This has become a yearly release I look forward to. There’s no real surprise to it, but it’s still a nice release. As we’ve seen in the last two years, we see a base set focusing on scenes from Return of the Jedi, along with familiar insert sets like Behind the Scenes, Concept Art, Posters, and Iconic Characters.
I’ve noticed something that seems a bit odd to me, too. For the original Black & White A New Hope release, the base set had 140 cards. The Empire Strikes Back had 150. This one, however, has 133. I’m a bit surprised it jumps around so much, but I guess it really isn’t a big deal. A box advertises 7 packs with 8 cards per pack, with 1 autograph or sketch card per box.
This year, the holidays bring the final episode of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. That means another card set, as well. This was released the same day as the movie. As with other recent movie releases, the first series has many characters and some scenes, but it’s light on anything really resembling a spoiler.
This release is similar to other recent movies. You get a small base set, parallels, and a number of insert sets including stickers, illustrated character, and ships and vehicles. One unusual thing that stands out, however, is the base set. It’s 99 cards, rather than something round. I guess that’s not really good or bad, just surprising. It’s not clear why that change. Could it be so the set will fit in pages nicely?
A box advertises 24 packs with 8 cards per pack. This includes two hits per box, one of which is guaranteed to be an autograph or sketch card.
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.
This release comes at an interesting time. It’s new for Topps and focuses on one of the lesser pay per view brands. We’re used to see a Wrestlemania release, and this year also included a SummerSlam release. The event itself took place in May of this year, so this seems like a strange time see a release based on it.
While this set contains 90 base cards, the product feels much more hit driven. There are a handful of insert sets concentrating on previous events, but a set will be difficult to put together from packs. The pack out configuration consists of a master hobby box, containing two mini boxes. Each mini box has 6 packs with 5 cards per pack. There is no guarantee for each mini box, but the master box advertises 4 hits, with 3 guaranteed to be autographs. That’s nice, but for the price point, you need to see good autographs for it to be worth while.
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.