This is an interesting release, as it was delayed greatly from the original target date over the summer to December 30, just barely making it out during 2020. It took a bumpy route toward the end, too. A few weeks before release, Topps canceled the previous configuration, and opened up a new round of orders, for the final configuration.
When the release was first announced, it was going to be boxes of 24 packs with 7 cards per pack, as it has been in years past. This year, that was changed only a few weeks before release. While hobby boxes remained at the same price point with two autographs per box, they now included only 2 packs with 25 cards per pack. While it is nice not having as many packs to open, it feels like a lot of content is missing with so few cards in a box.
This is a release we were going to skip, but after seeing some of them, we decided to take the plunge. It comes fairly close to the Topps WWE Chrome release, and soon before WWE NXT. The base set features 100 Chrome cards of WWE superstars across Raw, Smackdown, NXT, and NXT UK. These also come in a variety of parallels, as well.
It’s a tough set to put together, given the configuration of the release. Each master box contains two boxes, which each containing six packs of five cards. In addition to parallels, there are also a handful of inserts set, along with one autograph per mini-box.
This release has long been delayed because of the pandemic. It was originally scheduled for July, I think, but many things from that period ended up being moved to later in the year. The end result of this delay is that a few of the people released back in April still find themselves in this release. It’s not that big a deal, but they do stand out a bit because of that.
This marks the return of this release after a five year hiatus. It hits a little bit different this year, as there wasn’t a planned “flagship” wrestling release to begin with. It doesn’t follow the previous format of using the baseball design for the cards this time. The design feels a little bit like Stadium Club to me, without the full bleed images.
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.