one of those guaranteed to be an autograph.
I’ve long avoided this release. It’s just never seemed to appeal to me. I decided to give it a shot this year, and it does end up being roughly what I expected. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it just may not be for me. The set contains 100 base cards featuring various events related to Raw, SmackDown Live, or 205 Live. Each of those comes in an assortment of parallels.
Alongside the events is a 50 card set with the WrestleMania roster. I noticed a distinct lack of women in the events portion, but they’re fully represented in the roster set. The only other inserts that seem to be in the hobby release are the Ronda Rousey spotlight set. The rest on the checklist appear to be from the different retail releases.
The box advertises 24 packs with 7 cards per pack. There are two hits per box, which includes one autograph.
The Then Now Forever release, essentially series two for the flagship release of Topps WWE cards, rounds out the year’s big four releases. It’s not just the base set that continues the same numbering as previous releases. There are also many tribute sets adding additional cards to earlier sets. These are usually exclusive to some store or type of pack.
The base set contains a mix of Smackdown, Raw, 205 Live, NXT, and Legends to round out the wrestlers featured. It features many debuting athletes, along with the flagship rookie card for Ronda Rousey. You also get the regular complement of parallels, to go along with insert subsets paying tribute to the 25th anniversary of Raw and Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper. Each box advertises two hits, including one autograph.