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.
Much like the growth in the WWE Women’s Division itself, the trading card release is also getting a higher profile. In years past, we’ve seen a retail release, but now we’re seeing a full hobby release.
The set itself doesn’t seem to have changed very much, though,
with a small roster set, as well as a Matches and Moments set featuring Raw, Smackdown Live, NXT, and the Mae Young Classic. We also see insert sets focusing on the Mixed Match Challenge, Power Couples, and the first women’s Royal Rumble. We’ve also come to expect the usual assortment of relics from a WWE release, including pieces of the mat from various events, t-shirt swatches, and manufactured relics of the Women’s championships over the years. Each box contains 24 packs with 7 cards per pack and advertises 2 hits per box, one of which is guaranteed to be an autograph.
Topps WWE Heritage follows a similar pattern to baseball, but it is not quite as constrained. While baseball follows year by year, 50 years in the past, baseball seems to skip around a little bit not. In recent years, we’ve seen 1985 style, leading to 1986 and 1987. This year, however, they skip 1988 and go right to 1989. They even add in a little surprise.
While it was in the middle of the junk wax era, the 1989 Topps design is still pretty popular for it’s clean layout. It really brings something to this release. The base contains 110 cards, plus an additional 9 updated roster cards, found only in retail. The original design for team leaders is including as an insert set consisting of tag teams and stables. We also see a small insert set for 2017 Rookies. Perhaps the best part is an insert set I didn’t expect. The set features legends on the Topps Big style from that period. It really adds something to the set, with a design that doesn’t feel as overused as a lot of the others.
A new Star Wars movie means a new Topps release. This time, it features Han Solo’s origin story. It’s a fun movie, but it’s a little bit of a departure from the recent releases. The card set, however, seems to follow a similar pattern. The base set contains 100 cards, along with many familiar insert sets including Icons, Silhouettes, Stickers, Patch Cards, Sketch Cards, and Autographs.
The base set is a fun design featuring the Millennium Falcon along the edge, and numerous parallels. I question the black parallel, however. It looks much more grey than black. If you have the black and silver together, it is easy to tell which is which, but apart, it may be more difficult.
Maybe it’s just me, but many of the insert designs seem to blend together, as well. I guess they’re easy if you know what you’re looking for, but they don’t seem quite so obvious at first glance. The different insert sets are displayed below, so you can judge for yourself.
This release snuck up on me. I didn’t know it was coming until just before it was being released. I’m not really tied in to the non-movie related releases, so it’s possible I just didn’t know. I ventured out largely without really knowing what I was getting in to, but thought it could be a fun release.
It’s a pretty bare bones release, with a 140 card base set, and a few insert sets, as well. The black and white is an interesting imagery
gimmick. The parallels end up being a slight tint to the cards. The box’s size really stood out to me. It’s a box of only seven packs of cards, containing eight cards each. That’s going to make it a tough set to make from packs. Each box contains either one autograph or sketch card, as well. The cards feature great photography, and the base cards do not really waste any space on design, other than the Star Wars logo. It makes for a different feeling with the cards, to be sure.
It seems a little pricey for what it is, but we’ll see how it holds up.